Archive for the 'Copyright' Category

The RIAA and CD Ripping for Personal Use: Infringement or Not?

Posted in Copyright, Digital Copyright Wars, Digital Culture on January 10th, 2008

Recently, there has been a flurry of articles about the RIAA's stance on the legality of CD ripping for personal use that was triggered by a Washington Post article ("Download Uproar: Record Industry Goes After Personal Use") that was later corrected. The controversy resulted in a debate on National Public Radio between the article's author and RIAA's president (Cary Sherman). In it, Sherman would not say that CD ripping for personal use was legal, but he did say: "Not a single (legal) case has ever been brought (by the RIAA against someone for copying music for personal use)."

Just as the dust seemed to be settling, Wired Blog Network has published "RIAA Believes MP3s Are A Crime: Why This Matters—Updated," takes another look at what the RIAA has said on the issue, and concludes "The RIAA doesn't believe Americans have any right—or Fair Use legal defense—to play copyrighted material on the device and in the format of their choosing."

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    UK May Make CD Ripping for Legal in Some Cases

    Posted in Copyright, Digital Copyright Wars, Digital Culture on January 9th, 2008

    Did you know that ripping MP3 files from CDs was illegal in the UK? The good news (for a change) is that Lord Triesman, Minister for Intellectual Property, has initiated an IP reform consultation that may result in making CD ripping legal for distance education, personal use, parody, and preservation purposes.

    Read more about it at "Proposal to Make CD Copying Legal," "UK Issues Public Consultation on More Flexible Copyright," "U.K. Looks to Relax Restrictive Copyright Laws," and "UK Wants to Make CD Rips Legal (at Last)."

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      Recut, Reframe, Recycle: Quoting Copyrighted Material in User-Generated Video

      Posted in Copyright, Digital Copyright Wars, Digital Culture, Digital Media, Social Media/Web 2.0 on January 8th, 2008

      American University's Center for Social Media has released Recut, Reframe, Recycle: Quoting Copyrighted Material in User-Generated Video, which examines fair use issues in user-created digital videos. See the announcement for links to videos used in the report.

      Here's an excerpt from the "Next Steps" section:

      The effervescence of this moment at the dawn of participatory media should not be mistaken for triviality. The practices of today’s online creators are harbingers of a far more interactive media era. Today’s makers—feckless, impudent, brash, and extravagant as they often are—in fact are the pioneers of an emerging media economy and society. Recognition of the importance of fair use, within the copyright law toolkit for cultural creation, is both prudent and forward-looking for those concerned with maintaining an open society.

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        New Creative Commons Comic Makes Understanding CC Licenses Easy

        Posted in Copyright, Creative Commons/Open Licenses, Licenses on December 16th, 2007

        The Creative Commons has released Sharing Creative Works: An Illustrated Primer, a new digital comic book that explains Creative Commons licenses.

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          Library Copyright Alliance Expresses Concerns over Section 104 of the PRO IP Act

          Posted in Copyright, Digital Copyright Wars, Research Libraries on December 13th, 2007

          The Library Copyright Alliance has sent a letter to Reps. Howard L. Berman and Howard Coble expressing concern over the chilling effect of Section 104 of the PRO IP Act on the use of orphan works by libraries. By way of example, they note that a library that made 100 letters from World War II soldiers in 1945 available on its Website could potentially face up to $15,000,000 in statutory damages.

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            Canadian DMCA-Stye Copyright Law on Hold . . . for the Moment

            Posted in Copyright, Digital Copyright Wars, Digital Rights Management on December 12th, 2007

            Canadian Industry Minister Jim Prentice didn't introduce a DMCA-style copyright bill yesterday, and there is speculation that this due to increasing protests against the bill.

            According to "Industry Canada Holds Off on Copyright Reform Bill," Prentice said that the: "bill would not be tabled [introduced] in the House until such time as myself and the minister of Canadian Heritage, Status of Women and Office Languages are satisfied."

            Read more about it at "'Canadian DMCA' Delayed, Protestors Cautiously Optimistic," "Canadian Netroots Rise Up Against Tory Copyright Plans," "CBC on the Canadian DMCA Delay," and "Prentice's Moment."

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              Google's Senior Copyright Counsel on the PRO IP Bill

              Posted in Copyright, Digital Copyright Wars on December 11th, 2007

              Noted copyright lawyer William Patry, who is Google's Senior Copyright Counsel and who is the author of the seven-volume Patry on Copyright, has published a trenchant analysis of the PRO IP bill ("What Does It Mean to Be Pro-IP?"). (Note that Patry indicates in his blog that:"The views in this blog are strictly mine and should not be attributed to Google Inc.")

              Here's an excerpt:

              This provision [SEC. 104. COMPUTATION OF STATUTORY DAMAGES IN COPYRIGHT CASES] is one of the most gluttonous in the whole bill. It seeks to expand radically the amount of statutory damages that can be recovered, and in cases where there are zero actual damages. The provision is intended to benefit the record industry but will have terrible consequences for many others; the provision has nothing to do with piracy and counterfeiting; instead it seeks to undo rulings in the 2000 litigation, a decidedly non-piracy or counterfeiting case, instead involving the use of digital storage lockers. Under the original decision, where a CD had twelve tracks, there was only one award of statutory damages possible. Under the bill, there may be 25: there would be 12 for each track on the sound recording, 1 for the sound recording as a whole, and 12 for each musical composition. Under this approach, for one CD the minimum award for non-innocent infringement must be $18,750, for a CD that sells in some stores at an inflated price of $18.99 and may be had for much less from or iTunes. The maximum amount of $150,000 then becomes three million, seven hundred and fifty thousand dollars per CD. Now multiple that times a mere ten albums, and one gets a glimpse at the staggering amount that will be routinely sought, not just in suits filed, but more importantly in thousands for cease and desist letters, where grandmothers and parents are shaken down for the acts of their wayward offspring. These private non-negotiable demands don’t see the light of day, but they have resulted in "settlements" wherein ordinary people have paid abnormal amounts of money rather than be hauled into court and thereby incur costs that will bankrupt them. One only wishes Congress would hold a hearing on this practice.

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                IFPI Wants European ISPs to Filter/Block the Internet

                Posted in Copyright, Digital Copyright Wars, Digital Culture, Net Neutrality, P2P File Sharing on December 10th, 2007

                The International Federation of Phonographic Industries has sent a letter to European ISPs asking them to filter unlicensed audio files based on digital fingerprints, to block "objectionable" peer-to-peer downloading services, and to block "infringing" Websites.

                Read more about it at "IFPI's European Christmas List: Content Filtering and P2P Blocking" and "Music Industry Pressures EU Politicians for Filtered Internet."

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                  House Copyright Bill Would Stiffen Penalties and Create New White House/DOJ Intellectual Property Units

                  Posted in Copyright, Digital Copyright Wars on December 7th, 2007

                  In the U.S. House of Representatives, Reps. John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI), Lamar Smith (R-TX), Howard Berman (D-CA), and nine other House members have introduced the "Prioritizing Resources and Organization for Intellectual Property Act of 2007" (PRO IP).

                  Here's an excerpt from the press release:

                  Specifically, the PRO IP bill does the following:

                  • Titles I and II strengthen the substantive civil and criminal laws relating to copyright and trademark infringement.
                  • Title III of the legislation establishes the Office of the United States Intellectual Property Enforcement Representative (USIPER), in the Executive Office of the President, to enhance nationwide and international coordination of intellectual property enforcement efforts.
                  • Title IV provides for the appointment of intellectual property officers to work with foreign countries in their efforts to combat counterfeiting and piracy.
                  • Title V of the legislation authorizes the creation of a permanent Intellectual Property Division within the Department of Justice. The purpose of the new IP Division is to improve law enforcement coordination. This is accomplished, in part, by transferring the functions of the existing Computer Crime and Intellectual Property section (CCIPs) that relate to intellectual property enforcement to the new IP Division. In addition, Title V provides DOJ with new resources targeted to improve IP law enforcement, including local law enforcement grants and additional investigative and prosecutorial personnel. It also requires that DOJ prepare an annual report that details its IP enforcement activities.

                  Read more about it at "Congress' Copyright Reform: Seize Computers, Boost Penalties, Spend Money"; "Major Copyright Bill Boosts Penalties, Creates New Agency"; and "Piracy Law Unveiled in Washington."

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                    Only 50,000 Signatures Needed for Referendum on New Swiss DMCA-Style Copyright Law

                    Posted in Copyright, Digital Copyright Wars, Digital Culture, Digital Rights Management on December 4th, 2007

                    Florian Bösch is organizing a petition drive to put Switzerland's new DMCA-style copyright law to a referendum at the No Swiss DMCA website. Only 50,000 signatures are needed, but they must be collected before January 24, 2008.

                    Read more about it at "DMCA-Style Laws Coming to Canada, Switzerland"; "Swiss DMCA Coming Down—50,000 Signatures Needed to Unmake It"; "Swiss DMCA Petition—50,000 Signatures Will Kill Switzerland's Copyright Law"; and "Swiss DMCA Quietly Adopted."

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                      MPAA Takes Down the MPA University Toolkit Because of GNU GPL Legal Issues

                      Posted in Copyright, Digital Copyright Wars, Digital Culture, Privacy on December 3rd, 2007

                      Slashdot reports that the Motion Picture of Association of America has removed the MPA University Toolkit software from the software's website after Matthew Garrett contacted the MPAA's ISP indicating that the software violated the GNU GPL. Garrett had attempted to contact the MPAA directly, but it was unresponsive. Currently, only Toolkit documentation remains on the website.

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                        30 Ways to Fight the Canadian DMCA

                        Posted in Copyright, Digital Copyright Wars, Digital Culture, Digital Rights Management on December 3rd, 2007

                        Michael Geist, Canada Research Chair of Internet and E-commerce Law at the University of Ottawa, has posted "The Canadian DMCA: What You Can Do," which presents 30 ways that Canadians can fight upcoming DMCA-style copyright legislation. It also includes a YouTube video on this topic.

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