Archive for the 'Digital Copyright Wars' Category

UK Intellectual Property Office: © The Way Ahead: A Strategy for Copyright in the Digital Age

Posted in Copyright, Digital Copyright Wars on November 2nd, 2009

The UK Intellectual Property Office has released © The Way Ahead: A Strategy for Copyright in the Digital Age.

Here's an excerpt:

Based on the findings, the Government's reported intentions are:

  • for authors of copyright works; to support fair treatment through new model contracts and clauses and fair returns for use of their work by improving education about and enforcement of rights;
  • for rights holders; to help secure a viable future by encouraging the development of new business models, modernising the licensing process and maintaining support for education about and enforcement of rights;
  • for consumers; to allow them to benefit from the digital age by seeking to legitimise noncommercial use of legitimately-purchased copyright works and improving access to 'orphan works' such as out-of-print books;
  • for educators and researchers; to support them by improving access to works, resolving issues around copyright and contract and ensuring exceptions to copyright are right for the digital age; and
  • for businesses and other users; to work towards a simpler copyright system by, improving the copyright licensing process and encouraging the development of new business models.

This means:

  • UK action to improve access to orphan works, enable extended collective licensing, encourage the development of model contracts and clauses, and tackle P2P file-sharing; and
  • A willingness on the Government's part to consider European action that provides commonsense rules for private, non-commercial use of copyright material that will give consumers much more freedom to do what they want (such as creating mash-ups) and make clear what they cannot do.
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    European Commission Adopts Communication on Copyright in the Knowledge Economy

    Posted in Copyright, Digital Copyright Wars, Google and Other Search Engines, Mass Digitizaton on October 20th, 2009

    The European Commission has adopted a Communication from the Commission: Copyright in the Knowledge Economy.

    Here's an excerpt from the press release:

    The European Commission today adopted a Communication on Copyright in the Knowledge Economy aiming to tackle the important cultural and legal challenges of mass-scale digitisation and dissemination of books, in particular of European library collections. The Communication was jointly drawn up by Commissioners Charlie McCreevy and Viviane Reding. Digital libraries such as Europeana ( http//www.europeana.eu ) will provide researchers and consumers across Europe with new ways to gain access to knowledge. For this, however, the EU will need to find a solution for orphan works, whose uncertain copyright status means they often cannot be digitised. Improving the distribution and availability of works for persons with disabilities, particularly the visually impaired, is another cornerstone of the Communication.

    On adoption, Commissioners McCreevy and Reding stressed that the debate over the Google Books Settlement in the United States once again has shown that Europe could not afford to be left behind on the digital frontier.

    "We must boost Europe as a centre of creativity and innovation. The vast heritage in Europe's libraries cannot be left to languish but must be made accessible to our citizens", Commissioner McCreevy, responsible for the Internal Market, stated.

    Commissioner Reding, in charge of Information Society and Media, said: "Important digitisation efforts have already started all around the globe. Europe should seize this opportunity to take the lead, and to ensure that books digitisation takes place on the basis of European copyright law, and in full respect of Europe's cultural diversity. Europe, with its rich cultural heritage, has most to offer and most to win from books digitisation. If we act swiftly, pro-competitive European solutions on books digitisation may well be sooner operational than the solutions presently envisaged under the Google Books Settlement in the United States."

    The Communication addresses the actions that the Commission intends to launch: digital preservation and dissemination of scholarly and cultural material and of orphan works, as well as access to knowledge for persons with disabilities. The challenges identified by the Commission today stem from last year’s public consultation on a Green Paper ( IP/08/1156 ), the Commission's High Level Group on Digital Libraries and the experiences gained with Europe's Digital Library Europeana ( IP/09/1257 ).

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      Litman on "Real Copyright Reform"

      Posted in Copyright, Digital Copyright Wars on September 21st, 2009

      Jessica Litman, John F. Nickoll Professor of Law at the University of Michigan Law School, has self-archived "Real Copyright Reform" at SSRN.

      Here's the abstract:

      A copyright system is designed to produce an ecology that nurtures the creation, dissemination and enjoyment of works of authorship. When it works well, it encourages creators to generate new works, assists intermediaries in disseminating them widely, and supports readers, listeners and viewers in enjoying them. If the system poses difficult entry barriers to creators, imposes demanding impediments on intermediaries, or inflicts burdensome conditions and hurdles on readers, then the system fails to achieve at least some of its purposes. The current U.S. copyright statute is flawed in all three respects. In this article, I explore how the current copyright system is failing its intended beneficiaries. The foundation of copyright law's legitimacy, I argue, derives from its evident benefits for creators and for readers. That foundation is badly cracked, in large part because of the perception that modern copyright law is not especially kind to either creators or to readers; instead, it concentrates power in the hands of the intermediaries who control the conduits between creators and their audience. Those intermediaries have recently used their influence and their copyright rights to obstruct one another's exploitation of copyrighted works. I argue that the concentration of copyright rights in the hands of intermediaries made more economic sense in earlier eras than it does today. The key to real copyright reform, I suggest, is to reallocate copyright's benefits to give more rights to creators, greater liberty to readers, and less control to copyright intermediaries.

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        Moral Panics and the Copyright Wars

        Posted in Copyright, Digital Copyright Wars on September 15th, 2009

        Noted copyright expert William Patry, Senior Copyright Counsel at Google and former copyright counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary, has published Moral Panics and the Copyright Wars with Oxford University Press. Patry is also blogging on this topic at Moral Panics and the Copyright Wars. (His well-regarded previous blog was The Patry Copyright Blog.)

        Here's an excerpt from the press release:

        In Moral Panics And The Copyright Wars, Patry details the path that we have taken to get to our current misunderstanding of copyright laws. The most prolific scholar of copyright in history and the author of an eight-volume treatise on copyright and a separate treatise on the fair use doctrine, Patry argues that the cause of these copyright wars throughout history can be largely attributed to words—specifically, metaphors. Patry describes different kinds of metaphors, using them to further illustrate the ways that copyright laws have come to be unnecessarily expanded and misunderstood. For example, nowadays the term "pirate" is used in many instances to describe a type of copyright violation. Patry writes that it is the repetition of the pirate metaphor that makes the term stick, although the metaphor may be used incorrectly or may even be entirely false. This repetition of such metaphors causes whatever company or individual that has come to be associated with the word "pirate" to always be attached to the negative traits associated with a "pirate." This is just one of the ways that Patry shows the influence that words have had in negatively expanding copyright laws as well as causing the public, those who the laws are meant to help, to misunderstand them.

        Patry contends that it has been this metaphoric language that has led to poor business decisions and obscured copyright law's true, public purpose. He concludes that calls for strong copyright laws, just like calls for weak copyright laws, miss the point entirely: the only laws we need are effective laws, laws that further the purpose of encouraging the creation of new works and learning—and that bring respect back to our copyright process.

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          U.S. Department of Justice Supports $1.92 Million Statutory Damages for Illegally Sharing 24 Songs

          Posted in Copyright, Digital Copyright Wars, P2P File Sharing on August 17th, 2009

          The U.S. Department of Justice has submitted a brief to the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota supporting the $1.92 million statutory damages award that Jammie Thomas-Rasset must pay for illegally sharing 24 songs ($80,000 per song).

          Read more about it at "DOJ Doesn't Believe $80,000 per Song Unconstitutional or Oppressive," "Justice Department Defends Massive File-Swapping Fine," and "US Govt Says $1.92M P2P Damage Award Totally Fair."

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            Irish ISP Eircom to Enact Three-Strikes Illegal File Sharing Policy

            Posted in Copyright, Digital Copyright Wars, P2P File Sharing on July 27th, 2009

            Under pressure from the Irish Recorded Music Association, a large Irish ISP, Eircom, will put in place a three-strikes policy in August against alleged copyright offenders: first strike, a warning; second strike, Internet service will be "throttled," and, third strike, Internet service will be disconnected.

            Read more about it at "Ireland's Largest ISP to Start 'Throttling' Illegal Downloaders," "Ireland’s Largest ISP Starts Throttling and Disconnections," "Recording Industry Sues More Irish ISPs for Not Implementing 3 Strikes."

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              Forcing the Net Through a Sieve: Why Copyright Filtering is Not a Viable Solution for U.S. ISPs

              Posted in Copyright, Digital Copyright Wars on July 26th, 2009

              Public Knowledge has released Forcing the Net Through a Sieve: Why Copyright Filtering is Not a Viable Solution for U.S. ISPs.

              Here's an excerpt:

              Copyright filtering, the latest proposed "magic bullet" solution from the major music and movie studios and industry trade groups, poses a number of dangers to Internet users, legitimate businesses and U.S. federal government initiatives to increase the speed, affordability and utilization of broadband Internet services. The following whitepaper presents a number of reasons why the use of copyright filters should not be allowed, encouraged or mandated on U.S. Internet Service Provider (ISP) networks. Among them:

              1. Copyright filters are both underinclusive and overinclusive. A copyright filter will fail to identify all unlawful or unwanted content while harming lawful uses of content.

              2. Copyright filter processing will add latency. Copyright filters will slow ISP networks, discouraging use, innovation and investment and harming users, businesses and technology policy initiatives.

              3. The implementation of copyright filters will result in a technological arms race. Users will act to circumvent the filters and the architects of the filters will find themselves caught in a costly, unwinnable arms race.

              4. Copyright filters do not make economic sense. The monetary costs associated with copyright filtering far outweigh any perceived benefits.

              5. Copyright filters will discourage investment in the Internet economy. Copyright filters will disrupt the Internet ecosystem, severely undermining our most promising engine for economic growth.

              6. Copyright filters will harm free speech. Due to technological limitations, copyright filters will harm lawful, protected forms of speech such as parody and satire.

              7. Copyright filters could undermine the safe harbor provisions that shield ISPs from liability. Under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), ISPs are shielded from liability for their users’ actions. Copyright filters could undermine these safe harbors, which have allowed the Internet to become the most important communications medium of the modern era.

              8. Copyright filtering could violate the Electronic Communications and Privacy Act. Copyright filtering could constitute unlawful interception under the Electronic Communications and Privacy Act (ECPA).

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                John Wiley & Sons to Use Attributor Anti-Piracy Service

                Posted in Copyright, Digital Copyright Wars, Publishing on July 22nd, 2009

                John Wiley & Sons will use Attributor's anti-piracy service to track illegal use of its digital publications.

                Here's an excerpt from the press release:

                Attributor announced today that global publisher John Wiley & Sons, Inc . . . has selected its anti-piracy service as a tool to identify unlawful use of its books, e-Books, and other content online and prevent use of the infringed copies. Attributor's technology monitors more than 35 billion pages, including hosting sites and link farms, quickly identifying unauthorized copies and taking action to remove them.

                "When Wiley content appears, without permission, on Web sites where users share the content free of charge or sell it without authorization, authors are cheated of their rightful compensation for their work. This affects us all, since the loss of compensation is a disincentive to authors' creativity and innovation," said Roy Kaufman, Legal Director, Wiley-Blackwell. "Wiley's agreement with Attributor will greatly enhance our ongoing pursuit of anyone who willfully infringe upon our intellectual property and will enable us to cost-effectively scale our anti-piracy efforts across the Web."

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