"Producers of the most successful porn movie of all time, Deep Throat, have lost a legal battle against the makers of a biopic about its tragic lead, Linda Lovelace. A New York judge ruled on Monday that Lovelace, the 2013 biographical drama starring Amanda Seyfried as the title character, does not infringe copyright of the infamous 1972 porn film that inspired it... The decision will presumably cause some relief in Hollywood, which routinely recreates famous scenes for biographical films. Had the ruling gone differently, movies such as My Week With Marilyn, the 2011 film that depicted the shooting of scenes from the 1957 romcom The Prince and the Showgirl, might conceivably have found themselves mired in legal difficulties."
Thursday, August 28, 2014
Ben Child, Guardian; Deep Throat production company fails in Lovelace copyright claim:
Ariel Kaminer, New York Times; Student-Built Apps Teach Colleges a Thing or Two:
"Amy Quispe, a summit-meeting organizer who was finishing her studies at Carnegie Mellon University, said struggles over campus data were so bad in some cases that “in a lot of ways students’ creativity was being stifled.” Campus software developers say they see evidence that some colleges are becoming more comfortable with these collaborations, though as with any learning process, the path is not always a straight one. Alex Sydell and William Li collaborated on a website, Ninja Courses, that made it easy for fellow students at Berkeley, and later at four more U.C. campuses, to compare every aspect of different courses as they built their schedule for the semester. Berkeley saw the website’s value and went so far as to pay them for their innovation. (“For students, the offer they gave us was very generous,” is all Mr. Li will say about the amount.) But when their point person moved onto another job, Mr. Sydell says, they got a cease-and-desist letter accusing them, among other things, of violating U.C. copyrights by using the colleges’ names."
Wednesday, August 13, 2014
Lisa Peet, Library Journal; Harvard’s Copyright First Responders to the Rescue:
"While most academic librarians are familiar with the basics of copyright law, the questions they’re asked are getting more complex. Issues of fair use and open access, MOOCs and repositories, and the push to digitize mean that students and faculty need more guidance on copyright matters than ever. This spring Kyle K. Courtney, Harvard University’s copyright advisor, brought together a pilot group of librarians known as Copyright First Responders (CFRs) to address this situation. The CFRs, who work in libraries across campus, are spending the summer in Courtney’s Copyright Immersion program studying the intricacies of copyright law. In fall 2014 they’ll begin serving as the first line of defense for copyright concerns expressed by students, staff, and faculty."
Saturday, August 9, 2014
Bill Chappell, NPR; If A Monkey Takes A Photo, Who Owns The Copyright? :
"An argument is brewing between British photographer David Slater and the folks at Wikimedia over who owns the rights to a photo a monkey took with Slater's equipment. The website says the famous photo should be freely distributed, because it believes isn't bound by copyright law. The dispute stems from 2011, when Slater's wildlife photography field trip to Indonesia produced a striking image of a smiling crested black macaque; another image shows it holding the camera. The story went viral, with Slater explaining that a group of macaques had taken over his equipment for a bit during the three days he spent in their company."
Thursday, July 31, 2014
Nick Wingfield, New York Times; Bill to Legalize Unlocking Cellphones Passes Congress:
"On Friday, the House of Representatives passed a bill that would make it legal for consumers to open the digital locks on their cellphones so that they could more easily switch wireless carriers. The Senate has already passed the bill. Under a law intended to prevent copyright infringement, consumers now risk fines of up to $500,000 and five years in jail if they unlock their cellphones without the consent of their wireless carriers. The restrictions against unlocking are deeply unpopular with the public... Cellphone unlocking was actually legal until last year, when an earlier exemption to copyright laws granted by the Library of Congress, the overseer of the United States Copyright Office, expired... President Obama, in a statement on Friday, said he looked forward to signing the bill, called the Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act, into law."
Nick Bilton, New York Times; The Pirate Bay Goes Mobile With New Site:
"People can complete all sorts of tasks with a smartphone now — order tickets, check the weather or call a taxi. Starting Thursday, people will also be able to easily steal copyrighted content on their mobile phones. The Pirate Bay, one of the most popular sites on the web for illegally downloading copyrighted material, announced that it is releasing a mobile-centric version of its website, called The Mobile Bay... Some media companies have acknowledged using pirating sites, including The Pirate Bay, to their benefit. Last year, a senior Netflix executive said the company used such sites to determine the genre of new shows that viewers might be interested in, and the type of shows Netflix should produce or license. Time Warner’s chief executive, Jeffrey L. Bewkes, also said that pirated content could be “a tremendous word-of-mouth thing.” While authorities and some entertainment companies have tried to stop The Pirate Bay from growing, the site has doubled its traffic since 2011, according to internal numbers about site use that Pirate Bay organizers released this month."
Josh Taylor, Gen Why? via ZDNet; Piracy discussion paper focuses on copyright stick not content carrot:
"If we are to understand the government's move to crack down on online copyright infringement from its now-officially-released discussion paper, the plan is to disproportionately address the symptoms without addressing the underlying causes. Censoring websites and forcing ISPs to police their consumers' internet use seems to be the main thrust of the questions arising from the discussion paper released by Attorney-General George Brandis and Communications Malcolm Turnbull yesterday... For now, it seems like any new legislation brought in will be all about making it harder for customers and ISPs. As one executive remarked to me recently, the government is being very small government when it comes to the copyright industry, and very big government when it comes to consumers and the telecommunications industry."