"Lilly Pulitzer, known for its bright and unique fabric patterns, is suing Old Navy for copyright infringement, saying the Gap-owned unit blatantly stole two of the designer’s fabric prints. While apparel designs are not covered by any intellectual property laws, one-of-a-kind prints and patterns do fall under that protection. Sugartown Worldwide, which owns the Lilly Pulitzer brand and its 33 retail stores, alleged that Old Navy knocked off two of its colorful prints, causing “irreparable harm” to the company."
Friday, July 31, 2015
Laura Lorenzetti, Fortune; Lilly Pulitzer sues Old Navy for copyright infringement:
Natalie Bochenski, Brisbane Times; Librarians stir the pot for copyright reform:
About 1500 libraries around Australia will on Friday, July 31, take part in ALIA's Cooking for Copyright campaign, with everyone else encouraged to take part as well. Sue McKerracher, of the Australian Librarian and Information Association, said it was inspired by the thousands of vintage recipes that lay dormant in unpublished library collections. "What we want is for everyone to cook something, photograph it, and send it to us using the hashtag," she said. Advertisement "That will effectively give us a good petition to take to the government and ask the Attorney-General to review the legislation, make this change and give a gift to the Australian people." ALIA has declared Friday, July 31, Cooking for Copyright Day, to draw attention to the quirk of legislation that prohibits unpublished documents from being uploaded online. "We've got lots of real treasures locked up in museums, libraries, galleries, historical societies that can't be shared online with the Australian public because of this copyright restriction," Ms McKerracher said... Ms McKerracher said the National Library in Canberra alone held more than two million unpublished works. "Those include letters from Jane Austen, Prince Albert, Captain Cook, Charles Darwin, Dame Nellie Melba, Christobel Pankhurst and Banjo Patterson, but you wouldn't know that, because we can't put them on the web," she said."
Thursday, July 30, 2015
Conan O'Brien Targeted in Lawsuit Claiming He Lifted Jokes from Twitter; Hollywood Reporter, 7/27/15
Eriq Gardner, Hollywood Reporter; Conan O'Brien Targeted in Lawsuit Claiming He Lifted Jokes from Twitter:
"The new lawsuit comes amid some focus on joke theft on Twitter. This past week, a few jokes published on the media service were removed, apparently at the request of a freelance writer. This led to numerous articles that Twitter was taking joke theft seriously, though it's probably nothing more than an individual submitting a simple form pursuant to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Internet service providers only give light scrutiny towards takedown requests. By expeditiously removing material that's claimed to be a violation of copyright, services like Twitter gain an affirmative defense against copyright liability. Users who have material removed then have the opportunity of submitting a counter-notice, which typically results in restoration and provides notice to the rights holder of whom to sue if there's still a dispute."
Pitt Law Librarians Help Uncover Smoking Gun Evidence in Historic “Happy Birthday” Song Lawsuit; Pitt Law, 7/28/15
Pitt Law; Pitt Law Librarians Help Uncover Smoking Gun Evidence in Historic “Happy Birthday” Song Lawsuit:
"It’s evidence that might prove conclusively there is no copyright to the lyrics of the “Happy Birthday” song, and attorneys for the plaintiffs in the class-action lawsuit Good Morning To You Productions Corp. v. Warner/Chappell Music, Inc discovered it was housed in the University of Pittsburgh’s library storage facility. Scrambling to get a hold of it, the attorneys contacted Pitt Law professor and intellectual property law expert Michael Madison. He put them in touch with the Barco Law Library's interim director Marc Silverman and law librarian Linda Tashbook. The fourth edition of The Everyday Song Book was published in 1922 and contains lyrics for “Happy Birthday To You” without any copyright notice, which predates Warner/Chappell’s 1935 copyright registration... Now with the help of Pitt Law and the University, the world’s most recognized song in the English language (according to the Guinness Book of World Records) may become free to the public. In a new filing in the case (PDF), the attorneys for the plaintiffs write, “[T]he documents prove conclusively that the song is in the public domain, thus making it unnecessary for the Court to decide the scope or validity of the disputed copyrights…""
"Happy Birthday" Lawsuit: "Smoking Gun" Emerges in Bid to Free World's Most Popular Song; Hollywood Reporter, 7/27/15
Eriq Gardner, Hollywood Reporter; "Happy Birthday" Lawsuit: "Smoking Gun" Emerges in Bid to Free World's Most Popular Song:
"The filmmakers working on a documentary about the world's most popular song, "Happy Birthday to You," and currently suing Warner/Chappell for the right to use the song in the documentary without any license fee, filed court papers on Monday touting newly uncovered evidence that "proves conclusively that there is no copyright to the Happy Birthday lyrics." The "proverbial smoking gun," as the plaintiffs put it to a California judge, is a book of children's songs that comes straight out of Warner/Chappell's digital library. Betsy Manifold and Mark Rifkin, attorneys for the plaintiffs, were only given access to these files just three weeks ago. They were told the documents were held back "mistakenly." What they found was a blurry version of the 15th edition of The Everyday Song Book, published in 1927. The book contained Happy Birthday lyrics. Intrigued by the discovery, and looking for a cleaner version, the lawyers started hunting down earlier editions, and in the archives of The University of Pittsburgh, they came upon the fourth edition, published in 1922, which included the famous Happy Birthday song without any copyright notice."
Jonathan Weisman, New York Times; Patent Protection for Drugs Puts Pressure on U.S. in Trade Talks:
"“The goal of the pharmaceutical industry is to change the rules internationally, to change global norms with a new monopoly that is cheaper for the companies and stronger,” said Judit Rius Sanjuan, a legal policy adviser for Doctors Without Borders’ medical access campaign, which wants lower-cost drugs on the market faster. On the other side, Senator Orrin G. Hatch, the Utah Republican who is chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, singled out the next generation of pharmaceuticals, called biologics, and warned on Wednesday that “a strong intellectual-property chapter — including strong patent and regulatory data protections for biologics — is vital to securing congressional support for this trade deal.” The complexity of the pharmaceutical issues illustrates how difficult it will be to agree on broad trade rules for 12 countries, including giants like the United States and Japan and developing counties like Peru, Malaysia, Vietnam and tiny Brunei. United States negotiators are using novel arguments to secure positions. For instance, they are pushing to mandate open access to the Internet as an antipiracy measure, so Hollywood can use streaming videos to completely cut out the often-copied DVD."
Luke Nozicka, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; Pitt library songbook key to lawsuit over ‘Happy Birthday’ rights:
"The plaintiffs argued in a court filing this week that the copyright for the song expired when both versions of the song were published in the 1922 “Everyday Song Book.”... On July 21, Mike Madison, faculty director of Pitt Law’s Innovation Practice Institute, received an email from Mr. Rifkin asking if a law student could send him copies of a 1916 version of the book located in Pitt’s Theodore M. Finney Music Library. But Jeanann Haas, head of Special Collections at University Library System, said no “Happy Birthday” lyrics were found in it. However, the lyrics are in the 220-page 1927 version, a 12th edition, located at Hillman Library in Pitt’s Special Collections Department. Librarians there faxed a copied version of song 16 in the book published by The Cable Company in Chicago, titled “Good Morning and Birthday Song” to the attorney, which was used as evidence at the hearing Wednesday. The attorneys said the Pitt songbook was the “smoking gun” evidence that would prove once and for all that the song is not copyrighted... Regardless of how the judge rules, Mr. Silverman said it is almost funny how much attention Pitt is getting from this, considering all they really did “was copy a couple pages and fax them off.” “We pull rabbits out of the hat day in and day out,” Mr. Silverman said. “We fax a couple pages to an attorney... and all of a sudden, the whole world is coming to our doorstep and saying, ‘Man, the librarians are really great.'"
Tuesday, July 28, 2015
Joe Mullin, ArsTechnica.com; Filmmakers fighting “Happy Birthday” copyright find their “smoking gun” :
"t's been two years since filmmakers making a documentary about the song "Happy Birthday" filed a lawsuit claiming that the song shouldn't be under copyright. Now, they have filed (PDF) what they say is "proverbial smoking-gun evidence" that should cause the judge to rule in their favor. The "smoking gun" is a 1927 version of the "Happy Birthday" lyrics, predating Warner/Chappell's 1935 copyright by eight years. That 1927 songbook, along with other versions located through the plaintiffs' investigations, "conclusively prove that any copyright that may have existed for the song itself... expired decades ago." Even if the owner wasn't first, "Copyright law requires originality, not novelty." If the filmmakers' lawyers are right, it could mean a quick route to victory in a lawsuit that's been both slow-moving and closely watched by copyright reform advocates. Warner/Chappell has built a licensing empire based on "Happy Birthday," which in 1996 was pulling in more than $2 million per year."
Friday, July 24, 2015
State Of Georgia Sues Carl Malamud For Copyright Infringement For Publishing The State's Own Laws; TechDirt.com, 7/24/15
Mike Masnick, TechDirt.com; State Of Georgia Sues Carl Malamud For Copyright Infringement For Publishing The State's Own Laws:
"Two years ago, we wrote about the state of Georgia ridiculously threatening to sue Carl Malamud and his site Public.Resource.org for copyright infringement... for publishing an official annotated copy of the state's laws. This followed on a similar threat from the state of Oregon, which wisely backed down. Malamud has spent the last few years of his life doing wonderful and important work trying to make sure that the laws that we live by are actually available to the public. The specific issue here is that while the basic Georgia legal code is available to the public, the state charges a lot of money for the "Official Code of Georgia Annotated." The distinction here is fairly important -- but it's worth noting that the courts will regularly rely on the annotations in the official code, which more or less makes them a part of the law itself. And then, the question is whether or not the law itself should be subject to copyright restrictions. Malamud has long argued no, while the state has obviously argued yes, probably blinded by the revenue from selling its official copy of the annotated code." It took two years, but the state has now done the absolutely ridiculous thing of suing Malamud. It is about as ridiculous as you would expect again focusing on the highly questionable claim that the Official Code of Georgia Annotated is covered by federal copyright law -- and that not only was Malamud (*gasp*) distributing it, but also... creating derivative works! Oh no! And, he's such an evil person that he was encouraging others to do so as well!"
Thursday, July 23, 2015
ALA president calls for digital transformation of Copyright Office; American Library Association (ALA) Press Release, 6/12/15
American Library Association (ALA) Press Release; ALA president calls for digital transformation of Copyright Office:
"Today, American Library Association (ALA) president Courtney Young responded to the introduction of the Copyright Office for the Digital Economy Act (CODE Act) by Representatives Judy Chu (D-CA) and Tom Marino (R-PA): “For more than 20 years, content creators, rights holders, legislators and public users alike have acknowledged that the U.S. Copyright Office needs to modernize its technological capabilities for the 21st century. Unfortunately, the recently introduced Copyright Office for the Digital Economy Act does little to address significant technology challenges impacting the U.S. Copyright Office. “The bill’s proposal to make the Copyright Office an independent agency does not address the longstanding problems facing the agency, specifically that the Copyright Office’s information technology systems are woefully inadequate in serving both rights holders and the public in the digital environment. Much of the Copyright Office's shortcomings were detailed in a Government Accountability Office report published in March 2015. Instead of independent authority, the Copyright Office needs resources—both in the form of funding and technical expertise—to bring it out of the typewriter age. “Rights holders, authors, publishers, libraries and the general public nationwide rely on the robust U.S. Copyright registration and recordation system to identify the copyright status of works. Comprehensive and accurate records in digital systems that can communicate with other digital systems are necessary to handle any transaction—whether one is trying to register copyright in order to proceed with legal action or whether one is just trying to identify who holds the rights to a particular work. In addition, progress should be made immediately to build the necessary digital storage facilities for digitally-born works. “We urge the U.S. Congress to support the investment necessary to transition the Copyright Office from a paper-based system to a digital system that uses the most effective digital technology, systems and software–to enable commerce, promote access to content, and to inspire the creators and artists of the future who wish to make use of the previous works. A successful overhaul of the Copyright Office’s information technology infrastructure cannot be achieved by securing the Copyright Office’s independence from the Library of Congress. We have a much more important problem to solve that cannot be fixed by changing the address of the Copyright Office.”"
Parker Higgins, Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF); The Copyright Office Belongs in a Library:
"The ALA is correct. The way to solve the problems of the Copyright Office and the Librarian of Congress is not to separate the two. Rather, it's to dedicate resources better and push for more thoughtful leadership. On both counts, a smart choice for Librarian of Congress will help. There are also historical reasons to leave it in place, dating back to the 1870 law that centralized key copyright functions in the Library. Most notably, the deposit requirement—that authors and artists submit copies of works they are registering for copyright—has provided enormous public value by building up the collection. Of course, the Copyright Office performs other functions. But operations like maintaining a catalog of registrations, providing technical assistance to legislators and executive branch agencies, and providing information services to the public are all better understood as being, on some level, library services. So both ideologically and pragmatically speaking, any hasty moves to yank the Copyright Office out of the Library should be non-starters. The Copyright Office has an important role to play in protecting the public interest. It’s most likely to play that role if it answers to a Librarian."
Wednesday, July 22, 2015
Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF); TPP's Copyright Trap:
"One of the defining battles in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations is whether its signatory countries will standardize copyright terms lengths to a minimum term of the life of the author plus 70 years. This would effectively set the maximum duration of copyright holders' monopoly rights to over 140 years. This is the demand from rightsholder groups such as the RIAA and MPAA who advise the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR). A precedent for such a provision has been set in previous Free Trade Agreements with countries like Australia and Singapore. But the world's leading economists agree that such an extraordinary long copyright term makes no sense. It provides no further incentive for creation and provides little additional income to creators or their families—except for a very small, successful minority."
Chris Duckett, ZDNet; People who pay for content but also infringe copyright spend more:
"Consumers who flirt with the morally ambiguous line of content consumption spend more money, according to a survey released by the Australian Department of Communications. Over a three-month period among respondents aged 12 and over, the survey found that those who consumed a mixture of copyright-infringing and non-infringing content spent on average AU$200 on music, AU$118 on video games, AU$92 on movies, and AU$33 on TV content. Consumers who only consumed non-infringing content spent only AU$126 on music, AU$110 on video games, AU$67 on movies, and AU$22 on TV; whereas pure copyright-infringing content consumers spent a mere AU$88 on music, AU$24 on video games, AU$53 on movies, and AU$8 on TV content... "Rights holders' most powerful tool to combat online copyright infringement is making content accessible, timely, and affordable to consumers," Turnbull said on Wednesday."
Kevin L. Smith, Library Journal; Does the Copyright Office Belong in a Library? | Peer to Peer Review:
"It has been a busy time for those of us who watch the doings of the Copyright Office. In addition to releasing a massive report on Orphan Works and Mass Digitization, about which I have written here, the Copyright Office (CO) is the subject of a piece of legislation introduced as a discussion draft on June 3. The bill, if it were officially introduced and ultimately enacted, would remove the CO from the Library of Congress (LC) and establish it as an independent agency of the federal government, under the Executive Branch. Then, while we were still considering the ramifications of this idea, came the announcement on June 10 of the pending retirement of Dr. James Billington, who has been the Librarian of Congress for the past 29 years. These events suggest long-term changes for the copyright and library communities, and it is worth taking a moment to consider, especially, the impact of the idea of making the Copyright Office an independent agency. The first thing that strikes me about the “discussion draft” of the proposed law to establish the Copyright Office as an independent agency—called the Copyright Office for the Digital Economy (CODE) Act—is that it never says why it is needed."
Tuesday, July 21, 2015
Orphan Works and Mass Digitization: A Report of the Register of Copyrights; U.S. Copyright Office, June 2015
U.S. Copyright Office; Orphan Works and Mass Digitization: A Report of the Register of Copyrights:
Jeff John Roberts, Fortune; In Ashley Madison hack, copyright "solution" is worse than no solution:
"While the copyright takedown might sound like a solution, it’s a weak and short-lived one. For one thing, there’s nothing to stop the hackers simply uploading the files again, forcing Ashley Madison to send out DCMA notices over and over. And this assumes that the company even has a valid copyright it can enforce in the first place – an unlikely event since, in the case of members’ profiles, the copyright probably belongs to the users not Ashley Madison. Ashley Madison’s DMCA announcement is little more than a bluff, and it’s one we’ve seen before. Recall, how in the wake of the Sony hacks, the movie studio hired super-lawyer David Boies to send around trumped-up intellectual property threats in a failed attempt to keep media from reporting on the leaks. Or how Jennifer Lawrence, and other celebrities who had their Apple iCloud accounts hacked, tried to use copyright law to stop people distributing nude photos. In all of these cases, the copyright claims in question were weak or non-existent, but the hacking targets invoked them anyways. Why? The best answer is that lawyers had to respond to frantic entreaties from their clients to do something, and copyright was the nearest legal cudgel. It’s easy to use, everyone’s heard of it, and it can come with nasty penalties."
Dino Grandoni, New York Times; Ashley Madison, a Dating Website, Says Hackers May Have Data on Millions:
"Under American copyright law, Ashley Madison has the power to scrub away private user information leaked in the breach and posted to other websites. On Monday, the company said that it had been doing just that to protect the identities of those who have used Ashley Madison. But that may be a race that it cannot win. Paul Ferguson, senior adviser for Trend Micro, a security software provider, said that information on Ashley Madison, deleted in one online forum, is beginning to bubble up in others. “Once something is published on the Internet,” he said, “it’s there forever.”"
A.O. Scott, New York Times; At Comic-Con, Bring Out Your Fantasy and Fuel the Culture:
"The deeper mythology of Comic-Con is that fans and creators are joined in communion, sharing in the holy work of imagination. The logic of popular culture today suggests that every fan is also an artist. This is literally true in the blossoming fields of fan art and fan fiction, in which devotees of intellectual properties (the ubiquitous San Diego shorthand for books, comics, movies and shows) make their own images and stories involving their favorite characters. Cosplay is a live-action form of fan art, or maybe fan nonfiction, and the owners of the intellectual property rights are careful not to interfere too much. The organizers of Comic-Con, meanwhile, provide encouragement for fans who dream of professionalizing their passions. A smattering of panels offered advice on how to pitch an idea, how to market a product, how to make a living in a crowded marketplace. Social media and digital technology encourage the fantasy that everyone can make stuff and put it out there for everyone else. Or maybe it isn’t a fantasy. The world of popular culture only gets bigger, and as it does it grows more diverse, more inclusive and more confounding."
Monday, July 20, 2015
Paul Miller, Forbes; Open Data Awards Celebrate Smart Uses Of Public Data:
"Open Data’s rockstars gathered at Bloomberg’s London offices last night, for the second Open Data Awards. Organized by the Open Data Institute (ODI), the Awards celebrate “a generation of network thinkers who are changing the world with open data.” More importantly, they demonstrate some of the ways in which services and applications powered by Open Data are transforming lives and creating business opportunities around the world. ODI co-founders, Web inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee and University of Southampton Professor Sir Nigel Shadbolt, presented the Awards and shared their perspectives on the work that is still to be done. Awards covered five categories, comprising a Business award, an Innovation award, a Social Impact award, an Individual Champion award, and a Data Publisher award."
Jacqueline Howard, Huffington Post; Stephen Hawking, Russian Billionaire Launch New Alien-Hunting Effort:
"At the Royal Society in London today, the famed physicist and Russian tech billionaire Yuri Milner announced the launch of a $100-million initiative to search for signs of intelligent life beyond Earth, BBC News reported. The initiative -- part of the Breakthrough Initiatives group -- is named Breakthrough Listen. "With Breakthrough Listen, we’re committed to bringing the Silicon Valley approach to the search for intelligent life in the universe," Milner said in a written statement. "Our approach to data will be open and taking advantage of the problem-solving power of social networks."... Milner said the search will be transparent and will rely on open-source software so that its findings can be shared with space enthusiasts around the world."
Abby Phillip, Washington Post; Grooveshark co-founder Josh Greenberg found dead at 28:
"The site Greenberg co-founded once had more than 35 million users, nearly 150 employees and two offices at its peak. But for much of its existence, it had been beset by legal challenges. Record labels accused the site of playing music without acquiring licenses by leaning heavily on user-uploaded music. In May, the site was shuttered, and Greenberg and co-founder Sam Tarantino issued an apologetic statement after a federal judge ruled that they had willfully violated copyright law. “We started out nearly ten years ago with the goal of helping fans share and discover music,” they wrote in an apology. “But despite the best of intentions, we made very serious mistakes. We failed to secure licenses from rights holders for the vast amount of music on the service.” They added: “That was wrong. We apologize. Without reservations.” As part of the settlement, the company agreed to hand over its Web site, mobile apps and intellectual property. They faced up to $75 million in penalties if the terms of the settlement were violated."
Michael Rundle, Wired.com; Pirates face 10 years in prison under UK copyright shake-up:
"Pirates found guilty of copyright infringement could face up to 10 years in prison under new plans unveiled by the government. The maximum sentence for commercial copyright infringement is currently two years, but that would be increased by five times under the new plans, unveiled as part of a consultation on intellectual property. The new prison sentence would apply only to "commercial scale" copyright infringement, however, meaning the vast majority of internet users would not be at risk... Individuals and organisations are able to make their views known on the consultation to the Intellectual Property Office by emailing email@example.com, with the full details available via Gov.uk. The responses will be collated and published before the proposals move forward through the Commons. The new proposed measures come in the context of tougher controls over pirate sites and proxies, and intense lobbying from the music, film and digital entertainment industries over digital theft."
Wednesday, July 15, 2015
Judge Trims 'Blurred Lines' Song Dispute Verdict to $5.3M; Associated Press via New York Times, 7/14/15
Associated Press via New York Times; Judge Trims 'Blurred Lines' Song Dispute Verdict to $5.3M:
"A judge on Tuesday trimmed more than $2 million from a verdict against Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams over their hit "Blurred Lines," but Marvin Gaye's family will also get a significant share of future earnings from the 2013 hit song. U.S. District Judge John A. Kronstadt ruled that the copyright infringement verdict a jury reached in March should be cut from nearly $7.4 million to $5.3 million. The judge's ruling, however, gives Gaye's family 50 percent of the song's future royalties. Kronstadt's 56-page ruling dealt with several post-trial issues, including a request by Thicke and Williams' lawyers for a new trial. The judge rejected that motion, and also refused to issue an injunction requested by Gaye's family that would have temporarily blocked sales and performance of "Blurred Lines.""
Monday, July 13, 2015
Jeff John Roberts, Forbes; Facebook's video plan? Grow like hell, deal with copyright later:
"The challenge of chasing down copyright infringers has led content owners, in general, to claim the safe harbor rules are too lax, and that platforms like YouTube should do more to take down unauthorized videos. Studios have filed a spate of lawsuits to argue that more websites should be liable under a “red flag” provision in the copyright law, which can strip a site’s legal immunity in the event they obviously should have known about the infringement, or if they are directly making money from it. But so far those lawsuits, including a long-running one against YouTube, have not really changed websites’ responsibilities when it comes to copyright, according to Lothar Determann, a copyright lawyer with Baker & McKenzie in San Francisco. He added more broadly that the law’s larger goal of protecting tech platforms still applies, and courts will not order websites to conduct copyright investigations. The freebooter issue for Facebook, then, appears to be less of a legal problem than a moral one. Video owners may come to blame Facebook – safe harbors notwithstanding – for using their content to get rich while flouting their copyright concerns. Such claims, whether fair or not, have dogged Google and YouTube for years, and led to legal and political headaches."
Tuesday, July 7, 2015
Joe Mullin, ArsTechnica.com; Appeals judges hear about Prince’s takedown of “Dancing Baby” YouTube vid:
"A long-running copyright fight between the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Universal Music over fair use in the digital age was considered by an appeals court today, a full eight years after the lawsuit began. EFF and its client Stephanie Lenz sued Universal Music Group back in 2007, saying that the music giant should have realized Lenz's home video of her son Holden dancing to Prince's "Let's Go Crazy" was clearly fair use. Under EFF's view of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, Universal should have to pay damages for a wrongful takedown. If EFF wins the case, it could have repercussions for how copyright takedowns work online. The group is trying to make Universal pay up under 17 USC 512(f), the section of the DMCA that penalizes copyright owners for wrongful takedowns. Currently, victories under that statute are exceedingly rare and happen only in extreme circumstances."
Monday, July 6, 2015
AP Exclusive: China Ministry Posted Bootleg 'Liar's Poker'; Associated Press via New York Times, 7/3/15
Associated Press via New York Times; AP Exclusive: China Ministry Posted Bootleg 'Liar's Poker' :
"A complete bootlegged copy of Michael Lewis' bestselling book about Wall Street, "Liar's Poker," was hosted on the official website of the Chinese Commerce Ministry, the agency responsible for intellectual property protection in China, The Associated Press has found. How and why a PDF, in English, of Lewis' raucous memoir about the excesses of Wall Street in the 1980s ended up on the ministry's site remains a mystery. The ministry did not respond to multiple requests for comment this week, but on Friday removed the page from its website. China has a long and troubled history with copyright infringement. Despite high-level attempts to bolster enforcement, particularly as Beijing turns to innovation as a source of economic growth, piracy remains rampant — and widely tolerated. Andrew Hay, director of security research at OpenDNS, a network security firm based in San Francisco, confirmed the file was hosted on the Ministry of Commerce website and was not a spoof."
YouTube Not Liable on Copyright, but Needs to Do More: German Court; Reuters via New York Times, 7/1/15
Reuters via New York Times; YouTube Not Liable on Copyright, but Needs to Do More: German Court:
"A German court reaffirmed on Wednesday that YouTube was only responsible for blocking copyright-infringing videos which had been brought to its attention, but the judicial panel said the Google video unit could do more to stop breaches. The Hamburg regional court rejected an appeal by German performing rights association GEMA, upholding a lower court ruling that said sites such as YouTube do not actively have to search for illegal activity by their users. The appeals court rebuffed a Google appeal on a secondary issue in the case, finding that YouTube had failed to act promptly enough to takedown infringing videos in seven of 12 cases brought before the court. For the remaining five video clips at issue YouTube had no duty to remove them, it said."
No Directions For WIPO Copyright Committee, Despite Positive Mood; Intellectual Property Watch, 7/6/15
Catherine Saez, Intellectual Property Watch; No Directions For WIPO Copyright Committee, Despite Positive Mood:
"Despite what was described as good momentum by World Intellectual Property Organization delegates trying to find ways to protect broadcasting organisations against piracy and providing copyright exceptions and limitations for the benefit of libraries, archives, education and research, no recommendation to the upcoming annual WIPO General Assembly could be agreed last week. The 30th session of the WIPO Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR) took place from 29 June to 3 July 2015."
Friday, July 3, 2015
Julia Brucculieri, Huffington Post; Robin Thicke Finally Speaks About 'Blurred Lines' Lawsuit:
"In an interview with the New York Times, Thicke explains, "I know the difference between inspiration and theft. I’m constantly inspired, but I would never steal. And neither would Pharrell." He continues, "As a songwriter, you’re obviously trying to create a brand-new feeling that comes from your heart. But you can’t help but be inspired by all of the greatness that came before you." Thicke admits to being "careless" during the trial, as he was going through a very messy public divorce with his former wife, Paula Patton... Thicke and Williams ultimately lost the case and the jury awarded Gaye's children $4 million in damages plus $3.4 million in profits the two artists had made from their copyright infringement. They went on to appeal the case. Thicke notes the verdict could have a negative effect on the music industry as a whole, saying, "If the verdict holds up, I believe that it will have a ripple effect on the arts and the industry in general. I mean, if you made the first superhero movie, do you own the concept of the superhero?""
Kevin L. Smith, Library Journal; Does the Copyright Office Belong in a Library? :
"It has been a busy time for those of us who watch the doings of the Copyright Office. In addition to releasing a massive report on Orphan Works and Mass Digitization, about which I have written here, the Copyright Office (CO) is the subject of a piece of legislation introduced as a discussion draft on June 3. The bill, if it were officially introduced and ultimately enacted, would remove the CO from the Library of Congress (LC) and establish it as an independent agency of the federal government, under the Executive Branch. Then, while we were still considering the ramifications of this idea, came the announcement on June 10 of the pending retirement of Dr. James Billington, who has been the Librarian of Congress for the past 29 years. These events suggest long-term changes for the copyright and library communities, and it is worth taking a moment to consider, especially, the impact of the idea of making the Copyright Office an independent agency. The first thing that strikes me about the “discussion draft” of the proposed law to establish the Copyright Office as an independent agency—called the Copyright Office for the Digital Economy (CODE) Act—is that it never says why it is needed... In short, this bill seems like a solution in search of a problem, unless you accept that the problem is that music and movie companies are making less money than they would like. Rather than considering such an ill-advised bill, I hope that we will see, over the next year and a half or so, a new Librarian of Congress who will provide stronger leadership on many issues, but especially on the need to keep copyright policy, and the Copyright Office, firmly grounded in the needs and interests of all of the American public."
Wednesday, July 1, 2015
John N. Berry III, Library Journal; A New Kind of Leader: Transition time at the Library of Congress:
"The Librarian of Congress needs to be a modern library administrator, capable of curating the great collections, leading the exemplary staff of more than 3,000, and keeping LC’s array of vital services current and on technology’s cutting edge. LC must be led by a person who understands and not only can deal effectively with the huge cultural, economic, and political differences in America but can deliver information services that enlighten our Congress and the people of the nation. The Librarian of Congress must lead us out of the jungle of conflicting claims, rival demands, and legal interpretations that obscure our implementation of the rules and regulations of intellectual property and copyright. Simultaneously, the Librarian of Congress must be an intellectual inspiration, with an acumen and articulateness that capture the attention of an argumentative society of free people struggling to govern themselves amid the tempests of a world so complex that true cultural understanding is rare and difficult to achieve. If that formidable job sounds like the one most librarians work at every day, then that suggests an excellent place for our president to begin the search for candidates: in our nation’s libraries. It is our duty, through ALA and through all of our most effective connections to government, to help the president find the right librarian to lead our national library. We all know she or he is out there ready and waiting to accept the challenge."
Bad News: Supreme Court Refuses to Review Oracle v. Google API Copyright Decision; Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), 6/29/15
Michael Barclay and Corynne McSherry, Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF); Bad News: Supreme Court Refuses to Review Oracle v. Google API Copyright Decision:
"Sadly, today the U.S. Supreme Court refused to review the Federal Circuit’s dangerous decision in Oracle v. Google. Oracle claims a copyright on the Java Application Programming Interface (API), and that Google infringed that copyright by using certain Java APIs in the Android OS. The Federal Circuit had ruled in Oracle’s favor, reversing a well-reasoned district court opinion holding that the APIs in question were not subject to copyright. Google had asked the Supreme Court to review the Federal Circuit decision. On behalf of 77 computer scientists, EFF had filed an amicus brief supporting Google’s petition. The Federal Circuit’s decision has been harshly criticized for its misunderstanding of both computer science and copyright law. APIs are, generally speaking, specifications that allow programs to communicate with each other, and are different than the code that implements a program. Treating APIs as copyrightable would have a profound negative impact on interoperability, and, therefore, innovation. Today’s decision doesn’t mean that Oracle has won the lawsuit. The case will now return to the district court for a trial on Google’s fair use defense."