Thursday, April 30, 2009

High-Def 'Hunt For Gollum,' New Lord Of The Fanvids; Podcast Via NPR, All Things Considered, 4/30/09

Podcast [3 min. 3 sec.] Via NPR, All Things Considered: High-Def 'Hunt For Gollum,' New Lord Of The Fanvids:

"Of course, Academy Award-winning writer-director Peter Jackson might not consider this production a tribute. New Line Cinema, which produced the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and the J.R.R. Tolkien family, which owns the rights to the books, might have a thing or two to say about it as well.

It's an interesting question to Fred Von Lohman, an attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Von Lohman says it's not really clear whether Bouchard and his crew of volunteers are in violation of the copyright for Tolkien's work."

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

When Pixels Find New Life on Real Paper; The New York Times, 4/20/09

Via The New York Times; When Pixels Find New Life on Real Paper:

"One trick in transferring the material from online to print has been how to recreate the “title text” that comments on the strip when your cursor hovers over it...

The title text will appear where the tiny copyright notice would appear on a traditional strip.

Does that mean that the book won’t carry a traditional copyright and instead take its lead from the online comic strip itself, which Mr. Munroe licenses under Creative Commons, allowing noncommercial re-use as long as credit is given?

“To anyone who wants to photocopy, bind, and give a copy of the book to their loved one — more power to them,” he said. “He/She will likely be disappointed that you’re so cheap, though.”

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Judge Bars the Internet From the Courtroom in a File-Sharing Case; Chronicle of Higher Education, The Wired Campus, 4/17/09

Chronicle of Higher Education, The Wired Campus: Judge Bars the Internet From the Courtroom in a File-Sharing Case:

"Charles Nesson, a Harvard Law School professor, had asked to Webcast a court hearing in the case against his client Joel Tenenbaum, a graduate student at Boston University whom Sony BMG Music Entertainment sued for copyright infringement. The presiding federal judge, Nancy Gertner, approved the request in January. But the recording industry, fearing that the hearing in U.S. District Court in Boston would become a circus, appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit.

Today, that court barred the Webcast, which was to be recorded by the Courtroom View Network and carried gavel to gavel by Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society. Judicial rules close federal courtrooms in Massachusetts to all forms of broadcasting, including Webcasting, Judge Bruce M. Selya wrote in the ruling."

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Objection to Google Scanning Settlement Filed; American Libraries, 4/15/09

Via American Libraries: Objection to Google Scanning Settlement Filed:

"The consumer advocacy group Consumer Watchdog has sent a letter to the Justice Department asking to delay implementation of the October 2008 settlement of publisher lawsuits over Google’s scanning of copyrighted books. Concerns from more groups, including the American Library Association, are anticipated before the May 5 deadline for filing objections.

Consumer Watchdog’s April 1 letter (PDF file) argued that the settlement’s “most favored nation” clause guarantees Google the same terms from the proposed Book Rights Registry that any future competitor might be offered, which may prevent competition."

Don Henley sues Senate candidate over song use;, 4/18/09

Via Don Henley sues Senate candidate over song use:

"Don Henley, a founding member of "The Eagles," is suing a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate, claiming the candidate is misusing two of his popular songs.

The suit filed Friday in federal court in California claims Charles DeVore is using Henley's hit songs "The Boys of Summer" and "All She Wants to Do Is Dance" without authorization...

"We're responding with a counter-claim, asserting our First Amendment right to political free speech," the site said. "While the legal issues play out, it's time to up the ante on Mr. Henley's liberal goon tactics. By popular request, I have penned the words to our new parody song."

DeVore then posted the lyrics of a song he called "All She Wants to Do Is Tax."

Friday, April 17, 2009

Court jails Pirate Bay founders; Via BBC News, 4/17/09

Via BBC News; Court jails Pirate Bay founders:

"Speaking on Swedish Radio, assistant judge Klarius explained how the court reached its findings.

The court first tried whether there was any question of breach of copyright by the file-sharing application and that has been proved, that the offence was committed.

"The court then moved on to look at those who acted as a team to operate the Pirate Bay file-sharing service, and the court found that they knew that material which was protected by copyright but continued to operate the service," he said."...

Rickard Falkvinge, leader of The Pirate Party - which is trying to reform laws around copyright and patents in the digital age - told the BBC that the verdict was "a gross injustice".

"This wasn't a criminal trial, it was a political trial. It is just gross beyond description that you can jail four people for providing infrastructure.

"There is a lot of anger in Sweden right now. File-sharing is an institution here and while I can't encourage people to break copyright law, I'm not following it and I don't agree with it.

"Today's events make file-sharing a hot political issue and we're going to take this to the European Parliament."

File-Sharing Site Violated Copyright, Court Says; The New York Times, 4/17/09

The New York Times; File-Sharing Site Violated Copyright, Court Says:

A court in Sweden on Friday convicted four men linked to the notorious Internet file-sharing service The Pirate Bay of violating copyright law, handing the music and movie industries a high-profile victory in their campaign to curb online piracy...

Mark Mulligan, an analyst at Forrester Research, said the decision Friday would not result in a “meaningful” decrease in piracy. Internet users are turning to new ways to share music, including streaming and messaging services, which are harder for copyright owners and enforcement officials to detect than downloads.

But he said the ruling was “good p.r.” for the music and movie industries.

The Pirate Bay on the politics of copyright, Globe and Mail, 4/17/09

Via Globe and Mail; The Pirate Bay on the politics of copyright:

"Earlier Friday morning a Swedish judge found four men connected with the popular file sharing site The Pirate Bay guilty of contributing to copyright violations.

Already online observers are calling the decsision a monumental shift in the battle over copyright protection.

The landmark decision has each of the four men facing a year in jail and collective fines of $3.6-million (U.S.).

The Pirate Bay is a sort of underground Google for downloadable media files, where users can seach for and look up music, movies and tv shows to download using a file sharing technology known as BitTorrent. The music and movie industries say that most of the files the Pirate Bay links to infringe on copyrights and have made the site Enemy No. 1 in their fight against piracy.
Pirate Bay has more than 22 million users worldwide on an average day, its tracking system has been accessed more than 4 billion times and some experts believe that the site accounts for as much as two thirds of the world's torrent files. "

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Google Insists It’s a Friend to Newspapers, The New York Times, 4/8/09

Via The New York Times: Google Insists It’s a Friend to Newspapers:

"It had the makings of a high-tension face-off: Eric E. Schmidt, Google’s chief executive, spoke Tuesday at a convention of newspaper executives at a time when a growing chorus in the struggling industry is accusing Google of succeeding, in part, at their expense...

His speech was followed by polite questions from industry executives that only briefly touched upon a perennially sore point: whether the use of headlines and snippets of newspaper stories on Google News is “fair use” under copyright law or a misappropriation of newspaper content...

“While Google News generates a lot of audience, ultimately, the question is going to be who is going to make the money out of that: Google or the publishers.”...

Google has long insisted that its use of snippets and headlines in Google News is legal. It also said Google News drove a huge amount of traffic to newspaper Web sites, which the publishers monetize through advertising...

Newspaper companies have been unwilling to test the issue in court, where Google’s fair-use arguments could prevail, and it is not clear that The A.P. plans to do so."

They Pay for Cable, Music and Extra Bags. How About News?; The New York Times, 4/7/09

Via The New York Times: They Pay for Cable, Music and Extra Bags. How About News?:

"Just a year ago, most media companies believed the formula for Internet success was to offer free content, build an audience and rake in advertising dollars. Now, with the recession battering advertising online, in print and on television, media executives are contemplating a tougher trick: making the consumer pay...

People reading news for free on the Web, that’s got to change,” Mr. Murdoch said last week at a cable industry conference in Washington...

But from networks selling downloads of TV shows, to music companies trying to curb file-sharing, to struggling newspapers and magazines, the make-or-break question is this: How do you get consumers to pay for something they have grown used to getting free?

Some industries have pulled it off. Coca-Cola took tap water, filtered it and called it Dasani, and makes millions of dollars a year...

All of these success stories offered the consumer something extra, even if it was just convenience...

“With downloads, the benefit is that the paying services allow you to sample many songs free, and you know it’s legal, and the TV shows have no commercials...

The free-versus-paid debate is a recurring one. At the birth of the Internet many sites charged for content, but by the late 1990s the prevailing view was that market forces favored free content...

Getting customers to pay is easier if the product is somehow better — or perceived as being better — than what they had received free."

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Coldplay Refutes Plagiarism Claim, Disses Satriani in Court, Yahoo News, 4/7/09

Yahoo News: Coldplay Refutes Plagiarism Claim, Disses Satriani in Court:

"In court papers filed in Los Angeles Monday, Coldplay responded to Satriani's copyright-infringement claim, saying the 52-year-old guitarist's song "lacks originality" and therefore was in no position to receive copyright protection.

Furthermore, the British rockers' attorneys claimed that any similarity was so minimal that it did not warrant the legal action.

Back in December, Satriani claimed the group, who incidentally won the Grammy for Song of the Year for the in-question tune, had repurposed "substantial" portions of his song for their hit."

Digital Piracy Spreads, and Defies a Fix; The New York Times, 4/6/09

Via The New York Times: Digital Piracy Spreads, and Defies a Fix:

"Less than a week after a pirated copy of the unreleased movie “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” popped up on the Internet, federal legislators and entertainment executives presented an extraordinarily bleak picture of the damage digital piracy can inflict, and the grim prospects for limiting it.

At a Monday morning Congressional field hearing here, lawmakers and executives both described a deteriorating situation in which $20 billion annually in copyrighted movies, music and other entertainment are being lost to global piracy networks that are tolerated or encouraged by countries like China, Russia, India and — in a case that drew special attention — Canada."

Monday, April 6, 2009

Murdoch Calls Google, Yahoo Copyright Thieves — Is He Right?; Threat Level, 4/3/09

Via Threat Level: Murdoch Calls Google, Yahoo Copyright Thieves — Is He Right?:

"But whether search-engine news aggregation is theft or a protected fair use under copyright law is unclear, even as Google and Yahoo profit tremendously from linking to news...

Better yet, if Murdoch and Zell are so set on monetizing their web content, they should sue the search engines and claim copyright violations in a bid to get the engines to pay for the content.
The outcome of such a lawsuit is far from clear.

It's unsettled whether search engines have a valid fair use claim under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. The news headlines are copied verbatim, as are some of the snippets that go along.

Fred von Lohmann of the Electronic Frontier Foundation points out that "There's not a rock-solid ruling on the question.""

Fox Censors News Amid 'X-Men' Piracy Imbroglio -- Reporter in Hot Water, Threat Level, 4/6/09

Via Threat Level: Fox Censors News Amid 'X-Men' Piracy Imbroglio -- Reporter in Hot Water:

"Fox News, owned by News Corp., announced Sunday it had "terminated" the popular freelance writer because he wrote a review of a pirated copy of the flick that began making the rounds on BitTorrent sites lasts week. The firing, which is now in dispute, came days after News Corp. owner Rupert Murdoch called Yahoo and Google copyright thieves.

The X-Men review has also been removed from the site. (Copies of the review are linked here.)"

Roger Friedman's Leaked "Wolverine" Review Gets Him In Trouble With Fox News, News Corp; Huffington Post, 4/5/09

Via Huffington Post: Roger Friedman's Leaked "Wolverine" Review Gets Him In Trouble With Fox News, News Corp:

"Friedman's column Thursday — since deleted — was a review of "Wolverine" that studio bosses viewed as an implicit endorsement of movie piracy, according to Deadline Hollywood Daily's Nikki Finke.

In the column, Friedman marveled at the ease of viewing a pirated movie: "It took really less than seconds to start playing it all right onto my computer," he wrote.

A News Corp statement Sunday (below) indicated that he had been "promptly terminated," which Friedman denied to

News Corp statement:
"Roger Friedman's views in no way reflect the views of News Corporation. We, along with 20th Century Fox Film Corporation, have been a consistent leader in the fight against piracy and have zero tolerance for any action that encourages and promotes piracy. When we advised Fox News of the facts they took immediate action, removed the post, and promptly terminated Mr. Friedman.""

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Librarian Opposes Google's Library Fees, NPR's All Things Considered, 2/21/09

Podcast via NPR's All Things Considered; Librarian Opposes Google's Library Fees [4 min. 29 sec.]:

"Google wants to give you access to its huge database of scanned, out-of-print books, but the company is going to charge for it. Robert Darnton, head librarian at Harvard University, says the deal violates a basic American principle — that knowledge should be free and accessible to all."

Google’s Plan for Out-of-Print Books Is Challenged, The New York Times, 4/3/09

The New York Times; Google’s Plan for Out-of-Print Books Is Challenged:

"The dusty stacks of the nation’s great university and research libraries are full of orphans — books that the author and publisher have essentially abandoned. They are out of print, and while they remain under copyright, the rights holders are unknown or cannot be found.

Now millions of orphan books may get a new legal guardian. Google has been scanning the pages of those books and others as part of its plan to bring a digital library and bookstore, unprecedented in scope, to computer screens across the United States.

But a growing chorus is complaining that a far-reaching settlement of a suit brought against Google by publishers and authors is about to grant the company too much power over orphan works...

The settlement, “takes the vast bulk of books that are in research libraries and makes them into a single database that is the property of Google,” said Robert Darnton, head of the Harvard University library system. “Google will be a monopoly.”...

Most of the critics, which include copyright specialists, antitrust scholars and some librarians, agree that the public will benefit...

They are doing an end run around the legislative process,” said Brewster Kahle, founder of the Open Content Alliance, which is working to build a digital library with few restrictions.

Opposition to the 134-page agreement, which the parties announced in October, has been building slowly as its implications have become clearer. Groups that plan to raise concerns with the court include the American Library Association, the Institute for Information Law and Policy at New York Law School and a group of lawyers led by Prof. Charles R. Nesson of Harvard Law School. It is not clear that any group will oppose the settlement outright.

These critics say the settlement, which is subject to court approval, will give Google virtually exclusive rights to publish the books online and to profit from them. Some academics and public interest groups plan to file legal briefs objecting to this and other parts of the settlement in coming weeks, before a review by a federal judge in June...

The settlement, which covers all books protected by copyright in the United States, allows Google to vastly expand what it can do with digital copies of books, whether they are orphans or not."

FBI called in over Wolverine leak, BBC News, 4/3/09

Via BBC News; FBI called in over Wolverine leak:

"The Hugh Jackman film was downloaded an estimated 100,000 times from file-sharing websites on Tuesday.

20th Century Fox confirmed the copy had now been removed and the FBI informed.

The studio behind Wolverine stated: "The source of the initial leak and any subsequent postings will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."

"The courts have handed down significant criminal sentences for such acts" the studio noted...

Fox called the leaked movie a "stolen, incomplete and early version"...

The studio added that because their content is forensically marked they should be able to trace the person who uploaded it."

Friday, April 3, 2009

IPod: Gift 'Fit For A Queen' Might Violate Copyright Law, Online Media Daily, 4/6/09

Via Online Media Daily; IPod: Gift 'Fit For A Queen' Might Violate Copyright Law:

"This week, President Barack Obama gave the Queen of England an iPod preloaded with 40 tracks from Broadway shows. Did doing so violate the copyright law?

Fred von Lohmann at the Electronic Frontier Foundation says the answer might be yes...

Lohmann's point isn't that Obama is potentially a scofflaw, but that the law needs to be changed. As he put it: "You know your copyright laws are broken when there is no easy answer to this question."

Law professor Eric Goldman at Santa Clara University agreed. "It's a neat little question. Can you give a gift of an iPod preloaded with music," he told Online Media Daily. "The answer should be, 'Of course he can.' The fact that it's cloudy at all is, I think, really damning about the state of copyright law.""

Law School To Intervene In Google Book Settlement, Online Media Daily, 4/3/09

Via Online Media Daily: Law School To Intervene In Google Book Settlement:

"A federal judge will allow New York Law School to argue that a proposed settlement of a class-action lawsuit about Google Book Search should be delayed pending further review.

The school's Institute for Information Law & Policy intends to argue that federal antitrust authorities should weigh in on the case before the court decides whether to approve the settlement. U.S. District Court Judge Denny Chin ruled Wednesday that the policy center can file a friend-of-the-court brief...

James Grimmelmann, the law school associate professor behind the initiative, said his main concern about the settlement stems from "orphan works" -- material under copyright, but whose owners can't be found.

Google foe Microsoft has agreed to contribute $50,000 to New York Law School to help fund a host of projects related to the book search settlement, including the friend-of-the-court brief, a symposium, and three white papers.

Grimmelmann said Microsoft will have no influence over the project, and his written proposal seeking funding from the software giant also spelled out that the work will be independent. "

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Wolverine Film Leaked on the Internet,, 4/1/09

Via Wolverine Film Leaked on the Internet:

"Word spread last night over Twitter and other social networking sites that "X-Men Origins: Wolverine," the hotly anticipated 20th Century Fox film based on Marvel Comics' X-Men characters, had been leaked to the internet for illegal dissemination. Directed by Gavin Hood and starring Hugh Jackman, the film is not due to be released until May 1.

As of this writing, a DVD-quality workprint version of the film is available on numerous file-sharing websites, with hundreds of thousands of users illegally downloading the various BitTorrent files. This version of the film is missing completed special effects shots and most likely other material that will be in the final version of the film, but as a consequence of the leak, early, spoiler-filled reviews have been posted across the Web.

Naturally, security questions are at the top of everyone's list. Who leaked the film, and how?"

Experts advise citizen journalists on copyright law, Digital Journal, 3/22/09

Via Digital Journal, By David Silverberg: Experts advise citizen journalists on copyright law:

"Media law can be confusing. Even for traditional print reporters, decoding the difference between libel and slander requires patience and education. And when it comes to online citizen reporting, the blurry distinction between what is legal to upload becomes even more paramount.

To help Digital Journalists define fair use and give tips on what to "borrow" from the Web, Digital Journal spoke to David Ardia, co-founder of the Citizen Media Law Project at Harvard University's Berkman Centre. We also spoke to Canadian lawyer and professor Michael Geist to help Canadians understand the legal implications of their citizen media journalism, and why websites aren't responsible for what their users post."

Nigeria: Can NCC's New Copyright Enforcement Tactics Tame Piracy?,, 3/18/09

Via Nigeria: Can NCC's New Copyright Enforcement Tactics Tame Piracy?:

"FOR the past twenty years, the Nigerian Copyright Commission, NCC, has been on the crusade of ridding the economy of the scourge of piracy.

The cankerworm which piracy turned out to be in the fabrics of the economies of musical, film producers and book publishers among other intellectual property owners is on daily basis producing serious headache.""