Monday, October 31, 2011

Justin Bieber: Klobuchar should be 'locked up'; Star Tribune, 10/28/11

Jeremy Herb, Star Tribune; Justin Bieber: Klobuchar should be 'locked up' :

"A teen pop superstar wants to throw Sen. Amy Klobuchar in jail.

Pop sensation Justin Bieber said that he thought Klobuchar should be “locked up” for a bill she’s proposed that would make it a felony to profit from streaming unlicensed online content."

E-PARASITE Bill: 'The End Of The Internet As We Know It';, 10/27/11

Mike Masnick,; E-PARASITE Bill: 'The End Of The Internet As We Know It' :

"We already wrote about the ridiculously bad E-PARASITE bill (the Enforcing and Protecting American Rights Against Sites Intent on Theft and Exploitation Act), but having now had a chance go to through the full bill a few more times, there are even more bad things in there that I missed on the first read-through. Now I understand why Rep. Zoe Lofgren's first reaction to this bill was to say that "this would mean the end of the Internet as we know it."

She's right. The more you look at the details, the more you realize how this bill is an astounding wishlist of everything that the legacy entertainment gatekeepers have wanted in the law for decades and were unable to get. It effectively dismantles the DMCA's safe harbors, what's left of the Sony Betamax decision, puts massive liability on tons of US-based websites, and will lead to widespread blocking of websites and services based solely on accusations of some infringement. It's hard to overstate just how bad this bill is."

A Store of Images, From a Time When ‘Cut and Paste’ Meant Just That; New York Times, 10/30/11

Noam Cohen, New York Times; A Store of Images, From a Time When ‘Cut and Paste’ Meant Just That:

"THE sign in blue lettering read “Copyright-Free Images,” which may not rank with “Zero Percent Financing” or “Everything Must Go” when it comes to sales pitches. But it does have “free” in it, and it was enough to catch my eye while visiting London."

Thursday, October 27, 2011

How to Reform Copyright; Chronicle of Higher Education, 10/9/11

Lewis Hyde, Chronicle of Higher Education; How to Reform Copyright:

"James Madison presumably wrote the clause in the Constitution that allows Congress to give copyrights to authors, but even Madison had his reservation. The founding fathers considered copyright a "monopoly privilege" and, as Madison later wrote, "Monopolies ... ought to be granted with caution ... ." Two concerns lay behind that wariness. For the founders, both democratic self-governance and the conversation of creative communities demanded very low barriers to the circulation of knowledge and, therefore, strict restraint of monopoly privileges. Thus does the Constitution stipulate that copyrights be granted only for "limited times." "A temporary monopoly ... ought to be temporary," Madison declared. "Perpetual monopolies of every sort are forbidden ... by the genius of free Governments."

All that has changed, of course, the term of copyright now being statistically almost indistinguishable from a perpetual grant. How might that be corrected? How might we return to something more in line with the founders' caution and closer to their vision of both democracy and creativity?

Consider one proposal."

A National Digital Public Library Begins to Take Shape; Chronicle of Higher Education, 10/25/11

Jennifer Howard, Chronicle of Higher Education; A National Digital Public Library Begins to Take Shape:

"The Digital Public Library of America doesn't exist yet, but it's closer to becoming a reality.

At an energized meeting held here at the National Archives on Friday, representatives from top cultural institutions and public and research libraries expressed robust support for the proposed library, which would create a portal to allow the public to get easy online access to collections held at many different institutions."

The case for piracy; ABC, 10/20/11

Nick Ross, ABC; The case for piracy:

"We've been deluged with the arguments against piracy for years. But what's the other side of the story? Could it possibly be that copyright infringers and pirates aren't always the bad guys? Are copyright owners their own worst enemy? Judge for yourself and tell us what you think."

U.S. Copyright Office Outlines "Priorities and Special Projects"; Publishers Weekly, 10/26/11

Andrew Albanese, Publishers Weekly; U.S. Copyright Office Outlines "Priorities and Special Projects" :

"Orphan works, preservation for libraries, mass digitization, and fighting digital piracy are among the priorities set by the Register of Copyrights Maria A. Pallante this week in a paper outlining the U.S. Copyyright Office's "priorities and special projects" for the next two years. In all, the paper articulates 17 priorities in the areas of copyright policy and administrative practice, and 10 "new projects" designed to "improve the quality and efficiency" of the U.S. Copyright Office’s services in the 21st century. The paper also summarizes the state of global policy, including U.S. trade negotiations, anti-piracy efforts and international discussions of exceptions and limitations."

Sylvester Stallone faces lawsuit over Expendables plot; Guardian, 10/27/11

Henry Barnes, Guardian; Sylvester Stallone faces lawsuit over Expendables plot:

"Sylvester Stallone is facing a lawsuit from a writer who claims the actor stole the plot for ensemble action blockbuster The Expendables from a short story he filed with the US copyright office in 2006."

The Digital Death of Copyright's First Sale Doctrine; Freedom to Tinker, 10/11/11

Annemarie Bridy, Freedom to Tinker; The Digital Death of Copyright's First Sale Doctrine:

"As the transition from physical to streaming or cloud-based digital distribution continues, further divorcing copyrighted works from their traditional tangible embodiments, it will increasingly be the case that consumers do not own the information goods they buy (or, rather, think they've bought). Under the court's decision in Vernor, all a copyright owner has to do to effectively repeal the statutory first sale doctrine is draft a EULA that (1) specifies that the user is granted a license; (2) significantly restricts the user's ability to transfer the software; and (3) imposes notable use restrictions."

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Rihanna and David LaChapelle settle lawsuit over S&M video; Guardian, 10/20/11

Sean Michaels, Guardian; Rihanna and David LaChapelle settle lawsuit over S&M video:

"Rihanna has settled a lawsuit from photographer David LaChapelle, who accused her of copying his photographs for one of her music videos. Earlier this summer, LaChappelle won the right to go to trial to contest the singer's alleged use of his Italian Vogue images in the video for her song S&M...

Although Rihanna's lawyers claimed LaChapelle was "trying to monopolise a whole genre" of sadomasochistic images, Scheindlin dismissed the issue of fair use."

Kanye West, Jay-Z Sued Over Uncleared 'Throne' Sample; Billboard, 10/18/11

Eriq Gardner, Billboard; Kanye West, Jay-Z Sued Over Uncleared 'Throne' Sample:

"Syl Johnson, a respected musician who created many successful blues and soul songs in the 1960s and 1970s, has filed a lawsuit against hip hop superstars Kanye West and Jay-Z over an allegedly uncleared sample on the duo's latest album, "Watch the Throne.""

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

[Op-Ed] The Public Domain; New York Times, 10/11/11

[Op-Ed] New York Times; The Public Domain:

"Copyright gives writers and others the incentive to create by giving them exclusive right to their work. But Congress’s power to grant copyright is limited in time and scope so that works can move into the public domain, where they become an essential part of our culture. The government must find other ways to comply with the trade treaty without curbing free expression."

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Kookaburra Sitting Pretty in That Old Gum Tree as Court Upholds Copyright Ruling; New York Times, 10/7/11

James C. McKinley, Jr., New York Times; Kookaburra Sitting Pretty in That Old Gum Tree as Court Upholds Copyright Ruling:

"Men at Work, the Australian rock band, lost its final bid Friday to overturn a court ruling that it had stolen a flute riff on its 1980s hit “Down Under” from a children’s song, The Associated Press reported."

Copyright Law Challenged; Wall Street Journal, 10/6/11

Jess Bravin, Wall Street Journal; Copyright Law Challenged:

"The potential stakes are huge, and again pit old industry against new...

Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, defending the law, said it brought the U.S. into a convention that can protect American intellectual property abroad and amounted to "the price of admission to the international system."

Several justices, however, doubted that taking books and music by long-dead authors out of the public domain could promote the "progress" the Constitution sought to spur through copyright.

Justice Stephen Breyer, who dissented from the 2003 domestic-copyright case, said the government's position could undermine scholarship and preservation if researchers end up being forced to hire lawyers to track down owners or risk ignoring the law.

He cited the example of a group that seeks to preserve and publish Jewish music from the early 20th century but because the Nazis destroyed Eastern Europe's Jewish communities cannot identify the copyright owners."

In Supreme Court Argument, a Rock Legend Plays a Role; New York Times, 10/5/11

Adam Liptak, New York Times; In Supreme Court Argument, a Rock Legend Plays a Role:

"Jimi Hendrix made an appearance at the Supreme Court on Wednesday in an argument over whether Congress acted constitutionally in 1994 by restoring copyright protection to foreign works that had once been in the public domain. The affected works included films by Alfred Hitchcock and Federico Fellini, books by C. S. Lewis and Virginia Woolf, symphonies by Prokofiev and Stravinsky and paintings by Picasso.

The suit challenging the law was brought by orchestra conductors, teachers and film archivists who say they had relied for years on the free availability of such works."

[Op Ed] Will Copyright Stifle Hollywood?; New York Times, 10/4/11

[Op Ed] David Decherney, New York Times; Will Copyright Stifle Hollywood? :

"The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments today in Golan v. Holder, a case challenging the copyright provision of the 1994 act. There are many reasons the justices should conclude that Congress went too far in altering the copyright system."

Sunday, October 2, 2011

NinjaVideo "queen" cops to copyright infringement, admits $200,000 in earnings;, 9/30/11

Timothy Lee,; NinjaVideo "queen" cops to copyright infringement, admits $200,000 in earnings:

"Hana Beshara, the co-founder and public face of the NinjaVideo movie-sharing site, has agreed to plead guilty to conspiracy and criminal copyright infringement. Each count carries a sentence of up to five years in prison.

According to the government, Beshara has admitted to personally earning more than $200,000 from operating the site, and she has agreed to forfeit assets seized by Immigration and Customs Enforcement last year."

Caving to Washington? "Canadian DMCA" expected to pass;, 9/30/11

Matthew Lasar,; Caving to Washington? "Canadian DMCA" expected to pass:

"News accounts say that C-11 is an exact duplicate of Bill C-32, which croaked when the 2010 Parliament dissolved without passing the bill. Now, as then, one of the biggest points of contention will be the provisions regarding "digital locks." These add up to a Canadian version of the United States' Digital Millennium Copyright Act, with its DRM anti-circumvention provisions that make a variety of fair dealing (or fair use) activities untenable.

But critics of that portion of the legislation, such as Canadian law professor Michael Geist, suggest that this time around, the government will get its way."

Princeton U. Adopts Open-Access Policy; Chronicle of Higher Education, 9/29/11

Jennifer Howard, Chronicle of Higher Education; Princeton U. Adopts Open-Access Policy:

"The movement to make research freely available got a high-profile boost this week with the news that Princeton University’s faculty has unanimously adopted an open-access policy. “The principle of open access is consistent with the fundamental purposes of scholarship,” said the faculty advisory committee that proposed the resolution.

The decision puts the university in line with Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a growing number of other institutions with policies that encourage or require researchers to post open copies of their articles, usually in an institutional repository. Unpublished drafts, books, lecture notes, etc., are not included in the Princeton policy, which gives the university a “nonexclusive right” to make copies of its faculty’s scholarly journal articles publicly available."

On the Docket; New York Times, 10/1/11

New York Times; On the Docket:

"The Supreme Court, which returns to the bench on Monday, has so far agreed to hear about 50 cases, including ones on criminal and copyright law, the First Amendment and foreign affairs...

Golan v. Holder, No. 10-545

LOWER COURT DECISION The United States Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit, in Denver, upheld a federal law that provided copyright protection to works that had entered the public domain, rejecting a challenge from orchestra conductors, teachers and film archivists now unable to use what had once been freely available materials.

QUESTION PRESENTED Whether the First Amendment and the Constitution’s copyright clause prohibit Congress from taking works out of the public domain."

Court Allows Richard Prince to Appeal Copyright Decision; New York Times, 9/15/11

Randy Kennedy, New York Times; Court Allows Richard Prince to Appeal Copyright Decision:

"In a closely watched visual-arts copyright case, a federal appeals court ruled on Wednesday to permit an appeal by the artist Richard Prince, who was found in March by a lower court to have unlawfully used images by a French photographer to create a series of collages and paintings."