Wednesday, February 18, 2015

How Copyright Terms Restrict Scholarship; Pacific Standard, 2/17/15

Noah Bertlatsky, Pacific Standard; How Copyright Terms Restrict Scholarship:
"Copyright in the United States is supposed "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries," according to the Constitution. Yet, in the case of the early Marston and Peter comics, copyright appears to have failed. DC is not keeping the comics in print: So, in order to read the complete run of Wonder Woman in her two comics (Wonder Woman and Sensation Comics) for my research, I had to find unlicensed digital editions. Without piracy, my book would have been impossible to complete."

A Cheat Sheet for Copyright Reforms: Radio Royalties, Simplified Licensing and More; Billboard, 2/17/15

Ed Christman and Glenn Peoples, Billboard; A Cheat Sheet for Copyright Reforms: Radio Royalties, Simplified Licensing and More:
"The complex issue of copyright reform took center stage during the Grammy Awards telecast on Feb. 8 when Recording Academy chief Neil Portnow urged Congress to ensure that "new technology [pays] artists fairly." His comments echoed some of the contents of a 250-page music-licensing report issued just three days earlier by the U.S. Copyright Office. Congress may or may not enact some of those recommendations into law -- but if it does, the ramifications are enormous."

A New Copyright Complaint Against Richard Prince; New York Times, 2/16/15

Jennifer Schuessler, New York Times; A New Copyright Complaint Against Richard Prince:
"A lawyer for the photographer Donald Graham has sent cease-and-desist letters to the artist Richard Prince and the Gagosian Gallery, requesting that they stop displaying or disseminating any artworks or other materials that include Mr. Graham’s images.
The complaint, which was first reported by the website Hyperallergic, stems from a work shown last fall at Gagosian in the exhibit “New Portraits,” which featured ink jet prints of images Mr. Prince had taken from Instagram. The work shows Mr. Graham’s photograph “Rastafarian Smoking a Joint, Jamaica” as it appeared on the Instagram feed of a third party, with the comment “Canal Zinian da lam jam” added by Mr. Prince."

Indonesia Fails to Solve Olympic Ring Row Amid IOC Ban Talks; Reuters via New York Times, 2/18/15

Reuters via New York Times; Indonesia Fails to Solve Olympic Ring Row Amid IOC Ban Talks:
"The Indonesian Olympic Committee (KOI) and the Indonesian National Sports Committee (KONI) failed this week to resolve a copyright row involving the Olympic rings logo which has put the country's hosting of the 2018 Asian Games in jeopardy.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) told the Indonesian government last month they faced a ban unless KONI stopped using the Olympic rings in its logo, saying only their member, KOI, was allowed to do so."

Saturday, February 14, 2015

'Dumb and Dumber To' Piracy Leads to Copyright Lawsuits (Exclusive); Hollywood Reporter, 2/13/15

Hollywood Reporter; 'Dumb and Dumber To' Piracy Leads to Copyright Lawsuits (Exclusive) :
"The rights-holder of Dumb and Dumber To, last year's sequel starring Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels, is the latest to jump aboard the legal stratagem of suing anonymous users of BitTorrent for sharing copyrighted work.
At least five lawsuits were filed in Oregon federal court on Thursday with "Does" and their IP addresses listed as defendants. In court papers, the rights-holder says that the film is currently one of the top 10 most downloaded movies though BitTorrent and with over 1,000 IP addresses from Oregon alone. The plaintiff says it is seeking relief because it is "suffering notable and irreparable harm though piracy."

Friday, February 13, 2015

Open data: how mobile phones saved bananas from bacterial wilt in Uganda; Guardian, 2/11/15

Anna Scott, Guardian; Open data: how mobile phones saved bananas from bacterial wilt in Uganda:
"Bananas are a staple food in Uganda. Ugandans eat more of the fruit than any other country in the world. Each person eats on average 700g (about seven small bananas) a day, according to the International Food Policy Research Institute, and they provide up to 27% of the population’s calorie intake.
But since 2002 a disease known as banana bacterial wilt (BBW) has wiped out crops across the country. When plants are infected, they cannot absorb water so their leaves start to shrivel and they eventually die...
The Ugandan government drew upon open data – data that is licensed and made available for anyone to access and share – about the disease made available by Unicef’s community polling project Ureport to deal with the problem.
Ureport mobilises a network of nearly 300,000 volunteers across Uganda, who use their mobiles to report on issues that affect them, from polio immunisation to malaria treatment, child marriage, to crop failure. It gathers data from via SMS polls and publishes the results as open sourced, open datasets.
The results are sent back to community members via SMS along with treatment options and advice on how best to protect their crops. Within five days of the first SMS being sent out, 190,000 Ugandans had learned about the disease and knew how to save bananas on their farms."

Can We Strengthen our Fragile Public Domain?; Library Journal, 2/12/15

Kevin L. Smith, Library Journal; Can We Strengthen our Fragile Public Domain? :
"In fact, even in the United States there has been some recognition that the Sonny Bono extension has done more harm than good. In a 2013 paper called, apparently without irony, “The Next Great Copyright Act,” Registrar of Copyrights Maria Pallante acknowledges that the copyright term is very long and that its length “has consequences” and needs to be made “more functional” (see pages 336-7). Although she stops short of asking Congress to repeal the 20-year extension, she does suggest “offsets” to mitigate the harm that has been done. Pallante is a far cry from being a “copyleft” radical; like previous Registrars, she tends to favor the interests of big content industries. So her suggestion that the term of copyright be readjusted because it is too long is a remarkable acknowledgement of the problem we have created.
Public Domain Day is one more reminder that our copyright laws in the U.S. have tipped the balance of protection too far away from its public interest roots."

Estonian Man Pleads Guilty in Megaupload Piracy Case; Associated Press via New York Times, 2/13/15

Associated Press via New York Times; Estonian Man Pleads Guilty in Megaupload Piracy Case:
"An Estonian man who worked as a computer programmer for the now-defunct file-sharing website Megaupload has pleaded guilty in what prosecutors say was a massive copyright-piracy scheme run through the site.
Andrus Nomm, 36, pleaded guilty Friday in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia, to conspiracy to commit copyright infringement. He was sentenced to a year and a day in prison and has agreed to cooperate with prosecutors. Prosecutors say Megaupload was used to illegally download millions of songs and movies in one of the biggest copyright cases in history.
Nomm was one of seven men indicted in the case three years ago and the first to be brought to the U.S. to face charges."

Court Revives Copyright Lawsuit Against Singer Frankie Valli; Associated Press via New York Times, 2/10/15

Associated Press via New York Times; Court Revives Copyright Lawsuit Against Singer Frankie Valli:
"A federal appeals court on Tuesday revived a copyright lawsuit against Frankie Valli and fellow "Four Seasons" band member Robert Gaudio over "Jersey Boys," the popular musical about the band.
Donna Corbello sued Valli and Gaudio in 2011 for copyright infringement, claiming the musical was based in part on an unpublished autobiography of "Four Seasons" band member Thomas DeVito that her late husband ghost-wrote. She said she deserved to share in the profits from the musical's success."

Google boss warns of 'forgotten century' with email and photos at risk; Guardian, 2/13/15

Ian Sample, Guardian; Google boss warns of 'forgotten century' with email and photos at risk:
"Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh have made headway towards a solution to bit rot, or at least a partial one. There, Mahadev Satyanarayanan takes digital snapshots of computer hard drives while they run different software programs. These can then be uploaded to a computer that mimics the one the software ran on. The result is a computer that can read otherwise defunct files. Under a project called Olive, the researchers have archived Mystery House, the original 1982 graphic adventure game for the Apple II, an early version of WordPerfect, and Doom, the original 1993 first person shooter game.
Inventing new technology is only half the battle, though. More difficult still could be navigating the legal permissions to copy and store software before it dies. When IT companies go out of business, or stop supporting their products, they may sell the rights on, making it a nightmarish task to get approval.
“To do this properly, the rights of preservation might need to be incorporated into our thinking about things like copyright and patents and licensing. We’re talking about preserving them for hundreds to thousands of years,” said Cerf."

Monday, February 2, 2015

Law Firm Founds Project to Fight ‘Revenge Porn’; Deal Book, 1/29/15

Deal Book, Matthew Goldstein; Law Firm Founds Project to Fight ‘Revenge Porn’ :
"The litigation is the handiwork of a new initiative by K&L Gates, a Pittsburgh-based law firm. Begun in late September, its Cyber Civil Rights Legal Project has roughly 50 lawyers at the firm volunteering their time...
The K&L program not only advises victims as to what legal steps can be taken to sue for damages, it also works with victims to consider the pros and cons of reporting online abuse to prosecutors. In instances where the victims have taken nude selfies or videos of themselves, the K&L lawyers are using the protections offered by federal copyright law to demand that the websites take down the images or risk being sued along with the perpetrators.
More often than not, commercial pornography websites, especially those based in the United States, will comply with a request to avoid any further legal entanglement.
But if a victim wants to bring a federal copyright lawsuit, there is a catch. In many cases, she or he would first need to register any videos or photos to be protected with the United States Copyright Office. In other words, to use copyright law as a hammer, a victim must publicly register a photo or video that she or he would rather no one ever see."

The NFL wants you to think these things are illegal; Ars Technica, 1/31/15

Sherwin Siy, Ars Technica; The NFL wants you to think these things are illegal:
"The voiceover in the clip says:
"This telecast is copyrighted by the NFL for the private use of our audience. Any other use of this telecast or any pictures, descriptions, or accounts of the game without the NFL's consent is prohibited."
That second sentence is bunk from a legal standpoint. It is not illegal to describe or give an account of one of the biggest media events of the year. You can talk about the Super Bowl without infringing copyright. This is not a case of the NFL politely looking the other way while most of America, in public and private, in casual conversations and in commercial broadcasts, discusses the game without the NFL’s permission. The NFL would be laughed out of court for trying to prevent them from doing so—just because you have a copyright in a work doesn’t mean you can prevent people from talking about it. Copyright simply doesn’t extend that far."