Thursday, November 19, 2015

YouTube to Pay Fees for Some Video Makers to Fight Takedowns; New York Times, 11/19/15

Cecilia Kang, New York Times; YouTube to Pay Fees for Some Video Makers to Fight Takedowns:
"Constantine Guiliotis, who goes by Dean and whose channel dedicated to debunking sightings of unidentified flying objects has just over 1,000 subscribers, is one of the video makers YouTube will defend. Mr. Guiliotis has received three takedown notices from copyright holders of videos that he has found online and posted to his YouTube channel, U.F.O. Theater.
In his videos, Mr. Guiliotis includes the videos he found but also provides analysis and commentary, which YouTube argues is within the guidelines of fair use rules. The site reposted the videos after its review and told Mr. Guiliotis it would defend him against any future legal action. Like the other creators YouTube has selected, Mr. Guiliotis has not been sued for his videos.
“It was very gratifying to know a company cares about fair use and to single out someone like me,” Mr. Guiliotis said.
YouTube is starting small, initially supporting four video creators, but it said it may expand its program.
The company said it wanted to protect free speech and educate users on fair use."

Why Facebook Is Monitoring Your Private Videos; Huffington Post, 11/18/15

Huffington Post; Why Facebook Is Monitoring Your Private Videos:
"Parker Higgins, an activist with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, explains how Facebook's hunt for copyrighted material is playing out in users' private posts."

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Matter of rights: Was Otto Frank really Anne Frank’s co-author?; Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 11/18/15

Editorial Board, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; Matter of rights: Was Otto Frank really Anne Frank’s co-author?Matter of rights: Was Otto Frank really Anne Frank’s co-author? :
"Otto Frank, her father, was the only family member who survived the Holocaust. It was his efforts that led to the publication of her diary. Until his death in 1980, he was acknowledged as the book’s “editor,” but gave full credit for the text to his daughter.
This is an important point given the new controversy surrounding the book’s copyright. Seventy years after her death, the European copyright is set to expire, but the Swiss foundation that holds the rights wants to prevent it from moving into public domain. The foundation is filing an extension of the copyright based on new information — the claim that Otto Frank is the book’s co-author.
This is contrary to descriptions made about the book since its publication. If the diary had been co-written by her father, then it cannot be properly called a girl’s reflections.
Extending the foundation’s control, until 2050, over “The Diary of Anne Frank” by now claiming Otto Frank is the co-writer is a cynical attempt to control a major revenue stream.
“The Diary of Anne Frank” belongs to the world. Treating it like a mere commodity detracts from its moral authority. Worse than that, making Anne Frank a mere collaborator in her own story is an insult to her memory and what she endured."

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Frankenstein TV: what happens when literary classics drop out of copyright; Guardian, 11/16/15

Mark Lawson, Guardian; Frankenstein TV: what happens when literary classics drop out of copyright:
"One reason that the field of Brit Lit spin-offs is becoming so crowded is that Mary Shelley, Charles Dickens and Robert Louis Stevenson invented archetypes and situations that are familiar even to people who have never read the books. This rapid name-recognition is presumably why Fox originally gave its planned drama about a dead cop who is brought back to life to solve mysteries the title Frankenstein, even though it has no more than a vague metaphorical connection with the Shelley story. After objections of literary grave-robbing, the series is now, more sensibly, called Second Chance.
In tight financial times, it is also financially canny to plunder the vaults of out-of-copyright books. Adapt a classic novel that is still controlled by an estate and the budget is swollen by a rights fee, with the additional risk that the keepers of the author’s flame may also interfere artistically. Some copyright holders have been so acquisitive or restrictive that, for a decade or so, cultural democrats in various countries have celebrated Public Domain Day on 1 January each year, the date on which literary copyrights cease, 70 years after the writer’s death in many territories, but 95 in America. TV producers, you suspect, are among those whooping most exuberantly as another crop of plots and protagonists become free."

I’m Bullish about Copyright Policy for Libraries and I’m Not Crazy; American Libraries, 11/16/15

Alan S. Inouye, American Libraries; I’m Bullish about Copyright Policy for Libraries and I’m Not Crazy:
"The stimulus for this piece, however, is the copyright policy conference on November 17 hosted by the Re:Create Coalition. You may recall that the American Library Association (ALA) is a founding member of this new coalition that was born in spring 2015, which includes a range of important, influential, and ideologically diverse players such as the Consumer Technology Association (just renamed from the Consumer Electronics Association), Electronic Frontier Foundation, and R Street Institute. This first-ever public event of the coalition is a major milestone for heightened national advocacy for a balanced copyright regime in the digital era."

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Anne Frank’s Diary Gains ‘Co-Author’ in Copyright Move; New York Times, 11/13/15

Doreen Carvajal, New York Time; Anne Frank’s Diary Gains ‘Co-Author’ in Copyright Move:
"Copyright protections vary from country to country. The classic novella “The Little Prince” fell into the public domain this year in much of the world but remains under copyright in France because of an exception that grants a 30-year extension to authors who died during military service in World War I and II.
Some critics of the foundation have already tested its resolve by posting bootleg copies of the diary online.
Olivier Ertzscheid, a lecturer in communications and researcher at the University of Nantes, received a warning letter this month from a French publisher of the diary after he started circulating a copy online in protest. He removed it, but he and a French politician, Isabelle Attard, said they were waiting to see what happens in January before pressing forward with a plan to encourage publication of the original manuscript more widely online.
“The best protection of the work is to bring it in the public domain, because its audience will grow even more,” said Ms. Attard, who noted that her own Jewish relatives were hidden or deported during the German occupation in France. “What is happening now is a bluff and pure intimidation.”
The foundation insists that by issuing an early warning of its intent to extend the copyright, it is acting ethically to prevent publishers from pursuing a course that might be unproductive and costly.
But if the foundation succeeds, publishers may wind up waiting even longer than the 70 years allowed after Otto Frank’s death."

Thursday, November 12, 2015

The monkey 'selfie' copyright battle is still going on, and it's getting weirder; Washington Post via Chicago Tribune, 11/11/15

Abby Ohlheiser, Washington Post via Chicago Tribune; The monkey 'selfie' copyright battle is still going on, and it's getting weirder:
"The U.S. Copyright office clarified last year that it only registers copyright claims for human authorship, meaning that neither the macaque, nor the nature photographer David Slater, have a valid claim to it, according to the office.
That clarification came after a years-long disagreement between Slater and Wikimedia Commons, which hosted the image in the public domain.
Slater said he should own the rights to the photograph, telling The Washington Post last year that the selfie's distribution by Wikimedia and Techdirt as public domain was "ruining my business."
"If it was a normal photograph and I had claimed I had taken it," he added, "I would potentially be a lot richer than I am.""

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

4 Key Takeaways From Copyright Reform Committee's Silicon Valley Listening Tour; Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), 11/10/15

Parker Higgins, Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF); 4 Key Takeaways From Copyright Reform Committee's Silicon Valley Listening Tour:
"The House Judiciary Committee, tasked with copyright reform in the Next Great Copyright Act process, has taken its long-running hearing show on the road. This week, members of the committee attended sessions in northern and southern California. The line-up of experts in Santa Clara yesterday was diverse and impressive, and included people like Internet Archive founder Brewster Kahle, noted musician Zoe Keating, iFixit CEO and DMCA activist Kyle Wiens, and of course EFF's own staff attorney Kit Walsh.
Given the wide range of experts, the conversation covered a lot of ground. More than other hearings in this series, though, it got deep into some of the specifics necessary to address shortcomings in current law. Here are four crucial points that got discussed."

[Job Position] Open Data and Knowledge Manager; Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh

[Job Position] Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh; Open Data and Knowledge Manager:
"POSITION TITLE: Open Data and Knowledge Manager
POSTING DATE: October 30, 2015
Job Summary: Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh has a strong interest in using data to achieve our strategic goals and mission. The candidate is responsible for helping CLP staff treat information as an organizational asset, bootstrapping a unified data repository and working to ensure consistent, reliable, and easily accessible sources of library data. The candidate will help make strategic decisions in how the library creates, structures, manages, shares, and uses information, assisting CLP staff to incorporate data literacy into public service. The candidate will develop and update a series of organizational metrics to track progress. The candidate will also collaborate with external stakeholders to use information to improve the communities we serve, and develop open data sets to aid in regional civic data projects."

Sunday, November 8, 2015

2 Illegal Movie-Sharing Websites Are Closed; New York Times, 11/3/15

Michael Cieply, New York Times; 2 Illegal Movie-Sharing Websites Are Closed:
"Two websites that film companies said had jointly become a clearinghouse for illegal movie viewing were closed last month by orders from courts in Canada and New Zealand, the Motion Picture Association of America said on Tuesday.
The site, commonly referred to as Popcorn Time, was closed under an Oct. 16 order from the Federal Court in Ottawa., a BitTorrent site whose films were often reached through Popcorn Time, was closed under an interim injunction in a separate suit filed on Oct. 12 in the High Court of New Zealand, the M.P.A.A. said."

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

MPAA Adds New Rating To Warn Audiences Of Films Not Based On Existing Works; The Onion, 10/20/15

The Onion; MPAA Adds New Rating To Warn Audiences Of Films Not Based On Existing Works:
"“We recognize how distressing it can be when viewers go into a film and suddenly find themselves confronted with jarring scenes containing a protagonist they’ve never encountered before, which is precisely why we created this rating,” said Joan Graves, head of the MPAA’s ratings board, who said the new category was added in part due to the thousands of complaints the organization has received from moviegoers who were upset they weren’t given advance notice that they’d have to make sense of the scenarios unfolding onscreen. “It’s important that today’s movie fans are aware upon entering the theater that none of what they will see has been adapted from a well-known comic book, television series, novel, video game, historical event, previous movie, or theme park ride.”
“Ultimately, it will be up to the consumer’s discretion as to whether a film is suitable for themselves and their family, but the O rating will explicitly caution people that they will have to pay attention during the movie and follow the storyline on their own,” Graves added.
Though sources said films requiring the new rating are comparatively rare, a spate of high-profile movies over the past several years that do not stem from any previously existing source material—including The Kids Are All Right, Her, WALL-E, Birdman, and Nebraska, among others—have left many viewers angered and perplexed. Citing test audiences they have observed, MPAA officials said that many moviegoers spent the entirety of such films in a state of distress, waiting for the moment when the Incredible Hulk, Katniss Everdeen, Wolverine, or another recognizable character from an established franchise would appear onscreen and clarify the meaning and direction of the film."

Monday, November 2, 2015

‘Star Wars’ Doesn’t Belong to George Lucas. It Belongs to the Fans.; New York Times, 10/29/15

Manohla Dargis, New York Times; ‘Star Wars’ Doesn’t Belong to George Lucas. It Belongs to the Fans. :
"Mr. Lucas’s true genius may be in marketing, including of his vision. Like other filmmakers who came of age in the 1960s, when American directors became auteurs, he has strong views on authorship. In a 1997 interview with Wired, he addressed the studios’ and artists’ rights, arguing that a copyright should belong to “the artist” of a film and not the large corporation that owns it. “I solved the problem by owning my own copyright,” Mr. Lucas said, “so nobody can screw around with my stuff. Nobody can take ‘Star Wars’ and make Yoda walk, because I own it.” When asked about the changes that he had made to his earlier work, including to “Star Wars,” he said: “It’s my artistic vision. If I want to go back and change it, it’s my business, not somebody else’s.”...
Years before the popularization of the idea of participatory culture, a term for those who are at once pop-culture consumers and contributors, “Star Wars” fans had staked their claim on this world. That engagement sometimes took Mr. Lucas aback. “It’s always amazing to me when people take them so seriously,” he is quoted as saying in Dale Pollock’s essential book “Skywalking” (1983).
In the years since, Mr. Lucas has clearly embraced his destiny as a force. And while it may seem strange, given his hatred of the studios, that he sold Lucasfilm to Disney in 2012, he found it a perfect home. Mr. Lucas helped shape modern conglomerate cinema, to borrow a term from Mr. Schatz, but it was Disney that really pioneered cradle-to-grave entertainment. In 1929, Walt Disney sold the rights to use Mickey Mouse (soon called the “million dollar mouse”) on children’s writing tablets, signing his first licensing contract a year later. “The sale of a doll to any member of a household,” Roy Disney, Walt’s brother, said, “is a daily advertisement in that household for our cartoons and keeps them all ‘Mickey Mouse Minded.’ ”"

Appeals Court Rules 'Point Break' Parody Is Entitled to Copyright Protection; Hollywood Reporter, 10/30/15

Eriq Gardner, Hollywood Reporter; Appeals Court Rules 'Point Break' Parody Is Entitled to Copyright Protection:
"On Friday, the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals took up a dispute that is a bit of a mind-bender and delivered an opinion that determines that a parody is entitled to copyright protection.
The dispute concerns playwright Jamie Keeling's theatrical adaptation of the 1991 film Point Break, which starred Keanu Reeves as a federal agent who goes undercover as a surfer. In the film, Reeves is unintentionally hysterical, so Keeling got the bright idea to have an audience member chosen at random to recite his lines.
The production company behind the live version stopped paying Keeling, did its own version, and took the position that that Keeling had no right to her script since it was based on the film. This set up the fascinating question of whether someone who creates a parody of copyrighted material could sue someone else who also is doing a parody.
In December 2012, after a judge said absolutely, a jury returned a $250,000 verdict in favor of Keeling. What followed was the appeal where 2nd Circuit judge Jose Cabranes decides that even an unauthorized work that makes fair use of source material is protected."