Archive for January 22nd, 2008
This week’s edition of Clippings is huge, with gadget news and copyright implications from the Consumer Electronics Show. This week we plumb why 24 hours is not enough time to watch an iTunes movie rental; more evidence that Canadians consider copyright a serious political issue; elevating copyright to human rights status; the Seinfelds being accused of infringement and defamation; and the chair of the House’s copyright committee leaving the building.
This is Copycense.
Article of the Week
The Patry Copyright Blog. Appeals to Human Rights: The Next Battlefield? Jan. 17, 2008. If there’s any single writer that can make copyright humorous, it is William Patry. When describing the push to equate copyright (a relatively minor issue in the broader scheme of world affairs) with human rights (an extraordinarily important issue), Patry comments with typical sarcasm: “I confess to being moved to tears by European human rights attorneys taking up the cause of very large U.S. broadcasting corporations: Donald Rumsfeld was so wrong.”
Seriously, though, the injection of copyright into international affairs has been steady and dangerous since the trend results only in more rights for multinational corporations. Talk about “authors” and “creators” has little to do with individuals who create original works fixed in a tangible medium of expression. Those words merely are code designed to make readers think Grandma needs more rights to protect her cross-stitch designs. In reality, “Grandma” is a global commercial behemoth with business presences on all continents that is hell bent on leveraging copyright and other intellectual property schemes to foster dollar-driven hegemony.
(Well, perhaps not the dollar these days. Substitute the Euro.)
In fact, one could argue reasonably that here in the U.S., the effort to move copyright past what Patry calls its “current Incredible Hulk level” is occurring at least as much on the international and local levels as it is in Congress. We have reported several of the entertainment and content industries’ lobbying efforts have resulted in a sort of “paracopyright” at the state level. (California’s passage of AB 307, which ties school funding to a copyright “education” program influenced by the RIAA, is one example.)
And, of course, we have chronicled at several junctures the Special 301 process under the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. The Federal Register notice that effectively asks multinational corporations and their trade groups to tell the Trade Representative which countries have failed to draft (or enforce) copyright law at America’s “Incredible Hulk level” was published last week. It is due on Monday, February 11. The copyright choke hold is in full effect and running on all eight cylinders. Categories: Bundle of Rights; International; Politics & Government.
Quotes of the Week
“Clearly, content creators deserve to be sufficiently rewarded for their work to make their endeavour worthwhile. At the same time, consumers have the right to enjoy the full capabilities of the equipment they’ve purchased, free from restrictions on what they can record and the use they make of content once it has been legitimately obtained. A revised copyright law must strive to find a balance between the rights of creators and ‘fair use’ by consumers.” — Vancouver Sun editorial board.
Vancouver Sun. Reformed Copyright Laws Shouldn’t Suppress Creativity. Jan. 16, 2008. Since there is no byline on this story from a major Canadian newspaper, we presume this is an editorial. If so, the tone is remarkably (and refreshingly) strident for a mainstream news outlet. Categories: Broadcasting & Journalism; Bundle of Rights.
“Surveys reveal that both adults and children (aged 12-15) have very high levels of awareness and understanding of the basic principles of intellectual property. However, young people feel that copyright regimes are unfair and unjust and a big age gap is opening up. The implications for libraries and for the information industry of a collapse of respect for copyright is potentially very serious.” — University College London.
Information World Review. My Generation. Jan. 17, 2008. This passage on copyright is but a snippet of a report whose main focus is on information seeking behaviors. We find it interesting, however, and would like to see an independent American researcher conduct a rigorous, well designed social science study of high school and college children to gain their perspective on copyright. Categories: Libraries & Information Science; Web & Online.
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