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Film Industry’s “Piracy” Error

Yahoo! News (via The Associated Press). MPAA Admits Mistake on Downloading Study. Jan. 23, 2008; Inside Higher Ed. Downloading by Students Overstated. Jan. 23, 2008; Association for Computing Machinery. MPAA’s Data Oops: How Will Congress React? Jan. 23, 2008; News Blog (News.com). Why Did Colleges Stay Mum on MPAA Stats? Jan. 25, 2008. We don’t think this is a mistake, actually. For several years, we have questioned as biased and invalid many of the “studies” the entertainment industry creates that purport to show a correlation between alleged infringement activity from a specific environment (i.e. file sharing networks) or population (i.e. college students). More investigation should be done into the numbers and methodology of these reports, especially since the entertainment industry parades them before Congress as evidence that it needs more restrictive intellectual property rights. If you think there is no connection between these sorts of studies and legislation like the PRO IP bill (H.R. 4279) or the HEA Reauthorization bill, think again.

(Editor’s Note: Copycense editors originally commented on this article in the Jan. 29, 2008, edition of Copycense Clippings.)

Copycense™: Incisive IP.

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Written by sesomedia

02/04/2008 at 08:59

Posted in Research

Canadian Lobbyists Discuss Copyright Reform

On Copyright Reform. (.mp3) The Ottawa Citizen sponsors an hour-long debate on copyright reform in Canada. Lots of shouting and interrupting, but may be worthwhile listening if you want to hear frustrated content industry discuss the state of their nation. Check out, however, Michael Geist’s analysis of this session, in which he contends Canadian Recording Industry Association president Graham Henderson and others give tacit support to ISP filtering, which AT&T reportedly is considering.

(Editor’s Note: Copycense editors originally commented on this article in Site Check 2.03.)

Copycense™: Incisive IP.

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Written by sesomedia

02/04/2008 at 08:57

Posted in Web & Online

European Union Rejects ISP Filtering

Jon Stokes. Proposed EU ISP Filtering and Copyright Extension Shot Down. ArsTechnica. Jan. 22, 2008. Just as AT&T begins considering filtering on its network for alleged copyright infringement violations, the European Union decides not to allow it for now on ISP networks in member countries. But as long as intellectual property is seen as an “economic engine” — and who’s not looking for an “economic engine” with this credit crisis upon us — this issue will not go away easily.

(Editor’s Note: Copycense editors originally commented on this article in the Jan. 29, 2008, edition of Copycense Clippings.)

Copycense™: Incisive IP.

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Written by sesomedia

02/04/2008 at 08:56

Posted in Uncategorized

Press Misreports Another IP Story

Public Knowledge. Don’t Trust the Media to Get Copyright Right: Scrabulous Coverage Scores Few Points. Jan. 22, 2008. Often, we have taken the press to task for its frequently errant and one-sided coverage of intellectual property issues. When IP was a backwater issue, poor (and sometimes inaccurate) coverage was a problem, but was not evident. Now IP often warrants front-page, above-the-fold coverage, and the mistakes not only are evident, they are harmful. A news organization’s primary professional objective is to get it right. Writing flowery prose like Selena Roberts is optional. Talking loud and saying little like Stephen A. is optional. Whining while cashing checks like Mr. Tony is optional.

Getting it right, on the other hand, is mandatory.

Marc Fisher got it wrong in a big way last month, likely because he relied on second-hand reporting and did not do the requisite amount of fact- and document checking. Now, as PK points out, several media outlets seem to have gotten the Scrabulous/Facebook story wrong, attributing to an alleged copyright infringement problem what really is an alleged trademark infringement problem. Not only is this unacceptable, it is grossly unprofessional. If the news media can’t get it right, above all else, it’s useless.

(Editor’s Note: Copycense editors originally commented on this article in the Jan. 29, 2008, edition of Copycense Clippings.)

Copycense™: Incisive IP.

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Written by sesomedia

02/01/2008 at 08:59

Posted in Trademark

Testing the DMCA “Safe Harbor”

Nate Anderson. Warner Sues “Playable Search Engine,” Tests DMCA Safe Harbor. ArsTechnica. Jan. 25, 2008. Warner Bros. trots out all the goodies in its 57-page complaint (.pdf) that alleges copyright infringement by search engine SeeqPod. One of the ways in which SeeqPod tries to differentiate itself is by providing links to music or video files that others make available on the Web. (For example, we typed in a search “jay-z” and received about 20 hits, many of which were links to YouTube videos. We were able to watch the YouTube videos within the SeeqPod site instead of having to link out to YouTube to get the content.)

Apparently, SeeqPod compiles search results not only through the work of its own search robot, but also through user-contributed submissions. Warner Bros. has seized on this second aspect to frame SeeqPod as a business that “aims to capitalize on the illegal use of ‘free’ music to grow its user base rapidly and inexpensively,” accusing the search provider of direct infringement, contributory infringement, vicarious infringement. WB also throws in MGM v. Grokster‘s inducement liability theory (just for kicks and giggles).

One of the interesting things about this case is SeeqPod’s technology was born in the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; the Lab also has a 5% stake in the spin-off company. So, in essence, Warner Bros. also is suing the federal government. Another interesting tidbit: Anderson notes that Last.fm has a similar search capability, but also has licensing deals in place with the major music labels, while SeeqPod has no licensing deals and seems to rest its business model on the DMCA ISP safe harbor at Section 512(c). We hate to see a promising technology like this get ensnared in litigation so early in its life, but in the unlikely event this goes to trial, this could be an interesting case.

(Editor’s Note: Copycense editors originally commented on this article in the Jan. 29, 2008, edition of Copycense Clippings.)

Copycense™: Incisive IP.

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Written by sesomedia

02/01/2008 at 08:58

Posted in Web & Online

Compulsory Licensing Discussed at CES

Eric Bangeman. Debating Copyright Reform: Time for Compulsory Licenses? ArsTechnica. Jan. 21, 2008. Ars reports on a copyright panel convened at the Consumer Electronics Show entitled Washington, Intellectual Property and Your Living Room, which was moderated by Ars editor Kenneth Fisher. The panel seemed fairly balanced, which is unusual for these panels, and everyone allegedly agreed some sort of copyright reform was necessary.

Surprisingly, though, compulsory licensing was discussed, and at least one panelist positioned compulsory licenses as a way of providing compensation in light of the fact that copyright owners no longer can control their works. There are two basic elements to the compulsory license issue. On one hand, a compulsory license would force media companies to license their works at an established, set rate. (For example, royalties for cover songs are paid according to a rate set in a compulsory license.) Additionally, it would eliminate the often licensing negotiations, many of which can be ridiculous and random. (The music industry, in particular, suffers this problem when it comes to digital sampling.)

On the other hand, U.S. Register of Copyrights Marybeth Peters is on record as opposing compulsory licenses because it hurts “creators.” As we mentioned last week, though, one must be careful with the label “creators”: are we talking about individuals, or multinational corporations that own and control the copyright monopoly? We’re unsure what Peters means when she refers to “creators.”

Nevertheless, this is the first time we recall hearing someone — anyone — talk seriously about compulsory licensing as an option worth investigating. Also, it is the one of the first times we can recall any person who deals with copyright for a living bluntly proclaim that control of protected works no longer is possible or realistic.

(Editor’s Note: Copycense editors originally commented on this article in the Jan. 29, 2008, edition of Copycense Clippings, where it was an Article of the Week selection.)

Copycense™: Incisive IP.

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Written by sesomedia

02/01/2008 at 08:57

Site Check 2.03

The Library of Congress Photos. LoC gets social with a 3,000 image contribution to Flickr … and leaves it to the public to do the classifying.

On Copyright Reform. (.mp3) The Ottawa Citizen sponsors an hour-long debate on copyright reform in Canada. Lots of shouting and interrupting, but may be worthwhile listening if you want to hear frustrated content industry discuss the state of their nation. Check out, however, Michael Geist’s analysis of this session, in which he contends Canadian Recording Industry Association president Graham Henderson and others give tacit support to ISP filtering, which AT&T reportedly is considering. Categories: DRM & Copy Restrictions; International; Music; Politics & Government; Web & Online. (Attribution: ArsTechnica)

This Is Copycense™: Incisive IP.

Written by sesomedia

01/31/2008 at 09:00

Posted in Site Check

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