Copycense Clippings (Sept. 25 to Oct. 1, 2007)
Copyright Clippings continues with another truckload of stories and commentary.
Article of the Week
The Patry Copyright Blog. Kopyright and Kids Continued. Oct. 1, 2007. Over the last two weeks, razor sharp William Patry has written some powerful posts about copyright education. This one offers a withering criticism of the Copyright Kids “education” effort produced by the Copyright Society of the U.S.A. It is a bittersweet read: sweet because Patry’s humorous sarcasm drips off the screen, bitter because one would have expected so much better from one of this country’s leading copyright organizations. Categories: Education; Framing & Rhetoric.
Quote of the Week
“The strangest part of the release is the vision put forward by these four groups. There are no musicians, performers, songwriters, or copyright collectives to be found (the absence of consumers is a given). Of course, the release fails to mention that Canadian musicians stand against WIPO ratification, while CRIA is in the middle of litigation in which it opposes the collectives and is trying to reduce the amount of compensation they receive. In other words, it is an industry view of a music industry without musicians.”
Michael Geist. Copyright and the Throne Speech. Sept. 25, 2007. Razor sharp Michael Geist discusses an effort by Big Content in Canada to include mention of copyright (including World Intellectual Property Organization ratification) in the country’s upcoming legislative agenda. (Later in the week, he discusses the political dangers that could pose for Big Content.) Certainly, the effort to craft copyright policy in isolation occurs regularly in the United States as well, yet Geist is one of the few we’ve discovered who is willing to characterize things this bluntly. Categories: Politics & Government.
Photo Business News & Forum. A Walk Through the Copyright Office. Sept. 25, 2007. This is a multipart photo essay about the copyright registration process, an area of copyright whose importance often is overlooked. What makes this unique (and interesting) is the author’s commentary, along with step-by-step photos. Categories: Registration; U.S. Copyright Office.
Geoff Boucher and Chris Lee. A Record Price for a Radiohead Album: $0. LATimes.com. Oct. 2, 2007. Last week, we reported in Clippings that Radiohead eschewed selling their digital downloads on iTunes in favor of working a deal with 7digital in which the site sold full albums in .mp3 format without any copy restriction technology. This week, the British rock band announces it will release its seventh studio album, In Rainbows, at whatever price the customer deems appropriate (including free). This move follows Prince’s decision to give away 3 million copies of his latest album through a British newspaper. Both moves point to the new way of marketing music, and suggest the demise of music as a salable product. This news hits the wires about the same time Virgin announces it will close its online music store, rendering useless any music customers paid for because of copy restriction technology. Categories: Business & Commerce; Music; Web & Online.
Groklaw. The Novell-Microsoft Wheeler Dealers Speak. Sept. 30, 2007. Groklaw heavily criticizes the Novell-Microsoft agreement to develop what seems to amount to a response to Red Hat market leadership. Rule No. 1 on these joint venture announcements: any time companies talk about “customers winning,” that really means the companies are winning through greater market control, higher revenues, and stronger profits … and if the customer happens to benefit after the corporate partners achieve those goals, then so be it. (If you don’t believe us, listen to the speech yourself and note the frequency with which these themes arise.) What we find particularly interesting is Novell’s position in this whole thing. Novell does not have enough bargaining power to craft favorable terms negotiating with Microsoft, and according to News.com, the patent infringement protection isn’t worth the paper upon which it is written. Categories: Licensing & Permissions; Open Source; Patents.
Cristina Jimenez. British Library Books Go Digital. BBC News. Sept. 28, 2007. The national library of the Mother England begins a mass digitization project involving 19th century books. Categories: Books; Digitization; Libraries & Information Science.
Angela Kang, et al. Has Sense Flown the Coop? The Harvard Crimson. Sept. 26, 2007. It seems copyright is one of those topics that spurs stupidity in spades: Harvard’s bookstore, The Coop, claims that textbook information is its intellectual property. The premise that price, title, ISBN, and other factual information about textbooks qualifies as copyrightable (or some other form of intellectual property) is so asinine that we’ll ignore it. Kang’s editorial, however, merits a read, if only because it shows that increasingly, students are becoming more aware of copyright’s parameters. Categories: Bundle of Rights; Education.
Jim Puzzanghera. Google, Microsoft Spar Before Senators. LATimes.com. Sept. 28, 2007. The high tech mud fight begins: “Google and Microsoft executives sat side by side at a Senate hearing here and engaged in about 90 minutes of controlled sniping befitting their increasingly heated rivalry.” Categories: Antitrust; Business & Commerce; Politics & Government.
The Recording Industry vs. The People. First RIAA Jury Trial to Start Tuesday October 2nd in Duluth, Minnesota, in Virgin v. Thomas; Motion for “Summary Adjudication” Denied. Sept. 27, 2007. Barring a last minute settlement, the music industry will for the first time be forced to meet a burden of proof in one of its so-called “file sharing” lawsuits. Opening arguments likely will occur as this edition of Clippings is distributed to our readers. According to Ray Beckerman, one of the lawyers that edits the Recording Industry vs. The People Web site, the RIAA has no evidence that defendant Jammie Thomas has committed copyright infringement. Categories: Cases & Litigation; Music.
American University Center for Social Media. The Costs of Copyright Confusion for Media Literacy. September 2007. In a nutshell, this report (.pdf) concludes educators who use media are confused about copyright law, and comprehensive education is needed. No surprise (or argument) here. Categories: Broadcasting & Journalism; Education; Fair Use; Research.
News Blog (News.com). Brazil’s Minister of Culture Calls for Free Digital Society. Sept. 27, 2007. A great profile about Grammy award winning musician Gilberto Gil‘s platform for digital culture in a country whose culture is commercially very hot right now. Categories: Government & Politics; International; Legislation & Regulation.
Tim Wu. Where’s My Free Wi-Fi? Slate. Sept. 27, 2007. Columbia law professor Tim Wu discusses the once-hot, now cool concept of municipal WiFi service, and why the “last mile” problem never was solved in this concept. Categories: Politics & Government; Web & Online.
Olga Kharif. Vonage’s Prospects Dim. BusinessWeek. Sept. 27, 2007. And the hits just keep on coming for Internet phone provider Vonage, as a federal court rules it infringed on Sprint Nextel patents. (Verizon and Nextel patents? How does a decent patent search not reveal these?) At this point, we figure to hear about the seemingly inevitable bankruptcy reorganization by first quarter 2008. Categories: Cases & Litigation; Infringement; Patents.
Library of Congress Blog. The Price of the Copyright Catalog. Sept. 26th, 2007. LoC responds to Carl Malamud’s letter to Register of Copyrights Marybeth Peters, which requests the Copyright Office “to provide bulk access to the copyright catalog of monographs, documents, and serials on the Internet.” Categories: Open Access; U.S. Copyright Office.
Danielle Kahn. Movie Nights May Violate Copyright Laws. The Massachusetts Daily Collegian (University of Massachusetts, Amherst). Sept. 26, 2007. Movie nights long have been a staple of college life. Clearly, movie nights are public performances that need require permission (usually in the form of a license) from the copyright holder to show in a dorm or other part of campus. We would be interested in seeing some data that reliably assesses what percentage of college campuses routinely has licenses in place for official movie nights. Categories: Education; Film & Video.
Nate Anderson. Start ‘Em Young: WIPO Unveils Children’s Copyright Law Workbook. ArsTechnica. Sept. 26, 2007. Ars confirms what we’ve already seen for ourselves: while WIPO’s book mentions nothing about common exceptions like fair use, the booklet actually discusses the public domain. Still, the booklet is far too protectionist to serve as education. Categories: Education; Framing & Rhetoric.
The Digital Home (News.com). Why Microsoft Must Abandon Vista to Save Itself. Sept. 26, 2007. Interesting insights from a News.com blogger on the problems Microsoft is encountering with Vista adoption. This was published about the same time that Microsoft announced it would extend the time it would sell OEM versions of Windows XP to June 30, 2008. Microsoft previously said it would end Windows XP OEM sales in January. Categories: Computers.
Jennifer M. Freedman. WTO to Rule on U.S. Claim China’s Piracy Laws Are Lax. Bloomberg. Sept. 25, 2007. Two things stand out about this story. First, this news comes after China complained to the World Trade Organization that the U.S. had initiated anti-dumping measures that target China. Second, the U.S. bases its allegations of “piracy” and China’s “weak piracy laws” on the U.S. Trade Representative’s annual Special 301 report. That report is based heavily on recommendations from the International Intellectual Property Alliance, a trade group that represents large copyright portfolio owners. If you look at IIPA’s recommendation to USTR on China (.pdf), and then compare that to USTR’s 2007 Special 301 report, you will see lots of similarities. These similarities suggest that U.S. trade policy in the long term, this area is a proxy for the commercial and legislative desires of Big Content. As a result, it should be unsurprising that the United States claims China’s “piracy” laws are weak; that comments fits the frame perfectly. Categories: Framing & Rhetoric; International; Legislation & Regulation.
Yinka Adegoke. Amazon Launches Early Version of Web Music Service. WashingtonPost.com (via Reuters). Sept. 25, 2007. Will Amazon.com’s entry into the downloadable music market mark the beginning of real competition against iTunes? Categories: File Sharing, P2P & Downloads; Music; Web & Online.
Ian Williams. Starbucks Brews iTunes Wi-Fi Giveaway. vnunet.com. Sept 25, 2007. Starbucks further solidifies its foray into the music business by promoting Apple’s iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store. We’re not sure how a free 99 cent download is an equivalent substitute for a $5 cup of coffee, but it’s a free country. Categories: File Sharing, P2P & Downloads; Music; Web & Online.
Reuters. Supreme Court Says It Will Hear LG Patent Case. Sept. 25, 2007. Consistent with predictions that the Supreme Court would hear arguments in an increasing number of commercial law when the Senate confirmed Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., the Court this term will hear a case that will determine whether patent holders can receive royalties from various companies as the product moves its way through the manufacturing chain. Categories: Cases & Litigation; Licensing & Permissions; Patent.
Jeffrey H. Birnbaum. Tech Industry Builds Lobbying Machine for Patent Fight. WashingtonPost.com. Sept. 25, 2007. The Post’s Birnbaum presents an insightful article about Washington’s K Street apparatus. (Appropriately, his column is entitled “The K Street Insider.”) Luckily for us, he trains his sights on the heavy lobbying that continues to go on in the fight over the Patent Reform Act of 2007. Categories: Legislation & Regulation; Patent; Politics & Government.
Rewind: Ones We Missed
(Interesting stories we missed after we sent previous editions to press.)
Linux-Watch.org. First U.S. GPL Lawsuit Heads for Quick Settlement. Sept. 24, 2007. It took less than a week for DVR manufacturer Monsoon Multimedia to settle allegations that its BusyBox violated terms of the GNU General Public License, version 2. We’re unsure what happened, but two possibilities are the Free Software Foundation jumped the gun in filing the lawsuit, or Monsoon underestimated the Foundation’s resolve to litigate the case. Categories: Cases & Litigation; Licensing & Permissions; Open Source.
Christopher Price. Did Apple Violate Magnuson-Moss over iPhone Unlocks? Phone News. Sept. 24, 2007. An interesting analysis of the warranty and license implications inherent in Apple’s decision to “brick” any iPhone that has unauthorized software or changed network settings. Categories: Business & Commerce; DRM; Mobile Devices.
Anders Bylund. RIAA’s Day in Court Nearly Over. The Motley Fool. Sept. 24, 2007. The well-known financial site explains why it thinks the music industry’s litigation strategy of suing consumers over alleged infringement arising from so-called “file sharing” needs to end. When the financial press begins criticizing your strategy, then you know things are not going well. Categories: Cases & Litigation; Music.
Michael Robertson. My Business Failure – AnywhereCD. Sept. 24th, 2007. Founder Michael Robertson chronicles and laments the failure of his download initiative AnywhereCD. Categories: File, P2P, Downloads; First Sale; Music; Web & Online.
Jacqui Cheng. As Deadline Looms, Senate Still Debating Fate of Internet Tax Moratorium. ArsTechnica. Sept. 21, 2007. It is true the Internet tax moratorium is due to expire, but what electoral party wants to be known as the party that taxed the Internet just before a presidential election year? We can almost guarantee this moratorium will be extended — just as we can guarantee an increasing number of states will follow New York’s lead and tax goods bought on the Web in the same way it taxes sales of tangible personal property through traditional channels. Categories: Business & Commerce.
Matthew Belloni. Monroe, Money Fueling Right of Publicity Battle. The Hollywood Reporter. Sept. 14, 2007. Copyright is not the only form of intellectual property that is spiraling out of hand. Rights of publicity — or the right of a person to control his or her image or likeness — is the new, hot thing, especially among celebrities in the entertainment capitals of New York and California. Typically, one’s right of publicity ends at death, but a shocking California’s law grants right of publicity rights to a deceased’s estate 70 years after a person dies, meaning that California’s “life plus 70” right of publicity law lasts as long as today’s copyright term for individuals. Categories: Film & Video; Right of Publicity.
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