Copycense Clippings (Oct. 30 to Nov. 5, 2007)
The latest edition of Copycense Clippings features game theory; a writer’s strike; recording labels passing the plate; and file sharing defendant Jammie Thomas pitching unmentionables.
Article of the Week
Michael A.M. Lerner. The New Nostradamus. Good. Oct. 1, 2007. We wonder if Viacom, AAP, or Google has retained NYU political science professor Bruce Bueno de Mesquita to determine the outcome of their respective copyright infringement cases? Bueno de Mesquita uses game theory, a form of applied mathematics that analyzes strategic interactions between two actors, and assists in decision making. (Most people recognize basic game theory from a simple game called “the prisoner’s dilemma.”) Conceptually, game theory always has appealed to us, but we’ve never sought to investigate it because math gives us the willies. This article is a good, straightforward profile of Bueno de Mesquita and game theory concepts, and even mentions Bueno de Mesquita’s use of the theory in litigation. Categories: Cases & Litigation; Fair Use & Other Exceptions; Research.
Brooks Barnes. Writers on the Picket Line Would Feel a Varying Pinch. The New York Times. Nov. 5, 2007. In the first strike since 1988, the coastal branches of the Writer’s Guild of America go out on strike. Among the contentious issues is how writers will be compensated for new, unforeseen manifestations of their work online and through things like podcasts. Categories: Broadcasting & Journalism; Film & Video.
Broadcaster. Broadcasters Denounce Music Labels’ Copyright Demand. Nov. 5, 2007. While this story is set in Canada, American music companies have been spouting the same refrain with more regularity over the past two years. Historically, the two industries have been symbiotic and mutually supportive, but with recording labels grasping for new business models, it has chosen to slap two hands (consumers’ and broadcasters) that have put food on their table. In the States, though, the broadcasting lobby is one of the strongest in the nation, and its power puts that of the music lobby to comparative shame. Hell could freeze over, but it’s unlikely: that’s about as much chance as the music lobby has of getting broadcasters to pay more royalties. Categories: Broadcasting & Journalism; Music.
Ellen Nakashima. Librarians Say Surveillance Bills Lack Adequate Oversight. WashingtonPost.com. Nov. 2, 2007. Both bills would replace a temporary law that amends the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, and would eliminate the requirement that the government demonstrate “probable cause” that a foreign person is a terrorist or a spy. Libraries are concerned the proposed legislation would work in ways similar to the national security letters that some libraries have received. Categories: Libraries & Information Science; Legislation & Regulation; Privacy & Security.
Joseph J. Esposito. Open Access 2.0. The Scientist. November 2007. Publisher consultant Esposito reasons that the key to successful open access ventures is neither “either” nor “or,” but “and” and both. Categories: Books; Open Access; Science & Medicine.
Nate Anderson. Can Bloggers Be Journalists? Federal Court Says Yes. ArsTechnica. Oct. 31, 2007. In a case that pitted a person venting about an alleged, poor consumer experience and the vendor that sued for defamation because of that venting, Ars notes judge Judge Henry Hurlong, Jr. has established a “functional analysis” for determining who qualifies as a journalist; this analysis focuses on the content (instead of the material’s format) determine whether a piece of writing is journalism. Categories: Broadcasting & Journalism; Cases & Litigation.
Julie Hilden. “The Family Guy” Once Again Tests Parody’s Limits: The Copyright Suit Challenging the Show’s Use of “When You Wish Upon a Star.” FindLaw. Oct. 31, 2007. The copyright holder for “When You Wish Upon A Star” sues a popular television show, raising issues about the clash between copyright and parody. Categories: Broadcasting & Journalism; Cases & Litigation.
Sean Gallagher. Senate Panel Blesses Community Broadband. InternetNews.com. Oct. 31, 2007. The Community Broadband Act of 2007 would allow municipalities to install free Wi-Fi networks without being forced to contract through existing commercial providers. Currently, 14 states have laws requiring that municipalities avoid competing with commercial broadband providers. Categories: Legislation & Regulation; Web & Online.
Eric Bangeman. Show Your Feelings Towards the RIAA With… Thong Underwear. ArsTechnica. Oct. 31, 2007. So this is what things have come to for Jammie Thomas. Categories: Cases & Litigation; File Sharing, P2P & Downloads.
John Timmer. Prof Replaces Term Papers with Wikipedia Contributions, Suffering Ensues. ArsTechnica. Oct. 30, 2007. Quite an interesting educational project attempted by University of Washington-Bothell professor Martha Groom. Equally interesting is the Wikipedia community’s apparent sharp rebuke of the initiative. Groom presented her experience at EDUCAUSE 2007. Categories: Education; Web & Online.
News Blog (News.com). Mother Protects YouTube Clip By Suing Prince. Oct. 30, 2007. All of this makes for quasi-interesting reading for about two minutes, but is a countersuit the proper response to what most agree is Universal’s an egregious use of the DMCA takedown procedures? Certainly, we think Universal should be punished legally for such a brazen, abusive use of the Copyright Act. Some could argue reasonably that the public relations beating the company is taking far exceeds the utility of any judge-mandated sanction. But like we wrote with respect to Jammie Thomas, this case is beginning to seem more like a publicity stunt (the purpose of which is to appease private parties) than a way to use the legal process to highlight an area where important policy and legislative changes need be made. Categories: Cases & Litigation; DMCA; Music; Web & Online.
R. Robin McDonald. Focus on Copyright. Daily Report. Oct. 30, 2007. Major publishers and library associations have filed amicus briefs supporting a publisher in the third iteration of an 11th Circuit case whereby a freelance photographer seeks back royalties from The National Geographic Society based upon its publication of his photos in a CD-ROM compilation of the Society’s flagship publication. Our regular readers probably thought this issue had been decided long ago: in 2001, the 11th Circuit ruled in favor of photographer Jerry Greenberg, holding that National Geographic’s CD magazine library was a “new product … in a new medium for a new market” that required Greenberg to receive additional compensation. In June 2007, though, the 11th Circuit revisited this issue and, citing New York Times v. Tasini, reversed its earlier decision and found in favor of National Geographic. Finally, the 11th Circuit vacated its second Greenberg opinion, and has decided to hear the case before its full complement of judges. Oral arguments in the third case are scheduled to occur in February 2008. Categories: Cases & Litigation; Remixes & Derivative Works; Visual Art.
Cory Doctorow. Policing the Net Will Never Work. Guardian Unlimited. Oct. 30, 2007. Boing Boing writer Doctorow opines that YouTube’s plan to ban “infringing” material from its Web site is doomed to fail. We place “infringing” in quotes because YouTube’s plan is a reaction to a false presumption that any unlicensed use on YouTube of a copyrighted work, directly or as a derivative work, automatically constitutes actionable copyright infringement. The copyright exceptions in Sections 107 through 122, however, clearly say otherwise. Categories: Fair Use; Film & Video; Web & Online.
News Blog (News.com). Ban on Net Access Taxes Extended to 2014. Oct. 30, 2007. Right before an election year, this was a no-brainer. Beware, however, states (like New York) who pass use taxes. Categories: Business & Commerce; Legislation & Regulation; Web & Online.
Rewind: Stories We Missed
(Interesting stories we noticed after we sent previous editions to press.)
Center for Internet & Society. Why, Diddy? Why? Oct. 18, 2007. The Sixth Circuit affirms (.pdf) horrendous precedent in the Notorious B.I.G. sampling case. (We wrote about this case in March 2006.) Commentator Anthony Falzone asks why the legal representatives for defendant Sean “Diddy” Combs never sought a fair use defense for using the sample in the first place. Categories: Cases & Litigation; Fair Use & Other Exceptions; Music.
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