Copycense Clippings (Jan. 2, 2008 to Jan. 7, 2008)
Editor’s note: Copycense writers and editors compiled this version of Clippings during our annual holiday break. It was published in mid-January.
Article of the Week
The Patry Copyright Blog. What RIAA Has Said About Home Taping. Jan. 7, 2007. Yes, Washington Post columnist Marc Fisher got the “RIAA says ripping to CD is illegal” story so very wrong. Unfortunately, what the RIAA has said about its stance on home taping (or ripping to CD) is clear as mud. Patry sifts through the RIAA’s stance on these issues, and gives credence to the contention that fuzziness in this area does consumers no good, especially since the RIAA has shown it will sue even if a rightful owner does anything that does not involve a paid license. Categories: Bundle of Rights; Fair Use & Other Exceptions; Music.
Quote of the Week
“[A] good sign of a dying industry that investors might want to avoid is when it would rather litigate than innovate, signaling a potential destroyer of value. If it starts to pursue paying customers — which doesn’t seem that outlandish at this point — then I guess we’ll all know the extent of the desperation. Investor, beware.” — The Motley Fool.
Alyce Lomax. We’re All Thieves to the RIAA. The Motley Fool. Jan. 2, 2008. The Fool, along with several other news outlets, reported the erroneous information that the RIAA argued ripping to CD is copyright infringement, an error we caught and explained in our Dec. 11 edition of Clippings. The key portion of this post is an investment Web site’s advice to readers to divest themselves of stock holdings in the four multinationals that include record companies among their holdings. If investment industry officials no longer have faith in your business model, that’s fatal. Categories: Business & Commerce; Music.
TorrentFreak. Oscars Veteran Resigns Over DVD Screener Piracy Threat. Jan. 5, 2008. The film award season always is a special time of year for those that think such things have life significance. It also means bucket loads of DVDs will criss-cross the country, as members of the Academy screen the films and are feted “for [their] consideration” of an Oscar nomination. Until recently, Oscar nominations or wins never factored into any sort of movie marketing. (We first recall a notable push to market a film’s quality based upon the number of Oscar winners when we saw trailers for the 2002 film Insomnia.) Now, every two-bit film that has a single nominee makes sure the audience knows that factoid. It’s as if the producers imply with this sort of marketing that “because we have this Academy Award winner and that Academy Award nominee, this film won’t be an utter and complete waste of $100 million (or more).”
But we digress.
Film distribution season also means that the films will get copied and, as always happens, find their way onto the Web. This is the first year we’ve heard about the Academy taking strong steps to halt the copying, and also the first time we’ve heard that an Academy member resigned in protest. We presume all the brouhaha is about protecting the nominated films’ lucrative downstream DVD market, but we’re sure screeners don’t like being made out to be criminals. Categories: DRM & Copy Restrictions; Film & Video.
Copycense™: Incisive IP.™
Clippings continue on the next page.
Trevor Maxwell. Maine Law Students Enter Battle on Downloading, Against Record Labels. Kennebec Journal & Morning Sentinel. Jan. 7, 2008. One could dismiss this as a typical “bringing to a knife to a gun fight” scenario. But after more than 15,000 Canadians organized and (at least temporarily) halted choke hold copyright legislation, we wondered if the copyright issue ever would gain such a level of citizen interest and outrage here in America. The actions of law students suggest a start. Categories: Cases & Litigation; Education; File Sharing, P2P & Downloads; Music.
Jason Victor Serinus. Reference Recordings Aims At Your Hard Drive. Stereophile. Jan. 5, 2008. In the December 2007 issue of Information Today, there is an article that discusses dissatisfaction with the MP3 format for listening to music. This article continues that thread, discussing a music server offering that streams WMV audio files in high resolution 24-bit audio and the possibility that such files may be made available without copy restriction technology. Categories: DRM & Copy Restriction; Music; Networks.
Catherine Holahan. Sony BMG Plans to Drop DRM. BusinessWeek. Jan. 4, 2008. This may have been news four years ago. Now it’s merely a reminder that the executives running the music labels are clueless. Meanwhile, Wired asks whether Sony’s downloads will be with or without watermarks. Categories: DRM & Copy Restriction; Music.
Melanie Lindner. A Hole In Crocs’ Patent Plans. Forbes.com. Jan. 4, 2007. The owners of the ubiquitous Crocs shoe fail to gain EU patent protection for their design. The resin-based material that the shoe consists of is patented in the U.S. Categories: International; Patent.
Alex Woodson. Study Rethinks Online Video Copyright. The Hollywood Reporter. Jan. 3, 2008. American University professors Pat Aufderheide and Peter Jaszi release the research report “Recut, Reframe, Recycle: Quoting Copryighted Material in User-Generated Video” (.pdf) at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The pair also co-authored a 2004 report on documentary film (.pdf). Categories: Film & Video; Web & Online.
Mike Elgan. I Want to Live in a Surveillance Society. Computerworld. Jan. 3, 2008. We’ve heard before the argument that one of the the best ways to limit privacy violations is to subject everyone (including government and law enforcement officials) to the very same surveillance they seek to impose on citizens. This article expresses a related view, namely when we discuss privacy and security, we should pay as much attention to keeping public what should be public as we pay to keeping private what should be private. Categories: Privacy & Security.
Thomas Claburn. Antitrust Lawsuit Charges Apple With Monopolizing Online Music. InformationWeek. Jan. 3, 2008. A consumer is suing Apple (which holds 6 or 4 percent of the personal computer market, depending on whether the measure is machines or operating system) for engaging in monopolistic behavior in the online multimedia market. Although Apple controls a share of three-quarters (or more) of online music or video, we’d be surprised if this story is the only thing we hear about this lawsuit. Categories: Antitrust; Film & Video; Music; Web & Online.
Wolfe’s Den (InformationWeek). RIAA Behaving Badly; Let’s Cut Their Copyright Privileges. Jan. 2, 2008. IW columnist Alexander Wolfe proposes copyright terms for corporations be cut to five years. This will not happen in our lifetimes, but overly long copyright terms — for everyone — is an issue worth discussing. Categories: Music; Public Domain & Term.
The Wired Campus (Chronicle of Higher Education). Bucking Music Piracy Accusations at the U. of Washington. Jan. 2, 2008. Another sign that universities increasingly are reversing their former stance on file sharing lawsuit subpoenas, which reflexively shuttled requested information to the RIAA’s local counsel. As the file sharing lawsuit campaign becomes less pro forma, we wonder when local counsel (which the RIAA uses to file these lawsuits) begins to balk at accepting the work because the litigation sucks up too many resources from their respective practices. Categories: Cases & Litigation; Education; File Sharing, P2P & Downloads; Music.
Rewind: Stories We Missed
(Interesting stories we noticed after we sent previous editions to press.)
Pogue’s Posts (The New York Times). The Generational Divide in Copyright Morality. Dec. 20, 2007. Times technology columnist does a straw poll with college students about the alleged illegality of various copyright scenarios and no one sees anything wrong. Teens’ and college students resistance to any copyright protection or rules is worthy of an extended study. And a real study with real data, not something an entertainment industry lobbying firm cooks up so they can trot the results out to Congress while begging for yet another extension of the already overbroad monopoly. Categories: Bundle of Rights; DRM & Copy Restrictions; Education.
Copycense™: Incisive IP.™