1709 Blog: for all the copyright community

Sunday, 4 August 2013

The CopyKat: Kiwis, eagles and mockingbirds - all on this Kat's takeaway menu.


Viacom has asked for a new judge it its now seven year battle with YouTube saying in papers filed to the appellate court (Second Circuit) "Given the protracted nature of this litigation (the case is now well into its seventh year) and the evident firmness of the district court’s erroneous views regarding the DMCA, this Court should exercise its discretion to remand the case to a different judge 'to preserve the appearance of justice.” Viacom believes that the popular video sharing site  “made a deliberate effort to avoid guilty knowledge" - a fact-finding mission that Viacom believes deserves a trial.

YouTube co-founder Chad Hurley has told the Austrialian Financial Review that people should be able to see any program anywhere at anytime saying “I think the business models are breaking down and the companies that are going to win in this new world are the ones that make it as easy as possible for the consumers to consume the content wherever and whenever they want.”

Rather amusingly it seems that Microsoft has sent a series of takedown notices to Google asking the online giant to takedown ‘infringing material’ that happens to reside on its own official Microsoft websites, including Microsoft's official store, Microsoft's official support page, Microsoft's official Office page and the main Microsoft.com page. The DCMA takedowns were sent by LeakID on behalf of Microsoft. In other news, Google say that by adding up all the weekly takedown numbers it estimates that since January this year it has been asked to remove over 105,300,000 links to infringing URLs. Today, most of these URLs fail to appear in Google's search results. While the takedown requests appear to be levelling off a little, the 100+ million URLs is already double the number Google processed for the whole of 2012. And following in the footsteps of Google, Twitter says copyright takedown requests are up 76% on the final six month period of 2012.


Despite new laws to protect them, it seems most major German publishers have allowed Google to keep using their content on its news page. However, they insist that their dispute with the search giant over payment for content isn’t over. German publishers including Axel Springer – whose publications include the newspapers Die Welt and Bild – had lobbied for German copyright law to be extended to cover the snippets of stories Google displays in its News service. They also lobbied for search engines to pay publishers to display these news snippets. But it’s one of several big German publishers that have apparently opted into Google News.


Former Radio 1 DJ Judge Jules is joining London based firm Sheridans as a trainee in September. He said he plans to continue as a DJ in his own time.

The U.S. Department of Commerce has released a green paper on Copyright Policy, Creativity, and Innovation in the Digital Economy to advance discussion on a set of policy issues critical to economic growth. The report is a product of the Department of Commerce’s Internet Policy Task Force (IPTF) with input from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) who will solicit further public comments and convene roundtables and forums on a number of key policy issues. In the Green Paper, the IPTF proposes establishing a multistakeholder dialogue on improving the operation of the notice and takedown system under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and soliciting public comment and convening roundtables on the legal framework for the creation of remixes; The relevance and scope of the first sale doctrine in the digital environment; The application of statutory damages in the context of individual file-sharers and secondary liability for large-scale online infringement; and the appropriate role for the government, if any, to help improve the online licensing environment, including access to comprehensive public and private databases of rights information. It also reiterates the administration's support for legislation creating a performance right for broadcasting sound recordings -- something broadcasters are strongly opposed to. http://www.broadcastingcable.com/article/494810-IPTF_Proposes_New_Look_at_Copyright_Fair_Use_Online.php

In our last CopyKat, we reported on House Judiciary Committee, which launched a “comprehensive review” of copyright law, and the Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet’s hearing on “Innovation in America: The Role of Technology.”  Week One heard from content owners such as Getty Images whose business model is built on exploiting – and protecting – their copyrights: In contrast, in Week Two  the Committee had witnesses who included organisations that have employed alternative models to profit from the creation of works:  Indiegogo provides a crowd-sourcing platform that allows fans to support artists and their projects directly (while taking a 4 percent cut);  Rackspace developed with NASA an open source cloud computing system, OpenStack. Rackspace makes the OpenStack code and documentation freely available, and derives revenue from providing services built on OpenStack; SparkFun Electronics manufactures and sells 450 open source electronics components. For any component, SparkFun expects to have three months exclusivity before the component is copied by a competitor. Thereafter, SparkFun competes by improving the component and providing better customer support.  It incorporates innovations developed by competitors, and then adds its own. It maintains its market share through constant innovation rather than assertion of IP rights. It will be interesting to see what the Committee makes of such divergent models and the tension between the possibilities offered by new – disruptive – technologies, and traditional business models. Comment from DisCo – the DisruptiveCompetition Project -  here. And comment on New Zealand's proposed legislative reforms for copyright and IP in light of the TPP (Trans Pacific Partnership) negotiations here.

PolicyMic have an interesting blog on the role of the literary agent in the modern world. With the recent spat over the copyright in ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ and the actions of  Samuel Pinkus, “the sleazy literary agent who took advantage of the 87-year-old Lee, tricking her into assigning him the copyright, worth millions a year", blog writer Frederica Hill suggests that Pinkus makes a compelling villain, but the story can also be read as a collision between two understandings of the principles and practices of an agent and Hill says “In the golden age of publishing, the ideal agent invested personally in what he represented: a book’s first reader and advocate, an author’s therapist, and the lowballing publisher’s worst nightmare. In this model was Eugene Winick, Harper Lee’s agent and lawyer for most of her career and the father-in-law of Sam Pinkus”. There’s much more and you can access the article here: 
http://www.policymic.com/articles/57877/to-kill-a-mockingbird-s-copyright-fight-is-an-important-lesson-for-all-writers

1 comment:

Ken Moon said...

Re New Zealand and TPP, while the copyright review has been postponed there are no proposed copyright legislative reforms in the wings, let alone more general (and unspecified) IP reforms as suggested in this blog. The review proposed back in 2008 was to see whether NZ's 2008 digital copyright amendments needed retuning after 5 years.

Copyright features like excepting audio format shifting from infringement and restricting anti-circumvention of TPMs law to the life of copyright, which are still absent in certain prominent jurisdictions were made in NZ in 2008.

Postponing the review and its costs until more is known about the final IP proposals for TPP is sensible for any government supporting Free Trade Agreements and unfortunately in NZ the opposition also supported a US Free Trade Agreement. How they can do this on the evidence from Canada and Australia's experience is a mystery.