1709 Blog: for all the copyright community

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

The CopyKat - charming October blows in linking, trolling, singing, boycotting, copying and blocking

John Steele, one of the lawyers behind copyright-trolls Prenda Law, had previously been accused of stealing the identity of Alan Cooper, the caretaker of one of his properties, making him the CEO of one of the shell companies which Prenda used to bring copyright infringement claims. Now it seems there are allegations of a second identity theft - Boingboing have revealed that Steele's mother-in-law has accused him of forging signatures in the course of Prenda's somewhat controversial business.

The London School Of Economics' Media Policy Project has published a new paper disagreeing with the report from parliament's Culture, Media & Sport Select Committee that concluded that the "dilution of intellectual property rights" was jeopardising the UK's successful creative industries and calls on the UK government to review and possibly reform the DEA - and not implement the planned 'three strikes' provisions.  In particular the LSE seems to dispute that the music industry's claim that it has been economically hit by the rise in online file-sharing and piracy - using a growth in overall revenues as a guide - something that will no doubt annoy record labels as whilst they have seen a growth in digital sales, overall sales of recorded music have fallen - and they have almost no share of the booming live market - it's tickets sales for live shows and festivals and merchandise sales that have driven growth - not the copyright based business model used by labels. The LSE also don't believe that the various three strikes laws are working in countries where it has been implemented and the paper concludes: "We recommend a review of the DEA copyright enforcement measures in the light of the experience of France and countries that implemented a graduated response approach based on independent analysis of the social, cultural and political impacts of punitive copyright infringement enforcement targeting individuals".  You can read the LSE report here.

A group of copyright trade organizations in Iceland have filed a complaint, demanding that Internet Service Providers block The Pirate Bay and local torrent site Deildu.net. The groups, which represent the major record labels and movie studios, say they were left with no other options as all previous efforts to curb online piracy through these sites failed. Hrafn Gunnarsson, a member of Iceland’s Parliament for the Pirate Party, believes that the request is futile and overbroad. More on TorrentFreak

The Dehli High Court has heard a case brought by the Oxford University Press and the Cambridge University Press claiming copyright infringement against Delhi University: The University and Rameshwari Photocopy service, the other named party in the lawsuit, photocopy CUP and OUP textbooks in order to create affordable course packs for students in India. It's all caused quite a stir - a new campaign group, Jgatkaa.org, has been formed to try to force the universities to drop their lawsuit and Leki Thungon, student representative of Association of Students for Equitable Access for Knowledge, has said: “India is a country that has vast economic disparities. Saying students can afford to buy these books is absolutely unjust and ridiculous.” When the case was first filed more than 300 academics, including Nobel Laureate and former Master of Trinity College, Amartya Sen, released a collective statement saying: “As authors and educators we would like to place on record our distress at this act of the publishers, as we recognise the fact that in a country like India marked by sharp economic inequalities, it is often not possible for every student to obtain a personal copy of a book.” 33 of the letter’s signatories were authors published by the claimants.  The claimants have countered, telling Varsity "We are in full support of the creation of coursepacks, which can provide relevant segments of copyrighted works for students at affordable prices. Nor have we ever disputed the relevance or application of a fair dealing exception to copyright laws in certain circumstances. Publishers cannot, however, support the unlawful copying of work for wide dissemination and without remuneration, in breach of mandatory licensing schemes.

And in Thailand, popular Isan folk performers have said they will boycott songs owned by the GMM Grammy Group for live performances, saying they cannot afford the recently introduced annual copyright fee of 250,000 baht. Mor Lam performers in the North East and Central regions say the Grammy's charges, which cover up to 20 songs, are impossible for small and medium sized Mor Lam groups, all according to Pramual Seti, a researcher  at Khon Kaen Technical College. Ratree Sriwilai Bongsithiporn, 62, a teacher on Mor Lam music,said Mor Lam players in Khon Kaen and other 11 provinces in the North East will stop using Grammy songs on Oct 19 which is the end of Buddhist Lent. Image: a Khaen player in Isan: from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mor_lam

The Guardian reports that Google took down a record-breaking 5.3 million allegedly infringing links from its search engine in the last week of September 2013, equivalent to just under nine links every second. The data, released as part of Google's transparency report, shows a significant rise in the number of takedown notices filed by copyright holders to Google over the last year.

War is such a thing Children
More on linking: The Chinese author and noted history teacher, Yuan Tengfei, has failed in a lawuit against software company The9 Ltd: The author had sued for 283,000 yuan ($46,251) after he found his books listed on mobile phone reading software that the company developed. Yuan accused the company of uploading his books to its servers without his consent. The9 denied the accusation and in a notarized statement, said the search results that Yuan submitted as evidence were only links to other websites. Court staff then searched for Yuan's books using The9's software and discovered that by using the software listed Yuan's book they were unable to download the books directly:  However, the software did link users to other websites that seemed to host the books, but whether or not the books could be downloaded or not from those sites was not followed up it seems, and the Shanghai Pudong New Area People’s Court  held  that as The9 had showed that they did not host the books, these simple links could not constitute copyright infringement because providing links is protected under Chinese law.

In India, software giant Adobe Systems has filed a formal complaint with police alleging copyright violation by a photo studio for using unlicensed Photoshop software in Pardeshipura area. The move resulted in Pardeshipura police, along with officials from Adobe, raiding a studio and seized four CPUs. Pardeshipura TI Sudheer Das told reporters "Three persons from Adobe came to police station alleging copyright violation by Janta photo studio in our area .... so, we raided the studio and seized four CPUs" adding  "The CPUs were verified by the company officials in the police station and it was found that they are using pirated versions of the software."

The CopyKat had previously blogged about Universal Music's ill thought out actions in attacking  Lauren LoPrete and her Tumblr site, which mashes up Peanuts comics with Smiths lyrics - This Charming Charlie
After initially buckling to UMG's onslaught, LoPrete fought back (with help from some new legal friends) countering infringement claims with what was widely agreed was a pretty good example of 'fair use' - and by the end of September UMG had dropped the claim. Now a "deeply honoured" LoPrete has had a communication from the Smiths frontman himself - Morrissey - who wrote on the unofficial Morrissey fansite that he had “not been consulted over any takedown request to remove the Tumblr blog named 'This Charming Charlie'” and he “is delighted and flattered by the Peanuts comic strip with its use of  Morrissey-Smiths lyrics, and he hopes that the strips remain.”  In keeping with Tumblr’s policies, the panels that were removed at Universal behest are in the process of being restored on LoPrete’s Tumblr. A happy ending for all - which somehow ruins the entire "Smithness" of the whole story. Where's the gloom and doom .... "In my life
why do I smile .... at people who I'd much rather kick in the eye ..... I was happy in the haze of a drunken hour ...... but heaven knows I'm miserable now" (from Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now by Johnny Marr and Steven Patrick Morrissey, B/W Suffer Little Children, a slightly controversial song about the Moors murders in the early 1960s).  Morrissey is represented by Warner-Chappell Music Publishing,

And finally, it seems the City of London Police have written directly to one ex-UK domain name registrar and service provider, EasyDNS, threatening to report the company to ICANN unless they close sites which host alleged pirate content. TechEye.net say that there is no evidence presented to EasyDNS, nor any court order to back it up, nor is it clear who decided the sites were pirate sites. With domain names at risk, the owner of EasyDNS Mark Jeftovic pointed out in his blog (where you can see the Domain Name Suspension request) that there was a "lack of any semblance of due process when it comes to domain name takedowns."

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