Friday 4 April 2014

The CopyKat + Inspiration = Happiness

Education was mentioned quite a few times at the IPKat's inspirational Online Copyright + Enforcement = Happiness seminar at Bristows this week, and now it seems much-loved animated character Postman Pat is to play a role in inspiring younger film fans to choose official content. Today, April 4th, pro-copyright consumer education body the Industry Trust for IP Awareness and Lionsgate UK  launches an exclusive Postman Pat: The Movie trailer in cinemas nationwide, adding to the vast catalogue of movie trailers that form the industry’s successful ‘Moments Worth Paying For’ campaign,  and includes bespoke footage of Postman Pat and his sidekick Jess - another feline friend - signposting fans to for guaranteed real movie experiences, whilst also thanking them for supporting those who worked behind the scenes by buying their cinema ticket.

The Nova Scotia government has reached a settlement in a copyright and moral rights case involving the Bluenose II with the family of the famous schooner's original designer. The dispute arose in 2012 after the Roue family launched a lawsuit against the provincial government alleging that it infringed on their copyright and moral rights by using William J. Roue's drawings in the Bluenose II restoration. Under the terms of the agreement announced Friday, the government would pay the Roue family $300,000, including legal fees, and neither the province nor the family would acknowledge or admit liability.

Also mentioned at the IPKat seminar, so admirably organised by Jeremy and Eleonora, was the news that the City Of London Police's Intellectual Property Crime Unit has announced a new campaign calling on advertisers and brands to cut off the revenue streams of websites providing access to unlicensed content.

And another topic focussed on at the IPKat seminar, where Google's Simon Morrison was a speaker, were DMCA take downs: And somewhat conveniently, YouTube's ContentID system of auto takedowns is in the spotlight - after footage of a live stream of the US House of Representatives' Appropriations Committee, having a budget hearing on the judiciary, was taken down with an apparent copyright claim from Spanish language broadcasters Telemundo and Univision. Surely some mistake .........

And more on YouTube; The Recording Industry Association Of America has secured a subpoena from a federal court in California ordering YouTube to reveal the IP address, email and any other contact info available about a user who uploaded two new unreleased Chris Brown tracks to the video platform earlier this year.

Russian social networking company vKontakte, Russia's equivalent of Facebook with over 100 million active users,
is facing copyright litigation from all three major music groups. Sony, Universal and Warner have all filed separate legal proceedings in the Saint Petersburg & Leningradsky Region Arbitration Court, with Russian music industry trade group NFMI and global recorded music industry body the IFPI both backing the action. The record labels want vKontakte to remove infringing works from its website and are asking the court to require that the website implement measures such as audio-fingerprinting to prevent unauthorized uploads of the labels’ songs. The IFPI confirmed that the labels are also seeking just over 50 million roubles (US$1.4 million) in damages, it added. The site lets copyright holders request the blocking or removal of infringing content, but it is a time consuming process and can also require that they obtain a court order before it complies with their request, making this process “heavily weighted towards the individual who uploaded the infringing material,” IFPI said. On its site, vKontakte states: “The Site Administration has no right to undertake the roles of law enforcement or judicial authorities and objectively cannot evaluate if particular Content on the Site is legal or illegal. If a dispute arises, the applicant is advised to seek help from law enforcement authorities and the court of law".  In May 2012, the Saint Petersburg appeals court upheld an earlier ruling by the Commercial Court of Saint Petersburg that found vKontakte liable for copyright infringement.

On May 7th, The City University Law School host a seminar by Dr Benjamin Farrand looking at why are some lobbyists looking to seek reform to copyright law more successful than others in having their preferred policy outcomes taken into account?. Its between 1pm and 3pm and the title is "Networks of power in digital copyright law and policy". Dr Farrand is Lecturer in Intellectual Property Law and Policy at the University of Strathclyde. His research predominantly focuses on the interaction between political processes and intellectual property law, with particular interest in principles of networked governance, technology regulation and human enhancement technologies: So this from City: "Success in 'lobbying' for changes in copyright law is the result of complex network relationships, perceptions of industry expertise, and the comparatively low political importance of copyright reform to European citizens. By presenting a number of case studies, including the implementation of the Information Society Directive in 2001, the Enforcement Directive in 2004 and the Term Extension Directive in 2011, Dr Benjamin Farrand will argue that an active entertainment industry has been more able to influence legislation than academics or user rights organisations due to a combination of expert knowledge and low media attention. However, the entertainment industry is less able to influence the development of copyright law when media attention and political salience are high, as in the case of the European Parliament rejection of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement." More here

Pat and that cat
Back to the IPKat seminar: apart from being streamed live, recordings of all of the talks on the day along with each speaker's powerpoints will be available very soon. No session is more than 20 minutes long (well done to the speakers to sticking to time - always appreciated) so keep an eye on the IPKat for details.  

Giancarlo Bettini, the owner of Slysoft, a company that offers DVD-ripping tools, has been fined $30,000 for six offences that violated Antigua’s copyright law in an action brought by major Hollywood studios and their technology partners. It was made more complicated by the 2013 WTO ruling that exempted Antigua and Barbuda from US copyrights, to allow the island state to recoup the damages the US owed from an earlier ruling that invalidated the United States’ total prohibition on cross-border online gambling services. Here the litigants (AACSLA) used anti-circumvention provisions in Antigua's Copyright Act of 2003, which resulted in criminal convictions on six counts. The Copyright Act makes it an offence to manufacture "any device or means specifically designed or adopted to circumvent any device or means intended to prevent or restrict reproduction of work, a phonogram or a broadcaster to impair the quality of copies made.”

And finally, a  a scandal involving Peru's collection society, the Peruvian Association of Authors and Composers (APDAYC), has prompted no less thirteen bills before the legislature, seeking to change different parts of Legislative Decree 822, which governs copyright law of Peru. Some of these bills propose changing specific rules on how collecting societies operate (stemming from the allegations made in recent months against the APDAYC) but there are also proposals for even deeper reforms. Some proposals include new exceptions and limitations for domestic purposes, non-profit activities, libraries, small businesses and religious activities. More on TechDirt here.

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