1709 Blog: for all the copyright community

Friday, 10 October 2014

Friday's CopyKat is a snappy Katty

We have recently posted a couple of blogs looking at the position of hardworking professional photographers who feel somewhat let down by the current copyright regime. No, not the Getty Iamages of this world, but the likes of inspect photographer Alex Wild who takes brillant shots and just wants to make an honest living. Well, now we have Pixsy, a new automated copyright infingement software that looks to help photographers around the globe tackle an issue that plagues the industry and for the most part goes unresolved - "Fighting copyright infringement can be a long and costly ordeal and Pixsy hopes to be your one stop solution for fair compensation.". For a disfferent perspective, TechDirt have more to say on this.

A U.S. judge has thrown out a screenwriter's copyright suit accusing Academy Award-nominated director Neill Blomkamp of stealing his screenplay and turning it into the 2013 movie “Elysium.”. U.S. District Court Judge Phyllis J. Hamilton granted Blomkamp and co-defendants Sony Pictures, TriStar Pictures and others a summary judgment against writer Steve Wilson Briggs, who claimed that Blomkamp read his screenplay called “Butterfly Driver” online and turned it into his film starring Matt Damon. Both stories are set in a futuristic world in which the protagonists leave Earth for a satellite space city, but the shared aspects are only abstract, Hamilton wrote in her decision. More here

In Nigeria a group of copyright owners under the auspices of Concerned Copyright and Intellectual Property Owners (CCIPO) have decried "the monopoly imposed on the business of collecting societies in the copyright sector of the economy" by "a cabal in the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC)". CCIPO says this negates the spirit of President Goodluck Jonathan’s Transformation Agenda, which centres on the observance of the rule of law and opening up of the nation’s economy to enable all Nigerians participate. The group also called for the implementation of the December 18, 2013, House of Representatives’ resolution directing the NCC to immediately de-monopolise the collective administration of copyright, particularly the business of royalty collection in the entertainment industry.

And more from Nigeria - Linda Ikeji, owner of one of the top ten most visited websites in Nigeria, is seemingly facing being taken offline by Google because her site allegedly contains infringing images and recycled text.  A social commentator on Twitter (@MrAyeDee) tweeted that Google had responded to his complaints about  Ikeji using his content without compensating him or giving recognition to the original author. Ikeji responded to the news in a blog post titled "To the guys that want to take down LIB, here's a message to you...lol"  saying "I admit that I take content from other sites. Plenty of it sef, but the question is, which website in the world doesn't?" before adding "So Mr Aye Dee, Mr EE, Mr #bringmedown or whoever you are and Jeremy Weate (look who is talking ..lol) and all the others talking, I am not afraid of you! You didn't bring me this far and you're not enough to bring me down" and commenting that the reason she was being attacked was because of the success of her blog - which earns her an estimated $900,000 per annum (N140M).

Rights holders could lose even more control over their content if they take cases to court to test new copyright exceptions, Professor Ian Hargreaves, the Cardiff Ubiversity academic whose proposals prompted the new laws has exclusively told Out-Law.com. As this theor exclusive why not head over to thier website to see more. 

In Canada it seems that the Conservative government is planning to change Canada’s copyright law to allow political parties to use content published and broadcast by news organisations for free in their own political ads. An internal Conservative cabinet document obtained by CTV News details an amendment to the Copyright Act which would allow “free use of ‘news’ content in political advertisement intended to promote or oppose a politician or political party.” The amendment would also remove “the need for broadcasters to authorize the use of their news content.” And it would force media outlets to run political ads even if their own footage and content was used in a negative message to voters. More from CTV News here and CBC here. Heritage Minister Shelly Glover was reported as saying "There is a public interest in ensuring that politicians are accountable for their actions and accountable for what they say in public settings" and "Major television networks should not be able to censor what can and cannot be broadcast to Canadians. We believe this has always been protected under the fair dealings provisions of the law, and if greater certainty is necessary, we will provide it." Comments from Michael Geist and video footage from both sides of the argument here.

Reuters report that Google has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to wade into the contentious litigation against Oracle Corp, arguing that the court must act to protect innovation in techology. Google is seeking to overturn an appeals court ruling that found Oracle could copyright parts of the Java programming language, which Google used to design its Android smartphone. The three-judge U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington reversed this decision of Judge William Alsup in the District Court saying "We conclude that a set of commands to instruct a computer to carry out desired operations may contain expression that is eligible for copyright protection". The EFF had previously gathered together 32 computer scientists and tech industry leaders to support an amicus brief  to the appellate court arguing that  APIs should not be copyrightable because they are critical to spurring innovation and inter-operability in the tech world. In its filing this week, Google said the company would never been able to innovate had the Federal Circuit's reasoning been in place when the company was formed.  More on this here.

And finally: the citizens' initiative in Finland to amend laws regarding copyright violations, which was partly spurred on by the 2012 police raid on the home of a young girl who had illegally downloaded music onto her 'winnie-the-pooh' computer is likely to fail. The 'Common sense for copyright' proposal, which 50,00 citizens signed up to,  would water down sanctions for illegal downloading of both music and movies by private individuals (although penalties for 'commercial' sharing and wholesale downloading would be retained). Format shifting woulld be legalised and other exceptions to copyright rewritten, and these would include a 'fair use'exceptionThe Finnish Parliament's Education and Culture Committee is proposing that a citizens' initiative on making copyright laws more lenient be rejected.  More here.

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