Friday 18 September 2015

The CopyKat - pirates, treasure and safe habours ahoy!

Ahoy me hearties! To celebrate International Talk Like a Pirate Day on the 19th of September, the CopyKat is taking a look at all things piratical, and in true buccaneering styleeee, he hopes that all scurvy sea dogs are safely in their kennels, safely out of reach of his cat o' nine tails. So, hoist the mainsail, shiver me timbers, gawd save us all from Davy Jones's locker, and when you are out and about today remember is 'ahoy' not 'hello', it's never too late to get someone to walk the plank, swash your buckle, remember treasure is still treasure and finders are surely keeperrsrrrr, and so its yo-ho-ho and a bottle of rum, and time to talk like a pirate! A Pirate's Lexicon can be found here. Oh - and this image - it's is mine, all mine!

When the makers of an anti-piracy advert approached independent musician Melchior Rietveldt asking him to make music for an advertisement that would be used at a local film festival to fight piracy. he was happy to sign up! But it seems the ad makers liked Mr. Rietveldt's work so much they the used it in over 71 DVDs and pre-movie ads in dozens of regions, including the USA.  Mr. Rietveldt never received any compensation and was unaware of this infringement - which some might also call piracy - until he watched a DVD copy of a Harry Potter movie and was shocked to hear the track he composed. It gets worse - his collection society, Daily Tech reports that Buma/Stemra (Buma was recently in the news over a secret  'kickback' scheme it was operating) then got involved - but then a director of the collection society offered to 'collect' royalties through his own company for a 33% share of revenues. All a bit odd? Well yes! In June, Buma/Stemra agreed to pay over €31,000 - but by now Mr. Rietveldt had launched a law suit in place and this week he was awarded another €60,000, plus legal fees, while Buma/Stemra was most certainly in the naughty boys corner. More on Daily Tech here.

A right wing video attacking the newly elected leader of the UK's Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn has been taken down from YouTube after it was found to infringe copyright. The video showed footage of the new Labour leader's controversial comments on a range of topics before warning that the prospect of him in Downing Street was a "threat to Britain's security". However it was found to contain material owned by one Adrian Cousins, in which Corbyn calls for Nato to be scrapped. No one asked Cousins for  his permission and he duly submitted a takedown request to YouTube to remove the pirate video. And so it was taken down - although after a hasty re-edit the video re-appeared and is back up again on the Conservative Party's Facebook page.

Davy Jones's Locker, by John Tenniel, 1892
Adult movie studio Malibu Media has received a slap on the wrist from New York federal judge Katherine Forrest. The company, often criticised as a copyright 'troll', had asked the court permission to interrogate the neighbours and spouse of an accused downloader - but this was a tactic that the court equated to harassment with Judge Forrest saying "Plaintiff may not subpoena neighbors or Defendant’s significant other based on the current record. As to the neighbors, Plaintiff would be engaged in a fishing expedition and/or harassment of defendant (by way of causing embarrassment/humiliation)." More on Malibu from Artstechnica here.

The UK's IPO tells us that the National Copyright Administration of China (NCAC) has published a draft of revised Implementing Measures for the Administrative Enforcement of Copyright. The deadline for submitting comments to the consultation is September 30. Areas under revision include liability of network service providers, thresholds for constituting “serious infringement” and other timelines and procedures for administrative enforcement cases. More here (in Chinese).

Judgement at the Federal High Court in Lagos has been adjourned until October 30, 2015 in the alleged copyright infringement case instituted by popular Nigerian musician, King Sunny Ade. The seven defendants in the suit, filed in 2007, include musical records and cassettes marketers and a cassette jacket printer in Nigeria. Sunny Ade is seeking damages in the sum of N3bn from the defendants for alleged copyright infringement on 43 works categorised as singles, extended, series and others. Ade is also seeking a court order directing the defendants to deliver to him the master tapes of the said musical works.

Safe harbour?
One of the music industry's ongoing targets is a wholesale revision of 'safe harbour' (or even 'safe harbor') provisions in both the European Union and the United States of America - arguing that they both facilitate piracy and disadvantage properly licensed services. Now another 'search engine' is on the horizon, no doubt aiming to take advantage of those generous protections,  but one that has already been labelled as both the "new Grooveshark" and the "Popcorn Time of music". So what is it? Well its called Aurous and  
the new music platform that grabs content from P2P sharing networks and other online platforms (Aurous can easily import all your favourite playlists from other services like Spotify, Pandora  ....) - and is set to go live on Mac, Windows and Linux from next month, albeit in an alpha testing format. Planned funding reportedly will come primarily from banner adverts. Presuming Aurous will have a  functioning take down system - will it be accepted as legitimate? Or go the way of The Pirate Bay, Grooveshark and Limewire and face significant (or terminal) challenges for copyright infringement - whether directly or indirectly facilitating violations? That remains to be seen. For now, unfurl the spinnaker, hoist the mainsail, scuttle the jib and weigh anchors!

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