Thursday 1 October 2015

The CopyKat - Holy haberdashery, Batman!

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has confirmed a 2012 District Court judgment that held that the Batmobile's bat-like appearance and other distinct attributes, including its high-tech weaponry, attract opyright protection that can't be replicated without permission from DC Comics, the copyright holder. "As Batman so sagely told Robin, 'In our well-ordered society, protection of private property is essential,'" Judge Sandra Ikuta wrote for the three-judge panel. In its ruling, the 9th Circuit said that Mark Towle advertised each $90,000 replica as the "Batmobile," and used the domain name to market his business. He also advertised that the replicas would get noticed because of the Batmobile's fame, the court said. Come on, Robin, to the Bat Cave! There's not a moment to lose! and more Batman and Robin quotes here

The CEO and chairman of the RIAA has said that the current notice and takedown anti-piracy process is both costly and increasingly pointless. Cary Sherman says the USA's safe harbor provisions contained in the DMCA have forced labels into a "never-ending game" of whack-a-mole while sites under its protection effectively obtain a discount music licensing system clarly highlighting the frustration the major record labels and their Hollywood counterparts feel about framework designed to facilitate the removal of infringing content on the Internet. More on TorrentFreak here. Sherman also commemnted on “the flawed licensing regime in which we have to operate” saying “Government-set licensing has enabled services like Sirius XM to use music at below-market rates, based on a decades-old subsidy that has long outlived its purpose” adding “Even worse, under current law, AM/FM radio broadcasters pay absolutely nothing for the sound recordings they use to draw listeners and generate billions of dollars in revenue. In a marketplace that values innovation, it’s ironic that it’s the legacy technologies enjoying government-granted economic benefits and competitive advantage” and "while the music industry has embraced new technology and business models, the beneficiaries of this broken system cling to this antiquated law that was enacted at the turn of the century, well before the modern Internet and today’s most advanced (and unimagined) technologies". More on CMU here.  

National Music Publishers Association (NMPA) boss David Israelite, responding to an argument from Pandora which suggested that the majority of US citizens won't pay for streaming, has said that 'free' music is devastating for songwriters saying "Pandora is keeping 54% of its revenue, and sharing only around 4% with the creators who write the songs. That means Pandora believes that delivering songs over an Internet connection is somehow worth more than 13 times the songs themselves. There is no news, no sports, no weather, no comedy – only music. Yet the music creators get less than 5% of the revenue generated from the service" citing Taylor Swift who famously said last year “I'm not willing to contribute my life's work to an experiment that I don't feel fairly compensates the writers, producers, artists and creators of this music. And I just don't agree with perpetuating the perception that music has no value and should be free.”   La Roux. tweeted this week: "Thanks for the £100 for this quarter [Spotify] more month and I might be able to afford your premium service. Lucky me!" Separately Pandora CEO Brian McAndrews told reporters that Pandora had now paid out a historical  $1.5 billion in royalties saying: "I am proud of our enormous royalty contributions, and our progress on building on a broader vision for the future of music. We are very passionate about our mission to help artists find their audience and help listeners find their music - music they love, that moves them, that they personally connect with - and we are achieving significant momentum".

A company called  Library Ideas LLC has spent the past five years pioneering a 'free' streaming model in one of the only places you might expect one nowerdays: The public library. The service is called Freegal, and in August the Watsonville Public Library opened an account. As long as the branch pays an annual fee, patrons can stream thousands of artists from a wide variety of record labels, including major labels, many under Sony Music’s large umbrella. Cardholders can log in from anywhere — they don’t need to be inside the library — and they’re allowed up to three hours of streaming per day and three free downloads per week - but there is a cost - a cost to the library of about $4,000 per annum. Another service, . Hoopla, serves 816 libraries across North America. Its pricing structure differs from Freegal’s — libraries only pay for content that patrons borrow and the service extends to eBooks and DVDs. Both services say recording artistes (via labels) and music publishers (and thus songwriters) get paid, the later through performing right organisations. More here.

Germany's national arbitration board on copyright has rejected German copyright collection company VG Media suggested six per cent “Google Tax”. Although the ancillary copyright tax law applies to Google, the board, which is part of the German Patent Trademark Office (DPMA), said VG’s request for six per cent of Google's German revenue was far too high. VG had already reduced its demands from 11% according to the Register.

And finally ..... another  fake Facebook copyright message claiming to protect users' media has been making the rounds on the social network. The message claims to put copyright protections on a user's posts after they share the status update. Its nonsense and of course users of the site will have already agreed to Facebook's privacy terms when they sign up. 

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