|The Von Zobel family from Giebelstadt, C1770|
For an opinionated but highly readable critique of the proposed reforms to South Africa's intellectual property laws - look not further that Sadulla Karjiker's article Shambolic Copyright Amendment Bill will favour Google and its ilk in Business Day: "There is no point in mincing my words about the passage of the proposed Copyright Amendment Bill thus far: it has been shambolic and would embarrass a banana republic. The reason the portfolio committee arrogated to itself the responsibility of drafting the bill was because the draft bill produced by the department was so poorly drafted that it resulted in wide-ranging criticisms from various stakeholders. Well, the portfolio committee’s efforts have quite frankly not been much better. Not only has the technical drafting been poor, but the department, and now the portfolio committee, continue to try to railroad a particularly skewed agenda through parliament." There is more - and it's all here.
And more of the same - or similar: The American Law Institute describes itself as the “leading independent organisation in the United States producing scholarly work to clarify, modernise and improve the law” and periodically the ALI issues what have generally been regarded as well reasoned, well researched and academically sound ‘Restatements Of The Law’. But now the record music and music publishing sectors in the USA have taken great exception to the ALI's latest Restatement, on copyright, claiming that far from being independent lawyers and academics - they are comprised of those who have pushed to restrict copyright, with one comment being the authors are "notoriously anti-creator copyleft irritators". The Recording Industry Association of America and the National Music Publishers Association have written a joint letter to the ALI, and NMPA boss David Israelite said a statement yesterday. “The American Law Institute’s so-called ‘Restatement Of Copyright Law ... was written by extremist anti-copyright lawyers in an attempt to redefine copyright law” - with the letter saying "in recent years copyright law for music has faced repeated tests and challenges, including for those who legislate and interpret the law, in large part due to the transformation of the music industry from physical to digital” and “Important copyright law issues for music are before Congress, the courts and agencies”, they add. “Under these circumstances, attempting to ‘restate’ copyright law for music now is a difficult, if not an odd, exercise” and that “copyright law is ill suited for restatement by ALI at this time, especially as envisioned by the [authors]".
And finally, an interesting read on copyright law reform in the Financial Times and the positive and negative sides of YouTube - with a quote from our very own John Enser!