In 1709 (or was it 1710?) the Statute of Anne created the first purpose-built copyright law. This blog, founded just 300 short and unextended years later, is dedicated to all things copyright, warts and all.
Tuesday, 30 June 2009
Making Digital Britain a reality
Monday, 29 June 2009
Copyright peer reviewers wanted
You don't need to be an expert on spelling, grammar or syntax (OUP has resources to handle those issues), but you do need the ability to tell whether an article is a good one or the other sort. There is no fame or glory for doing the reviewing; nor is there any pay. On the plus side, your identity is kept away from the author, who will never know who it was who recommended turning your article into a fleet of paper boats.
This appeal may be repeated from time to time. This is because peer reviewers generally burn out after they're reviewed three or four articles. This is quite normal, so if you do volunteer to review copyright articles you needn't feel that you are wedded to the commitment.
Thursday, 25 June 2009
Looking for a fresh challenge
Wednesday, 24 June 2009
The Impact of DRM on Access to Exceptions: First Empirical Assessment
Right: some forms of digital management leave the customer feeling distinctly manipulated ...
According to information provided by the Intellectual Property Institute -- whose seminar this is:
This will be a lovely event, so don't miss it. You can get all the details from the IPI's website here. It's £60 for casual attendees, £30 for IPI members and IPKat readers. If you're a student or an academic, entry is free. If you're coming in order to sound off about Digital Britain, you pay double. See you there?
"Dr Akester will be talking about a project she undertook looking at the impact of technological measures on the ability of users to take advantage of certain statutory exceptions to copyright. When technological measures were under consideration in the mid 1990s two stark scenarios presented themselves: on the one hand, an ideal world where copyright owners could use DRM to make their works available under a host of different conditions in a way that responded to the diversity of consumer demand; on the other, a more bleak environment where all users of copyright material (and much non-copyright material) would be forced to obtain permission and pay to access material that previously would have been available to all.
In the face of these two extreme visions, the European legislature developed a compromise position, embodied notoriously in Article 6(4) of the Information Society Directive. The legislature appeared to be hoping that rightholders would voluntarily make material within certain specified exceptions available to users.
Based on a series of interviews with key organisations and individuals, involved in the use of copyright material and the development and deployment of DRM, Dr Akester examined how these issues are working out in practice".
ISPs: How Long Before the Little Guys Kick Sand in their Faces?
Tuesday, 23 June 2009
Why pay for TV formats?
Some 40 lawyers, media professionals and academics gathered at the offices of FremantleMedia in central London last Tuesday, to hear the results of research conducted by Bournemouth University and FremantleMedia on ‘The exploitation of television formats: intellectual property and non-law based strategies’ (previous post here).
The event, a so-called dissemination seminar, and the research were funded by the Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC), and sought to provide answers to the question, ‘why pay for a television format if you can re-create it for free?’ The aim was to understand the effect of the – at best – uncertain legal protection for formats on the UK’s creative industries, and to see whether lessons can be learned for other industries.
The researchers from Bournemouth – Professor Martin Kretschmer and lead researcher Sukhpreet Singh from the University’s Centre for Intellectual Property Policy and Management, and Jonathan Wardle, director of its Centre for Excellence in Media Practice – have over the past three years been examining 59 different format disputes, as well as the exploitation strategies of format producers, in this latter regard cooperating closely with FremantleMedia and using case studies of some of their most successful formats.
Some of the many interesting findings they presented included the following:
- 80% of the format disputes studied have involved claims for breach of copyright; other causes of action included contract and breach of confidence, but a mere 2% were based on passing off. Of the cases that made it to court (64%), half resulted in victory for the claimants and half for the defendants.
- Although there are potential legal causes of action to protect formats, the apparent uncertainty of relying on such action has led to the development of additional, non-legal strategies, which it was suggested provide the answer to what is being paid for.
- The three main strategies identified are: (1) formalising the sale of knowledge, by providing, for example, detailed production bibles and ‘flying producers’, sent in to local territories to assist with their format remakes; (2) brand management, including a carefully coordinated trade mark strategy based on consistent names and logos across different territories; and (3) what was referred to as social and distribution networks – essentially the importance for success of speed to market (staying ahead of the game by making a establishing successful programmes in different territories before the copycats can take advantage), and the notion that producers/developers are so dependent on one another within a small market that they need to respect the rules of the game to maintain their reputation and ensure future sales.
- Tactics to back this up should include the use of ‘deterrent letters’ to possible copycats. This latter practice was specifically mentioned by FremantleMedia as a way of encouraging broadcasters who might stray to an unlicensed but similar format to consider the detrimental impact on their ability to license in future, more popular FremantleMedia formats: to ‘be big’, it was pointed out, makes this strategy all the more effective.
Hugo was also at the seminar and wondered whether there might be some potential competition law issues: abuse of a dominant position and concerted practices under Articles 82 and 81 EC? On the one hand, Fremantle revealed a substantial market share and said that deterrent letters were sent when it was known that there may not be a viable claim (thus exploiting the uncertainty of the copyright position). On the other hand, the industry appears to be colluding to alienate any company that doesn't play by the rules – ‘it is hard to sustain the role of outcast’. It would be very interesting to hear a Fremantle perspective on this.
Contemporary Research in Copyright now available in paperback
I'm biased because I'm the Series Editor for the Research Handbooks in Intellectual Property -- but I really do think it's a good book to have, not least because it is a refreshing read which makes a pleasant enough change from having to battle through exhaustive and earnest accounts of the law. Also, while many academics are a bit defensive about their special subjects, sending out a message of "This is MY subject, so keep of it!", the tone of most of this collection is more one of "Come on in, the subject's fine!".
"Copyright law is undergoing rapid transformations to cope with the new international digital environment. This valuable research Handbook provides a thorough and contemporary tableau of current thinking in copyright law. It traces the changes undergone and the challenges faced by copyright, as well as its roots and its diversity, combining to present a colourful picture of a dynamic research area.
The editor brings together an elite group of international copyright scholars who offer incisive and original analysis of a wide range of issues and aspects of copyright law, and in some cases a multiplicity of perspectives on a single topic. Rigorous and often thought-provoking in nature, this research Handbook clearly maps the current landscape, and will also undoubtedly stimulate further research in the field.
Analysing the cutting edge of current copyright research, Copyright Law will be of great interest to researchers, students, practitioners and policymakers".
Though it would be indivious to single out any chapter for particular praise, I particularly enjoyed Reto Hilty's chapter on copyright law and scientific research, in which the need to treat the scientific sector differently from the entertainment and cultural sectors in terms of access to works and fair dealing shines through; I also liked Brigitte Lindner's realistic appraisal of the scope for deploying alternative dispute resolution in that sticky area where copyright law meets technical solutions to copying. Most thought-provoking though was "Draw me a public domain" by Valérie-Laure Benabou and Séverine Dusollier, which talks of terminologies, metaphors and other things that get the grey cells working furiously away.
Bibliographic details: publication date 2007. viii + 544pp. Hardback, ISBN 978 1 84542 487 9. Full price £130. Price with publisher's online discount £117. Paperback 978 1 848 447097. Full price £49.95 Price with publisher's online discount £39.96.
The Pirate Party in Germany
Monday, 22 June 2009
Proposals from the IPO -- but will the Minister tweet?
"Tougher penalties for online Copyright Infringement proposed as part of Digital Britain package
Following the publication of the Digital Britain Report, the Intellectual Property Office has outlined proposals to improve copyright licensing and increase financial penalties for online infringers.
• Legislative changes to license orphan works. Legislation will effectively deal with this issue in order to remove the infringement risk that currently prevents collecting societies licensing orphan works (arising as they do not have a mandate from the rights holder). [Curious way to begin the substantive bit of a press release with "tougher penalties" in its title] This will benefit cultural organisations by allowing them access to currently unusable material [which some have been accessing anyway because the risk is small or because they didn't know there was one]. It will also enable public access to a great number of historical works that are currently locked up [this seems to confuse access to use with access to view -- these are quite different issues].
• New powers for government to authorise collecting societies to set up extended licensing schemes. This will allow certain collecting societies to act for a group of rights holders even if they are not all members of the society, unless a specific rights holder has opted out of the scheme [will this result in the authorisation of just one society per right?].
• Underpinning the operation of collecting societies. As collecting societies reach out to new groups of customers, we need to underpin their operations with a statutory backed framework [underpinning: does that mean 'supporting' or 'pinning down'?].
• Consultation on improving operations of collecting societies. Government would not make recommendations to utilise the above powers without formal public consultation with stakeholders and other interested parties [the key word is "improving": it can mean different things when viewed from the perspectives of rights owners, users of works and consumers].
• Matched penalties for online and physical IP infringement. This proposal will introduce a statutory maximum penalty of £50,000 for all IP offences [the pedant asks: "for all IP offences" or "for each IP offence"?].
Commenting on new proposals, David Lammy, Minister of State for Intellectual Property said: "We must have the tools in place to tackle serious and organised IP crime. The proposed £50,000 maximum penalty for online and physical infringement sends a clear message to IP criminals. In this online age, IP infringement warrants a serious response. It needs to be stamped out- regardless of whether the offence is online or offline."
He added "In order to modernise and streamline the existing copyright system, I’m proposing a number of changes to the way collecting societies can operate.
I want to see greater development to ensure that our orphan works such as those great cultural works amassed in the BBC and the British Library are accessible to those who wish to benefit from them.
We should underpin the operation of collecting societies so that customers receive similar services and safeguards they would expect when dealing with a quality utility company."I've always wondered what the purpose of adding quotes like this is, when they don't add any substance to the press release. Still, the Minister has kindly made himself available this Thursday evening at a reception. I hope to ask him for clarification of these proposals, as well as the really pressing question: why, when he has a presence on Twitter, does he never tweet on intellectual property issues -- even when prompted by me to do so?
Sunday, 21 June 2009
Japan limits private use exception
An amendment to the Japanese Copyright Law was passed on 12 June 2009.
Although it covers various issues including the exploitation of orphan works, caching associated with search site services, and making available to the public for the welfare of the persons with visual or aural disabilities, the main feature may be the provision which makes downloading of sound or visual recordings of copyright digital contents illegal when the contents were uploaded illegally and the downloader knows it (Article 30-1-iii).
The above amendment is stipulated as an exception to the private use exception (Article 30-1). Therefore, the scope of the private use exception will become smaller.
When this issue was proposed in 2007, it induced massive public opposition. In response to this, the amendment is limited to the above scope and punitive clauses are not provided. Mere streaming of the illegally uploaded contents is considered to be outside of the scope of the above provision.
Some people are concerned that the new provision may have a negative impact on the use of legally uploaded copyright material. It is also pointed out that the amendment may not be used much as detecting a downloader is not easy. However, it appears that the new provision is generally welcomed because it protects legitimate on-line distribution services and may help the development of such businesses.
The amendment will become effective as of 1 January 2010.
Open access for UCL research product
"This move places UCL at the forefront of academic institutions who are pioneering the move to Open Access, as the first European university ranked in the global top ten in the THE–QS world university rankings to do so.You can read the 2003 Berlin Declaration on Open Access here. More fun to read, though, is the urban legend attached to the Berlin Declaration of 1963, which you can read about here.
Open access is a new form of dissemination for published books, articles, conference proceedings and digital outputs. Its principles are based on the Berlin Declaration, which urges authors to retain the rights in the materials they produce and to place a copy in an open access medium – in UCL’s case the university’s electronic repository – so that they are available free at point of use to anyone, anywhere in the world, with an Internet connection....”
Friday, 19 June 2009
Jury awards $1.92 million against single mum of four!
Harping on about ISP liability in Ireland
"I believe that litigation demanding that ISPs monitor what their users do and/or disconnect users based on three unproven allegations is unjustified - for the reasons why, see the Digital Rights Ireland site in relation to user monitoring and three strikes".
Thursday, 18 June 2009
If you went, do please send any reflections to Hugo here by Thursday 25 June and a collation will appear back on the 1709 blog soon after that. Thank you!
Right: ALAI's founder, Victor Hugo, wonders what people thought....
Wednesday, 17 June 2009
Raise a glass to Digital Britain
No need to RSVP (but if you want, you can email Jeremy here), and we each buy our own drinks ...
PPL is behind Performance Rights Bill
"Starting with a few inaccuracies, a previous post on this blog claims that PPL will be in a quandary if the USA introduces a broadcast right. On the contrary. A quick look at the facts reveals the opposite. PPL has been campaigning for a broadcast right in the USA from the start and will continue to the end.
It cannot be right that American, British or any other artist has their recordings used for free by American radio to create a $16bn industry. US radio stations have enjoyed a free ride for decades. It’s time now for fair play in the land of the free.
The lack of a broadcast right in the USA has had ripple effects beyond the States. It has meant that American artists have also lost out on overseas airplay royalties. But the picture is not straightforward. The failure of the USA to sign up fully to the international copyright treaties has produced anomalies as other countries have taken different approaches to this imbalance to international norms.
The UK’s approach has been to deny American performers rights to airplay royalties, but to allow sound recordings to be protected if they are released in a ‘Rome’ territory, in other words, most of the rest of the world where there is a broadcast right. In practice, US recordings are invariably released simultaneously (within 30 days) in a ‘Rome’ territory, generally Canada or the UK, and so gain protection. This means that US sound recordings are licensed by PPL for radio, but the American performers on those recordings do not get paid by PPL. Under UK legislation, the owner of the American sound recording is entitled to receive all the broadcast revenue for that recording so the PPL distribution goes direct to them.
Of course, all this will change when, we hope, the USA finally passes the Performance Rights Act. That will bring the USA up to international norms in the copyright treaties which will trigger reciprocal rights for American artists throughout the developed world. In the UK, American repertoire will be treated like any other, with revenue from a track split 50/50 between performers and record companies. For the first time, then, American artists on American recordings will be entitled to airplay royalties from PPL.
That is a fair result. Artists will get paid for their US airplay and American artists will finally benefit fully from their successes abroad – if their government passes the Performance Rights Act".
Tuesday, 16 June 2009
Digital Britain Report - first reflections on the copyright elements
Digital Britain is here!
The 'Digital Britain' report has just been published - here.
Some reactions can be read on the Digital Britain dashboard on Pageflakes.
Jeremy Paxman interviews Lord Carter on Newsnight.
Online commentable version of the report - here.
Monday, 15 June 2009
Pirate Bay judge judged fair to judge
New music service for Virgin Media subscribers complete with anti-piracy noise
On the eve of the publication of the Digital Britain report, maybe this is a signal that at least some ISPs are no longer willing to condone or tacitly support piracy?
Harry Potter and the Copyright Contest
Sunday, 14 June 2009
Fishing for digital undercurrents
Friday, 12 June 2009
Carter gets out
"The Government is thought to have backed away from proposals to require internet service providers to bar customers caught repeatedly accessing pirated material. Instead, insiders expect Lord Carter to recommend the introduction of premium-rate internet services that will allow users to access what they wish. Providers would then be expected to compensate music and film producers from a share of the additional revenue."
Photo fun at the czech-out
Thursday, 11 June 2009
Music spins around in download twintub
According to the Metropolitan Police and the FBI, the criminal network then allegedly reaped the royalties from the tracks, pulling in an estimated $300,000, paid over by the two sites. Both sites were unaware of the fraud being committed against them. An chart-topping sixty officers from the Met's central e-crime unit and West Midlands Police arrested seven men and three women in London, Birmingham, Kent and Wolverhampton who are being held on suspicion of conspiracy to commit fraud and money laundering. The Guardian reports that Detective Chief Inspector Terry Wilson, of the e-crime unit, had this to say:
"This has been a complex investigation to establish what we believe to be an international conspiracy to defraud Apple and Amazon. This investigation, with its national and international dimension, exemplifies why we have set up this national response to e-crime".The arrests included three men aged 19, 23, and 41, and one woman, 37, all from Wolverhampton; a woman, 22, from Dartford, Kent; a woman, 36, and two men, 34 and 40, from Birmingham; and two men, 22 and 46, from Peckham, south London. The question I want to know is this – in a world of rampant peer-2-peer file swapping - with all these paid for 'legal' downloads - did any of the gang’s recordings make the digital download charts? Now that would have been top of the pops.
Image and more on money laundering at How to launder money by Philip Brewer http://www.silverbearcafe.com/private/launder.html
Wednesday, 10 June 2009
STOP PRESS: loi Hadopi struck down
For further news and views see Ars Technica, The Guardian, The Register,
More comment to follow...
I'm not me, I'm you
The truth about General Motors
According to the BBC ("Dando sues car giant for song use"), Lemonheads singer Evan Dando has taken legal action in a Los Angeles federal court over the alleged use of a re-recorded version of his song It's a Shame About Ray which GM used in this Chevy advert. Dando is seeking damages and a portion of profits from the 2008 TV campaign.
Thanks, Annsley Merelle Ward, for the lead.
Tuesday, 9 June 2009
The Crown and the orphans
OPSI has carried out a survey to find out whether the public feel it's difficult to re-use Crown copyright material. It established that there would be little point in aligning it with Creative Commons as awareness and understanding of CC is low (so this symbol, right, got the thumbs down – phew!). A non-transactional process was perceived to be more encouraging and easier to understand than existing processes.
In from the Cold, a report by the Strategic Content Alliance and The Collections Trust, estimates that over 50 million items such as photographs, recordings, texts and other ephemera from the last 100 years risk becoming invisible because they are excluded from digitisation projects due to the complexity and time required to trace ownership.
Even Better Than the Veal Thing
Patron saint of the Dioceses of Raphoe and Derry in Ireland, Dunkeld in Scotland, St Columba also offers protection from floods and is patron to poets and, of course, bookbinders. Copyright litigators should perhaps be added to the list.
Patry makes fair use of own work
'One chapter is on the early 18th-century English cases from whence fair use arose, and the other chapter is on current international issues. The old English cases are both interesting and important for showing the boldness of the common law judges in forging the doctrine. I expect to expand the international chapter in the next edition given the increased importance of limitations and exceptions and the debates about the three-step test. The book will be updated once a year and will be reissued every year.'
Could those judges who were so bold in the early days of the Copyright Act 1709 (such as Lord Hardwicke, pictured here, who introduced the concept of 'fair abridgement' in 1740) have sliced through the Gordian knot of the 21st-century's copyright tangle?
Friday, 5 June 2009
ECJ glued to hotel TVs
The previous reference (C-306/05) was made by a Spanish court. Did the installation of TV sets in hotel rooms constitute ‘communication to the public’ under Article 3 of the Directive? Yes, answered the ECJ: although the mere provision of physical facilities didn’t amount to communication, the distribution of a signal did. The Court reasoned that the hotel was intervening, transmitting the broadcasts to ‘a new public’ – a public that consisted of a rapid turnover of guests who had the opportunity of watching the TVs (whether or not they actually did).
So what does the Greek court need clarified? The refinement (according to the IPO, here) is:
Can the mere installation of a television set in a hotel room and its connection to a central antenna in the hotel, and without any further actions or interventions by the hotelier, constitute communication to the public, within the meaning of Article 3 of Directive 2001/29/EC? In particular, does communication to the public by means of a television set require technical intervention by the hotelier?In the absence of more detail, this is a question worthy of the Sphinx (though if you can read Dutch, you may be able to unravel the riddle by reading here). Perhaps the issue is that the TVs in the Divani Palace Acropolis hotel are all directly linked to the aerial, so arguably the hotel isn’t first receiving a signal and then passing it on to a ‘new public’? For the ECJ to make such a distinction would appear to require a step back to the position taken by the Advocate General in her opinion on C-306/5, which said the hotel was only communicating if it relayed a signal that had come to it first.
Let’s hope that it is Socratic clarity – not sophistry – that finally emerges from this cable-splitting debate.
Good news for the "reading impaired"
"WIPO’s top copyright negotiating forum [The first team, rather than the reserves?] has agreed “to continue without delay” its work on facilitating the access of the blind, visually impaired (VIP) [Great acronym. Now we'll all have to find another term for 'very important person'] and other reading-disabled persons to copyright-protected works. This subject - as well as broader questions of limitations and exceptions to copyright law as they relate to libraries, archives and educational activities - is at the heart of current work of the Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR).Documents relating to the SCCR meeting, including a Chairman’s summary, are available here.
Discussions at the SCCR meeting from May 25-29, 2009 centered on a series of practical measures to facilitate access to copyright-protected materials by reading impaired persons, including a stakeholders’ platform, a key aim of which is to develop solutions to make published works available in accessible formats in a reasonable time frame [This is starting to sound a bit like Google Book ...]. All participants supported moving forward with this work [Not what I'd heard informally. If this is true, why is it necessary to record it here?].
A proposal was also submitted by Brazil, Ecuador and Paraguay regarding a draft treaty prepared by the World Blind Union (WBU). The SCCR decided to continue these discussions at its next session later this year to give member states time to reflect on the best way to move forward.
The SCCR noted progress in the work on the stakeholders’ platform and encouraged the WIPO secretariat to continue to advance this initiative. This platform is designed to help secure access for disabled persons to copyright-protected works. Two meetings convened under the auspices of WIPO in January and April 2009 brought together major stakeholders, including representatives of copyright holders and reading impaired persons, to explore the specific needs, concerns, and possible approaches to facilitating access to works in formats suitable for people with reading impairment.
The SCCR also addressed the issue of the protection of broadcasting organizations and requested the secretariat to organize a series of national and regional meetings. These meetings are to focus on the objectives, specific scope and object of protection of a possible new international instrument that would update the international protection of broadcasting organizations on a signal-based approach. The secretariat will also commission a study on the socio-economic dimension of the unauthorized use of signals [Have we suddenly changed the subject here, or are we talking about a signal-based approach to broadcasts and the VIPs?].
Moreover, the SCCR called for consultations to break the deadlock relating to negotiations on the international protection of performances in audiovisual media. The secretariat will also organize a series of national and regional seminars as well as background documentation on the issue [ditto]".
Thursday, 4 June 2009
Exploitation of TV formats: IP and non-law based strategies
"Television formats, such as Pop Idol or Big Brother, are everywhere. They are one of the fastest growing programme types in a multi-channel media environment. However, since a series of court decisions during the 1980s and 1990s (Green v Broadcasting Corporation of New Zealand, 1988; Norowzian v Arks, 1998-2000) it is widely accepted that there is no such thing as a television format right under copyright law. How then could TV formats become a major export for the UK creative industries? Why pay for a format if you can re-create it for free?The date of the seminar is 16 June 2009. It will be held from 1 pm to 2.30 pm at Fremantlemedia Ltd, UK, 1 Stephen Street, London, W1T 1AL. Attendance is free, but places are restricted to 40 and are available through bookings only. If you're interested please contact Emily Cieciura by email here or give her a call on 01202 965197.
Researchers from Bournemouth University examined the exploitation strategies of format developers under the ESRC s Business Placement Fellow scheme. The seminar presents the results of (1) an interview based study in the context of three major international television trade fairs (NATPE, DISCOP and ATF) and
(2) video case studies of the exploitation strategy of three successful television formats developed by FremantleMedia (Idols, Got Talent and Hole in the Wall).
The seminar disseminates knowledge regarding the use of legal (e.g.
copyright, trade marks, know-how licences, confidentiality agreements) and non-legal strategies (e.g. first mover advantage, reputation networks, regional offices and brand management) in the exploitation and protection of television formats. It explains how in 2007 the UK became the creator of 49% of all format hours broadcast worldwide. The seminar also sees the launch of a good practice learning resource that will be available for use in higher education and business.
Seminar academics from Bournemouth University include Prof. Martin Kretschmer, Jonathan Wardle and Sukhpreet Singh".
Wednesday, 3 June 2009
Questions from America
Meanwhile Microsoft's new search engine, Bing, incorporates 'thumbnail'-sized video clips that play automatically when a cursor hovers over them. The FT discusses the copyright implications here.
Indiana Jones and the….. Obesity Calculator (!?)
Apparently the Government is locking away up to £300m worth of intellectual property rights from digital content created by agencies and production companies for Government, local Government, NGOs and other public bodies. This content is being held under crown copyright, which prohibits it from being reused or re-licensed.
Pact, the production company trade body, has joined forces with the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) to campaign to abolish this practice and is proposing a Digital Rights Framework for all publicly funded content which would enable digital content and software creators to retain and exploit their IP. A submission has been made to this effect to the Digital Britain report.
In theory this would allow greater opportunities for freelancers, agencies and productions companies to reuse work and could potentially stimulate a secondary rights market for this content. Pact believes that the successful overturn of the Government's position could be as significant for digital content as the Terms of Trade were in 2003 when they transformed the TV external supply sector by enabling Indies to use their rights to stimulate and grow that sector.
McVay is quoted by new media age as saying "in a digital world if you develop, say, an obesity calculator for the DoH, you could easily use this again, yet it goes under crown copyright." Not quite the Ark of the Covenant then, but anything that enables a more flexible licensing regime (and the additional revenue streams this may stimulate), prevents warehousing and which may ultimately encourage innovation must be a good thing.
Although one question that springs to mind is: if the public have paid for the content once, should there be strict guidelines in place which prevent any users or licensees of the content charging the public again?
Tuesday, 2 June 2009
New online treats for 1709 readers
It is Golfers and Racing Drivers Who Can Save Music Creators' Damaged Reputations
But these CDs were, in the main, licensed recordings puchased for resale by the BNP. That said, can it be true that the MCPS in the UK license the BNP's own label Great White Records? One release, by Traven Tucker and billed as "pure southern Americana" (so that would be gun-toting redneck narrowmindedness would it?) contains a cover version of the Les Reed- and Barry Mason- penned classic Delilah!
Songwriters and artists cannot rely on their moral rights (waived by contract) to protect them from such use - and nor can they expect their publishers and record companies to guard their reputations by asking that all end users of their work are acceptable or should that be "whiter than white"? Clearly an impossibility.The site offers The Best of British Folk Music which apparently "represents the heart and soul of the common people of our land". Two Fairport Convention recordings (Madeleine and The Eynsham Poacher) are included, purportedly in support of this disingenuous puff. Scotland the Brave, a collection of bagpipe music features The Mull of Kintyre - about which, I am sure, Sir Paul McCartney will be deeply underwhelmed. And the recording of the White Cliffs of Dover is most unlikely to win the support of Dame Vera Lynn.
Because libel it may well be. Help could be at hand for those maligned from the likes of Formula 1 driver Eddie Irvine and a Mr Tolley, a well-known amateur golfer in the 1930s.
US Moves to Leave "Axis of Evil" poses PPL a problem
The Chairman of the US Senate Judicial Committee, Sen. Patrick Leahy (any relation to Dick?) introduced legislation which will oblige AM and FM radio stations to make licence payments for the broadcast of sound recordings and the recorded performances thereon. China, Iran and North Korea are as out of step as the USA in this respect and clearly the USA wants to join the "good guys".
Applauded by Tony Bennett (swoon) and Bono, such a new income stream would provide useful income to US recording artists still waiting to recoup their advances under their recording agreements (here in the UK this income is not applied to recoupment but paid direct to artists).
The UK joined other Rome Convention signatories in 1964 and initially record labels in the UK (via collecting society PPL) shared this type of revenue with performers by private agreement. In 1996 performers became entitled to this equitable remuneration for broadcast and public performance of their recorded performances by law - albeit asserted against the producer as opposed to the user (as is the case in other jurisdictions). So PPL, which had distributable revenues of £110.3 million in 2008, shares the income between its record label members and thousands of UK musicians and performers.
Natch, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) welcomed the initiative, highlighting the international inequity of US labels and performers not being able to collect overseas royalties for music that is, after all, the core business of music stations. Songwriters and music publisher are paid via ASCAP, BMI and SESAC - but not record companies or performers. The popularity of US artists worldwide prompted the RIAA to label the lack of such a law "an inequity that costs American artists tens of millions of dollars each year". And there's the rub.
While PPL merrily collects from broadcasters in the UK and shares the revenue with UK performers, what becomes of the revenue from the licence fees that are attributable to the broadcast of work from US labels and artists? Is it distributed in the UK to UK beneficiaries? Or perhaps the licence fees only represent UK radio stations' broadcast of repertoire by UK labels and artists?
So, if the USA comes onstream with this new right, will licence fees to broadcasters go up because additional monies will have to be collected and paid to US labels and artists? My, how the broadcast community in the UK will love that! Or, will UK labels and artists be asked to sacrifice a percentage of their income so that it can be paid across to the new, true rightholders across the pond?
Does PPL have a plan?
Monday, 1 June 2009
Copyright War -- and it's free
• “Online Legal Issues: Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, YouTube, Blogs” — Jefferson Coulter;You can review the agenda and register for the Copyright War summit here. If you'd like any further details, you can get them from Donna Suen.
• “Recording Industry v the People” — Ray Beckerman, Attorney at Law, Ray Beckerman, P.C.
• “Successfully Defending Software Audits” — Robert J. Scott, Managing Partner, Scott & Scott, LLP
• “Creative Commons: The Sharing Standard” — Fred Benenson, Outreach Manager, Creative Commons
For a complimentary inspection copy of the EIPR email Jo Slinn.