Thursday 1 March 2012

Something to read? Recent publications of interest

The US-based Copyright Clearance Center’s newest “Beyond the Book” podcast, featuring Newsday columnist and Fox News Channel political analyst Ellis Henican, is now out.  Ahead of CCC’s bi-annual OnCopyright event Henican -- who is hosting the event -- discusses the convergence of technology and creativity, explaining how the collision of these two core values radically affects both the economy and creative world – using the term “creative economy” to define the issue at hand.  Here are the podcast and the transcript.


The European Audiovisual Observatory (part of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg) has just published a new report on Internet Piracy in Europe -- particularly Russia.  It's called Answers to Internet Piracy and you can buy it for a modest number of euros, in paper format or online, from the Observatory's website here (unless, presumably, you are Russian, in which case there's a good chance that you'll be getting it for free ...).  According to the web-blurb:
"The fierce protest sparked in many European countries in February 2012 by the signing of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) is a perfect illustration of the balancing act that legislators have to perform when enshrining the protection of intellectual property rights in law. The interests of both users and rightholders require a compromise that is felt to be “fair”. 
Although the question of shaping the details of copyrights is the focus of intense debate, there is a relatively broad consensus that piracy, that is to say the systematic violation of these rights, must be combated. This IRIS plus [it's not immediately apparent here, but IRIS appears to be a trade mark for the Legal Observations of the European Audiovisual Observatory] looks at the issue of combating internet piracy, which has become an explosive subject, especially owing to the constant improvements in the efficiency of electronic data exchange and the consequent rise in copyright violations". 
The lead article, of which which you can get some flavour from the marketing page here, makes riveting reading -- so if you want to be riveted, you know where to go!


New Challenges of Chinese Copyright Law in the Digital Age, by Seagull Haiyan Song, is a slender book of just 87 pages of text.  From the subtitle "A Comparative Copyright Analysis of ISP Liability, Fair Use and Sports Telecasts" it is immediately apparent that the content is very much narrower and sharply focused than the potential width of the title suggests.  The investigation by the author -- who is herself a practising IP attorney with teaching positions with two Beijing universities --can be summarised by the three questions that meet visitors to the book's web page: "Under what circumstances should [ISPs] be held liable when copyrighted material is made available over the Internet without authorization of rights holders? Is Google’s controversial Library Project to scan millions of books into digital format an ambitious plan for public good or is it just another format of copyright infringement under the digital age? When audience enjoys watching live broadcasts of sports events, who are the rights holders behind the scene, and how do they protect their rights and interests from being infringed?"

What of the comparative element? The publisher, Wolters Kluwer, explains:
"All these questions have become highly important under the digital age, and therefore drawn serious attention from legal scholars and legislators worldwide. For direction, the world looks to influential legal regimes arising from the U.S. copyright law, the EU Directives, along with the jurisprudence and legal theory that attaches to each. But the world also looks to China, where a rapidly evolving legal regime holds its own course. This very useful book compares the legislation and case law of Chinese copyright law with those of the United States and European countries, focusing on three subjects - the liability of Internet Service Providers, the ‘fair use’ versus ‘fair dealing’ copyright doctrine, and the copyrightability of live sports telecasts - all of which are unsettled questions of law under the existing copyright regime".
Considering how thin the book is, it contains a great deal of information, and indeed careful thought -- as befits a text which has evolved from a UC Berkeley School of Law JSD thesis.  The subject is one which will continue to develop and subsequent revisions of this volume can be expected to thicken out in very little time.

Bibliographic data: ISBN: 9789041137937. Hardcover: xii + 87 pages. Price $80.00. Web page here

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