Wednesday 12 June 2013

Cool for (Copy) Kats!

Post Infopaq and Melwater, it always crosses my mind that using the title or lyrics from a well known song might just might be thought of as infringement (in this case dear readers, the title is a play on Cools for Cats, the 1978 hit  by Glenn Tilbrook and Chris Difford of Squeeze) . But rest assured, the CopyKat will be making making full use of the newly proposed British and Australian copyright exceptions ...... yes for parody  - but most importantly, relying on the newly created defence (here we go) of 'fur use' or failing that 'fur dealing'.  

Anyway, on to copyright reform and what questions are being asked: The framework for the current Australian review set up by the Australian Law Reform Committee suggested a number of framing principles for the inquiry: acknowledging and respecting authorship and creation; maintaining incentives for creation of works and other subject matter; promoting fair access to and wide dissemination of content; providing rules that are flexible and adaptive to new technologies; and providing rules that are consistent with Australia’s international obligations. Any recommendations the ALRC finally makes will be weighed against these principles. 

Chris Dodd, MPAA
In the US of A, Chris Dodd, Chair of the Motion Picture Association of America and a former US Senator,  has taken to the pages of the Huffington Post to give his thoughts about the “reviews of copyright laws that are currently underway around the world” saying that any discussion on copyright reform “must focus on certain fundamental tenets that create the foundation of sound copyright policy and that are absolutely vital to any meaningful and informed discussion of this issue", not least that “copyright must empower creativity, innovation, and the dissemination of knowledge by ensuring that creators have a fair chance to be compensated for their creative efforts” but also that “copyright must benefit consumers by promoting free markets and competition. By recognizing well-defined and enforceable property rights, it incentivizes creators to take risks” and “copyright must support an Internet that works for everyone. Copyright must promote creativity, while also promoting new technologies and business models, like those that have emerged with the growth of the Internet.” To this Dodds adds that copyright must provide creators with modern protections, and finally that copyright must provide for incentives and accountability and include provisions that ensure the effective protections of creators' rights.

More succinctly, the UK's IPO preface their Technical Review with this statement: "Last year we consulted on making changes to copyright exceptions so that the UK's copyright framework remains relevant to the digital world in which we now live and work and continues to reward creators. Following recommendations by the Hargreaves Review, the consultation asked whether, and to what extent, the UK ought to adopt the full list of copyright exceptions which are outlined in the EU Copyright Directive".

And the Pirate Party in the UK say this on copyright reform: 

The Pirate Party wants a fair and balanced copyright law that is suitable for the 21st century. Copyright should give artists the first chance to make money from their work, however that needs to be balanced with the rights of society as a whole. We would reduce the duration of copyright to 10 years - closer to the original duration of 14 years - reflecting the much greater ease with which works can now be made and distributed. Shorter copyright will encourage artists to keep on creating new work, will allow new art forms (such as mash-ups) and will stop big businesses from relying on large back-catalogues rather than investing in new content. Our 10 year copyright length will include within it a renewal after 5 years (allowing works in which the creator is no longer interested to fall into the public domain after 5 years). An exception will be made for software, where a 5 year term will apply to closed source software and a 10 year term to open source software, in recognition of the extra rights given to the public by open source licences.

Let's end with a song shall we? So its Squeeze again (well sort of, apologies to Glenn and Chris!) so sing along everyone!

My brief is doing parody 
'Cos he's got the word to go 
My mashed up track is brilliant
I just hope the court thinks so
I nicked a bit of music
what's the flamin' fuss?
It's not like Arnold's pirates
Or Birss' big red bus
It's funny how the exceptions' 
Sometimes look so bleeding tame 
And meanwhile in the Strand 
There's a couple of likely lads 
Who plead like how's your father 
And they're very cool for cats 
for CopyKats 

Little known fact: Glenn Tilbrook produced my band's first proper demo tapes in Whitstable in 1978 along with Stewart Copeland.  Not a lot of people know that.

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