Thursday 6 June 2013

The CopyKat - fascinating furballs of fun

The Taiwanese Intellectual Property Office, part of Ministry of Economic Affairs, have decided to 'adjust'  a plan to block overseas Internet services that potentially violate copyright laws amid opposition to the plan from free-speech advocates. Wang Mei-hua, head of the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) stressed her office "never intended to challenge or acted to damage" the freedom of speech that Taiwan's people worked so hard to acquire. Our original blog here 

A new paper  by the Analysis Group, commissioned by CCIA, looks at the impact of a 2007 legal change on investment in the webcasting industry and provides a somewhat unsurprising conclusion: when the US Copyright Royalty Board dramatically increased the royalty rates paid by webcasters for the period 2006-2010, venture capitalists perceived that as a negative change to the landscape, and accordingly reduced their investment in the industry. This article says that legal infrastructure can either incentivize or discourage investment, and the innovation that this investment produces.  Whether it is the taxi industry, Internet radio, or music discovery services, the regulatory apparatus can either drive investment away, or draw it in:

TorrentFreak has an article titled "Copyright Monopoly Enforcement Today Is A Mass Psychosis" - and Rick Falkvinge is of the opinion that "That’s where we are with copyright monopoly enforcement today. Saving the old, obsolete industries at any cost, defending the copyright monopoly and obsolete distribution models against the future, and seeing legislators taking part in this neophobic race to the bottom is a clinical mass psychosis." Wow. 

The Prenda 'troll' saga just gets more and more bizarre. Now it has been alleged by an internet expert in the Florida case of  First Time Videos v Pail Oppold that "Prenda Law's principal, John Steele, is the person who uploaded the infringing pornography in the first place, listing it on BitTorrent index sites with information inviting people to download it -- people whom he then sent legal threats to for downloading those selfsame movies." A fascinating read can be found at . In a separate update on this story, it seems that another Prenda / Steele Hansmeier lawyer, Brett Gibbs, had pleaded poverty in court (saying he had substantial debts and no assets) and revealed he has serious brain cancer, in a move to avoid the costs and penalties awarded by Judge Otis D Wright II.

Billboard reports that the continuing debate between protecting copyright and supporting technological innovation dominated every conversation panel at the World Creators Summit, held  on the 4th June in Washington D.C., right through the end of the day when Congressman Bob Goodlatte of Virginia, who chairs the judiciary committee, explained why he wants Congress to tackle copyright revision saying “"We need to stimulate both creativity and innovation," Goodlatte said. "Both sides need to be rewarded because, as California Congressman Anna Eshoo said, they both need each other." More at

And finally,the Jamaica Gleaner reports that one of the country’s music collection society, The Jamaica Association of Composers, Authors and Publishers (JACAP), has reacted to criticism of Jamaica's compliance with copyright regulations. In early May, Jamaica was named by the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) as one of the rogue countries which will remain on a Special 301 Watch List because of its inadequate payment of public-performance royalties. ACAP General Manager Lydia Rose said the collecting agency has made several attempts to educate the industry players about the importance of adhering to the copyright regulations. However, there are still those who are in breach – and some who actively oppose paying royalties. The chair of the recorded music sector’s collection society, the Jamaica Music Society (JAMMS), Danny Browne, had previously told the Gleaner that the highest level of payment resistance came from the lower-level players in the marketplace. He said the more organised companies have a higher level of compliance adding that it is easier to track commercial radio than more informal music industry players. 

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