Monday 10 June 2013

The CopyKat - fascinating furballs of fun

The City of London Police working, with the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau and representatives of the film and record industries, have started contacting websites believed to be profiting by providing access to infringing content, threatening the site operators with prosecution for criminal charges, which ultimately could result in jail sentences. The City of London Police have previously worked with the International Federation Of The Phonographic Industry (IFPI) to pressure credit card firms to stop taking monies sites believed to be involved in providing unlicensed content, while the UK's Serious Organised Crime Agency has previously targeted pirate sites operating.

CISAC, The global organisation that brings together the world's song rights collecting societies plus creators from various artistic disciplines, has launched a new forum for individual intellectual property creators to be called LINK. The new initiative was launched at CISAC's World Creators Summit in Washington which we mentioned in our last CopyKat update.  Also at the World Creators Summit in Washington, DC, the US Register of Copyrights, Maria Pallante, has confirmed that she's looking to "provide a full public performance right for sound recordings" in the USA in a move which will cheer record labels and recording artistes.  

Some blurry photos of Red Square have been sold for £50,000  at Sotheby's in London on June 5th. The reason they made big money was because they were taken by a chimpanzee. The chimp, called Miki, took the snaps under the 'direction' of two Russian conceptual artists. He has since passed on to the great jungle in the sky. The story me reminded of the excellent and much commented blog by Aurelia, posted here on the 1709  back in July 2011 - on the very relevant topic of who owned the copyright in monkey snapped images

Polish pianist Krystian Zimerman has stormed off stage at the Ruhr Piano Festival in Germany after spotting an audience member filming his performance on a smartphone: No doubt presuming the said recording would be up on YouTube in the blink of an eyelid, on returning to the stage pianist told his audience "The destruction of music because of YouTube is enormous". Although he did complete his concert, Zimerman declined to perform an encore and cancelled a post-concert reception. Other performers such as the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and the Stone Roses have recently expressed their dismay at seeing audience watching live shows through smart device screens, and of course actors have become increasingly vocal in berating texting, web surfing and even talking audience members. One commentator added "I saw Jack White at Brixton last year. The compere came on stage to announce the immiment arrival of Mr White, and said something along the lines of "don't watch the gig through a 4 inch screen. We've got professional cameramen in the audience, they'll take all the pictures you need, and you can go on the website tomorrow morning, and download as many as you want for free". The CopyKat can only agree - and iPads are the worst! Why does anyone think it's appropriate to hold up an iPad (or indeed any tablet - or even a PC or Mac!) and film a concert - that is being filmed anyway!

As news breaks that the IPO in the UK has launched a Technical Review of draft legislation for exceptions to copyright, Eleonora has posted up a very interesting blog on the IP Kat that explains radical moves in Australia to introduce a new 'fair use' regime - with a new new Discussion Paper launched on the 6th June by the Australian Law Reform Committee which certainly has some interesting conclusions. More here and here

Laurie Kaye has posted a blog on his website about Kindle Worlds, which is important both as regards fan fiction and, more generally, about the world of derivative works. In light of mooted Australian and UK changes in copyright law, it's a timely read and can be accessed by clicking here 

A Teeside University student has apologised to his university and Sony for leaking sensitive gaming data onto the internet. Johnathan Waring, 23, described as “technically gifted, but naive and immature”, was speaking after leaving court with a suspended prison sentence after advertising  a posting on a computer hackers’ website, potentially compromising anti-piracy packages for Play Station 3 games. Imposing a one year prison sentence, suspended for a year, The Northern Echo reports that Judge Christopher Prince told Waring: “You uploaded the intellectual property of Sony causing it potential damage and inconvenience" adding “It also damaged and breached the trust of your university and fellow students.”

In the USA, The Republic reports that a 32-year-old man who fled to Pakistan shortly before being indicted on software copyright infringement charges has been sentenced to 7 years in prison. Naveed Sheikh, was also ordered to forfeit $4 million, the value of the infringed software programs, at sentencing Thursday in federal court in Baltimore. According to his guilty plea, Sheikh reproduced and distributed more than 1,000 copyrighted commercial software programs, including Microsoft Office and Adobe Photoshop. Prosecutors say he sold the software through several websites. Sheikh fled to Pakistan in November 2010. He was arrested in January 2012 at Dulles Airport. Fair sentence or 'utter madness'? Comment - which looks at similar sentences given to violent criminals, drug dealers and child pornographers on TorrentFreak here

And finally, in what looks like a fascinating new book, Without Copyrights (Oxford University Press), University of Tulsa law professor Robert Spoo examines am interesting chapter USA cultural history - how 19th and early 20th century U.S. copyright laws created a vast public domain of non domestic works which were not ptotected by US copyright  - and with prices fixed by publishers too -  upon which the USA's literary culture and modern publishing industry was built - and suggests that this "public domain–driven" effort laid the foundation for an American creative economy that now leads the world. An Interview with the author - which also touches on the current e-books competition case in the USA and the recent Kirtsaeng case on the first sale doctrine   - can be found on Publishers Weekly here

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