Saturday 23 November 2013

The FatCat CopyKat - it's all about the money

Loads of money!
The economic contributions of U.S. copyright industries reached new heights last year, for the first time contributing more than $1 trillion to the USA's gross domestic product and accounting for 6.5% of the nation's economy. A new report from the International Intellectual Property Alliance, a private coalition representing the Motion Picture Association of America, the Recording Industry Association of America and others in the computer software, video games, books, newspapers, periodicals, radio, TV and journals sectors, says those industries contributed $1.01 trillion in value-added services to the nation's GDP in 2012. The study is apparently based on data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis and other government statistics.

A group of news agencies have reached an out-of-court settlement with a Croatian websitfor more than 50,000 Euros after the wesbite lifted their pictures and re-used them online without credit. The ten independent agencies, all members of the National Association of Press Agencies (NAPA), sued after finding photographs had been lifted directly, mostly from Mail Online, with no attempt having been made to obtain a licence or pay for usage. One image agency had invoiced and sent numerous reminders for the usage, but was constantly ignored.

The Hollywood Reporter tells us that the Russian government plans to form an agency in charge of copyright observance amid a series of moves aimed at cracking down on piracy. The Economic Development Ministry has submitted plans for an Agency for copyright control, which is to be formed on the basis of the existing Patent Agency, but will have much broader authority and would be report directly to government. 

Even more money
TorrentFreak reports that the film and music industries, in the guise of the MPAA and the RIAA, have commented on the U.S. Government’s Internet Policy Task Force' Green Paper. Among other things, the group proposed a “recalibration” of penalties for file-sharers, which currently reach $150,000 per shared file. The MPAA and RIAA, among others, have now responded to this suggestion, stating that the current punishments are proportional, and needed to deter others from file-sharing and related offences. More here.

Now here's an interesting story. It seems the company behind blogging website Wordpress is going to bring two actions under s512(f) of the USA's DMCA for receiving allegedly  bogus DMCA notices. Automattic, the company that runs the super popular blog hosting platform, has filed two separate lawsuits against third parties for "knowingly materially misrepresenting" a case of copyright infringement against two Wordpress blogs: Techdirt reports that the first involved an attempt to remove a series of articles on the RetractionWatch site, run by Ivan Oransky and Adam Marcus, that were critical of cancer researcher and physician Anil Potti, who at the centre of a medical research scandal. The second is against the the actions of the British anti-gay campaign group Straight Pride UK whose organisers gave an interview to student journalist Oliver Hotham, then decided that they didn't like the fact that they "sounded like idiots in the interview", and tried to use the DMCA to take down the article which included the quotes they had willingly given to Hotham in a 'press releaase'.  See our previous blog hereAutomattic are seeking damages under s512(f). Automattic's General Counsel Paul Siemniski explains that the company, who were criticised for the Straight Pride UK takedown,  feels that it needs to step up and protect freedom of expression and fight back against DMCA abuse: Hotham, whose original interview revealed Straight Pride UK's admiration of Vladimir Putin "for his stance and support of his country's traditional values", says he is "extremely happy" with Automattic's decision.

We must be brief today - its the 50th Anniversary Dr Who show on British TV this evening and the CopyKat must prepare.  We even have friends who have even paid to go to cinemas to watch the (free to air) transmission live on the big screen. The episode, The Day of the Doctor, will also be broadcast in more than 90 countries at the same time as it airs on BBC One tonight. The 50th anniversary adventure stars Matt Smith, David Tennant and John Hurt as different incarnations of the Doctor.
A blogger investigates the TARDIS
And talking of Dr who, as far as we know there has been no resolution to the copyright claim against the Doctor's time travelling 'Tardis' - but it's all good publicity for the BBC (amazing coincidence the timing of that lawsuit  ..... wasn't it ......). In fact the BBC have been sued over the Tardis before - back in 1996 by the Metropolitan Police - and let's not forget the exterior of the Tardis IS a traditional blue London police box: The boys in blue brought a legal action to challenge the BBC's trade mark application for the shape of the box and the name TARDIS. The BBC Prevailed in 2002 and the hearing officer remarked that even if the police had built up any reputation in the blue police telephone boxes (and back in 1953 there were 685 in London), it would have only been in the area of policing and law enforcement and would not have extended into the goods and services which the BBC had applied to use it for adding "I bear in mind that for most of the period since the police call box was taken out of service, the only sight the public at large would have had of this item of street furniture has been in the TV programme Dr Who, provided by the BBC where it is a Tardis, a fictional time travelling machine with the external appearance of a police box."

1 comment:

Ben said...

More on Doctor Who and the fact whether or not early episodes will enter the public domain here