Saturday, 21 December 2013

The CopyCat - the final furballs of 2013

Well. in an article from MEP Christian Engstrom, Deputy leader of the Pirate Party in Sweden, you are going to get some controversial views on copyright - and headlined "Eastern Europe’s recovery shows how copyright is harmful" can I point you to this interesting read:  " It’s time to start talking about this elephant in the room. Exclusive rights are the opposite of a free and fair market. Europe, being the world’s largest economy, has a golden opportunity to take the lead in this field of information policy - because no exclusive right can be maintained in the global economy if Europe rejects it, because of Europe’s sheer economic size.": More here

An estimated thirty thousand Germans have received warning letters for allegedly watching copyrighted porn on streaming website Initially, it had been assumed that a court error had led to the sending of the letters, which ask for the payment of a €250 "fine" to the Swiss media agent that claims to hold copyright for the films, including Amanda's Secret, Miriam's Adventure and Glamour Show Girls. But apparently a court was involved in releasing IP addresses and RedTube's Alex Taylor released a statement saying: "RedTube stands by its firm opinion that these letters are completely unfounded and that they violate the rights of those who received it in a very serious manner," describing the court's actions (in releasing names to the legal firm acting for the claimants, U+C) as blackmail and a violation of privacy.

One of Daniel Morel's photos from Haiti
Here's an excellent new article - "Copyright in Photographs vis-a-vis Social Networking Sites" by Devika Agarwal, part of the 2nd  Spicy IP Fellowship scheme . Its a good read and looks particularly at arguments that anything uploaded to Twitter (or other social media sites) are freely available for re-distribution by other Twitter users under the terms of service of the social networking service - and indeed can be used commercially - an argument which failed in a US case brought successfully by photographer Daniel Morel against Getty Images and Agence France-Presse, who used pictures he had shot after the earthquake in Haiti. As Devika rightly says, the key question before the courts in these disputes will be ‘whether agreeing to the terms of use agreement by the user is a valid grant of license.’ Patrick also recently blogged on photographs with news of two cases wherein the NFL and two multinational news agencies allegedly exceeded licensing terms and Pearson was alleged to have infringed the copyright in 4,000 images in textbooks by going beyond the licence, and over on the IP Kat Birgit updated us on a recent decision in the Regional Court of Cologne.

Those pesky Peruvian authorities have now interfered with the Pirate Bay's Peruvian URL- - meaning yet another move for the embattled Bucaneers. Peru's snappily named National Institute For The Defense Of Competition And The Protection Of Intellectual Property (INDECOPI) ordered the country's biggest ISP, Red Cientifica Peruana, to suspend the domain or face a fine of up to 666,000 soles (£145,000). The Bay then briefly went to a new home, this time in Guyana,, the fourth time the Pirates had to up anchor and sail to new waters in a week. In recent history the Pirates were in Sint Maarten - but BRIEN forced the registry to seize the .sx domain names as Sint Maarten is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The Pirate Bay then moved to the Acension Islands to a new .ac domain, perhaps foolishly, as the Isle is under direct control of the UK as a British overseas territory, and it was only a matter of days before that domain was seized as well. After the original Swedish .se domain was seized, and having tried Iceland and Greenland, Guyana, Peru, Sint Maarten and the Acension Isles, it now seems the Bay has anchored again - back in Sweden! Earlier this week a spokesperson for The Pirate Bay told TorrentFreak that the site would continue to shift to new domains (reckoning there were 70 more possibilities) until it "find one that sticks".

Businesses stand to save more than £25 million as a result of the planned changes to rules on exceptions to copyright, the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) has said. These include the new exception for parody, To permit the use of quotations from copyright works for purposes not already covered by existing exception for criticism and review, To amend copyright exceptions for education, to allow people with disabilities to benefit from 
accessible versions of these works, the 'private copying' exception (To permit a consumer who has lawfully bought a copy of a creative work to reproduce that copy for their own private and  non-commercial use), To permit copying where it is for the purpose of applying analytic technologies, in cases where access to articles and/or data has already been gained and to make available, all copyright works, including sounds recordings, films and broadcasts, for reasonable use in genuine research and study, while not unduly infringing the rights of copyright holders in such material. BIS also said that new laws, which would provide the Government with a power to intervene if it identifies problems with self-regulatory voluntary codes of practice collecting societies have been asked to implement, are also scheduled to be introduced at the same time. More on the ever excellent OutLaw and you can see the BIS announcements here 

Can I have a copyright please? Original work by BC
Our 'year end' review is almost done - watch out for '2013 - the Copyright Year' coming soon to this Blog ......

And finally, can we wish those of you who celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ a very very 'Happy Christmas' - and can we wish everyone a peaceful, happy and prosperous 2014. 

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