Monday 18 August 2014

The CopyKat - no goals please for the Football Premier League

The the major record labels (Sony, Universal Music and Warner Music) have finally begun their case against Russian social media site VKontakte (VK) for "large-scale" music piracy. Dubbed "Russia's Facebook" and the 22nd most popular site in the World, VK allows users to upload music and videos but is accused of refusing to strike licensing deals with rights holders. Now a combined case from the labels has gone before the St Petersburg and Leningrad region arbitration court and a series of substantive hearings will begin on 8 September, and is expected to run into October. The labels are seeking £1m in damages and an order requiring VK to implement fingerprinting technology to delete copyrighted works and prevent them from being re-uploaded. According to labels trade body the IFPI, growth of licensed digital services in Russia is only $0.50 per capita; the European average is $8.40 and licensed services in Russia including local services Yandex, Trava and global services iTunes and Deezer are suffering with IFPI boss Frances Moore saying ""VK hurt competitors because they are not paying anyone for anything - you cannot compete with that". 

It seems the delay in passing the new exemption from copyright for parody into British law (or indeed allowing Scotland to devolve to pass its own parody laws) may well have caused a problem for one of the productions at this year's Edinburgh Fringe festival. The Times tell us that The Edinburgh Book Club - the producers of 50 Shades the Musical  - have received a letter from legal representatives of 50 Shades of Grey writer EL James and her publishers. The musical was created in the USA by producers Baby Wants Candy under the somewhat more generous 'fair use' provisions found stateside. More here.

The mural ' Castillo'
A still from The Zero Theorem
Three street artists, two Argentinian and one Canadian, and known as Jaz, Ever and Other, have accused the Monty Python actor and film director Terry Gilliam of plagiarising one of  their murals in his latest movie The Zero Theorem. Deadline reports that "To make their point, the three try to show with the vast array of images and pictures in their complaint that similar faces and undershirt wearing animal figures from the mural were used in the film" adding "To further their claim, the trio notes that they registered the mural with the Copyright Office in Argentina, under the title Castillo effective on November 15, 2013." Here are the two images - the 2010 mural on Buenos Aires first,  and a still from the film second: 

Angelina Jolie emerged victorious in court last year when a judge ruled she had not copied another author's work for her film In The Land Of Blood And Honey - and you can see Eleonora's article on the background to this case here.  But journalist and writer James Braddock is now appealing against the decision.  In papers filed in March 11 this year, the Croatian author claims the original judge in the case 'used a poor system to determine if Jolie had infringed on his copyright,' for his book The Soul Shattering reports says the Daily Mail.  Claiming his book was not translated accurately, Braddock says in the appeal papers: 'The Court’s decision noted a number of material errors, starting with clear descriptions that are interpreted or translated incorrectly, to the downgrading of a complex of the work. 'The court did not compare the whole scene at all elements, but he pulled the individual parts! In this way, the bit violated all the rights of the Appellant’s, violated the law and the tests that were performed were not executed in the right way.'

Motherboard reports that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement negotiations have resumed, and a "troubling" provision has come to light. The United States government is using an enhanced version of the provision known as "certification," which allows it to change other countries' domestic obligations at will. This has internet freedom activists worried that the US may enforce draconian copyright laws globally. The Times (Saturday 16.08.14) also had a warning from celebrity chef Jamie Oliver that the TPIP could downgrade high food safety standards in the UK - to rules that prohibit food grown and reared using pesticides, hormones, carcinogens and dodgy additives were watered down to help US farmers and food producers - and sate the US need for 'free trade'. Hang on the CopyKat thought - what's THIS TPP - ahhhhh - it's the Trans-ATLANTIC Trade and Investment Partnership - just one letter different - but oceans apart ........... hopefully. 

The Premier League is set to clamp down on 'unofficial' videos of goals in the social media posted on platforms  such as Twitter and Vine - uploaded by fans, stating that they break copyright laws. Premier League’s director of communications Dan Johnson told the BBC that it is developing technologies like gif crawlers and Vine crawlers to stop the behaviour saying "You can understand that fans see something, they can capture it, they can share it, but ultimately it is against the law. And here's a question - is that videos ripped from Sky TV, BT Vision or the BBC - or their own videos - taken (usually) on mobiles? And does it matter? More from Eleonora over on the IP Kat: .

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