Wednesday 18 March 2015

The CopyKat - its greeeeeaaaat to be a copied cat

The author Jeffrey Archer has complained to the Indian Government in an attempt to stop Bollywood producers stealing his novels and turning them into films without his permission. Archer claims that his novel Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less  was turned into the 2011 romantic comedy hit Ladies v Ricky Bahl, and that Archer's Kane & Abel became the film Khudgarz. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it transpired Archer was in India promoting a new novel. As for future movies, The Times says he told prospective film makers to contact his agent in London. 

Jay-Z has settled a copyright claim brought against him by a Swiss musician who claimed the rapper lifted a sample from an original 1978 song and used it without the artist’s consent. Bruno Spoerri, a 79-year-old Swiss jazz musician, will get 50% of royalties from Jay-Z’s 2013 song “Versus,” reports the Daily Mail. The rapper agreed to a settlement after a year and a half-long legal battle in which Spoerri claimed Jay-Z used a portion of his 1978 song “On the Way” without first clearing the sample with his record label. You can compare the two tracks here

And more .... counsel for Jay-Z and Kanye West expressed confidence that musician Joel R. McDonald’s assertion that the famed rappers' 2011 hit "Made In America" ripped him off would fail, as a Manhattan federal judge prepared to give the songs a listen. The defendants' motion to dismiss is before U.S. District Judge Allison J. Nathan and will be fully briefed by the end of March. The defendants say their tune and McDonald's 2008 work of the same name are “are two completely different songs.”

And with Marvin Gaye's children now musing what other songs may have been 'copied' from their father's work (the last I heard, it was Pharrell Williams in the firing line again for his smash hit 'Happy', which Nona Gaye  says is a copy of Hayes 1966 song 'Ain’t That Peculiar') an appeal in the Blurred Lines case has been formally announced. Robin Thicke and William's lawyer Howard King told reporters "we owe it to songwriters around the world to make sure this verdict doesn't stand". Speaking to Fox Business News, he went on: "My clients know that they wrote the song 'Blurred Lines' from their hearts and souls and no other source. We are going to exercise every post trial remedy we have to make sure this verdict does not stand. We look at it as being in the seventh innings of a game that could go into extra innings". At the trial the Gaye family also said that that Thicke and his estranged wife Paula Patton's co-written track 'Love After War' plagiarised their father's song 'After the Dance'. 

The IP Court of Venice has held that a work created by a lawyer for their client in the performance of legal services was indeed protected by copyright law. The court found that the piece in question, a review of anti-counterfeit regulations, “possesses a creative quality, epitomised by originality and novelty” because the work was "“the result of a personal, original, new and creative elaboration of legal concepts and industry practices and of the experiences of the author” The third-party defendant in the case who was found to have infringed the copyright was ordered to compensate damages determined on an equitable basis (the fact that the regulation was available on the Internet did limit, according to the Court, the harmfulness of the conduct) and ordered the publication of the decision in two newspapers, one national and one local.

UK blocking orders against the Pirate Bay put in place by BT, EE, Virgin and TalkTalk are now seemingly ineffective, possibly as a result of The Pirate Bay switching to an SSL service provided by US company CloudFlare, which made the HTTPS version of the Bay site (rather than the HTTP version) the default address.

Talking of blocking, the Pirate Party MEP Julia Reda, who is currently leading the European Parliaments review into the harmonisation of EU copyright law, has highlighted her view that geo-blocking within the Union is a threat to European culture saying "One cross-border issue users feel strongly about is 'geoblocking'. Most of us are familiar with the error message “This video/content/service is not available in your country.” There’s no digital single market when travellers can't use the services they pay for once they cross a border, linguistic minorities are denied access to cultural works in their native language, innovative services are only available in the big member states because of varying regional hurdles – or UK MEPs are blocked from following the cricket in Brussels." 

The CopyKat is scampering off out BUT just noted this : A Brussels court has ruled that Belgian ISPs don’t have to pay copyright levies for offering access to copyright protected materials online. In an action brought by collection society  Sabam against  the country’s three biggest ISPs (Belgacom, Telenet and Voo) the court of the first instance in Brussels and found that Internet access providers are not liable for information transmitted over their networks. 

Image from wikileaks
The EFF updates us on the Trans Pacific Partnership treaty: "We are deeply concerned about this situation in which important decisions for our nation’s culture and society are being made behind closed doors" reads a joint public statement from Japanese activists who are fighting the copyright provisions in the TPP. A group of artists, archivists, academics, and activists, have joined forces in Japan to call on their negotiators to oppose requirements in the TPP that would require their country, and five of the other 11 nations negotiating this "secretive agreement", to expand their copyright terms to match the United States' already excessive length of copyright.

And finally .... noting that the content industries have managed to blame everyone but themselves for their business woes, Rick Falkvinge, a regular columnist on TorrentFreak, opines: "The copyright industry has managed to kill civil liberties for their own children, ushering in a dystopian surveillance machine, merely to avoid taking responsibility for their own business failures. I lack words to quantify my contempt for these utter parasites." The piece is called "Piracy is just another copyright industry scapegoat" and It's WELL worth a read here!

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