Tuesday 15 September 2015

The CopyKat

Kim Davis, the county clerk in Kentucky who was jailed for five days for refusing to give marriage licenses to same-sex couples may now face a copyright lawsuit. At a post-release rally with Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, the Survivor recording of "Eye of the Tiger" was played to 3,000 people —and this immediately produced a furious reaction from a band member. "NO! We did not grant Kim Davis any rights to use 'My Tune -The Eye Of The Tiger" wrote Survivor frontman Frankie Sullivan on the band's Facebook page. Sullivan had previously sued Newt Gingrich (the Republican politician and Speaker of the House of Representatives who was a Republican presidential hopeful) in 2012 for using "Eye of the Tiger" at one of his political events - the case was later settled.

The EFF have filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, arguing against a district court decision that upheld state law copyrights in pre-1972 sound recordings. The EFF recently filed a similar brief in the Second Circuit - both cases were victories for  Flo & Eddie, aka The Turtles (pictured right) who successfully persuaded district courts that state copyright law restricts public performances of pre-1972 sound recordings in their battle against SirusXM. A similar action in Florda failed - here the court found there was no state law to protect pre-1972 sound recordings. 

Now here's a thing - hackers targeting pirates: TorrentFreak reports that several prolific torrent uploaders have received an alarming message claiming to be from the legal department at major label Warner Music UK. The email accuses the user of copyright infringement and urges uploaders to delete their torrents and accounts, which some have done in response. However .... on closer inspection the threatening email appears to be fake say TorrentFreak, who received a full copy of the grammatically inept message which was sent to email addresses associated with the uploaders’ torrent site accounts - although how the sender accessed those addresses is unknown. A few weeks ago KickassTorrents warned its users against phishing attempts, in which malicious parties attempt to obtain the personal details of users.

On June 11, 2015, the Advocate-General Pedro Cruz Villalón delivered his Opinion in HP Belgium v. Reprobel now pending before the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU, case C-572/13). This Opinion and the underlying case raise one important issue: Is it permissible for a national copyright law to allocate a portion of the fair compensation for reproductions exempted under Article 5(2)(a) and (b) of the 2001/29 Infosoc Directive directly to publishers, although they are not listed among the initial holders of the reproduction right under Article 2 of the Infosoc Directive? Now the European Copyright Society, as a group of academics concerned about the copyright reforms envisaged in the European Union as well as by the interpretation and development of the law by the CJEU, has shared its view on this matter of principle: And its ALL HERE!

Piracy is still a big issue in New Zealand, but the recorded music, film and TV industries say the process to hold infringers accountable is too lengthy and too costly. Just one complaint has been laid, and upheld with the Copyright Tribunal so far this year, compared with 4 last year and 18 in 2013. To successfully complete a complaint against someone allegedly illegally downloading, rights holders have to identify the illegal downloader and file a notice with their Internet Service Provider (ISP). The ISP then passes the notice to the account holder with each notice costing $25. Three notices are required within a 12-months before a complaint can be laid with the tribunal and pay a $200 fee. It's all too complex and too expensive say content owners.

WORDS - they are important - we all know that: Now TorrentFreak has published an interesting opinion piece from Rick Falkvinge (a founder of Sweden's Pirate Party) on how words are used in the debate about the remit and reach of copyright: One mistake that geeks and techies often make, but PR professionals and lobbyists never make, is the observation that words don’t just have a precise meaning – they also have a positive or negative chime to them. Therefore, lobbyists try very hard to establish a language where everything they want is described in words with a positive chime." and Rick makes the point "This is why I insist on calling governmentally-granted private monopolies that interfere with property rights “industrial protectionism” - this and and much more here.

And finally, what is said to be the USA's largest illegal music file-sharing site, Sharebeast.com, has been seized and shut down by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). A US Department of Justice (DOJ) domain seizure notice first appeared on Sharebeast.com on Friday September 11th. Visitors to the domain arwew now confronted by a notice which states that the FBI has taken control of the site 'pursuant to a seizure warrant issued by a United States District Court'. Sharebeast's related sites such as mp3pet.com and albumjams.com also display the notice. More on MBW here.

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