Friday 27 November 2015

The CopyKat

A Czech man called Jakub F has struck a novel dea to avoid penalties for copyright infringement. Admitting “I had to start this site, because I spent eight years spreading pirated software and got caught”, he now has a website set up to promote a YouTube video in which he apologises for his behaviour. If the video reaches 200k views, he will pay only a faction of a hefty damages bill, after he was found guilty of copyright infringement. TorrentFreak reports that he struck the deal with rightsholders including Microsoft, HBO, Sony Music and Twentieth Century Fox to produce and promote his anti-piracy mea culpa on YouTube. He has reached 141K views. Whatever happens, he has a three year prison sentence suspended for three years from the district Court in Litoměřice. The damages were set at CZK 5.7 million (£148k).

The UK's Competition and Markets Authority is launching a review of undertakings given by the Performing Right Society (PRS) following a competition investigation in 1995/6.  The decision to review the undertakings follows a Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) consultation in July, which sought views on whether to carry out reviews of 13 sets of market and monopoly remedies that had been put in place by the CMA’s predecessors prior to 2005. The CMA expects to launch further work following this consultation in the coming months. This consultation formed part of its commitment, set out in its 2015/16 annual plan, to commence a systematic review of existing merger, market and monopoly remedies. The CMA has decided there are grounds to review the PRS undertakings. This is due to internal changes made by the PRS; legislative changes including the forthcoming implementation of a new EU Directive covering collective rights management; and wider changes in the music industry including the growth of online and digital music including downloads and streaming.The PRS gave undertakings in 1997 allowing its members to administer their own live performing rights, as well as making other commitments over its corporate governance and the provision of information to the Office of Fair Trading (now the CMA).  More here.

Yunghi Kim, the award winning photojournalist and 20 year long member of Contact Press Images, is  donating $10,000 to create ten one-time grants for US photographers of $1,000 with money that she has received “from fees recovered from unauthorized use of my work”. The Awards will be made to promote copyrght registration - with Kim saying "I am doing this to emphasize that, YES it makes a difference if you copyright register your work and everyone should make a practice of it in your workflow. Think of it as digital teeth brushing." More here.

London fashion label Kokon to Zai (KTZ) has been accused of copying a garment designed in 1922 by Aua, one of the last Shaman of the Canadian Inuit. His great-granddaughter Salome Awa spotted the sweatshirt online and says she was “shocked” by its resemblance to the one created by her ancestor to protect him from drowning. You can see both of the designs in better resolution on the Evening Standard here. Earlier this year KTZ were accused by fashion designer Bethany Yellowtail of copying her dress which featured a design from her great, great grandmother, a Native American. Ms Awa said a legal action is pending. The Standard reports that KTZ issued a statement saying: “Over the last 20 years KTZ has always been inspired by and paid homage to indigenous cultures and tribes" and “It’s part of KTZ’s DNA to take inspiration from all indigenous cultures around the world and celebrate multiculturalism as a form of art. Our appreciation isn’t the same as appropriation”. KTZ say they have already removed the item from sale online, and will remove the items from stores.” Edward Sheriff Curtis's extraordinary images of Native American tribespeople from the early 1900s can be found on Mashable here.

And finally - the CopyKat must bid a very fond (but slightly sad) farewell to Jeremy Phillips - our blogmeister, our mentor and a beacon of common sense; teacher, academic, writer, editor, blogger extraordinaire, consultant, and our friend. He will be so missed. And so, with lasting admiration and respect Jeremy - can we just say we are wishing you a fabulous retirement - but we hope to see you soon! 

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