Friday 26 February 2016

The CopyKat

During a review of the “legally verified” version of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Jeremy Malcom, the Senior Global Policy Analyst for the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has discovered a significant change in the text which will reintroduce criminal penalties for the violation of copyrights protecting intellectual property.  Malcom said in his statement posted to EFF’s website that he believes this change substantially expands the criminal penalties for copyright infringing activities saying "In its revised form, the only criminal provision that a country is exempted from applying in those circumstances is the one to which the footnote is attached—namely, the ex officio action provision. Which means, under this amendment, all of the other criminal procedures and penalties must be available even if the infringement has absolutely no impact on the right holder’s ability to exploit their work in the market. The only enforcement provision that countries have the flexibility to withhold in such cases is the authority of state officials to take legal action into their own hands.”

A YouTube video that is part of a Harvard University online course on copyright law is once again accessible to students after Sony Music Entertainment unblocked it and released its copyright claim. Sony had the lecture taken down from YouTube on the grounds of copyright infringement. The videotaped lecture, which explains aspects of copyright law as it applies to music and licensing, is taught by William Fisher, the Wilmer Hale Professor of Intellectual Property Law at Harvard Law School. The lecture includes clips of several versions of the Jimi Hendrix song "Little Wing," which prompted Sony Music, which owns the rights, to have it removed. More here and here.

TechDirt tell us that the US Copyright Office "has decided to take a stance on copyright law that requires two slightly odd things. First, it requires ignoring what the Copyright Act actually says and then, separately, it requires pretending that the law says something that it clearly does not say. That's pretty incredible when you think about it. " Its a well written piece that looks at the 'making available' right in the USA concluding that when it comes to 'making available', it is "somewhat disappointing that the Copyright Office has decided that it can create a right that isn't written into the law and insist that must be what Congress meant all along, while at the same time ignoring the stuff that is written in the law and saying that couldn't possibly have been what Congress meant."

And don't forget that back at the end of December, the U.S. Copyright Office published a Notice of Inquiry seeking to “evaluate the impact and effectiveness of the DMCA safe harbor provisions” found at 17 U.S.C. § 512. Comments in response to the Notice of Inquiry are due in by March 21st, 2016, and the Office indicated it will hold public meetings to discuss the issues raised after the comments have been reviewed.

And finally, The Copykat notes that in Hong Kong, Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Gregory So Kam-leung has said that if the copyright amendment bill does not pass next week, it will be withdrawn. At a press conference Secretary So said that the decision was made in the interest of society overall. He denied that it was an act of admitting defeat. So said that there were still many bills waiting to be discussed at Legislative Council, as he called pan-democratic lawmakers “selfish”, blaming them for wasting time and money.

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