Thursday 19 May 2016

The CopyKat

Pirate Party MEP Julia Reda has got herself into a bit of a pickle after a tweet on World Intellectual Property Day saying that she was “trying to read Anne Frank’s Diary” but couldn’t because of the EU copyright term. The Anne Frank Foundation has claimed that despite Anne's death in 1945,  the Diary is still protected under EU law as the co-author of the Diary was Anne's father Otto, who edited the published editions, and he didn't die until 1980. However, putting aside whether or not the book should be in the public domain,  Canadian poet and head of the Writers Union of Canada, John Degen pointed out that Ms Reda could of course read the book (its available on Kindle for as little as $1.99) - its just she did't want to pay to read it - and her 'struggle' somewhat pales into insignificance when compared to Frank's own persecution at the hands of the Nazis. The Register has more here.

YouTube is promising to update its Content ID system - not just to appease the record companies and movie studios who complain about it is remarkably unsophisticated nature - not least as Google are a leading technology company - but also to appease YouTubers who say that their material is sometimes taken down by mistake, and revenues they are due withheld. Following the update to Content ID which YouTube says will take place in "the coming months," YouTube will continue collecting revenue from those disputed videos, holding it 'in a kind of escrow' and releasing it to the eventual winner of any copyright dispute. More CBC.

The High Court in Johannesburg has found that news articles can be protected by copyright law. The Court held that the Copyright Act provided that literary works‚ including news articles‚ are eligible for copyright if they are original finding that Moneyweb had been able to prove that three of its seven articles used in part by defendant Fin24 were original works. However‚ the court found that Moneyweb had failed to show that Media 24’s financial website Fin24 had reproduced substantial parts of two of the articles found to be original works.

The UK government has published its strategy for tackling IP infringement over the next four years. The document reveals some interesting times ahead, including a review of the effectiveness of notice and takedown regimes and the possibility of rightsholders tracking down infringers within them. The strategy Protecting Creativity, Supporting Innovation: IP Enforcement 2020 has six key points, with reducing the level of illegal online content placed at the top of the list and strengthening the law closely after. The government also wants to increase its educational programs with the aim of building respect for intellectual property. TorrentFreak explains all here. Image (c) Ben Challis. Yes, really!

Billboard reports that anti-piracy firm Rightscorp is questioning its own viability after releasing some dismal first-quarter financial results. The company reported an operating loss of $784,180 during the three months ended March 31, a slight improvement from the $930,000 loss a year earlier. But the bad news is that Rightscorp only generated revenues of $68,283, a 78 percent drop from 2015 Q1’s $307,904, and its services accrued only $49,142 due to copyright holders -- a third of the $153,952 gathered during the first three months of 2015.

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