Friday, 7 December 2018

THE COPYKAT backs Schrödinger's cat

Some strong words in a letter from Lord Michael Grade on YouTube's position on Article 13 and EU copyright law reform in the Financial Times, with a touch of Brexit to spice it all up. Noting that creativity is something Britain does particularly well at, "and, with the uncertainties of Brexit ahead, is of greater importance as a growing sector of our economy" Lord Grade comments, adding "After years of scrutiny the European Commission, Council and Parliament have concluded YouTube must take some responsibility for the content it publishes. The platform remains in denial, abetted by those who join in its scaremongering" and "The EU is at a crucial stage of considering measures that will end this injustice. The present, and the future is online. Rules need to apply. Netflix pays for its content, why shouldn’t YouTube? If you want to run a TV channel or a music service, then you need to pay for the content you use — content other people have financed. Reform will end this freeloading and level the playing field, which has to be good news for consumers too."

If you want to know what YouTube and Google think - there is a Google sponsored piece on here titled "EU’s copyright directive and its unintended consequences" written by 'YouTube for Creators".  Others from the tech world working up are fury (or perhaps 'in denial' or even  'scaremongering' ?) are Gizmodo "Tech Giants Wake Up to EU Copyright Plan That Threatens to Nuke the Web" and BoingBoing which goes with "Poland rejects the EU's copyright censorship plans, calls it #ACTA2" whilst Twitch has sent a letter to the Twitch creators' community

The Australian Government has also rejected loud appeals from the tech community and the tech giants who argue that proposed reforms to copyright law will diminish the internet's primary role as a communications tool and allow corporate interests to 'censor' the internet to the detriment of the common citizen, with TechDirt saying the new system would be 'begging for abuse'. What's all the fus about? Updating its copyright law from one which provides for site-blocking of infringing sites with judicial oversight to one which does website site-blocking of infringing sites, and mirror-blocking without judicial oversight, search results blocking, and expands the definition of the types of sites to be blocked from those with the primary "purpose" of infringement to those with the primary "effect" of infringement: The Australian Parliament passed the new law to beef up web-blocking rules as part of the The Copyright Amendment (Online Infringement) Act 2018 which was passed by the House Of Representatives last month and now by the Senate. The Federal Senate’s Environment and Communications Legislation Committee commented  “The Committee is of the view that the amendments proposed by the bill are likely to improve the operation of the injunctive scheme in section 115A [of the Act], and represent a measured and proportionate response to concerns identified by stakeholders in relation to the operation of that scheme” and “In this respect, the committee also notes that the majority of submissions received by the committee supported the bill and recommended that it be passed unamended.” Welcoming the passing of the amendments, Australia's Minister For Communications, Mitch Fifield said "The government has zero tolerance for online piracy. It is theft and damaging to our creative economy and local creators. We are committed to protecting Australia's creative industries and the world-class content we produce every year. The passage of our legislation today sends a strong message to online pirates that Australia does not tolerate online theft".

Banksy may have pulled off the art world's 'stunt' of the decade at Sotheby's in October when one of his paintings, which had just sold for £1.4 million in October, self shredded as soon as the hammer went down, but now his own YouTube post on the prank have also been 'shredded' - this time it seems by French media giant Canal+ who have successfully argued that the footage of the stunt is theirs, and asked YouTube to remove the original, which it did: "Video unavailable This video contains content from Canal Plus, who has blocked it on copyright grounds,” a message now reads instead.

CMU Daily reports that the estate of late Pantera guitarist ‘Dimebag’ Darrell Abbott has fought off a copyright infringement lawsuit over the sale of replicas of his signature guitar, which features a distinctive lightning bolt design (known as the 'Dean From Hell'). The  US judge in the case has told designer Buddy ‘Blaze’ Webster, who created the artwork in the 1980s, that the time period for him to bring his case to court had now (long) passed. Webster had said that the delay was due to stalled negotiations with Dean Guitars and that he had waited to file his case out of respect for the musician’s mourning family, as well as personal issues of his own. Whilst the judge said that some of these reasons were “admirable”, they did not warrant allowing the delayed case to proceed.

The British artist Anish Kapoor released a statement declaring “victory over the NRA,” in reference to his months-long battle with the National Rifle Association over the organisation’s unauthorised use of an image of his bean-shaped reflective sculpture Cloud Gate (2006) in Chicago’s Millennium Park. Kapoor’s said the NRA has complied with his demands to remove the image from what he called its “abhorrent video” The Violence of Lies, which attacks the mainstream media with inflammatory rhetoric as images (including one of Cloud Gate) flash across the screen. “Their bullying and intimidation [have] not succeeded,” Kapoor’s statement reads. “This is a victory not just in defence of the copyright of my work, but it is also a declaration that we stand with those who oppose gun violence in America and elsewhere.” More on Art News here.

Core copyright industries have contributed more than $1.3 trillion to US gross domestic product (GDP) in 2017, and accounted for 6.85% of the US economy. They employed nearly 5.7 million workers in 2017, accounting for 3.85% of the entire US workforce, or 4.54% of total private employment in the United States, according to the International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA)’s “Copyright Industries in the U.S. Economy: The 2018 Report - which is available but only for subscribers to IP-Watch. More details here

And finally, an entertaining article on titled "The Schrödinger's cat of copyright: What's an 'orphan work'?" written from a Canadian perspective, and well worth a read. 

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