Tag Archives | Copyright

Missing Wikipedia? Here’s How You Can Access It

As most Internet users already know, leading Internet companies like Google, Wikipedia, and Craigslist are protesting the SOPA legislation very publicly today, with Wikipedia totally blacked out. But, if you really, really need to access Wikipedia today, they have kindly explained how to come in through the back door:

Is it still possible to access Wikipedia in any way?

Yes. During the blackout, Wikipedia is accessible on mobile devices and smart phones. You can also view Wikipedia normally by disabling JavaScript in your browser, as explained on this Technical FAQ page. Our purpose here isn’t to make it completely impossible for people to read Wikipedia, and it’s okay for you to circumvent the blackout. We just want to make sure you see our message.

Wikipedia blackout

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SOPA On The Shelf

EFF (CC)

EFF (CC)

Is there still hope for freedom? Probably not, but at least we’ve got the next best thing: The Interwebs! From the Washington Monthly Political Animal blog by Steve Benen:

Misguided efforts to combat online privacy have been threatening to stifle innovation, suppress free speech, and even, in some cases, undermine national security. As of yesterday, though, there’s a lot less to worry about.

At issue are two related bills: the Senate’s Protect IP Act and the even more offensive Stop Online Piracy Act in the House, both of which are generated intense opposition from tech giants and First Amendment advocates. The first sign that the bills’ prospects were dwindling came Friday, when SOPA sponsors agreed to drop a key provision that would have required service providers to block access to international sites accused of piracy.

The legislation ran into an even more significant problem yesterday when the White House announced its opposition to the bills.

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Spanish Author Quits Writing, Claims More Copies Of Her Books Are Stolen Than Sold

Lucía Etxebarría. Photo: Xavier Thomas (http://photo75.online.fr)

Lucía Etxebarría. Photo: Xavier Thomas (http://photo75.online.fr)

Are things really so hopeless for writers? In Spain perhaps. Giles Tremlett reports for the Guardian (thanks to Mike for the tip):

An award-winning Spanish novelist claims that the illegal downloading of ebooks has forced her to give up writing and start looking for a new job.

“Given that I have today discovered that more illegal copies of my book have been downloaded than I have sold, I am announcing officially that I will not publish another book for a long time,” Lucía Etxebarria announced on her Facebook page.

Etxebarria told the Guardian that Spanish authors faced a difficult future as online piracy spreads from music and film to literature.

She pointed to Spain’s position at the top of the world rankings for per capita illegal downloads. “We come after China and Russia in the total number of illegal downloads but, obviously, there are a lot more of them so we win on a per capita measure,” she said.

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Swiss Government Study: Online Piracy Benefits Artists

uesc_03_img0154Encouraging results regarding unauthorized downloading, via TorrentFreak:

The Swiss government has been conducting a study into the impact downloading has on society. This week their response was published and it was crystal clear. Not only will downloading for personal use stay completely legal, but the copyright holders won’t suffer because of it, since people eventually spend the money saved on entertainment products.

The overall conclusion of the study is that the current copyright law, under which downloading copyrighted material for personal use is permitted, doesn’t have to change.

The entertainment industries have opposed all these technological inventions out of fear that their businesses would be crushed. This is not the right response according to the Swiss government, which favors the option of putting technology to good use instead of taking the repressive approach.

The government report further concludes that even in the current situation where piracy is rampant, the entertainment industries are not necessarily losing money.

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Bob Dylan, Plagiarist

It’s hard to believe that Dylan would so naively copy other people’s work and pass it off as his own, but that appears to be exactly what he’s done. From ARTINFO:

Time and time again folk rock legend Bob Dylan has blatantly borrowed for his lyrics. Christie’s auction house acknowledged in 2009 that a handwritten Dylan poem that was up for sale really consisted of words from a song by country crooner Hank Snow. Director Martin Scorsese showed in his 2005 documentary, “No Direction Home,” how Dylan stole the line “Go away from my window…” — the immortal opener of his 1964 song “It Ain’t Me, Babe” — from singer John Jacob Niles. Dylan also purloined text from Japanese writer Junichi Saga‘s novel “Confessions of a Yakuza” for his 2001 album “Love and Theft.” And that’s not the only thing Dylan lifted from Asia.

Dylan painting

Bob Dylan's "Opium," (2009) next to a photograph by Léon Busy, taken in Vietnam in 1915.

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China’s Fake Apple Stores

appstoreFascinatingly, in is now common in China to find counterfeit branches of the Apple store.

Then again, what makes any Apple store “real” when the point is to use psychology to sell an intangible “brand”? And how can you tell a real Apple store from a fraudulent one? Paradoxically, real Apple stores never say “Apple store”. The Consumerist reports:

An American blogger living in the middle of China was amazed to stumble across a fake Apple store in her town. It was a complete counterfeit of a real Apple store, designed to look like the real thing. It had signage, and employees walking around in the iconic blue shirts with those lanyard nametags. It had the big long wooden tables with Apple products on them and the typical Apple store winding staircase. But certain details were off.

None of the employee nametags had their names on it. They just said “staff.” And Apple never writes “Apple Store” on their signs, they just put up their logo.

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Who Is The Protect IP Act Really Protecting?

The Preventing Real Online Threats of Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act, or PROTECT IP Act, is supposedly targeted at so-called ”rogue websites” that trade in infringing goods. Abigail Phillips gives some much-needed context to the controversial legislation for the Electronic Frontier Foundation:

Last year’s rogue website legislation is back on the table, with a new name: the “Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act of 2011″—or (wink, wink) “PROTECT IP”. The draft language is available here.

Screen shot 2011-05-12 at 6.44.57 PM

The earlier bill, which failed to pass thanks largely to a hold on the legislation placed by Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, would have given the government dramatic new copyright enforcement powers targeted at websites “dedicated to infringing activities,” even where those websites were not based in the United States. Despite some salient differences (described below) in the new version, we are no less dismayed by this most recent incarnation than we were with last year’s draft.

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The Pirate Bay: ‘The Battle of Internets is About to Begin’

Pirate BayErnesto writes on TorrentFreak:

Talks on implementing a Europe-wide firewall to censor and block ‘illicit’ websites has caused concern among many Internet users in recent weeks, and today one of the targeted sites has joined the discussion. Quoting one of Churchill’s most famous speeches, The Pirate Bay team is rallying the public to defend the free Internet and end the threat posed by the entertainment industries’ copyright lobby.

In February, a secret meeting of the European Union’s Law Enforcement Work Party (LEWP) resulted in a worrying proposal.

To deal with illicit sites on the Internet, the group suggested the adoption of a China-like firewall to block websites deemed ‘inappropriate’. The controversial proposal immediately met resistance from various sides, including ISPs who would be tasked with maintaining the blocklist. The copyright lobby on the other hand welcomes the initiative which they’ve been suggesting for years.

One of the sites that has a fair share of experience with being blocked is The Pirate Bay.

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YouTube Punishes Copyright Offenders With Animated Pirate Cat

Thursday YouTube announced a new program which requires copyright offenders to watch an animated cartoon starring a pirate cat. “In an adjustment to it’s three-strikes-and-your-banned-for life policy, the site is now requiring alleged offenders to watch a four minute ‘re-education’ movie featuring an animated cat, then complete a four-question multiple choice exam,” YouTube explained on their site. “Only then can the user upload clips again…”

YouTube_Logo

The cartoon — entitled “Happy Tree Friends” — features singing animals who demonstrate the difference between uploading an infringing video and creating original content. (“YouTube has decided the solution is to patronize those users,” jokes one technology blog.) “Because copyright law can be complicated, education is critical to ensure that our users understand the rules and continue to play by them,” YouTube said in Thursday’s announcement. And some users who complete the YouTube “Copyright School” can also have copyright strikes removed from their account.

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