Tag Archives | Copyright

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.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

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.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

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.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

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.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

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.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

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.
Continue Reading

Digital Media’s Problem: Monetizing The Container

When you “steal” an album, there is one sense in which you are not “stealing” anything. It costs a band or label nothing for you to download their album, in terms of distribution. In fact, you’ve just saved them a lot of trouble. You got that music all up in your earholes without troubling them with distribution one bit.

But, the problem, of course, is that this stuff isn’t “free” to produce. In fact, the number of hidden costs involved with producing media are pretty amazing, especially when you consider time and effort as the primary resources that humans represent, when viewed within the capitalist myth. As a producer of independent media in quite a few formats – not to mention working inside companies that have been burdened and seriously threatened by this change of paradigm – I think I can say I’m pretty well acquainted with the terror that drives labels to do idiotic things like suing potential customers.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

White House Wants To Make Illegal Video Streaming A Felony

rip remixJust when you thought maybe the United States was ready to take a leadership role in modernizing copyright laws for the digital age of mashup and remix culture, the White House takes a massive step backwards, with harsh proposals including felony status for illegal streaming of audio and video. Declan McCullagh reports for CNET:

The White House today proposed sweeping revisions to U.S. copyright law, including making “illegal streaming” of audio or video a federal felony and allowing FBI agents to wiretap suspected infringers.

In a 20-page white paper (PDF), the Obama administration called on the U.S. Congress to fix “deficiencies that could hinder enforcement” of intellectual property laws.

The report was prepared by Victoria Espinel, the first Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator who received Senate confirmation in December 2009, and represents a broad tightening of many forms of intellectual property law including ones that deal with counterfeit pharmaceuticals and overseas royalties for copyright holders.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Public Domain Works In 2011: What Could Have Been?

In the spirit of the Disinfo film RIP! A Remix Manifesto, the Center for the Study of the Public Domain goes dreaming and takes a look at classic works which would be entering the public domain in 2011, but for the passing of 1976’s restrictive Copyright Act. Among the cultural items to become freely available for quoting, remixing, and all other use would be books such as Waiting for Godot and Lord of the Flies, movies including On the Waterfront and Rear View Window, and the songs ‘Mr. Sandman’ and ‘Mambo Italiano.’

Current US law extends copyright protections for 70 years from the date of the author’s death. But prior to the 1976 Copyright Act (which became effective in 1978), the maximum copyright term was 56 years (an initial term of 28 years, renewable for another 28 years).

books

Read the rest

Continue Reading

The Best 40 Free Movies You Can Download Legally Online

Free CultureAn Australian technology blog has collected a list of 40 of the best free movies that have fallen into the public domain and are available online.

There’s two Christmas classics — a 1935 version of A Christmas Carol and Frank Capra’s Meet John Doe — plus Orson Welles’ “The Stranger,” and four Alfred Hitchcock movies. And you can also watch William Shatner’s legendary anti-racism film for Roger Corman, several Vincent Price classics and the original “Night of the Living Dead.”

These aren’t video clips, but entire movies, including one about a bank robbery that stars Johnny Cash. And if you want something even more offbeat, try the 1970s TV movie “Rescue from Gilligan’s Island” or — for Christmas — “Santa Conquers the Martians.”

Read the rest

Continue Reading