Tag Archives | Copyright

Set Music Free: Orchestra to Record Copyright-Free Classical Music

Set Music FreeAn online music site has raised over $68,000 to hire a full orchestra to record royalty-free classical music. (“Although the actual symphonies are long out of copyright, there is separate protection for every individual performance by an orchestra,” notes one technology site.”)

MusOpen has reached their fundraising goal for both the orchestra and a recording facility, and will now record the complete symphonies of Beethoven, Brahms, Sibelius and Tchaikovsky. For every additional $1,000 raised, they’ve promised to add additional recordings.

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Filesharing “Bully” Lawyer Faces Disciplinary Hearing

A British lawyer’s firm sent thousands of letters demanding £500 ($800) damage payments over filesharing, based on IP addresses obtained from ISPs. But now England’s Solicitors Regulation Authority is referring that lawyer to a disciplinary tribunal after hearing strong complaints from a consumer watchdog group. Which? Magazine had received testimonials from more than 20 different people who insisted they hadn’t actually shared any files, and were being wrongly accused. (“It appears few if any of the recipients have subsequently been successfully prosecuted over the claims…”)

Today the consumer group which publishes the magazine applauded the news of the disciplinary tribunal, “because we’ve received so many complaints from consumers who believe they been treated appallingly by this law firm.” The filesharing could’ve occurred over unsecure wireless connections, the group argues, and they added that the lawyer’s behavior was “both aggressive and bullying.”

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Is Plagiarism OK?

PrtscrThe New York Times ponders plagiarism in the digital age, where films like Rip: A Remix Manifesto question traditional notions of copyright and fair use:

At Rhode Island College, a freshman copied and pasted from a Web site’s frequently asked questions page about homelessness — and did not think he needed to credit a source in his assignment because the page did not include author information.

At DePaul University, the tip-off to one student’s copying was the purple shade of several paragraphs he had lifted from the Web; when confronted by a writing tutor his professor had sent him to, he was not defensive — he just wanted to know how to change purple text to black.

And at the University of Maryland, a student reprimanded for copying from Wikipedia in a paper on the Great Depression said he thought its entries — unsigned and collectively written — did not need to be credited since they counted, essentially, as common knowledge.

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Google Attorney Calls Intellectual Property Treaty “Gollum-like”

Nothing like a good Lord of the Rings reference to make your point about Copyright Law. Declan McCullagh writes on CNET News:

from Vic201401 at Wikimedia Commons

Gollum sculpture at Wax Museum in Mexico City. Photo: Vic201401 (CC)

An attorney for Google slammed a controversial intellectual property treaty, saying it has “metastasized” from a proposal to address border security and counterfeit goods to an international legal framework sweeping in copyright and the Internet.

The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, or ACTA, is “something that has grown in the shadows, Gollum-like,” without public scrutiny, Daphne Keller, a senior policy counsel in Mountain View, Calif., said at a conference at Stanford University.

Both the Obama administration and the Bush administration had rejected requests from civil libertarians and technologists for the text of ACTA, with the White House last year even indicating that disclosure would do “damage to the national security.” After pressure from the European Parliament, however, negotiators released the draft text two weeks ago.

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Hitler ‘Downfall’ Parodies Removed from YouTube

Downfall ParodyNein! Nein! Nein! Gottverdammt YouTube! Gottverdammt Constantin Film! Es ist wahr! Mein Leben ist vorbei. What the hell YouTube, you did this on Hitler's birthday?!? WTF. Reports Mashable:
The movie studio responsible for the award-winning, German-Austrian film Downfall (German: Der Untergang) has asked YouTube to take down several videos from the massively popular subtitled “Hitler finds out…” meme, and the site has complied.Search YouTube and you’ll still find hundreds of Downfall parodies, but click through to some of the bigger ones and you’ll now get the message, “This video contains content from Constantin Film, who has blocked it on copyright grounds.”
Downfall No More... Yep, all the ones we have on disinfo.com are gone...
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Your Life Will Some Day End; ACTA Will Live On

From Ars Technica:

The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) isn’t just another secret treaty—it’s a way of life. If ACTA passes in anything like its current form, it will create an entirely new international secretariat to administer and extend the agreement.

Knowledge Ecology International got its hands on more of the leaked ACTA text this week, including a chapter on “Institutional Arrangements” that has not leaked before. The chapter makes clear that ACTA will be far more than a standard trade agreement; it appears to be nothing less than an attempt to make a new international institution that will handle some of the duties of groups like the WTO and WIPO.

Why bother? Well, from the perspective of countries like the US, the existing institutions have problems. For one, they feature a huge number of nations, some of whom have blocked some of the anti-counterfeiting provisions desired by the US and others.

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‘Internet Enforcement’ Copyright Treaty Leaks Online

Treaty of ParisCory Doctorow writes on BoingBoing:

Someone has uploaded a PDF to a Google Group that is claimed to be the proposal for Internet copyright enforcement that the USA has put forward for ACTA, the secret copyright treaty whose seventh round of negotiations just concluded in Guadalajara, Mexico.

This reads like it probably is genuine treaty language, and if it is the real US proposal, it is the first time that this material has ever been visible to the public. According to my source, the US proposal is the current version of the treaty as of the conclusion of the Mexico round.

I’ve read it through a few times and it reads a lot like DMCA-plus. It contains, for example, a duty to technology firms to shut down infringement where they have “actual knowledge” that such is taking place.

This argument was put forward in the Grokster case, and as Fred von Lohmann argued then, this is a potentially deadly burden to place on technology companies: in the offline world Xerox has “actual knowledge” that its technology is routinely used to infringe copyright at Kinko’s outlets around the world — should that create a duty to stop providing sales and service to Kinko’s?

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What Could Have Been Entering the Public Domain on January 1, 2010?

At right, the cover for the first edition of Ian Fleming's Casino Royale, which featured the first appearance of that martini-drinking secret agent with a license to kill. (Photo gallery of Casino Royale's various covers found on the Guardian). Here's an excellent essay from Duke University's Center for the Study of the Public Domain: CasinoRoyale
Casino Royale, Marilyn Monroe’s Playboy cover, The Adventures of Augie March, the Golden Age of Science Fiction, Crick & Watson’s Nature article decoding the double helix, Disney’s Peter Pan, The Crucible... Current US law extends copyright protections for 70 years from the date of the author’s death. (Corporate “works-for-hire” are copyrighted for 95 years.) 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). Under those laws, works published in 1953 would be passing into the public domain on January 1, 2010. What might you be able to read or print online, quote as much as you want, or translate, republish or make a play or a movie from? How about Casino Royale, Ian Fleming’s first James Bond novel? Fleming published Casino Royale in 1953. If we were still under the copyright laws that were in effect until 1978, Casino Royale would be entering the public domain on January 1, 2010 (even assuming that Fleming had renewed the copyright). Under current copyright law, we’ll have to wait until 2049. This is because the copyright term for works published between 1950 and 1963 was extended to 95 years from the date of publication, so long as the works were published with a copyright notice and the term renewed (which is generally the case with famous works such as this). All of these works from 1953 will enter the public domain in 2049.
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‘Star Trek’ Leads List of Most Pirated Movies 2009

Peter Lauria writing in the New York Post:

Poor Paramount.

Online pirates pinched more than 20 million copies of “Star Trek” and the sequel to “Transformers,” giving those two Paramount Pictures releases the dubious distinction of being the most ripped-off films of the year, according to a report released by file-sharing tracking service TorrentFreak.

Though the “Transformers” sequel bested “Star Trek” at the box office, Trekkie faves Kirk and Spock were more popular than morphing car-robots among digital thieves.

TorrentFreak reported that “Star Trek” was illegally downloaded just under 11 million times, while 10.6 million copies of “Transformers” were lifted.

While precise data is hard to come by, the pirated copies certainly seem to have cost the studio. For the nine months ended Sept. 30, worldwide revenue at the Viacom-owned studio fell $535 million, or 13 percent, to $3.7 billion.

“Transformers” still ranks as 2009′s highest-grossing film at the domestic box office, raking in $402 million, according to BoxOfficeMojo.com.

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