PP International

How Big Media's Copyright Campaigns Threaten Internet Free Expression - by Cory Doctorow

Posted On: Tue, 2007-11-06 08:47 by TheBaldingOne

Big media companies' efforts to extend copyright are hurting creators' abilities to find audiences for their work, argues cyber-rights activist Cory Doctorow.

When people talk about "creator's rights," they usually mean copyright, but copyright is just a side dish for creators: The most important right we have is the right to free expression. And these two rights are always in tension.

Take Viacom's claims against YouTube. The entertainment giant says that YouTube has been profiting from the fact that YouTube users upload clips from Viacom shows, and it demands that YouTube take steps to prevent this from happening in the future. YouTube actually offered to do something very like this: It invited Viacom and other rights holders to send them all the clips they wanted kept offline, and promised to programatically detect these clips and interdict them.

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File-sharing is good for Big Music - by Jack Kapica

Posted On: Mon, 2007-11-05 08:52 by TheBaldingOne

Earlier today, Industry Canada, a ministry of the federal government, released a surprising study of peer-to-peer file-sharing on the music industry.

The study is called The Impact of Music Downloads and P2P File-Sharing on the Purchase of Music: A Study for Industry Canada (PDF), and was written by Birgitte Andersen and Marion Frenz, of the Department of Management at the University of London in England.

Its conclusion: P2P file-sharing does not put downward pressure on purchasing music, as the music industry has insisted for years. In fact, it does just the opposite: It tends to increase music purchasing.

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Fast: 'Ban them from any internet use' - by David Meyer

Posted On: Mon, 2007-11-05 08:47 by TheBaldingOne

Following recent comments by a government official suggesting that legislation may be needed to force internet service providers into a crackdown on unauthorised file-sharing, the Federation Against Software Theft contacted ZDNet.co.uk to put its case across.

In an interview on Monday — based largely on readers' submitted questions — Fast chief John Lovelock denied that he wanted to target small-time file-sharers of copyrighted material, but insisted that it should be possible to ban serious offenders from any internet usage without having to go through the courts.

Q: What is Fast's reaction to Lord Triesman's comments?

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Punishing Innocent Downloaders Violates Free Speech, Professor Argues - via Physorg

Posted On: Fri, 2007-11-02 08:40 by TheBaldingOne

As record labels are dramatically increasing lawsuits over music piracy, a University of Arkansas law professor argues that the law's automatic punishment of illegal downloading violates the First Amendment.

In his recent article, "Copytraps," assistant professor Ned Snow emphasizes that Internet users who mistakenly believe that it is legal to download music from a Web site - when, in fact, it is illegal - face harsh penalties for downloading. If a copyright holder has not authorized the downloading, regardless of a Web site's representations or appearance, the downloader is liable and can be fined a minimum of $750 per downloaded song. This automatic punishment, Snow argues, represents a penalty for innocent Internet users who have no means to know that the material offered on a Web site infringes a copyright.

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Robert Fripp lays in to music industry rip-off merchants - by Paul Hales

Posted On: Fri, 2007-11-02 08:34 by TheBaldingOne

GUITAR WHIZZ and composer of Vista's little blipping noises, Robert Fripp is fed up with the hypocrisy of the music industry over copyright.

Fripp writes that he and his King Crimson band feel ripped off by record label EMI.

Apparently, EMI may have flogged some King Crimson CDs when it shouldn't have and cryptically Fripp refers to returns of unsold CDs. "A concern with returns is always that they are not dumped back onto the market by mistake (by mistake, dear reader)," he writes.

But it is the issue of downloads that is causing most headaches.

"After the licence (with EMI) expired," writes Fripp, "King Crimson tracks repeatedly appeared on various download websites licensed from EMI. If this had happened during the licence period, it would have been disturbing – even though shit happens and we should have gotten over it! - because EMI never had download rights from us."

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IP firm sues... everyone for WiFi patent infringement - by Jacqui Cheng

Posted On: Fri, 2007-11-02 08:25 by TheBaldingOne

Another day, another patent infringement lawsuit. This time, Canada-based Wi-LAN—"a leader in technology licensing"—has filed two suits against 22 total companies that it alleges have infringed on its patents relating to WiFi and power consumption in DSL products. Those companies include some strange bedfellows: PC manufacturers like Apple, Acer, Gateway, and HP; WiFi gear makers such as Atheros Communications, Belkin, Broadcom, Buffalo Technology, and D-Link; and a pair of big-box retailers—Best Buy and Circuit City—just for kicks.

The complaint, filed in the patent-litigation hotbed of the Eastern District of Texas, accuses the 22 companies of making or selling products that infringe on three of its patents: patent numbers 5,282,222, RE37,802 and 5,956,323. The patents address Wi-LAN's developments on WiFi transceivers and power consumption, which are utilized in the products sold by many popular companies. Wi-LAN does not make or sell any products itself, however—the company has done work on broadband wireless technology since 1992, but "reinvented itself" in 2006 to focus on licensing its intellectual property. One such successful reinvention came from Fujitsu, which recently signed a license agreement with Wi-LAN, giving the company access to Wi-LAN's entire patent portfolio.

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Ripples in the Music Industry, Part 1: Breaking Away - by Walaika Haskins

Posted On: Wed, 2007-10-31 08:39 by TheBaldingOne

Piracy is not the major music labels' main problem, according to analyst Mike Goodman. "The problem is that they have an inefficient business model. We're undergoing a business correction, and there is not anything they'll be able to do about this market correction. Revenues for the music industry are going to decline." Meanwhile, musical artists are using the Internet to strike out on their own.

October seemed as though it would be a banner month for the recording industry after a Minnesota jury ruled in favor of the Recording Industry Association of America Latest News about Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) in the first peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing lawsuit to go to trial. The jurors demanded Jammie Thomas, a single mother who the RIAA claimed had shared copyrighted audio files, pay US$222,000 in damages. The award appeared to vindicate in the industry's years-long battle to put an end to illegal downloads by any means necessary.

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When Pigs Fly: The Death of Oink, the Birth of Dissent, and a Brief History of Record Industry Suicide.

Posted On: Mon, 2007-10-29 08:52 by TheBaldingOne

[Currently Listening To: Music I Didn't Pay For]

For quite a long time I've been intending to post some sort of commentary on the music industry - piracy, distribution, morality, those types of things. I've thought about it many times, but never gone through with it, because the issue is such a broad, messy one - such a difficult thing to address fairly and compactly. I knew it would result in a rambly, unfocused commentary, and my exact opinion has teetered back and forth quite a bit over the years anyway. But on Monday, when I woke up to the news that Oink, the world famous torrent site and mecca for music-lovers everywhere, had been shut down by international police and various anti-piracy groups, I knew it was finally time to try and organize my thoughts on this huge, sticky, important issue.

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Public Knowledge Proposes Six-Point Program for Copyright Reform

Posted On: Mon, 2007-10-29 08:49 by TheBaldingOne

Saying that copyright law has “become out of touch with our technological reality to the detriment of creators and the public,” Public Knowledge President Gigi B. Sohn today unveiled a new program for copyright reform that will be more responsive to new innovations.

“Pre-VCR copyright policies must be transformed to embrace our new user-generated culture,” Sohn said in a speech to the New Media and the Marketplace of Ideas Conference at Boston University. A complete text of the speech is available at: http://www.publicknowledge.org/node/1244.

She added: “For the past 35 years, the trend has been nearly unmitigated expansion of the scope and duration of copyright, resulting in a clear mismatch between the technology and the law. Over the past decade copyright reformers like Public Knowledge have stopped the pendulum from swinging even farther away from digital reality. Now it is time to move the pendulum towards the future and away from the past.”

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RIAA denied default judgement as judge cites doubt over positive ID - by Eric Bangeman

Posted On: Mon, 2007-10-29 08:26 by TheBaldingOne

A federal judge has denied the RIAA's motion for default judgment in the case of Atlantic v. Dangler, a case where alleged infringer Jeff Dangler failed to appear in court. The RIAA filed the original complaint in March, then moved for a default judgment less than two months later after the Clerk of the Court entered Dangler's default.

Despite the fact that Dangler hadn't bothered to answer the charges brought against him, Judge David G. Larimer decided against awarding the RIAA's motion for a default judgment of $6,000 plus court costs. The judge cited "significant issues of fact" regarding the RIAA's linking of the KaZaA username "heavyjeffmc@KaZaA" to Dangler, as well as a lack of details about when the alleged infringement took place.

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