Intellectual Property

Secret Meetings Over Trade Agreement Cause Stir

There's a reason you don't hear much about international trade agreements. They are kind of dull, and they're usually not very controversial. But the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) is different.

"One feels that you're almost in a bit of a twilight zone," says Michael Geist, a law professor at the University of Ottawa. "I mean, we're talking about a copyright treaty. And it's being treated as akin to nuclear secrets."

Full story at NPR - audio available 7pm et

Copyright Flack

Breaking news is now copied and redistributed on thousands of websites across the Internet within minutes - producing a World Wide Web of carbon copies. First Amendment lawyer David Marburger argues that this redistribution is hurting newspapers financially and that the fault lies with the Copyright Act.

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Copyright is not the only thing that matters online

BBC Contributor Bill Thompson chronicles more evidence of a copyright system used as a cudgel;

"It seems that copyright, a legal framework developed over 300 years to ensure a balance between the interests of the wider community and those of the creative artist has become so tipped towards those of the "rights holder" that few of us can go through a day without breaking the law in one way or another."

Photographing Public Art: A Legal Waltz in Seattle

To photographer Mike Hipple, the claim is baseless. The photo he took about 10 years ago of a woman standing near the "Dance Steps on Broadway" sculpture in Seattle's Capitol Hill is an example of fair use. If it's not, he reasons, the right of all photographers to take pictures in public will be in jeopardy.

His photo was, after all, "taken on a public sidewalk, showing a woman interacting with a piece of public art, paid for by public funds. And it only depicts a small portion of the artwork at that," Hipple wrote. "Now if this doesn't qualify as fair use of the sculpture, I don't know what does."

Full article at Citizen Media Law Project

Online Storage Site Ordered To Filter Books

From the article:

Six book publishers have gained an injunction against file-hosting company, RapidShare. The Swiss-based ‘cyberlocker’ service must monitor user uploads to ensure that around 148 titles, many of them textbooks, are never made available to its users. Failure to do so could result in $339,000 fines, or even jail time for company bosses.

For those who don't know, RapidShare is site where one can upload files for off-site storage and distribution. It's that "distribution" that it's well known for as thousands of people upload larger files to the service with the intention of allowing others to download. Though it's well known in certain circles for hosting pirated content, it's strange that the first shot fired against it should come from the publishing industry rather than the recording or motion picture industries.

More from TorrentFreak.

Moral Panics and the Copyright Wars

Moral Panics and the Copyright Wars is a book by William Patry. Patry is Senior Copyright Counsel at Google, Inc.

Wikipedia entry on Patry

Book description:

Metaphors, moral panics, folk devils, Jack Valenti, Joseph Schumpeter, John Maynard Keynes, predictable irrationality, and free market fundamentalism are a few of the topics covered in this lively, unflinching examination of the Copyright Wars: the pitched battles over new technology, business models, and most of all, consumers.
In Moral Panics and the Copyright Wars, William Patry lays bare how we got to where we are: a bloated, punitive legal regime that has strayed far from its modest, but important roots. Patry demonstrates how copyright is a utilitarian government program--not a property or moral right. As a government program, copyright must be regulated and held accountable to ensure it is serving its public purpose. Just as Wall Street must serve Main Street, neither can copyright be left to a Reaganite "magic of the market." -- Read More

Beyond "Harry Potter": 5 interesting tales of plagiarism

Beyond "Harry Potter": 5 interesting tales of plagiarism
Rowling is hardly the first well-known writer to face plagiarism charges. The results of such charges tend to vary widely. Some end up dismissed as without merit, others ruin careers, and yet others seem simply to disappear.

Secret Agent

Who controls the internet? Well, at the moment a trade agreement known as ACTA is being negotiated by the U.S., Japan, the European Union, Canada and more than a dozen other countries, and, if ratified, would significantly regulate what you can and can’t do online. ACTA’s rules will supersede each country’s local laws. Oh, and the whole affair is secret. Danny O'Brien of the Electronic Frontier Foundation explains the possible impact on net users worldwide.

Listen using embedded player above on download MP3 file here.

It's J.K. Rowling's Turn to Get Sued

J.K. Rowling has been named in a lawsuit alleging she stole ideas for her wildly popular and lucrative "Harry Potter" books from another British author reports The Huffington Post.

The estate of the late Adrian Jacobs on Wednesday added Rowling as a defendant in a lawsuit it filed in June against Bloomsbury Publishing PLC for alleged copyright infringement, according to a statement released by the estate's representatives, who are based in Australia.

The lawsuit, filed in a London court, claims Rowling's book "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" copied substantial parts of Jacobs' 1987 book, "The Adventures of Willy the Wizard – No. 1 Livid Land." Jacobs' estate also claims that many other ideas from "Willy the Wizard" were copied into the "Harry Potter" books. Jacobs died in London in 1997.

"Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" is the fourth book in Rowling's series and was published in July 2000.

The Fight over the Google of All Libraries

An (Updated) Wired.com FAQ on the Google Books Project and the fight over a settlement. Federal judge Denny Chin will have the difficult job of sorting that out Thursday, as he gives the second version of the Google settlement a “fairness hearing.”

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