Corante

AUTHORS

Donna Wentworth
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Ernest Miller
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Elizabeth Rader
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Jason Schultz
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Wendy Seltzer
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Aaron Swartz
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Alan Wexelblat
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About this weblog
Here we'll explore the nexus of legal rulings, Capitol Hill policy-making, technical standards development, and technological innovation that creates -- and will recreate -- the networked world as we know it. Among the topics we'll touch on: intellectual property conflicts, technical architecture and innovation, the evolution of copyright, private vs. public interests in Net policy-making, lobbying and the law, and more.

Disclaimer: the opinions expressed in this weblog are those of the authors and not of their respective institutions.

What Does "Copyfight" Mean?

Copyfight, the Solo Years: April 2002-March 2004

COPYFIGHTERS
a Typical Joe
Academic Copyright
Jack Balkin
John Perry Barlow
Benlog
beSpacific
bIPlog
Blogaritaville
Blogbook IP
BoingBoing
David Bollier
James Boyle
Robert Boynton
Brad Ideas
Ren Bucholz
Cabalamat: Digital Rights
Cinema Minima
CoCo
Commons-blog
Consensus @ Lawyerpoint
Copyfighter's Musings
Copyfutures
Copyright Readings
Copyrighteous
CopyrightWatch Canada
Susan Crawford
Walt Crawford
Creative Commons
Cruelty to Analog
Culture Cat
Deep Links
Derivative Work
Detritus
Julian Dibbell
DigitalConsumer
Digital Copyright Canada
Displacement of Concepts
Downhill Battle
DTM:<|
Electrolite
Exploded Library
Bret Fausett
Edward Felten - Freedom to Tinker
Edward Felten - Dashlog
Frank Field
Seth Finkelstein
Brian Flemming
Frankston, Reed
Free Culture
Free Range Librarian
Michael Froomkin
Michael Geist
Michael Geist's BNA News
Dan Gillmor
Mike Godwin
Joe Gratz
GrepLaw
James Grimmelmann
GrokLaw
Groklaw News
Matt Haughey
Erik J. Heels
ICANNWatch.org
Illegal-art.org
Induce Act blog
Inter Alia
IP & Social Justice
IPac blog
IPTAblog
Joi Ito
Jon Johansen
JD Lasica
LawMeme.org
Legal Theory Blog
Lenz Blog
Larry Lessig
Jessica Litman
James Love
Alex Macgillivray
Madisonian Theory
Maison Bisson
Kevin Marks
Tim Marman
Matt Rolls a Hoover
miniLinks
Mary Minow
Declan McCullagh
Eben Moglen
Dan Moniz
Napsterization
Nerdlaw
NQB
Danny O'Brien
Open Access
Open Codex
John Palfrey
Chris Palmer
Promote the Progress
PK News
PVR Blog
Eric Raymond
Joseph Reagle
Recording Industry vs. the People
Lisa Rein
Thomas Roessler
Seth Schoen
Doc Searls
Seb's Open Research
Shifted Librarian
Doug Simpson
Slapnose
Slashdot.org
Stay Free! Daily
Sarah Stirland
Swarthmore Coalition
Tech Law Advisor
Technology Liberation Front
Teleread
Siva Vaidhyanathan
Vertical Hold
Kim Weatherall
Weblogg-ed
David Weinberger
Matthew Yglesias

LINKABLE + THINKABLE
AKMA
Timothy Armstrong
Bag and Baggage
Charles Bailey
Beltway Blogroll
Between Lawyers
Blawg Channel
bk
Chief Blogging Officer
Drew Clark
Chris Cohen
Crawlspace
Crooked Timber
Daily Whirl
Dead Parrots Society
Delaware Law Office
J. Bradford DeLong
Betsy Devine
Dispositive
Ben Edelman
EEJD
Ernie the Attorney
FedLawyerGuy
Foreword
How Appealing
Industry Standard
IP Democracy
IPnewsblog
IP Watch
Dennis Kennedy
Rick Klau
Wendy Koslow
Kuro5hin.org
Elizabeth L. Lawley
Jerry Lawson
Legal Reader
Likelihood of Confusion
Chris Locke
Derek Lowe
Misbehaving
MIT Tech Review
NewsGrist
OtherMag
Paper Chase
Frank Paynter
PHOSITA
Scott Rosenberg
Scrivener's Error
Jeneane Sessum
Silent Lucidity
Smart Mobs
Trademark Blog
Eugene Volokh
Kevin Werbach

ORGANIZATIONS
ARL
Berkman @ Harvard
CDT
Chilling Effects
CIS @ Stanford
CPSR
Copyright Reform
Creative Commons
DigitalConsumer.org
DFC
EFF
EPIC
FIPR
FCC
FEPP
FSF
Global Internet Proj.
ICANN
IETF
ILPF
Info Commons
IP Justice
ISP @ Yale
NY for Fair Use
Open Content
PFF
Public Knowledge
Shidler Center @ UW
Tech Center @ GMU
U. Maine Tech Law Center
US Copyright Office
US Dept. of Justice
US Patent Office
W3C


Copyfight

Monthly Archives

August 27, 2008

August 21, 2008

In Which Our Hero TriesTo Comprehend EU Copyright Issues

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Posted by Alan Wexelblat

OK, I'm in need of help here. Have I got this right?

I got an interesting pointer from a European Copyfight reader indicating that I should take a look at the growing controversy over the European Parliament's proposed new telecoms package. As far as I can tell the source of this controversy is here: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/eplive/expert/shotlist_page/20080708SHL33636/default_en.htm

This is a set of innocuous-sounding proposals to "co-ordinate" and "harmonise" radio spectrum use. It contains high-minded phrases like "safeguard media pluralism." It proposes setting up some kind of overarching governing body (Body of European Regulators in Telecommunications (BERT)). National regulators would have to submit proposed regulations to BERT. Seems pretty simple. That's one side.

On the other side we have some pretty inflammatory language. "European Parliament rushes towards Soviet Internet" screams the not-for-profit FFII (Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure).

 

The FFII claims to be "largely responsible for the rejection of the EU software patent directive in July 2005" and to speak for over 100,000 members. Their objection to the telecom package seems to revolve around a set of amendments that were (to use a US phrase) back-doored in at the last minute. Apparently, these amendments would permit BERT "to define which are the authorised software applications for the internet." Which is to say, if your preferred app doesn't meet with regulatory approval then you can't run it, your ISP can't provide it to you?

That'd be... bad. But wait, there's more.

A site called "TELECOMTV" is conducting a related petition campaign against the package, on the grounds that among the 800 or so amendments to the package is language that would remove ISPs content-neutral immunity.

TelecomTV logo

In particular, ISPs currently aren't required to monitor or police content or user identities on their networks, until something specific arises such as an allegation of copyright violation or other illegal activity. ISPs are "mere conduits" under current laws; the new amendments would remove that protection and force ISPs to track or even block individuals' access to the net.

TelecomTV is arguing for the removal of three specific amendments that would force ISPs to act as copyright police. They are also opposed to the spread of something like a "3 Strikes" rule ("Riposte Graduee" in French) that would require ISPs to warn, discipline, and eventually sever users.

This doctrine is presently generating a lot of criticism in France where it was first proposed. Organizations such as "La Quadrature du Net" are calling for a moratorium on new rules related to digital telecoms rights & freedoms. The argument is that the MEP (Members of the European Parliament) didn't really understand what they were voting on, don't grok the net, and need to consider the implications of new regulations more fully before passing them.

I hope I've done this issue some measure of justice. An American point of view isn't necessarily going to translate some of these things well, even though most of the published materials are in English.

Comments (2) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Laws and Regulations

DMCA Takedowns Must Consider Fair Use

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Posted by Alan Wexelblat

For years (and I mean YEARS - remember this report from 2005? Or Diebold's abuse of takedown notices from 2003?) copyfighters have been complaining about the abuse of the DMCA's takedown notice provisions.

In the ongoing saga of Universal Music versus a dancing baby, we have finally gotten a ruling stating that copyright holders must take fair use into account. Timothy Lee's write-up on the decision for ars technica goes through the claims Universal made and notes that the judge either simply ignored them or slapped them down. (Hint to Judge Jeremy Fogel: ignoring the Cartel's willful stupidity may reduce your blood pressure but isn't likely to get them to stop it.)

So what happens now? Well, Stephanie Lenz's suit against Universal is still alive at this point, but there's nothing stopping them from throwing more legal sand in the gears. In theory Lenz and her EFF lawyers can now begin discovery for their case. We'll see how far that goes.

EFF posted a PDF of the decision: http://www.eff.org/files/filenode/lenz_v_universal/lenzorder082008.pdf

Comments (0) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Laws and Regulations

August 19, 2008

A CBLDF Benefit Mashup Thu Aug 21, 7:30P

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Posted by Alan Wexelblat

Cory Doctorow and DJ Spooky on stage together in NYC to benefit the CBLDF.
Details here: http://www.cbldf.org/pr/archives/000367.shtml

Two very interesting and thoughtful people. Benefiting a great charity. What more could you ask? (except to be in NYC this Thursday night)

Comments (0) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Events

August 11, 2008

An End To A 'Reprieve' - Bye Bye Web Radio?

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Posted by Alan Wexelblat

A little over a year ago I was writing about negotiations between SoundExchange and Web streamcasters. The issue was a set of exorbitant new fees authorized by the US Copyright office. Back then it appeared that Congress might even pass some kind of legislation. In the glare of scrutiny and public outcry, the Cartel backed down, a little. Web radio didn't die.

But it did ingest a poison - a slow-acting set of fees and restrictions that may yet kill the nascent industry. According to Peter Whoriskey's story in this weekend's Washington Post Pandora may have to shut down due to the fees.

Pandora logo

Pandora is wildly popular by Internet standards: over 1 million online customers, a top-10 app for iPhone, and adding 40,000 new customers/day. With numbers like that, why would the business shutter? Well, according to the story, 70% of the anticipated USD 25 million all those customers generate will go to fees. The company is losing money even as it grows, when it should have gone revenue-positive next year.

Last year it was Markey who tried to broker a deal. This year the Congressional go-between seems to be Berman (D-CA) but he's frustrated to the point of pulling the plug. Regardless of individual Congresscritters' frustrations, nothing seems to be in the works to fix the fundamental inequalities that force Web casters to pay rates more than double that of satellite radio. Sat radio rates are based on percentage-of-revenue, a metric that Web radio has asked for repeatedly and never gotten; Web radio pays per-song. Traditional radio, of course, still pays no performance royalties.

Oddly, the Pandora blog has nothing about this; last year Westergren used the blog as a hell-raising tool.

Comments (0) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: IP Markets and Monopolies

August 6, 2008

Future of Music Coalition Events (Fall 2008)

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Posted by Alan Wexelblat

Our friends at the FMC sent me a couple pointers to upcoming events, primarily their fall seminar series. Here are the pointers of interest:
Monday, September 22, Old Town School of Folk Music, Chicago, IL: http://www.futureofmusic.org/events/Chicago08/
Monday, October 6, Public Theater, New York, NY: http://www.futureofmusic.org/events/NYC08/

Seminars cost $25 and are primarily targeted at musicians and other people involved in the business of making, selling, or distributing music.

Comments (0) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Events

August 5, 2008

People Want to Pay - Sort Of

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Posted by Alan Wexelblat

Kevin Kelly - who a few months ago put out the notion of "true fan" - has another interesting assertion in his blog: people want to pay for stuff.

Why, then, is copying - and not paying - so prevalent? Kelly says that people want to pay if they perceive that the exchange is fair, if it's easy enough, and if they understand some sort of benefit that comes from the paying.

Just stating a benefit (enabling creators to be paid) isn't enough. Conversely, just threatening a negative (lawsuits) isn't enough. Kelly refers to a survey of UK youth in which the surveyed indicated a desire for a monthly-fee unlimited use music service. More or less the way television is delivered to them now.

I'm more or less on-board with this notion. It's essentially what Copyfight has been arguing for years: the experience matters, new business models are needed, etc. The place where I differ is when Kelly asserts that what we want is a relationship, and that paying is a form of/part of that.

I'm sorry, but I really don't want to have a relationship with iTunes, or NBC, or even a hip Web 2.0 technology like Flikr. Paying for these things doesn't make me feel differently in respect to them. I want to have a relationship with people, whether it's a Big Name creator like Joss Whedon or other fans. If Whedon makes his creations available on iTunes or NBC then I might pay those entities as a necessary component of being a fanboy, or if other fans share images on Flikr that's part of a relationship. Paying is just incidental, which is why I think Kelly isn't paying enough attention to his own hints that the payment process has to be so easy (seamless) that it fades into the background.

Comments (2) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Big Thoughts