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December 12, 2011
Get Your Doctorow On (and help fund EFF)
It's been too long since I propped the work that Cory Doctorow has been doing at tracking some of the most egregious excesses of the Copyright Wars.
First up, you might want to check into the philosophical backgrounds for which I recommend his series of columns for Locus Online's "Perspectives" series. Locus is the go-to 'zine for SF/F writers and serious literary fans. Cory's been writing good thoughtful philosophy pieces there this year, of which I have two clear favorites: "Why Should Anyone Care?" questioning why anyone (who reads or writes SF/F particularly) care about copyright anymore; and "It's Time To Stop Talking About Copyright". Here he is talking about not just the utter failure of copyright law over the past decade and a half but the really crucial issue of how what starts as copyright policy inevitably becomes Internet policy and that just makes everything worse.
With that as background you should check out a recent series of Cory posts over at Boingboing where he's been dogging what I think is probably the most frustrating and sorely under-reported story of the 2011 Copyright Wars: the ways in which the Cartel have continued to abuse the system, particularly the DMCA's takedown provisions. I wrote some months ago about the crucial importance of the DMCA's Safe Harbor provisions but the Cartel is exploiting its way around those provisions by abusing the poorly implemented notice-and-takedown procedures of sites like YouTube.
For further edification: a summary post, referencing Doctorow's Guardian column, called "YouTube's Real Pirates", and don't forget to follow the story of UMG going rogue as well.
Oh, and there's a good chance the US Government (Senate) may get its fingers into this pie: according to Boingboing and Ars Technica, Senator Ron Wyden has promised to get up the nose of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement division of the DHS over domains that were seized based on (shaky) claims of copyright infringement.
Finally, Boingboing and others have pointed out that I've been remiss in noting that the EFF is still fighting the good fight for intellectual property and privacy. If you're like me, then you're putting together a year-end charity list and you might want to know that donations are being matched, at least for a while longer, making your contribution count double.
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