Showing 651 posts tagged copyright
The Obama administration went on record four years ago supporting a proposed international treaty to make books more accessible to the blind.
But as world leaders prepare to gather in Morocco next month to finalize a deal that Brazil, Ecuador and Paraguay proposed in 2009, the administration is mum on whether it supports a treaty that would, for the first time, loosen copyright restrictions. Many fear lobbying by Hollywood and dozens of the world’s largest corporations, including ExxonMobil, may scuttle the treaty altogether.
The United States Patent and Trademark Office, the agency responsible for the Obama administration’s negotiations, declined to comment when Wired recently asked about its position on the proposed accord. But in 2009, Justin Hughes, a senior USPTO advisor, said:
“We recognize that some in the international copyright community believe that any international consensus on substantive limitations and exceptions to copyright law would weaken international copyright law. The United States does not share that point of view.”
» via Wired
A teacher received a huge shock last week after uploading a copy of a book to his website that offers free educational resources for students. The Latvian publisher behind the work, a $4.00 history book, complained to the authorities which resulted in the teacher being raided by the police. During interrogation the teacher learned that his mistake could cost him dearly – two years in jail, forced labor, or a fine.
» via TorrentFreak
A U.S. judge on Wednesday denied class-action status to copyright owners suing Google Inc over the use of material posted on YouTube without their permission.
U.S. District Judge Louis Stanton in Manhattan denied a motion to certify a worldwide class of copyright owners in a long-running lawsuit over videos and music posted to the popular website.
“The suggestion that a class action of these dimensions can be managed with judicial resourcefulness is flattering, but unrealistic,” Stanton wrote.
» via Yahoo! News
Righthaven, the Las Vegas operation that sought to turn newspaper article copyright lawsuits into a business model, can now slap a date on its death certificate: May 9, 2013. This morning, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled on the two Righthaven appeals that could have given the firm a final glimmer of hope—and the court told Righthaven to take a hike.
“Abraham Lincoln told a story about a lawyer who tried to establish that a calf had five legs by calling its tail a leg. But the calf had only four legs, Lincoln observed, because calling a tail a leg does not make it so,” the opinion begins.
“Before us is a case about a lawyer who tried to establish that a company owned a copyright by drafting a contract calling the company the copyright owner, even though the company lacked the rights associated with copyright ownership. Heeding Lincoln’s wisdom, and the requirements of the Copyright Act, we conclude that merely calling someone a copyright owner does not make it so.”
» via ars technica
New legislation sponsored by Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Thomas Massie (R-KY), Anna Eshoo (D-CA), and Jared Polis (D-CO) takes a broader approach to the issue. In addition to explicitly legalizing cell phone unlocking, the Unlocking Technology Act of 2013 also modifies the DMCA to make clear that unlocking copy-protected content is only illegal if it’s done in order to “facilitate the infringement of a copyright.” If a circumvention technology is “primarily designed or produced for the purpose of facilitating noninfringing uses,” that would not be a violation of copyright.
For example, Lofgren’s bill would likely make it legal for consumers to rip DVDs for personal use in much the same way they’ve long ripped CDs. It would remove legal impediments to making versions of copyrighted works that are accessible to blind users. And it would ensure that car owners have the freedom to service their vehicles without running afoul of copyright law.
“Americans should not be subject to fines and criminal liability for merely unlocking devices and media they legally purchased,” said Rep. Lofgren in a press release. “If consumers are not violating copyright or some other law, there’s little reason to hold back the benefits of unlocking so people can continue using their devices.”
» via ars technica
Google and the Authors Guild resumed an eight-year battle on Tuesday morning before the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals, where judges pressed both sides to provide a straight-up answer as to whether Google’s decision to scan millions of books amounted to “fair use” under copyright law.
On the surface, the hearing was supposed to determine if a lower court made a mistake last year when it ruled that the case could proceed as a certified class action, meaning that the Authors Guild can seek damages from Google on behalf of every writer whose book was scanned.
The three appeals court judges, however, appeared less interested in the technical aspects of class actions than they were in tackling “fair use” — a four part test that examines whether a given activity (in this case Google’s book scanning) should be exempt from copyright.
» via paidContent
Harper Lee, who skillfully chronicled courtroom drama in “To Kill a Mockingbird,” is tangled in a legal drama of her own. Ms. Lee, 87, filed a lawsuit last week accusing her literary agent, Samuel Pinkus, of improperly collecting royalties from “Mockingbird” since 2007.
» via The New York Times (Subscription may be required for some content)
» via The Verge
On Tuesday, a New York state appellate court made a curious decision in a matter being litigated between Grooveshark parent company Escape Media Group, Inc. and UMG Recordings, Inc. The court ruled that due to an oddity in copyright law, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act does not apply to songs that were licensed under state law before February 15, 1972. As such, for these recordings, Grooveshark is not eligible for what is known as safe harbor—an immunity to liability if users upload copyrighted works without the website’s knowledge.
As a website that allows users to upload their recordings, Grooveshark’s business model depends on the DMCA. Users upload songs on Grooveshark and are warned about uploading copyrighted material. If a rights holder discovers that a user has uploaded a copyrighted song, the rights holder notifies Grooveshark. As long as the website takes the song down quickly enough, Grooveshark avoids being held responsible for the infringement.
But an anomaly in copyright law is throwing a wrench in that system. In 1971, Congress overhauled copyright laws, making most protection a federal matter. However, recordings copyrighted before February 15, 1972 would remain under the purview of the common law and statues of the individual states. The new federal copyright prescriptions noted that “any rights or remedies under the common law or statutes of any State shall not be annulled or limited by this Title until 2067.”
» via ars technica