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Copyright

Copyright Office posts DMCA exemption petitions
November 25, 2014 | 6:17 pm

A few weeks ago I discussed the need for a DMCA exemption for e-books, in light of the US Copyright Office requesting petitions for such exemptions. The Copyright Office has now posted all 44 petitions it received as PDFs. There are a number of interesting petitions there—not least of them my own. Now that I read my petition again, I see a few typos and other tweaks I wish I could go back and fix (and they miscategorized it under “Audiovisual Works – Multimedia E-Books,” rather than “Literature Distributed Electronically”), but on the whole I’m satisfied with it....

Why we need an e-book DRM DMCA exemption
October 30, 2014 | 8:54 pm

It’s that time again. Ars Technica reports that the Copyright Office is accepting petitions on activities to exempt from the DMCA’s anti-circumvention provisions, making it legal to crack DRM for certain restricted purposes. We’ve reported on this procedure a few times over the last few years. The way it goes is that various people or organizations make proposals and the copyright office considers whether to grant them for the next three years. The exemptions then have to be requested again at the next session if they are to continue. Public Knowledge will be submitting requests to legalize...

ALA welcomes Court of Appeals reinforcement of fair use in Georgia State University case
October 23, 2014 | 12:25 pm

gsu-logo.jpgThe American Library Association (ALA) has issued a positive response to the recent decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit handed in Cambridge University Press et al. v. Carl V. Patton et al., a case previously covered by Chris Meadows here. This is the latest round of proceedings following the suit bought by the Cambridge and Oxford University Presses, and SAGE Publishers against Georgia State University for copyright infringement in 2008. Courtney Young, president of the ALA, said: “The appellate court’s decision emphasizes what ALA and other library associations have always supported—thoughtful analysis of fair use and a rejection...

When DRM infects the non-digital world
October 6, 2014 | 12:25 pm

drmHere's an update on a quirky story I reported on earlier this year. An Ontario coffee roaster is suing Keurig Green Mountain for $600 million for engaging in anti-competition practices by embedding "DRM" into their latest model of single-serving coffee machine. As CBC reports the issue is that the patent on Keurig's 'k-cup' coffee pods has now expired, which has opened the door to other manufacturers such as Club Coffee (the complainant in this case) to make their own 'pods' for use in these machines. This is cutting into Keurig's profit, obviously---when they were the exclusive source for the pods, they...

Photographer explains why piracy is driving him out of business
September 24, 2014 | 10:37 pm

We hear about Internet piracy and its deleterious effect on creators dozens or hundreds of times every year. In most cases, it’s about music, movies, games, or books that are circulating on peer-to-peer. The arguments rage on and on about whether this piracy is a good thing or a bad thing, whether it provides much-needed exposure to the artist and whether any, many, most, or all of the people who pirate the work would actually have paid for it under other circumstances. Odds are, most regular readers of TeleRead or any other media blog can recite most of the arguments...

A strange little copyright story
September 17, 2014 | 12:25 pm

copyrightTechdirt has a great write-up about one of the strangest little copyright stories I've read this week. The story involves an anti-litter campaign launched in my own fair city recently, which cleverly used the letters on brand-name packages to spell out messages. From the article: "The campaign slogan was, “Littering says a lot about you.” The ads featured discarded candy boxes, plastic bottles and other packaging arranged to spell the unflattering message that littering conveys. The combinations included a bag of Lay’s potato chips and a Krazy Glue package arranged to spell “Lazy”; Reese’s Pieces and a bottle of Gatorade put together...

Cause for concern for copyright holders over EU DG Market Commission roles?
September 12, 2014 | 12:25 pm

bookstoreSome alarmed articles have been put about about the transfer of the European Commission copyright portfolio to Commissioner-designate for the Digital Agenda, German Guenther Oettinger, who inherits this from the Internal Market & Services Directorate General (DG Market) arm, where it was siloed in units D1 and D3, according to a report in The Guardian. Oettinger will now oversee an office known hitherto as DG Connect, to be renamed DG Digital Economy and Society. Since Oettinger's predecessor Neelie Kroes was widely criticized by publishing and creative industries figures as too friendly to technology groups at the expense of rights-holders, it's hard to...

The Celebrity Picture Story, Part Deux: Who Holds Copyright?
September 5, 2014 | 10:24 am

copyrightSo, the thorny issue of photo copyrights is making headlines in the celebrity world again, and no, I don't mean Bradley Cooper's famous Oscar shot, or the monkey selfie this time. I'm sure many of you have seem the iCloud hacking story, where a data security breach led to the hacking of, among other things, personal photographs of several female celebrities. The interesting little wrinkle on this is that at least one site is claiming that a celebrity tried---unsuccessfully---to get the photographs removed using the excuse of copyright infringement. Jennifer Lawrence, as TMZ reports, got a reply to her takedown request which...

The great monkey copyright war of 2014
August 8, 2014 | 2:25 pm

copyrightHere's a fun little story which highlights the absurdity of our current intellectual property laws. Yahoo News had a write-up about a photographer who is embroiled in a legal dispute with Wikipedia over a photograph of his which became viral and ended up on Wikipedia website. As the article explains: "In 2011, Slater spotted a crested black macaque in Indonesia and set up his camera to click a photo. Suddenly, the monkey snatched the camera and started to take selfies..." The issue is that current intellectual property law favours the one who snapped the picture, regardless of how they came to do...

Randy Queen backs down from DMCA threats against Escher Girls
August 6, 2014 | 2:35 pm

Here’s a quick update to yesterday’s story about Randy Queen using the DMCA to stifle Escher Girls’ criticism of his art. The Mary Sue reports that Queen has apologized and stood down his threats. He posted a public statement to his Facebook page in which he indicated a period of high stress in his personal life led him to lash out without thinking. Tumblr has restored the posts in question but the images are still absent. Hopefully they can get put back soon, too, given that their use was well within the bounds of criticism and commentary that have...

Comic book creator Randy Queen attempts to stifle criticism with DMCA, provokes Streisand Effect
August 5, 2014 | 7:26 am

If you don’t think you’re getting enough attention on the Internet, there’s a way to fix that. Though you probably won’t like the results. Every so often, you run across one of those “Streisand Effect” cases where someone decides to try to stifle criticism of themselves and it backfires in a big way. I thought I’d seen the most amusing possible example of that yesterday with this Ars Technica story about a hotel whose web site promised a $500 fine for negative Yelp reviews (they swore they were “just kidding,” but not before a major backlash brought them...

Evil Hat’s Atomic Robo copyright notice smooths the way for gamers making copies
July 7, 2014 | 6:53 pm

robonoticeHere’s an amusing case of a publisher getting copyright right. Evil Hat, who’s been mentioned here a few times before for its FUDGE-based Spirit of the Century role-playing game and Kickstarter projects, has a great copyright notice on its Atomic Robo RPG. Right after the bit about not storing the publication in a retrieval system without permission, it continues: That said, if you’re doing it for personal use, knock yourself out. That’s not only allowed, we encourage you to do it. For those working at a copy shop and not at all...