Blog Archives

Digital Economy Act not fit for Purpose?

Filesharing prosecutions will face serious problems, says judge | Technology | guardian.co.uk

Judge Birss QC has decided that you cannot attach an individual to an IP address. This is nothing new, as most torrent software actually adds fake IP addresses into the lists anyway, so the issue of using an IP address to prosecute someone for illegal file sharing has been fraught for quite some time. Read the rest of this entry

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Copyright vs public domain – How many people really don't get it?

Cooks Source: US copyright complaint sparks Twitter and Facebook storm | Media | guardian.co.uk

…”the web is considered “public domain” and you should be happy we just didn’t “lift” your whole article and put someone else’s name on it!”

This is a view we have to fight as teachers, and it is fascinating that it also exists in an apparently experienced publisher. I am used to it in 16 year olds, but the storm that has kicked off since ‘Cooks Source’ copied an article wholesale has proved that not everyone is falling into this trap.

Obviously, the extreme other end is Rupert Murdoch who doesn’t want anyone seeing his copyright material (see various rants against aggregators, like Google – who then link to the original article on the original site). Lessig would argue that his centre of the road approach of Creative Commons is a way to let people ‘try before you buy’ – and it’s very existence is to hold a line directly between the ignorance of free and the obfuscation of paywall.

While I don’t condone the cyber bullying that has occurred, it is bloody funny.

Newprt Spoof Blocked from release

Newport State of Mind: songwriters pulled the video from YouTube | Media | guardian.co.uk

The Parody “Newport State of Mind” has been removed from YouTube after the original 7 writers of ‘Empire State of Mind” refuse to allow the parody to be released.
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Teaching Copyright Podcast

I had the good fortune to chat with some very experienced and knowledgeable professionals form teh Creative Industries about copyright and how it affects them. Each had a diferent story to tell, and in this podcast I have condensed these to pass onto teachers.
This is designed to be used to inform you of the state of play of copyright, while allowing you to have access to case studies to help explain them to students.
Andrew Buchanan, a producer who specialises in Wildlife documentaries talking about his experience with the limitations of access and how it effects the creative process.
Phil Shepherd – who works extensively in Community Media Projects, talking about low budget film making and issue with music clearance
Bernard Pearson, who is a 3d artist dealing with sculptures in ceramics on the issues with business and, through his connections with Terry Pratchett, about the issues with dealing with large companies who just want control over the copyright.
David Handley, an animator who has worked with Aardman and Disney projects who expresses teh understanding of copyright from and artists and consumers point of view.

My thanks to all involved – I really learned a lot, and I really hope to pass it on as effectively as possible.


Alan Hardcastle Teaching Copyright by Al2erego

Fear of a Web Law

Ben Goldacre responded to Gillian McKeith with a Tweet that asked her to chat with him about Libel. He has a very strong opinion about libel suppressing free speech which comes from years of opposing it’s use by Pharmaceutical giants.

The response was one of distancing ‘Gillian McKeith’ from her on-line records. This appears to be so that, in a court of law, she can claim that they are nothing to do with her.

An interesting experiment might be to trawl through everything she has said via Twitter, and break the copyright on them. Lets say we do this – print any previous comments by her onto T-shirts and sell them to raise money for a Charity, or even better, set up a legal-aid type fund to help people caught in pointless litigation cases involving Libel that is actually suppressing free speech. Call it the ‘@gillianmckeith fund’.

Then we can see how fast she ‘owns’ those statements.

BBC News – Be careful what you tweet

Vanishing tweets start argument between Gillian McKeith and Ben Goldacre | News & Politics | News & Comment | The First Post

screentweets.jpg (JPEG Image, 503×367 pixels) – Scaled (64%)

Jack of Kent: The Integrity and Honesty of @gillianmckeith

Rant in © Minor

After much reading and talking about Copyright, a few things have gotten to me. So here is me getting it off my chest – unedited, so I apologise for any grammatical errors I have left intact. But hey, it is a rant.

Bernard Pearson is a 2d & 3d artists who works in styles & techniques. He learned by copying these techniques – Sampling, if you will, different artists’ styles and different arts to apply to his own practice.

This does not contravene copyright. Skill is the artistic application of said variety of ideas that are being combined into a new piece of work. If he had copied a piece by another artists and it looked exactly the same, then he would have infringed copyright. If he made a 3d figure of a 2d drawing by someone else, he may have broken copyright. If he took both ideas, combined them and added a little of himself, not copyright infringement.

Read the rest of this entry

Margaret Gould Stewart: How YouTube thinks about copyright | Video on TED.com

The summation of my arguments:

Margaret Gould Stewart: How YouTube thinks about copyright | Video on TED.com.

We are protecting copyright, and monetizing it.

Larry Lessig: How the Law is strangling Creativity.

You are flexing your muscles and preventing people form expressing themselves.

Interestingly, Stewart uses the example of a wedding video, monetized by Sony to promote the 18 Month old Track. It was then plagiarised by the Office season finale…

Youtube Music Video Row from 2009

BBC NEWS | Entertainment | YouTube music video row heats up
13 March 2009:

A deal between YouTube and the PRS, which set out how much the website pays songwriters every time their videos are watched, has expired.

The two sides are now wrangling over a new fee. YouTube says the PRS is demanding “many, many times” the previous rate, but the PRS says YouTube wants to pay “significantly less than at present”.

Sharkey accused Google, which owns YouTube, of blocking the videos in order to force the PRS to lower its price.

So, is Google using copyright as an excuse to flex it’s muscles? By blocking music videos, they are enraging the average consumer (who does not know or care about Copyright) and showing how effective they are at helping to promote music. PRS supplies licences to the rights to the performance, so it is only really hurting the artists, surely?

Ainsworth vs Lucasfilms Summation

Star Wars helmets are not art, says judge | Pinsent Masons LLP

Star Wars helmets are not art, says judge

OUT-LAW News, 04/08/2008

A designer did not infringe the Star Wars film franchise’s copyright when he sold replica Stormtrooper helmets because copyright law does not apply to them. The designer will face an English court hearing on US copyright law over the sales.

Andrew Ainsworth worked on the original helmets for the Star Wars films in the 1970s and now sells replica helmets based on his original moulds. Lucasfilm, the company behind George Lucas’s Star Wars franchise, sued Ainsworth in the US and the UK over the sales.

It won a copyright judgment against Ainsworth in the US and sought to enforce it through the UK courts and to conduct a separate case in the UK.
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Ainsworth vs Lucasfilms appeal Ruling

Lucasfilm cannot enforce US copyright ruling on Star Wars helmets, rules Court of Appeal | Pinsent Masons LLP

Lucasfilm cannot enforce US copyright ruling on Star Wars helmets, rules Court of Appeal

OUT-LAW News, 16/12/2009

The makers of sci-fi blockbuster Star Wars have failed in their bid to establish that they owned the copyright in the helmets of the film’s sinister stormtrooper army. In an appeal they lost a right, granted earlier, to enforce a US copyright ruling.
Read the rest of this entry