Blog Archives

Notes on Copyright

Birth of Copyright.

Ok – here is what I know / believe, from memory. I will try and back a few things up at a later date, and indeed add dates.

Since I am mainly interested in Creative works, let us start with books. Books are a way of capturing ideas and providing us with point no 1 of copyright – having a physical thing to copyright.

So, The Author, having written the book, has a solid representation of the idea. This is now a thing. Just like a painting, a sculpture, etc. It belongs to the Author, but can be owned by whomever it is sold to.

And here we have a starting point. David is Michelangelo’s, not the Duke who bought it. The duke has bough the right to have it in his house, to display it, and say “look how rich and tasteful I am. Here is Michelangelo’s David”. Everything is fine.
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Examples of Spoof Newspapers

Roy Greenslade: METRO versus METR0 in late-night court action | Media | guardian.co.uk

Copyright covers Satire – or does it. Interesting case that also raises questions about freedom of speech.

The publisher’s lawyers immediately took legal action against the fake METR0 distributors, a group called PressAction that appears to be linked to Indymedia UK, which describes itself as “a network of individuals, independent and alternative media activists and organisations, offering grassroots, non-corporate, non-commercial coverage of important social and political issues.”

Both Press Action here and Indymedia here carry identical reports stating that the publication of METR0 was part of a two-day protest against racist and anti-migrant bias in the mainstream media.

Little History to check out-

Distributing fake free papers is not new. A fake activist version of free daily 20 Minuten in Switzerland appeared when the World Economic Forum met in the country. A French labour union published a fake Direct Matin issue during a strike. The New York Times and the Dutch paper de Volkskrant have also been spoofed.

And a few references –

I remember Londons Evading Standards being distributed outside underground stations many years ago. http://libcom.org/library/evading-standards-spoof-newspaper-1999
Plus a report from yourselves on a spoof Financial Times: http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2009/mar/27/g20-spoof-financial-times-ft

YouTube may face court over copyright complaints | Regulation | ZDNet UK

For people who follow the growing business of video-sharing Web sites, the only real surprise about the suit is that it took so long for someone to drag YouTube or one of its ilk into court. More than 150 companies that host user-generated video on their sites have cropped up in the past year, and many of them don't pre-screen the material their users put up though most, including YouTube, include a prohibition against copyright infringement in their user agreement. Too often, critics charge, the rights to those videos are owned by someone other than the poster.

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Talk Talk defies DEB

Charles Arthur | Internet provider defies digital bill | UK news | The Guardian

One of the UK’s three biggest internet service providers has vowed not to co-operate with measures to combat file-sharing set out in the government’s controversial digital economy bill, expected to receive royal assent within days.

TalkTalk, with more than 4 million UK internet users, said that “many draconian proposals remain” in the bill, including some that would allow content companies to force internet service providers (ISPs) to block the connections of customers suspected of online copyright infringement.

The Open Rights Group, which campaigns for individual rights online, criticised moves to rush the bill through parliament before the election, saying “measures to allow disconnection of individuals from the internet, for undefined periods of time” and web blocking laws were pushed through “with no real scrutiny and limited debate”.

MPs and Lords complained that sites such as Wikileaks or even Google were at risk of being blocked under an order by the secretary of state, because a new clause inserted by the government on Wednesday night provides powers to block sites that “have been, are being or are likely to be used for or in connection with an activity that infringes copyright”.

DEB reaction

Creative industries, rights groups and lawyers react to digital economy bill | Technology | guardian.co.uk

Some illuminating quotes after today’s Lord’s reading.

The digital economy bill received its final reading in the Lords on Thursday afternoon, with no amendments made – meaning that it has passed all its Parliamentary hurdles and can now pass to royal assent. That triggered a wave of official responses from creative industries and others. See if you can spot who’s on which side…

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Digital Economy Bill: After the White wash – sorry, Wash up

Digital Economy Bill: Quick Guide To All 45 Measures | paidContent:UK

Written by Robert Andrews twitter @robertandrews Apr 7, 2010 6:10 PM ET

The controversial Digital Economy Bill may have had a few parts stripped out, it may even be a damp squib. But the remaining, 76-page bill is still a wide-ranging piece of media and technology reform.

Confused? Read our clause-by-clause guide to the bill as it stands now after being adopted by the House Of Commons and as it awaits Royal Assent…

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Digital Economy Bill

Digital economy bill: what you need to know | Media | The Guardian

Nice breakdown of the contents as of today.
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Right is Might

Copyright is a hugely muddled area due to the fact it is constantly chasing technology. The problems we see now with digital distribution tend to be because the laws that govern it are based on old style Print Technology – not just a copy and paste jobby. Read the rest of this entry

Watchmen Copyright issues

Why Fox is licking its lips over Watchmen | Film | guardian.co.uk

So… Fox may end up with the distribution rights over Watchmen – Wonder if Warner will leak a version first?

Star Wars Copyright issue continues

George Lucas reaches stalemate in legal battle over Star Wars stormtroopers | Film | guardian.co.uk

Instead, he made two rulings at the high court today, one in favour of each side and agreed to allow a further hearing for both parties to apply for permission to challenge his findings.

He found the film-maker was right in his claim that Ainsworth had infringed the US copyright.

But other claims aimed at stopping replicas being sold from the prop designer’s shop in Twickenham, south west London, failed.

Ainsworth’s claim to the copyright also failed.

Basically, helmets are defined by British law as being under Industrial Copyright – which would now have expired. The judge, in supporting this, has actually agreed with Ainsworth’s argument – even though he hasn’t won yet.