Archive for April 2007

Gowers talks about UK music copyright term

April 30, 2007

The register reports that Andrew Gowers received arguments from academics that showed economic justifications for the copyright term for recorded works in the UK being reduced below 50 years. However, he says it would have been hard to gain international support within Europe for a reduction.  

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How piracy opened the door to anime in the US

April 27, 2007

There was an interesting article in the Technology Review back in 2004 about how videotaping of Japanese anime and the sharing of the tapes among fans opened the US market to anime. With no legitimate distribution channels the only way to see anime was to get a copy through the network of fans.

A similar article in Reason Magazine at the end opf 2006 talks about the amateur past time of subtitling the movies and how the first legitimate distributors in the US were when “fans went pro”.

Music industry wins against Yahoo! China

April 25, 2007

Remember a month or so ago I blogged about the music industry suing Yahoo! China? Well, at breakneck speed the case has been heard and decided – against Yahoo!

So it looks like the changes in the law since the Baidu case are in favour of lawsuits against link services. However I heard on the radio last night that the damages awarded are paltry and it is not clear that there is any onus put on services like Yahoo! so the hard work of identification and notification remains with the copyright owner.

I didn’t blog about this yet because there are so many papers to go through, but the US trade representative has filed a complaint to the WTO about China and it’s inadequate action on piracy issues. This may be China’s speedy public response to that complaint.

Expected effects? Yahoo! will probably appeal and the music industry may go after other similar services, like, er Baidu!?

 Btw, whilst we are on China I just noticed that the Chinese President wishes to purge ‘unhealthy’ content from the net, and China just overtook “the US as Japan’s biggest trading partner”

Private copying in the UK

April 24, 2007

In the UK it is illegal to copy music even for private use – e.g. from a CD to an mp3 player. However last year the UK music industry, as represented by Peter Jamieson of the BPI,  publically stated that it would not take action against a consumer for private copying:

“We believe that we now need to make a clear and public distinction between copying for your own use and copying for dissemination to third parties and make it unequivocally clear to the consumer that if they copy their CDs for their own private use in order to move the music from format to format we will not pursue them.”

 The Independent reports on how the Association of Independent Music is planning a complaint to the European Commission over UK goverment plans to legalise private copying. AIM originally voiced it’s objection to allowing private copying back in December 2006 when the recommendations of the Gowers Report were made public. They said:

“By tidying up a small part of the copyright law, we believe Gowers may well be opening the floodgates to uncontrolled and unstoppable private copying and sharing from person to person, as well as format to format.”

Whilst it is ridiculous, but not unknown, to have laws that are universally disobeyed, AIM’s contention is that the governments proposals apply to specific technologies at a specific point in time and with technology changing this proposed legislative change could be damaging to right holders in the future.

When you look at examples of how consumers can use technology to enjoy media in the home (e.g. see here at DLNA) it becomes clear that it may get harder and harder to draw a boundary round what is ‘private’ copying. Any legislative change will have ramifications far beyond circumstances envisaged by today’s politicians.

There will no doubt be more discussion when AIM publishes a forthcoming paper titled Copyright in the Digital Age.

Rapidshare sues

April 23, 2007

Limited info available on this one but Rapidshare is suing (really? or appealing?)  GEMA. Following GEMA’s injunction against Rapidshare, Rapidshare apparently seeks something approximating Safe Harbor provisions in German law.

AnywhereCD

April 20, 2007

AnywhereCD sounds like a slightly rubbish new service selling CDs bundled with mp3s of the audio. Certainly the catalog range is not extensive. But, according to music industry pundits MusicAlly, the site is on the one hand ‘ a means to test legal waters’ and on the other is updating the CD offering by bundling with mp3s – something which at least one indie label has already done with vinyl. 

Warner objected to the discount for opting not to be sent the CD so that service has been pulled, but the pricing goes to show that it is not a budget option to use AnywhereCD.

Whilst clearly falling foul of UK private copying rules the site may be seeking to push at the poorly defined US private copying exemptions and, it should be noted, the site was founded by the ever controversial Michael Robertson founder of mp3.com and mp3tunes.

Claim your Content

April 18, 2007

Google, currently in litigation with Viacom over copyrighted content on YouTube, are apparently very close to turning on their filter for copyright content on YouTube. If this works, and the copyright holders do whatever is required on their end, it’ll be interesting to see the impact on the popularity of the site. Obviously one of it’s initial attractions was that you could get anything on there. Now YouTube has licensing deals in place with come copyright owners and not with others leaving a large volume of copyright content on there, some legitimately and some not.