1709 Blog: for all the copyright community

Thursday, 30 April 2009

OurStage or Outrage? The case of copyright and community values

I've just been reading the Community Values page on music discovery site OurStage.com (see Wikipedia entry here) and I'm trying to work out how it works.  It's definitely something to do with symbiosis between bands and artists who want to be rich, famous or just listened to, on the one hand, and a spectrum of music consumers who extend from the discerning talent-spotter at one end to the load-all-you-can track-grabber at the other. Anyway, I soon found myself reading the OurStage.com Community Values page.  It reads, in relevant parts, as follows: 
"OurStage.com is an online community serving passionate music & video fans and artists who have come together for the purpose of collaboratively selecting the best in emerging music & video.

Through active involvement at our site, we will come to know each other as friend and fan, a connection of like-minded individuals interested in sharing thoughts and ideas about music & video. As a whole we are creating a priceless environment for the industry to use as a resource for selecting the best talent for their needs, while also providing a discovery resource for fans to embrace new artists and artists to earn the support of new fans.

Artist Community Values:

We seek to facilitate strong relationships that enable artists to earn the support of new fans and introduce them to new art.
Your art remains yours, forever – we demand no rights. [Not even a licence to make it available?]
There’s no sharing, sending, giving or stealing of your property. [I get the gist, but I'm not clear what the full implications of this are] If you want to sell your work, that’s your business.
For the sake of the fans’ listening experience, content in a channel must adhere to our posted channel descriptions.
The site is for you to discover new fans, not just solicit votes. Please check out other artists you like, and introduce yourself to their friends and fans.
We like to think we’re in this together, meaning we provide the platform to showcase your talent, but we need artists’ help too. Keep your profile updated, keep uploading into our channels, make friends, recruit fans—help us help you.
We are here to see you advance your career. If you have ideas to make this site better, tell us. We’ll respond in kind.
Because this site is about music and video, we want users to engage in conversation via email or other means with members who share your interests and welcome your viewpoints. Please don’t spam friends or other fans with off-topic messages.
Share your thoughts and ideas about OurStage with us. We are here for you and value your opinions.
We do not condone, support or tolerate those who write disparaging, negative or slanderous comments about Artists or Fans and then broadcast those views to other OurStage members via blogs, OurStage email, chat or any OurStage communication mechanism. Concerns about other members should be communicated to the OurStage team directly and exclusively. We will address any issue raised privately and discreetly. [there's no mention of anything to do with copyright in the list of non-condoned activities  - not just in its economic guise but in terms of moral rights]
The opportunities we offer artists for career advancement and promotional placements are for all genres and never does one take precedent over another.
Fan Community Values:

OurStage is here to help fans discover great music & film. We encourage all fans to vote often, vote for the best talents and vote fairly. Every participant is a contributing member of this collective taste-making venture.

Share your comments, thoughts and accolades with your favorite artists—let them know you love them. We encourage it and value it, as do the artists.

Fans are invited to flag off-topic, copyrighted [Is this an attempt to avoid or at any rate discourage liability, or what? There's no suggestion of a take-down policy here] or offensive content, but please, not artists’ uploads simply because you don’t like them.

Help your favorite artists by spreading the word about OurStage to other music & film lovers. We’re here to support artists, but most importantly, to empower you the fans to take music & film back from the Man and give it to its rightful owners – its creators and patrons.

Be a presence on OurStage. Show your face, make favorites, playlists. The more active you are, the happier the fans and artists will be – us too.

Because OurStage is about music & video, we want users to engage in conversation via email or other means with members who share your interests and welcome your viewpoints. Please don’t spam friends or other fans with off-topic messages.
What do you think of our Community Values? One value we have is that we want your feedback. So please share!"
I'm curious to know how OurStage functions as an environment in which a relaxed attitude towards intellectual property is cultivated, given that there are no express rights waivers, no indemnities, no warnings and no explicit guidance to community members. Can any readers enlighten me?

Faustian Fudge

Legislators around the world now shaping the new laws concerning digital copyright infringment are considering not only how to catch infringers and what penalties they should face, but who should impose those penalties. The EU has been debating this last issue.

The European Parliament’s second reading of the ‘Telecoms Package’ is due next Tuesday. The Telecoms Package consists of numerous amendments to existing EU telecommunications directives and they are hotly opposed by some, such as Blackout Europe. Amendment 46, to the 2002 Framework Directive, has been subject to some radical last-minute rewriting. The ITRE Committee (for Industry, Research and Energy) voted on it last week, adopting this wording: ‘no restriction may be imposed on the fundamental rights and freedoms of end-users, without a prior ruling by the judicial authorities’. So, for example, a court order would be required before cutting off internet access. Yesterday (29 April), the formulation of what IpTegrity terms a ‘Faustian pact’, was agreed instead:

Measures taken regarding end-users' access to or use of services and applications through electronic communications networks shall respect the fundamental rights and freedoms of natural persons, including in relation to privacy, freedom of expression and access to information and the right to a judgment by an independent and impartial tribunal established by law and acting in respect of due process in accordance with Article 6 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.

Hardly a step in the direction of clarity. The words ‘judicial authorities’ and ‘prior ruling’ have been struck through, replaced by ‘respecting rights including in relation to the right to a judgment’. So you’ve got a right but is it now up to you to appeal to a court after access has been cut? France had opposed the previous wording - their intended new law is to be administered by HADOPI, a non-judicial body, but it is unclear whether HADOPI fits the tribunal described above. The UK government may also be pleased: the recent proposals for handling copyright infringement have envisaged roles for a variety of non-judicial bodies, including ISPs, a Digital Rights Agency and Ofcom, potentially taking action before a court ruling.

If you think this is Faustian or simply a fudge, there is still time to contact your MEP….

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

“I tawt I taw a puddy tat!”

Lawrence Lessig twitters that Warner Music has issued a takedown notice for a presentation on YouTube, says techdirt. Can Tweety Pie’s fair use evade Sylvester’s clutches?
30 April update - more info here.

Taiwan adopts "three strikes" law

Taiwan's legislature has passed an amendment to the island's Copyright Act aimed at discouraging digital copyright infringement over peer-to-peer networks and increasing the responsibility of Internet Service Providers. First off, the country has adopted the much debated ‘three strikes’ system where web users who continue to access unlicensed sources of content after receiving two warnings could lose their internet connections – or at least have access restricted. Whilst a number of countries have looked at this system, so far only France and New Zealand have seriously considered implementing 'three strikes' into law. In France the much criticised proposals are still working their way through the French parliament after a temporary set back when the government failed to get a majority in the National Assembley just before Easter. In New Zealand the Government is still trying to work out how to implement their new law.
The Taiwanese government has introduced the system in order to achieve its two stated aims of cracking down on internet piracy - without flooding the courts with lawsuits from foreign content owners against the providers of file-sharing services or individual file-sharers further overburdening struggling court. It seems the new law means that repeat offenders will have their internet access "restricted" rather than automatically cut off. That could mean temporary suspensions rather than long term denial of service, something that might appease consumer rights bodies as well as the ISPs who don’t want to lose customers (although they equally don’t want to be liable for customers' illegal downloading activities).
Commenting on reports that ISPs could cut off consumers who have downloaded illegal content by mistake, Margaret Chen, Deputy Director General of Taiwan's Intellectual Property Office (TIPO), told reporters:
"That's not really the point. These people are doing something they shouldn't be doing in the first place. Besides, there are lots of ways to restrict Internet access besides cutting it off entirely".
TIPO added that The P2P amendment will "significantly redress the problems of copyright infringement" in a statement. The new laws will also give ISPs ‘safe harbour’ protection although this is balanced by provisions ensure rights owners can have infringing content removed – Billboard says that the new law is based on the 2005 U.S. Supreme Court decision against Grokster and that the ISP liability amendment allows rights holders to either claim their rights via judicial proceedings, or else follow a "notice and takedown" procedure to have copyright infringing content removed.

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Google Four more months to opt in ... or out

Writing in CNET News, Daniel Terdiman relates that Judge Denny Chin (US District Court for the Southern District of New York) has granted authors worldwide four more months in which to decide whether to participate in a settlement involving Google's online Book Search service. If it were not for this ruling, authors would have had only till 5 May to decide whether to join the settlement or opt out. The deadline is now said to be 4 September 2009, with the final fairness hearing taking place in New York on 7 October.

The proposed settlement of the action filed by the Authors Guild and the American Association of Publishers in 2005 hinges on Google's ability to include content from books online. A particularly contentious issue is that of "orphan" works which are still under copyright, but the authors or copyright owners of which cannot be traced.

Background note: This dispute (more properly The Authors Guild Inc et al v Google Inc, Case No 05 CV 8136) reached a provisional settlement last autumn (or should that be "fall"?) under which Google is to obtain broad rights to monetise the books it has scanned into its BookSearch system for a down payment of $125 million and an ongoing 63% of revenue: see here), with over a quarter of the up-front payment going towards setting up the Book Registry, a clearing house (or quasi-collecting society) for authors and publishers to claim rights and receive payments.

Text by John Enser and Jeremy Phillips

And the English for "Pirate Bay" is...


The IFPI (International Federation of the Phonographic Industry) has published an English translation of the Pirate Bay judgment. It can be accessed here - unless, of course, their website has been forced offline again, as it was last week.

Proposed Copyright Tribunal Rules -- again

An earlier post on The 1709 Blog ("Copyright Tribunal to be made more user-friendly", here) reported that the UK's Intellectual Property Office is conducting a review of the Copyright Tribunal rules. This review takes account of the recommendations of the Innovation, Universities and Skills Select Committee in the March 2008 report on the work and operation of the Copyright Tribunal and stakeholder comments received in that context. 

I was frustrated at not being able to work out where on the IPO website the proposed rules were hiding, since there was no link to them in the text of the press release. However, IPO Communications and Media Manager James Thomson has gallantly come to the rescue with this link -- which was actually there all the time, in a little panel on the right of the page.  Many thanks, James, for putting the record straight. 


Coming up in Cannes

Here's a note of some attractions to diarise if you're going to be in Cannes for this year's Festival (13th to 24th May).

1. The European Audiovisual Observatory will hold its annual workshop and the topic should be close to the hearts of festival-goers (if you don't get paid for it, it is a hobby): "Show me the money! Monitoring film revenues and collecting rightsholders’ money". This workshop will take place on Sunday 17th May from 4pm to 6pm at the Salon des Ambassadeurs (Palais des Festivals); entry is free to all market accreditations.

"Cinema analyst Martin Kanzler will present the Observatory’s 2008 cinema admissions, production figures and market share statistics. The focus will then turn to the legal position of the various rightsholders and the challenges for collecting societies in Europe to act as potential guardian of rightsholders’ income from film exploitation. Susanne Nikoltchev, Head of the Observatory’s Department for Legal Information, will provide the European overview of the rights of authors’ and performing artists and explain their making use of collecting societies in different countries and different contexts. Roberto Olla, Executive Director of Eurimages, will present the funding body’s strategy, introduced at the beginning of this year, of the compulsory use of collection account management for Eurimages funded films. The Head of the Observatory’s Department for Information on Markets and Financing, André Lange, will then look at the various methods of monitoring a film’s success and revenues currently in use. The workshop will end with a panel discussion which will examine future thinking on regulation, business models and contracts in the context of international distribution."

2. The International Chamber of Commerce's 23rd Annual conference will also take place, under the aegis of the ICC Institute of World Business Law, at the Palais des Festivals on the 15th May. The morning session will look at financial risks and solutions in the filmmaking business, with the afternoon dedicated to risks and solutions in the film distribution process.
"Distinguished speakers will include Ted Shapiro, Senior Vice President, General
Counsel and Deputy Managing Director, EMEA, Motion Picture Association European Office; Steve Bersch, President, Sony Pictures World-wide Acquisitions Group (SPWAG), USA; Hal Sadoff, Head of International and Independent Film ICM International Creative Management; Pierre David, Chairman-CEO, Imagination Worldwide, LLC, USA and Jérôme Paillard, Executive Director of the Marché du Film."
For further information, please contact Katharine Bernet, Events Department. Tel: +33 1 49 53 28 91 or email her here.

Posted by Jeremy for Amanda Harcourt

Monday, 27 April 2009

The enemies of copyright take to the streets!

Just as we initiate this civil celebration of our 1709 copyright law, a turbulent 18th-century spirit has taken hold of the rest of Europe. In Swedish seas, swashbuckling pirates have beseiged the lawyers who prosecuted the Pirate Bay site (as the Guardian reports here). The French meanwhile have returned to the Age of Revolution, thronging in the streets in protest at the HADOPI law that seeks to oppress illegal file-sharers (here). Can Sarko's Marie Antoinette hold on to her royalties? Followers of The Apprentice, however, will know that the English prefer to leave such decisions to Sir Alan Sugar to judge in the boardroom - where victory was last week handed to the Pirate Parrot. At last it is clear why pirates have always favoured these repetitious birds.

Spanish sentence another linker sinker

With all the the media frenzy over the sentence passed down to the Pirate Bay Four (not to mention the growing frenzy over the alleged bias of trial judge Tomas Norstrum on the grounds that he is pro-copyright – he is a member of the Swedish Copyright Association and Swedish Association For The Protection of Industrial Property) readers may have missed a similar story from further south in Europe where a Spanish court has passed a jail sentence on a defendant for running a website that provided links to unlicensed music content. 

In an earlier case a Spanish court had held that Spain’s copyright laws did not cover websites that enable others to infringe – unless they were profit-making. Now a court has ruled that whilst Adrian Gomez Llorente did not directly make money from pay-per-download fees or host content, he did make a profit from his website through advertising and SMS services and thus was guilty of infringing. Llorente received six months in jail and a 4,900 euro fine for operating his website. As Llorente has no prior criminal record it seems unlikely that he will actually be serving time in prison.


Where copyright cuts no Ice: scaling back compilation protection in Australia

>An Intellectual Property news circular from Australian IP specialists Allens Arthur Robinson reports on IceTV Pty Limited v Nine Network Australia Pty Ltd [2009] HCA 14, 22 April 2009, in which the High Court of Australia has unanimously upheld IceTV's appeal, holding that Ice did not reproduce a substantial part of Nine's television programme schedules in its electronic programme guides. In their note on this decision, the AAR team of Miriam Stiel, Amanda Andreazza and Katherine McMahon conclude:
"Although the High Court did not make any findings on the extent to which copyright subsisted in the weekly schedules because of admissions made by Ice, it seems clear from the findings made on infringement that there has been a scaling back of the protection which Australian copyright law provides to creators and publishers of compilations. This may prompt affected organisations to lobby for amendments to the legislation to introduce database rights in Australia similar to those which exist in the United Kingdom.

At a practical level, creators of compilations should consider whether they do, or can, express their compilations in an original way. The greater the original productive thought which has gone into determining the particular form in which the facts are expressed in a compilation, the greater the protection. There may be some factual compilations which, by their very nature, cannot be expressed with any level of originality and so they will not be protected by copyright law.

Comments made by the court also emphasise the importance of being able to identify precisely both the compilation in which copyright is said to subsist and all of the authors of that copyright work. This may be particularly difficult where the facts contained in the compilation are regularly updated; where an organisation records the same factual material in more than one form of compilation; and where the process of creation of the compilation involves both a large number of people and significant use of technology. Creators of compilations who wish to protect their copyright will need to keep full records of the whole process of preparation of the relevant compilations....".
Note by Warwick Rothnie (ipwars.com) here

Sunday, 26 April 2009

Technological measures: an empirical assessment

A circular from CIPIL, Cambridge University's intellectual property law unit, reports that Dr Patricia Akester has been appointed as a Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellow (in association with matched funding from Emmanuel College Cambridge) to undertake a project looking at the impact of technological measures on the ability of users to take advantage of the statutory exceptions to copyright. As the circular explains:
"When technological measures were under consideration in the mid 1990s two stark scenarios presented themselves: on the one hand, an ideal world where copyright owners could use DRM to make their works available under a host of different conditions in a way that responded to the diversity of consumer demand; on the other, a more bleak environment where all users of copyright material (and much non-copyright material) would be forced to obtain permission and pay to access material that previously would have been available to all. In the face of these two extreme visions, the European legislature developed a compromise position, embodied notoriously in Article 6(4) of the Information Society Directive. The legislature appeared to be hoping that rights-holders would voluntarily make material within certain specified exceptions available to users. 
Dr Akester examines how these issues are working out in practice. Based on a series of interviews with key organisations, and individuals, involved in the use of copyright material and the development and deployment of DRM, Dr Akester provides a sober assessment of the current state of affairs. Her report will appear on the CIPIL website later this month".
There are only a few days to the end of the month, so the 1709 team will be visiting the CIPIL website regularly in the hope of getting an early sighting of it.

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Copyright, piracy and the abuse of statistics

This blogger was struck, reading this item in The Guardian, that the impact of the digital piracy debate has generated almost as many statistics as there are points of view about what should the correct response to piracy be. These latest stats suggest that those downloading music are "10 times more likely" to pay for music than those who don't steal music. Unless I am missing something, another way of saying this is "people who don't steal music are unlikely to buy music", which just might lead to the conclusion that those people are not interested in music. This may be an interesting finding for some research project, but is unlikely to have a strong influence on the music industry's approach to the next piracy challenge.

[Written by John Enser]

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

End of the road for Hadopi?

It seems that the French loi Hadopi's "three strikes and you're out" proposals for serious copyright-infringing file sharers have not warmed the hearts of the European Union's parliamentarians, who believe that the striking off of an internet user for copyright infringement is something that should only be done by judicial authority. See here for further (French) information (thanks, Hugo Cox, for sending this in).

Monday, 20 April 2009

'Worst in the world'

Via Hector L MacQueen (Professor of Private Law and Co-Director, AHRC Research Centre Intellectual Property and Technology Law, Edinburgh) comes news of a note in Scottish Legal News on how UK copyright law has been rated the worst in the world. The extract, in relevant part, states:
"The UK's copyright legislation has been rated 'the worst by far' in a survey of 16 countries and as a result millions of unsuspecting consumers are being needlessly criminalised by out-of-date intellectual property laws. 
The Consumers International survey looked at how well each country's copyright law balances the interests of rights holders with those of consumers.

The UK first developed copyright law as long ago as the 16th century [this is arguable ...], but ... as singularly failed to keep up, beating the emerging economies of both Thailand and Argentina to last place.

It is currently a copyright violation to rip a CD that you own on to your PC or iPod ? even though over half of British consumers admit to doing it and think this type of copying is perfectly legal.

Consumer Focus is calling for the Government to introduce of a broad 'fair use' exception to UK copyright law which would be able to adapt to new technical environments over time - an approach already adopted by the US, who came fourth in the survey [broad exceptions: how do these stand vis-a-vis the Berne three-step test?].

...

A Fair Use exception to the law would protect copyright holders' exclusive rights, while providing exceptions to copying activities that cause no, or minimal economic harm to the rights holders.

This would cover instances where consumers copy to back up files, view at a more convenient time, play on a different device, or simply to share with family and friends".
This piece is a bit disappointing: are there not far better grounds upon which to condemn the UK copyright legislation?  Uncontrolled and unmanageable amendments and renumbering of provisions, bafflingly obscure and impenetrable drafting, the regular need to supplement the text with statutory instruments, the extraordinary arrangement of definitions and definition sections ...

Friday, 17 April 2009

The Pirate Bay convictions: what next?

The BBC has just reported that the "Pirate Bay Four" have been convicted of criminal copyright infringement by a Swedish court. Even before conviction, the operators of the popular BitTorrent-driven file-sharing service announced their intention to appeal. While the conviction was not itself a matter of surprise within either the legal community or in business circles, some of the early responses suggest that the matter is far from over. Suggestions have been made both that a reference to the European Court of Justice would be timely (though the precise basis for such a reference has not been articulated) and that, since search engines such as Google 'front' BitTorrent file-sharing operators in the same way as The Pirate Bay has done, they are equally vulnerable to prosecution for criminal copyright infringement.

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Copyright Tribunal to be made more user-friendly

The UK's Intellectual Property Office has now added a review of Copyright Tribunal rules to its growing list of ongoing reviews of the functionality of the country's IP infrastructure. According to a press release from the IPO on 9 April,
"The Intellectual Property Office today announced a review of the Copyright Tribunal rules which will make the Tribunal quicker and cheaper to use, particularly for individuals and small businesses. The consultation includes the following key proposals:
• Streamlining of cases for large-scale litigation in order to reduce costs for parties;
• Introduction of a small applications fast track system for cases of low financial value in order to improve accessibility for small business and individuals;
• Modernisation of the rules, in particular by incorporating case management techniques from the Civil Procedure Rules.
...
The draft proposals are available on the Intellectual Property Office website [If they are, why on earth didn't the press release, which is posted on the IPO website, carry a hyperlink to them? 10 clicks after the press release, this blogger still hadn't found them]. They take into account the recommendations of the Innovation, Universities and Skills Select Committee in the March 2008 report on the work and operation of the Copyright Tribunal and stakeholder comments received in that context. The proposals form part of a wider package of reforms of the Tribunal".
The 1709 Copyright blog will follow developments and bring them to the attention of readers. Perhaps there may even be some debate ...

Monday, 13 April 2009

Right of withdrawal: a European comparision

Ilze Zasa is a student at the University of Latvia. She is writing a dissertation for her bachelor's degree on the author's right to revoke/withdraw his work. She is covering differences between the law and practice in the various European countries and is eager to receive useful guidance and comments from the readers of this weblog.

If you have any information, please feel welcome to email Ilza here

Sunday, 5 April 2009

Swedish internet use falls after new user identity law comes into force

Writing for vnunet.com, Phil Muncaster ("Swedish net traffic halves after new law: new anti-piracy law scares off illegal file sharers") describes the immediate aftermath of the implementation last week of the new anti-piracy law which lets copyright holders such as record and entertainment companies go to court to determine the identities of those suspected of piracy, via their IP addresses. Till now, illegal file sharing has been the prerogative of the anonymous.

Netnod, a Swedish enterprise that manages many of the country’s key internet exchanges, has reported a drop of around half since Wednesday, when the law took effect, and reports that throughput has yet to pick up. In technical terms, data transmission rates have declined from a peak of around 190/200 Gbit/sec to daily highs since Wednesday of about 100 Gbit/sec.

Friday, 3 April 2009

Le Loi Hadopi

The Register has provided English-language coverage of today's breaking news that France has all but passed the controversial 'three-strikes-and-you're-out' law, designed to stamp out rampant file-sharing and illegal downloading of copyright-protected works. The new law is nicknamed the loi Hadopi, because it creates a "High Authority" (Haute autorité pour la diffusion des œuvres et la protection des droits sur Internet), which will monitor and regulate the use of the internet in France. According to The Register,
"The principle behind the law is simple. Anyone suspected of illegal downloading of material on the internet will receive two letters: a first and a second warning. The first warning will recommend that the user check to make sure that no one is surfing on the back of an unsecured Wi-Fi connection: but it will also point out that it is the subscriber’s responsibility to make sure their net access is properly safeguarded".

Copyright and the Twitterverse: watch this space

"Copyright And Libel Questions Hit The Twitterverse" is the title of this short-but-sweet piece on Techdirt. Writes veteran group blogger Mike Masnick (with links added by 1709 for the benefit of non-US readers):
"A few weeks back, someone pointed me to a Twitter message where one Twitter user was (jokingly) accusing another of copyright infringement for repeating a message. While the situation was amusing, you knew it was only a matter of time until the question became more serious. Mark Cuban put up a blog post this weekend asking about the copyrightability of Twitter messages. His question revolves around whether or not it's copyright infringement for someone like ESPN to repeat what he wrote in a Twitter message, which he would have preferred they didn't quote.

I'm certainly no copyright lawyer -- so perhaps some could chime in in the comments -- but it seems like there would be two issues here. The first is whether or not the content is covered by copyright -- and, for most messages the answer would probably be yes (there would need to be some sort of creative element to the messages to make that happen, so a simple "hi" or "thanks" or whatever might not cut it). But, the more important question then would be whether or not ESPN could quote the Twitter message. And, there, the answer is almost certainly, yes, they could, just as they could quote something you wrote in a blog post".

If you ran down the fair use test, it's difficult to see how a public Twitter message wouldn't easily qualify. If it's ESPN, it would be for commercial use, but not in the sense of "selling" the content. Plus, it's for journalistic reasons, which is often given a fair use pass. Second is the nature of the copyrighted work -- which, being a Twitter message, I would guess most judges would assume it's expected that the content can (or even should) be repeated. The third test fails, since it would be the entire message, but the fourth test, on "the effect on the potential market for the copyrighted work" would almost certainly point towards fair use. Since the four factors aren't weighted equally, I think the only clear "failure" is the weakest and least important of the four tests (how much of the content was used -- which is way outweighed by the other factors), it's hard to see how this isn't a perfectly reasonable use".
After running through the parameters of the fair use test and mentioning similar problems faced in terms of defamation, Mike concludes: "... we're in for a long series of lawsuits and legal threats having to do with Twitter message".   I think this is a distinct possibility and have already commissioned an article for the Journal of Intellectual Property Law & Practice on this very subject.  1709 will be watching closely for developments.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Not another weblog! No, actually

Copyright in the form we understand it today has been going for 300 years. In turn it inspires, protects, confuses and exasperates us. There is scarcely any form of message, or medium for conveying it, that is unaffected by copyright (or author's right, as civil law tradition prefers to call it) and by rights ancillary to it.

This weblog seeks to provide a newsy, non-polarised, vibrant forum for the spread of current information concerning copyight in all its forms, as well as a community resource for lawyers, authors and creators, carriers, legal historians, information economists -- and the just plain curious.

Do let us know what you think: you can email the 1709 Copyright Blog via Jeremy here.