defending the right to innovate
Monopoly corrupts. Absolute monopoly corrupts absolutely.
Copyright Notice: We don't think much of copyright, so you can do what you want with the content on this blog. Of course we are hungry for publicity, so we would be pleased if you avoided plagiarism and gave us credit for what we have written. We encourage you not to impose copyright restrictions on your "derivative" works, but we won't try to stop you. For the legally or statist minded, you can consider yourself subject to a Creative Commons Attribution License.
Read her story on how it has hurt her here:
Rhianna and Def Jam Music must stand trial for being inspired by David LaChappelle's ideas regarding photographic images.
They didn't copy a damned thing. They were only inspired by someone else's work which influenced they way in which they created a new work - the same way all creation happens on some level.
For that, they must now stand trial.
The court will try and tell you that the Defendants here have "copied" what amounts to "fixed expression" and that copyright doesn't cover "ideas" - but please scroll down to pages 31-34 of the PDF file of the decision below and then try to say the following to yourself with a straight face: "Copyright doesn't protect ideas, only the fixed expression of ideas."
This decision is an absolute farce and outrage. But what it is not is an aberration. It is instead an accurate and standard application of what our current monstrous copyright laws have become, and why anyone who cares about free speech, civil rights and basic human freedoms must now support serious copyright reform in order to roll back its scope.
Read and see for yourself just how far copyright goes in placing a stranglehold over ideas here:
A Boston Tea Party for the Digital Age anyone?
Mike Masnick at Techdirt points to the blowback over JSTOR's creeping attempts to monopolize the distribution of academic works.
Check out his comments and links to the torrent of free public domain research that was formerly hidden behind JSTOR's pay walls:
Greg Maxwell's announcement is worth reprinting in its entirety here:
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Direct link to Maxwell's file and announcement here:
MANHATTAN (CN) - Major record labels must face a consolidated class action lawsuit claiming they fixed prices on digital music, a federal judge ruled.
The defendants include Bertelsmann, Sony BMG Music Entertainment, Sony Corporation of America, Capitol Records (dba EMI Music North America), EMI Group North America, Capitol-EMI Music, Virgin Records America, Time Warner, UMG Recordings and Warner Music Group, which allegedly control 80 percent of the digital music in the United States.
Consumers claim in the proposed class action that all of the labels signed distribution agreements with two joint-venture entities called MusicNet and Pressplay, through which they allegedly conspired to fix the price, terms of sale and restrictions on digital music.
Each licensing agreement allegedly included publicly hidden Most Favored Nation clauses, guaranteeing that one licensor would receive at least equivalent licensing terms as another licensor. In effect, these agreements set wholesale price floor at 70 cents per song for Internet music, increasing prices as the cost to distribute Internet music fell to essentially zero, consumer class says.
More details here:
A copy of the ruling itself can be found here:
Perhaps He Is Actually Ahead of the Curve In His Area of Study, And Its The Law That Needs To Catch Up.
In my mind, "ethics" and "law abiding" are not always synonymous. Witness this:
BOSTON (AP) -- A Harvard University fellow studying ethics has been accused of using the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's computer network to steal nearly 5 million academic articles.
Because Lord knows that if he got away with this, the incentive to write academic articles would completely collapse.
Shouldn't the AP put the word "steal" in quotes here? Amazing how the whole "theft" lingo false meme has so causally pervaded discussions of IP. Might I suggest he has been accused of "liberating information without authorization"?
AP copy editors, take note.
This guy faces 35 years in prison.
Read the story here:
Columbia Law Professor Ronald Mann has a round-up of how the U.S. Supreme Court has looked upon the lower Federal Circuit's point-of-view when it comes to recent patent law decisions.
It is well worth a read here:
'Aside from the unprotectable ideas of (1) brandishing a blow dryer as a weapon, and (2) the characters' fighting poses, there is no plausible basis for a reasonable jury to find that the parties' respective expressions of the concept of a...crime-fighting hairdresser are substantially similar".
So holds the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in affirming the dismissal of a copyright claim here [PDF]:
The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against Wall Street banks (and a lower court) in holding that a financial news service did not misappropriate their analyst research for its website.
The Appeals Court said the lawsuit against Theflyonthewall.com under New York "misappropriation" statutes was preempted by federal copyright law.
Financial institutions argued that Theflyonthewall.com was getting a "free ride" by "misappropriating research", including stock news, which cost them profits.
Theflyonthewall.com countered that it had a First Amendment right to publish before news goes stale, and that it got much of its information from public sources or from talking with traders and others in the Wall Street area.
The Appeals Court concluded: "We conclude that in this case, a Firm's ability to make news -- by issuing a Recommendation that is likely to affect the market price of a security -- does not give rise to a right for it to control who breaks that news and how."
Because of some legal gymnastics and an earlier ruling that Theflyonthewall.com had "waived" its First Amendment and fair use defenses, the Appeals Court did not directly rule on the First Amendment/fair use argument, but sections of the latest decision seem to suggest that court would have been sympathetic to it.
For instance, the Appeals Court wrote:
As the INS Court explained, long before it would have occurred to the Court to cite the First Amendment for the proposition:..."[T]he news element -- the information respecting current events contained in the literary production -- is not the creation of the writer, but is a report of matters that ordinarily are publici juris; it is the history of the day. It is not to be supposed that the framers of the Constitution, when they empowered Congress "to promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries" (Const., 8 Art I, § 8, par. 8), intended to confer upon one who might happen to be the first to report a historic event the exclusive right for any period to spread the knowledge of it."
We do not perceive a meaningful difference between (a) Fly's taking material that a Firm has created (not "acquired") as the result of organization and the expenditure of labor, skill, and money, and which is (presumably) salable by a Firm for money, and selling it by ascribing the material to its creator Firm and author (not selling it as Fly's own), and (b) what appears to be unexceptional and easily recognized behavior by members of the traditional news media -- to report on, say, winners of Tony Awards or, indeed, scores of NBA games with proper attribution of the material to its creator.
Reuters has more here:
Full court opinion here: http://www.ca2.uscourts.gov/decisions/isysquery/61c431d7-9894-48c3-8222-dda6c1b74742/2/doc/10-1372_both.pdf#xml=http://www.ca2.uscourts.gov/decisions/isysquery/61c431d7-9894-48c3-8222-dda6c1b74742/2/hilite/
In what could be interpreted as a tacit admission that their previous ruling in Bilski last year was about as clear as mud, the Supreme Court has decided to take up another case concerning the validity of a patent claim "that covers observed correlations between blood test results and patient health, so that the claim effectively preempts all uses of the naturally occurring correlations, simply because well-known methods used to administer prescription drugs and test blood may involve 'transformations' of body chemistry."
This is another case that will be closely watched.
The full case name: Mayo Collaborative Services v. Prometheus Laboratories, Inc.
Background details of the case here:
Here is the text of a message that was recently sent to the entire membership of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) -
Dear AFTRA Member:
I'm writing to you today both as the National President of AFTRA and as an individual who, just like you, has dedicated my life to the art, craft and business of entertainment and media. I am a professional performer who earns my living and health and retirement benefits by acting, performing voiceover work, doing narration for industrials and working on other types of projects. Like for many of you, entertainment and media is my career - it is my livelihood - and right now, my career and my livelihood are under attack, and so are yours.
The digital theft of movies, music, videogames, audiobooks and television shows - what has often been called "piracy" - is the biggest threat the entertainment community has ever faced, and 2.4 million of us who make a living in entertainment need to join together to fight back.
The term "piracy" doesn't do justice to the problem; this is THEFT on a massive scale. Movies, music, videogames, audiobooks and television shows are illegally downloaded or streamed at least 500,000 times every day. Millions of counterfeit DVDs are sold each year. International criminal operations masquerade as legitimate sites, appear in search engines and even accept credit card payments, confusing and siphoning off our audiences. These thieves steal money out of our pockets and deprive us of the earnings we need to qualify for critical health insurance and retirement benefits. In fact, digital theft is so serious that it is one of the crimes investigated by U.S. Immigrations and Custom Enforcement, along with human trafficking, money laundering, weapons smuggling and narcotics.
The impact on each one of us is real. The digital theft of movies, music, videogames, audiobooks and television shows reduces our residuals and royalty payments, as well as our retirement and health benefits, and more than 140,000 entertainment-related jobs have already been lost to content theft. Every film, sound recording, videogame, audiobook and television show that is stolen represents a terrible loss to all of the people who created it, reduces funds available for future work and reduces creative and employment opportunities for AFTRA members and everyone else works on a production or sound recording.
Almost two years ago now, Delegates to the 2009 AFTRA National Convention in Chicago unanimously passed a resolution making the fight against digital theft our highest legislative priority. Since then, AFTRA has worked with DGA, IATSE, SAG, MPAA, and from time to time also AFM and the Teamsters to help raise awareness among lawmakers in Washington, DC, about the real danger this threat presents to our livelihoods and to the American economy. We have also been working closely with Victoria Espinel, the U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator appointed by President Obama in September 2009, to help her understand just how grave this threat is to the United States. We must devleop sound regulatory and public policies to protect creative content and ensure that the people and industries that produce the uniquely American product continue to thrive.
We are making good headway in D.C. Latest proof of our success lies in the bipartisan support for new legislation introduced on May 26, 2011: the Protect IP (Intellectual Property) Act was unanimously passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee. The PROTECT IP Act is critical to efforts to aggressively combat the proliferation of foreign "rogue websites" that steal U.S.-produced content and profit from it by illegally selling it to the public.
But, remember: this is just a step forward in what will be a long battle against criminals who are stealing our work. To be successful, we need more than just strong laws: we need a fully engaged community of entertainment and media professionals - AFTRA members like you - to stand up, make our voices heard and do our part to stop digital theft.
We pour our hearts into making the movies, music, videogames, audiobooks and television shows that the world loves. Entertainment is one of America's most important economic engines. The theft of creative content must be stopped, so we are redoubling our efforts.
AFTRA is on the battle lines against digital theft with our sister unions, as well as producers and other stakeholders in the media and entertainment industries. This is bigger than any single group alone. So in the coming months, you'll be getting more information about digital theft and its impact on our jobs and creativity. If you would like to get involved or learn more about ways you can help protect our future, please email ProtectMyWork@aftra.com or call and we will contact you with information about how you can help in this effort.
Entertainment and media is changing fast, and we are all working to find new ways to share our creativity with audiences here at home and around the world. Please watch for regular updates and information about what AFTRA is doing, and what you can do to join the fight.
National President AFTRA, AFL-CIO
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