Tag Archives: copyright reform

SoundCloud’s Automatic Content Protection System Removed a Remix of John Cage’s Silent Composition, “4’33”

How much more idiotic does copyright have to get before we do something about it? Also, best DJ name ever!

Does John Cage own the copyright for silence?

Source: SoundCloud’s Automatic Content Protection System Removed a Remix of John Cage’s Silent Composition, “4’33” | Pigeons & Planes

Librarian of Congress grants limited DRM-breaking rights for cars, games, phones, tablets, and remixers

It may not be all great news, but it is a start, a step in the right direction. Naturally, Congress could eliminate this waste of taxpayer money by simply repealing the DMCA (or, at least, Section 1201).

But there’s some good news: the rule permitting jailbreaking phones was extended to tablets, something the Copyright Office rejected three years ago. Then it said that it couldn’t tell laptops from tablets (raising two important questions: “why not allow jailbreaking on laptops”; and, “if you don’t know the difference between a laptop and a tablet, maybe you shouldn’t be regulating either of them?“) [emphasis added]. This year, thanks to EFF, it decided it could finally tell the difference.

Source: Librarian of Congress grants limited DRM-breaking rights for cars, games, phones, tablets, and remixers / Boing Boing

Copyrights and wrongs

I’m torn on long-term copyrights because of long-running, beloved characters like Mickey Mouse, but I feel like there should be some clause for commercial utilization (or under-utilization) after the original term expires. For example, if Disney doesn’t create any new works in a particular medium for a particular time using Mickey Mouse (as what happened from the 1990s until the mid-2000s or Oswald The Lucky Rabbit since the 1920s), Mickey (in that particular medium: short-subject animation) falls into public domain. Disney is still free to capitalize on Mickey’s likeness in other media, but animation is no longer their exclusive ground. It’s admittedly a hackneyed solution and probably isn’t ideal for anyone, but it’s arguably better than extending copyright terms into infinity.

This sort of “infinite copyright” is singularly important to the Gen Xers and Millennials because, unlike past generations, our epics, our heroes, and our legends may never pass into public domain and those stories might never be retold without express consent of the rights holder. Imagine a world in which Odysseus or even Sherlock Holmes was held in copyright for over 2000 years! (For one thing, Steven Moffat would never have been able to get a job–for better or worse.) Those heroes were to their generations what Batman, Doctor Who, and Han Solo (to name but a few) are to ours. Copyright financially protects the rights holder for a period of time, incentivizing creativity, but extensions into perpetuity ultimately stifle creativity and erode our shared culture.

Source: Copyrights and wrongs

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What Could Have Entered the Public Domain on January 1, 2015?

The films Attack of the 50 Foot Woman, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, and Gigi, the books Things Fall Apart, Our Man in Havana, and The Once and Future King, great music, and more. . .

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How Laws Restricting Tech Actually Expose Us to Greater Harm

We live in a world made of computers. Your car is a computer that drives down the freeway at 60 mph with you strapped inside. If you live or work in a modern building, computers regulate its temperature and respiration. And we’re not just putting our bodies inside computers—we’re also putting computers inside our bodies. I recently exchanged words in an airport lounge with a late arrival who wanted to use the sole electrical plug, which I had beat him to, fair and square. “I need to charge my laptop,” I said. “I need to charge my leg,” he said, rolling up his pants to show me his robotic prosthesis. I surrendered the plug.

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A leaked MPAA memo reveals a troubling plan for blacklisting pirate sites

Considering what sorts of rampant censorship are on the web today, this would be a VERY BAD development for open speech.

Most anti-piracy tools take one of two paths: they either target the server that’s sharing the files (pulling videos off YouTube or taking down sites like The Pirate Bay) or they make it harder to find (delisting offshore sites that share infringing content). But leaked documents reveal a frightening line of attack that’s currently being considered by the MPAA: What if you simply erased any record that the site was there in the first place?

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Pointing Users to DRM-Stripping Software Isn’t Copyright Infringement, Judge Rules

This could strike a huge blow to the idiotic clause in the DMCA that forbids circumventing DRM locks. I’m crossing my fingers on further developments.

Telling users how to strip the DRM from their legally purchased ebooks is not contributory copyright infringement, according to a ruling last month by a federal judge in New York. Judge Denise Cote dismissed two publishers’ claims of contributory infringement and inducement in Abbey House Media v. Apple Inc., one of the many cases to come out of the antitrust litigation against Apple and a handful of major publishers.

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Why Cellphone Unlocking Could Soon Be Illegal Once Again

The massive missive, passed in 1998, governs the tense and often amorphous intersection of intellectual property and physical property. The law was birthed when digital piracy (of things like DVDs and music) first and truly reared its head. As a reaction, Congress built “anti-circumvention” edicts into Section 1201 of the DMCA. The provision makes it a violation of copyright law to break any sort of technological protection measure over content—like, say, the encryption on DVDs. But the DMCA doesn’t take intention into account. Breaking the lock is a violation, whether or not the locked content is actually pirated.

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Copyright Law Is Being Rewritten Right Now, and You Can Help

Copyright isn’t just about pirating music or downloading DVDs anymore. Like a creature alive, copyright is evolving and expanding. Traditional “dumb” products are being replaced by an internet of things — and copyright is hitching along for the ride. Its DNA is being woven through the programming that powers your car, the firmware in your phone, the code in your kid’s talking teddy bear, and the software that calibrates your hearing aid.

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Obama’s Secret Attempt to Ban Cellphone Unlocking, While Claiming to Support It

“The most transparent administration in history….”

Seriously, it is a really bad sign when some of your biggest supporters are crying foul. Continue reading Obama’s Secret Attempt to Ban Cellphone Unlocking, While Claiming to Support It