posts about or somewhat related to ‘Copyright’

When Doves Cry

Prince is suing 22 people for $1 million each for linking to bootlegs of his live shows.

Via Spin:

His Purpleness has filed a copyright lawsuit against 22 different users of Facebook and Google’s Blogger platform…

…According to the 21-page complaint filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco (via Antiquiet), the defendants “engage in massive infringement and bootlegging of Prince’s material.” The lawsuit targets Dan Chodera, Karina Jindrova, and 20 anonymous defendants. Chodera and Jindrova allegedly operated a no-longer-online Facebook account that posted a bunch of bootleg Prince videos. The other defendants — “Does” 1 through 20 — are accused of similar infractions, such as pointing to a 1983 Chicago set from WorldofBootleg.blogspot.com.

According to the complaint:

The Defendants rely on either Google’s Blogger platform or Facebook, or both, to accomplish their unlawful activity… Defendants, rather than publishing lawful content to their blogs, typically publish posts that list all the songs performed at a certain Prince live show and then provide a link to a file sharing service where unauthorized copied of the performance can be downloaded. Defendants use their Facebook account to post similar unlawful content directly to their Facebook accounts or to direct users to their blogs, or both.

So, the Blogger and Facebook users aren’t accused of making, uploading or hosting the actual recordings. Instead, the alleged copyright infringement comes from linking to them.

When doves cry, indeed.

(Source: Spotify)

I Am An American
Late last summer The Atlantic put together a nice round-up of free online image collections.
These range from the well known, such as Flickr Commons, to the less well known, such as the Washington State Coastal Atlas.
In between, for your browsing and remixing pleasure, check out Rijks Studio from the Netherlands’ state museum, and the Open Content Program from the J. Paul Getty Trust which launched just this year.
Read through for other collections at The Atlantic.
Image: A Japanese-American hangs a sign on his grocery store December 8, 1941, the day after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Via the Calisphere open image collection.

I Am An American

Late last summer The Atlantic put together a nice round-up of free online image collections.

These range from the well known, such as Flickr Commons, to the less well known, such as the Washington State Coastal Atlas.

In between, for your browsing and remixing pleasure, check out Rijks Studio from the Netherlands’ state museum, and the Open Content Program from the J. Paul Getty Trust which launched just this year.

Read through for other collections at The Atlantic.

Image: A Japanese-American hangs a sign on his grocery store December 8, 1941, the day after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Via the Calisphere open image collection.

British Library: Go Forth and Remix
Via the British Library:

We have released over a million images onto Flickr Commons for anyone to use, remix and repurpose. These images were taken from the pages of 17th, 18th and 19th century books digitised by Microsoft who then generously gifted the scanned images to us, allowing us to release them back into the Public Domain. The images themselves cover a startling mix of subjects: There are maps, geological diagrams, beautiful illustrations, comical satire, illuminated and decorative letters, colourful illustrations, landscapes, wall-paintings and so much more that even we are not aware of.

So, awesome.
Now check out the British Library’s next steps:

We plan to launch a crowdsourcing application at the beginning of next year, to help describe what the images portray. Our intention is to use this data to train automated classifiers that will run against the whole of the content. The data from this will be as openly licensed as is sensible (given the nature of crowdsourcing) and the code, as always, will be under an open licence.
The manifests of images, with descriptions of the works that they were taken from, are available on github and are also released under a public-domain ‘licence’. This set of metadata being on github should indicate that we fully intend people to work with it, to adapt it, and to push back improvements that should help others work with this release. 
There are very few datasets of this nature free for any use and by putting it online we hope to stimulate and support research concerning printed illustrations, maps and other material not currently studied. Given that the images are derived from just 65,000 volumes and that the library holds many millions of items.

Image: Detail, page 331, “L’Alsace et des Alsaciens à travers les siècles,” via the British Library on Flickr. Select to embiggen.

British Library: Go Forth and Remix

Via the British Library:

We have released over a million images onto Flickr Commons for anyone to use, remix and repurpose. These images were taken from the pages of 17th, 18th and 19th century books digitised by Microsoft who then generously gifted the scanned images to us, allowing us to release them back into the Public Domain. The images themselves cover a startling mix of subjects: There are maps, geological diagrams, beautiful illustrations, comical satire, illuminated and decorative letters, colourful illustrations, landscapes, wall-paintings and so much more that even we are not aware of.

So, awesome.

Now check out the British Library’s next steps:

We plan to launch a crowdsourcing application at the beginning of next year, to help describe what the images portray. Our intention is to use this data to train automated classifiers that will run against the whole of the content. The data from this will be as openly licensed as is sensible (given the nature of crowdsourcing) and the code, as always, will be under an open licence.

The manifests of images, with descriptions of the works that they were taken from, are available on github and are also released under a public-domain ‘licence’. This set of metadata being on github should indicate that we fully intend people to work with it, to adapt it, and to push back improvements that should help others work with this release. 

There are very few datasets of this nature free for any use and by putting it online we hope to stimulate and support research concerning printed illustrations, maps and other material not currently studied. Given that the images are derived from just 65,000 volumes and that the library holds many millions of items.

Image: Detail, page 331, “L’Alsace et des Alsaciens à travers les siècles,” via the British Library on Flickr. Select to embiggen.

Your Low Cost, No Cost & Creative Commons Guide to Licensing Music
Andreas Silenzi, Managing Director of the Free Music Archive, has a very handy Google spreadsheet that lists sound sources you can explore for your next media project.
These range from those with Creative Commons licenses to ones that are simply free to use to others that have rather nominal charges but are generally royalty free.
Check it: Free Music Archive Guide to Online Audio Resources.

Your Low Cost, No Cost & Creative Commons Guide to Licensing Music

Andreas Silenzi, Managing Director of the Free Music Archive, has a very handy Google spreadsheet that lists sound sources you can explore for your next media project.

These range from those with Creative Commons licenses to ones that are simply free to use to others that have rather nominal charges but are generally royalty free.

Check it: Free Music Archive Guide to Online Audio Resources.

We are confident that viewers won’t tune into FXX looking for gas or motor oil and drivers won’t pull up to an Exxon pump station expecting to get ‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.’

Julie Henderson, a spokeswoman for FX Networks, to Ad Age. ExxonMobil Sues FX Networks Over Interlocking XX Logo.

Or, as Salon’s David Sirota puts it:

Underscoring the ridiculousness of a company claiming to own a letter of the alphabet, Deadline notes, “This double-cross brawl may come as a surprise to Dos Equis, which also has a double-X logo, and we assume the legal wrangling will be be watched with considerable interest by the XX chromosome, and the roman numeral for 20.” Same thing for any clothing companies that make  t-shirts marked double extra large.

Puppets Explain Basics of YouTube Copyright

Puppets, Glove and Boots, and copyright lawyer, Fred von Lohmann, star in YouTube’s Copyright Basics video. The video explains everything from filing a complaint to fair use — intercutting the important information with clips of singing puppet apes. 

For more details on the subject, you can check out YouTube’s Copyright Center.

How does copyright work in space? →

Here’s one for your inner copyright lawyer:

CHRIS HADFIELD has captured the world’s heart, judging by the 14m YouTube views of his free-fall rendition of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity”, recorded on the International Space Station (ISS). The Canadian astronaut’s clear voice and capable guitar-playing were complemented by his facility in moving around in the microgravity of low-earth orbit. But when the man fell to Earth in a neat and safe descent a few days ago, after a five-month stay in orbit, should he have been greeted by copyright police? Commander Hadfield was only 250 miles (400 km) up, so he was still subject to terrestrial intellectual-property regimes, which would have applied even if he had flown the “100,000 miles” mentioned in the song’s lyrics, or millions of kilometres to Mars. His five-minute video had the potential to create a tangled web of intellectual-property issues. How does copyright work in space?

Some things to think about before you answer.

Copyright law differs from country to country while global agreements also create common rules and regulations. But with the space station orbiting the planet almost 16 times a day, which earthbound jurisdiction should govern any copyright claims? Or, riddle this one: the ISS is constructed of different modules. There’s an American one along with European, Russian and Japanese ones. So whose rules would govern copyright as Hadfield floated throughout while singing Bowie’s song?

As The Economist points out, “The agreement governing the ISS makes it clear (in Article 5) that the applicable laws, including those governing IP rights, depend on which part of it an astronaut is in.” [Emphasis ours.]

Judge Rules it’s Illegal to Resell Digital Music
Back in the days when I was a teenager, friends would share music with each other, trade tapes or vinyl or cd’s, and even head down to the local music store to buy and sell used music.
Today, copyright — and rulings about copyright — makes our musical life much more difficult.
Over the weekend a federal judge in New York ruled that it’s illegal to sell our mp3’s (PDF). The case involved a Boston startup called ReDigi, which bills itself as a marketplace for “pre-owned” digital products” and Capitol Records, one of the major American record labels.
Via Ars Technica:

For years, many a music fan has wondered what we first posited back in 2008: “Can I resell my MP3s?”
After all, as we’ve pointed out in the past, nearly all digital good sales are really licenses rather than sales as conventionally understood. The question here is, can such a license be bought and sold to other users?
On Saturday, a federal court in New York ruled in summary judgment within the case of Capitol Records v. ReDigi. The court decided that no, users do not have the right to resell digital music files, as doing so violates existing copyright law. ReDigi, the judge found, is also liable for secondary copyright infringement and likely will have to pay damages.

As Slate notes, the judge’s decision is “is clearly influenced by” a 2001 US Copyright Office report to Congress that argued against digital reselling because digital objects don’t degrade over time like analog objects do:

But isn’t the ability to create copies of works that don’t degrade over time, on balance, a positive development as opposed to something to be feared? Don’t the upsides of technologies that can allow information to be moved instantaneously and at negligible cost outweigh the downsides?
The Copyright Office’s 2001 opposition to a digital first-sale doctrine was grounded in part on the legitimate concern that people might resell copies of digital works while also retaining them. The technology to ensure that the seller’s copy was deleted was deemed “not viable at this time.” However, that is no longer true. As indicated by ReDigi’s service—and by a digital resale patent from Amazon and a patent application from Apple—there are solutions that can help ensure that a single digital sale by a retailer doesn’t turn into multiple digital copies in the secondary market. Are these solutions perfect? Of course not. But do they represent good-faith efforts to harness technology in a way that respects the rights of owners of legitimately purchased content as well as those of copyright holders? Yes, they do.

So, if you’re tired of those Justin Bieber mp3’s you once so enthusiastically bought and thought you could sell them for a few pennies a pop, you’re out of luck. I also don’t see how or why this ruling wouldn’t affect any digital “purchase” we make from books, to movies to software. And by purchase, check the terms and conditions, because what we really mean is license. We no longer own what we buy. — Michael

Judge Rules it’s Illegal to Resell Digital Music

Back in the days when I was a teenager, friends would share music with each other, trade tapes or vinyl or cd’s, and even head down to the local music store to buy and sell used music.

Today, copyright — and rulings about copyright — makes our musical life much more difficult.

Over the weekend a federal judge in New York ruled that it’s illegal to sell our mp3’s (PDF). The case involved a Boston startup called ReDigi, which bills itself as a marketplace for “pre-owned” digital products” and Capitol Records, one of the major American record labels.

Via Ars Technica:

For years, many a music fan has wondered what we first posited back in 2008: “Can I resell my MP3s?”

After all, as we’ve pointed out in the past, nearly all digital good sales are really licenses rather than sales as conventionally understood. The question here is, can such a license be bought and sold to other users?

On Saturday, a federal court in New York ruled in summary judgment within the case of Capitol Records v. ReDigi. The court decided that no, users do not have the right to resell digital music files, as doing so violates existing copyright law. ReDigi, the judge found, is also liable for secondary copyright infringement and likely will have to pay damages.

As Slate notes, the judge’s decision is “is clearly influenced by” a 2001 US Copyright Office report to Congress that argued against digital reselling because digital objects don’t degrade over time like analog objects do:

But isn’t the ability to create copies of works that don’t degrade over time, on balance, a positive development as opposed to something to be feared? Don’t the upsides of technologies that can allow information to be moved instantaneously and at negligible cost outweigh the downsides?

The Copyright Office’s 2001 opposition to a digital first-sale doctrine was grounded in part on the legitimate concern that people might resell copies of digital works while also retaining them. The technology to ensure that the seller’s copy was deleted was deemed “not viable at this time.” However, that is no longer true. As indicated by ReDigi’s service—and by a digital resale patent from Amazon and a patent application from Apple—there are solutions that can help ensure that a single digital sale by a retailer doesn’t turn into multiple digital copies in the secondary market. Are these solutions perfect? Of course not. But do they represent good-faith efforts to harness technology in a way that respects the rights of owners of legitimately purchased content as well as those of copyright holders? Yes, they do.

So, if you’re tired of those Justin Bieber mp3’s you once so enthusiastically bought and thought you could sell them for a few pennies a pop, you’re out of luck. I also don’t see how or why this ruling wouldn’t affect any digital “purchase” we make from books, to movies to software. And by purchase, check the terms and conditions, because what we really mean is license. We no longer own what we buy. — Michael

The DRM Chair

Taking the lead from the Digital Rights Management embedded in our music, books and other things made from ones and zeros, Thibault Brevet and friends created the DRM Chair for the latest Deconstruction contest

Via Brevet:

The DRM Chair has only a limited number of use before it self-destructs. The number of use was set to 8, so everyone could sit down and enjoy a single time the chair.

A small sensor detects when someone sits and decrements a counter. Every time someone sits up, the chair knocks a number of time to signal how many uses are left. When reaching zero, the self-destruct system is turned on and the structural joints of the chair are melted.

Same as it Ever Was

Browsing through Time Magazine’s covers archive is an exercise in deja vu all over again.

Shown above are Internet-related covers from 1993 to 1996. Looking back years later, the memes and themes of our general interest technology reporting remain about the same. 

The Internet and those who spend a lot of time on it produces a weird, “other” culture. Porn’s an issue. So too cyberwar. Who controls the Internet? It’s been a question for some time now. 

Contemporary equivalents of the above covers?

Images: Selected Time Magazine covers, 1993-1996. Select to embiggen.

Seeds, Patents and Technology

The Supreme Court is hearing a case today involving a lawsuit brought by Monsanto against an Indiana farmer it accuses of violating the patent on its genetically modified seeds.

Some background, via The New York Times:

With his mere 300 acres of soybeans, corn and wheat, Vernon Hugh Bowman said, “I’m not even big enough to be called a farmer.”

Yet the 75-year-old farmer from southwestern Indiana will face off Tuesday against the world’s largest seed company, Monsanto, in a Supreme Court case that could have a huge impact on the future of genetically modified crops, and also affect other fields from medical research to software.

At stake in Mr. Bowman’s case is whether patents on seeds — or other things that can self-replicate — extend beyond the first generation of the products.

It is one of two cases before the Supreme Court related to the patenting of living organisms, a practice that has helped give rise to the biotechnology industry but which critics have long considered immoral. The other case, involving a breast cancer risk test from Myriad Genetics, will determine whether human genes can be patented. It is scheduled to be heard April 15.

What happened is that Bowman planted two fields, one with Monsanto seeds, the other with “commodity” seeds he bought from a grain elevator. These latter seeds are a general mixture that other farmers sell from their harvests. However, many of these commodity seeds are either Monsanto seeds, or those that are genetic derivatives of Monsanto seeds. Meaning, they’ve cross pollinated. Because that’s what plants do.

As the Times notes, agricultural groups are siding with Monsanto. So too universities fearful that a decision against the biotech firm could affect funding incentives for research.

Software makers are also looking on with interest. Note that the case centers on things that can “self-replicate”. Back to the Times:

BSA/The Software Alliance, which represents companies like Apple and Microsoft, said in a brief that a decision against Monsanto might “facilitate software piracy on a broad scale” because software can be easily replicated. But it also said that a decision that goes too far the other way could make nuisance software patent infringement lawsuits too easy to file.

Over in The Atlantic, Andrew Cohen notes that Monsanto has sued almost 150 farmers in 27 states. He goes on to write:

Monsanto says it is merely enforcing valid contracts, and protecting its hard-fought patents, and that it has a right to do so aggressively. However, the result of these attempts at market control, the [Center for Food Safety] noted, is “dramatic increases in the price of seeds. From 1995-2011, the average cost to plant one acre of soybeans has risen 325 percent; for cotton prices spiked 516 percent and corn seed prices are up by 259 percent.”

Over at the FJP we have a few videos from an interview we conducted with Micha X Peled, a documentary director who’s latest film, Bitter Seeds, follows a crisis in India where the foreign monopoly on the local seed market has inflated prices and brought on massive local debt. The situation has become so dire that, on average, a farmer kills himself every thirty minutes. You can view those interviews here.

#InternetFreedomDay
Visit the Internet Freedom Day web site for various resources and events; see why you should post Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” video even though it’s copyrighted; get a free copy of Marvin Ammori’s On Internet Freedom; and if you’re in San Francisco, join the Electronic Frontier Foundation and friends at an evening get together. 
Image: Partial screenshot, InternetFreedomDay.net.

#InternetFreedomDay

Visit the Internet Freedom Day web site for various resources and events; see why you should post Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” video even though it’s copyrighted; get a free copy of Marvin Ammori’s On Internet Freedom; and if you’re in San Francisco, join the Electronic Frontier Foundation and friends at an evening get together

Image: Partial screenshot, InternetFreedomDay.net.

Because like the other cases brought against hackers across the country, the case against Aaron isn’t just about technology providing new means for people to act independently and enact democracy. It isn’t even really about justice and national security. It’s about a broader, systemic battle.

It’s about power.
Who’s Suing Who
Yesterday we noted the case of a voice recognition startup called Vlingo that was sued for patent infringement and — even though exonerated — eventually had to sell itself to the very company that sued it.
The anecdote is from a long, frustrating and very important investigation by the New York Times into our very broken patent system.
Here, a visualization by the Times shows who’s suing who among the big players in the smartphone industry. If you select the image to enlarge it, you’ll see that just about everyone is suing everyone. Just follow the orange arrows as each “represents a lawsuit involving a mobile patent. In some cases, when multiple firms are plaintiffs or defendants, a single suit is represented with multiple arrows.”
Better, view the original and set aside the time to read the actual article.
It’s a highly readable and follows the how and why of current smartphone patent wars:

The number of patent lawsuits filed in United States district courts each year has almost tripled in the last two decades to 3,260 in 2010, the last year for which federal data is available. Microsoft has sued Motorola; Motorola has sued Apple and Research in Motion; Research in Motion has sued Visto, a mobile technology company; and in August, Google, through its Motorola unit, sued Apple, contending that Siri had infringed on its patents. (Google dropped the suit last week, leaving open the possibility of refiling at a later date.) All of those companies have also been sued numerous times by trolls.

And as you read, keep in mind that software patents are often “aspirational” rather than attached to a tangible product. That is, they describe broad concepts of an interface system, or a way to calculate payment, before they’ve ever been created. Another way to put it, they’re patents on ideas. In a weird analytical disconnect, Malcolm Gladwell once celebrated this practice in a New Yorker piece about a company called Intellectual Ventures.
"As a result," the Times notes about the current smartphone wars, “some patents are so broad that they allow patent holders to claim sweeping ownership of seemingly unrelated products built by others. Often, companies are sued for violating patents they never knew existed or never dreamed might apply to their creations, at a cost shouldered by consumers in the form of higher prices and fewer choices.” — Michael
Image: Partial screenshot, Fighters in a Patent War, by the New York Times.

Who’s Suing Who

Yesterday we noted the case of a voice recognition startup called Vlingo that was sued for patent infringement and — even though exonerated — eventually had to sell itself to the very company that sued it.

The anecdote is from a long, frustrating and very important investigation by the New York Times into our very broken patent system.

Here, a visualization by the Times shows who’s suing who among the big players in the smartphone industry. If you select the image to enlarge it, you’ll see that just about everyone is suing everyone. Just follow the orange arrows as each “represents a lawsuit involving a mobile patent. In some cases, when multiple firms are plaintiffs or defendants, a single suit is represented with multiple arrows.”

Better, view the original and set aside the time to read the actual article.

It’s a highly readable and follows the how and why of current smartphone patent wars:

The number of patent lawsuits filed in United States district courts each year has almost tripled in the last two decades to 3,260 in 2010, the last year for which federal data is available. Microsoft has sued Motorola; Motorola has sued Apple and Research in Motion; Research in Motion has sued Visto, a mobile technology company; and in August, Google, through its Motorola unit, sued Apple, contending that Siri had infringed on its patents. (Google dropped the suit last week, leaving open the possibility of refiling at a later date.) All of those companies have also been sued numerous times by trolls.

And as you read, keep in mind that software patents are often “aspirational” rather than attached to a tangible product. That is, they describe broad concepts of an interface system, or a way to calculate payment, before they’ve ever been created. Another way to put it, they’re patents on ideas. In a weird analytical disconnect, Malcolm Gladwell once celebrated this practice in a New Yorker piece about a company called Intellectual Ventures.

"As a result," the Times notes about the current smartphone wars, “some patents are so broad that they allow patent holders to claim sweeping ownership of seemingly unrelated products built by others. Often, companies are sued for violating patents they never knew existed or never dreamed might apply to their creations, at a cost shouldered by consumers in the form of higher prices and fewer choices.” — Michael

Image: Partial screenshot, Fighters in a Patent War, by the New York Times.