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Against Monopoly

defending the right to innovate

IP Outrages

Monopoly corrupts. Absolute monopoly corrupts absolutely.





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Yeesh

Rationalization knows no bounds. Instead of IP law, how about anti-IP law where we can sue people for being jerks?

Despite What So-Called Legal Experts Tell You, Copyright Protects IDEAS As Well As Expression

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:

http://www.courthousenews.com/2011/07/21/LaChapelle%20Rihanna%20lawsuit%207-21.pdf

Outrage Quickly Spreads After Photographer's Copyright Gambit Involving Murdered Girl

Via The Arizona Republic / Tucson Citizen (with selected bold emphasis added):

A Tucson portrait photographer whose image of 9-year-old Christina-Taylor Green was shared with media outlets by her family after she was killed is seeking compensation from numerous media companies, including The Arizona Republic and TucsonCitizen.com, and has threatened to sue if he is not paid.

Photographer Jon Wolf owns the photo's copyright and told the Green family that he intended to donate a portion of his earnings to a charity that helps grieving children and their families. However, Tucson charity Tu Nidito has since declined any funds he might receive. The Greens say they are infuriated by Wolf's actions. A public Facebook movement to boycott Wolf's business is circulating.

Gannett Co., Inc., parent corporation of The Arizona Republic and more than 140 other media entities including 12 News and USA Today, "respects intellectual property" and is willing to pay a standard licensing fee, said Barbara Wall, Gannett's vice president/senior counsel, but the sum will be far shy of the $125,000 Wolf has specified.

...

Wolf's request included a release form signed by both of Christina-Taylor's parents during the three-day period after their daughter's death, acknowledging Wolf as the copyright holder and freeing him to pursue damages.

A representative for John and Roxanna Green has said that, at the time, the Greens didn't fully comprehend Wolf's intentions.

"It's not right," John Green said. "People are angry at him, and they should be."

Read further details of this sordid tale here:

http://tucsoncitizen.com/arizona-news/2011/02/18/tucson-photographer-jon-wolf-seeks-fees-for-image-of-christina-taylor-green/

See the Facebook boycott page continue to grow here:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Boycott-Jon-Wolf-Photography-for-suing-over-Christina-Greens-photo/145558518837516?ref=ts&sk=wall

Under Attack

The problem with monopolists is that they never rest. Just because an industry is working well, highly innovative and very profitable does not prevent the greedy from trying to garner monopoly under the guise of "fairness." Now the fashion industry is under attack...there is a nice article by Ed Lopez in the Freeman on the subject.

Volok.com's David Post Comes Out Swinging Against Domain Name Seizures By The U.S. Government Over File Sharing Concerns

A sample of his thoughts:

It's an outrage. To begin with, there's the bizarre spectacle of the Department of Homeland Security - which, last I looked, had some important issues before it that actually relate to "homeland security" expending time and resources to protect purely private interests (of. e.g., the Louis Vuitton handbag manufacturers and Warner Brothers' Records). And the operation perfectly illustrates the objections we raised in the COICA Letter: 80 websites many of them operating overseas have now been prevented from speaking to US citizens even though the website operators, whose domains were seized, had no notice or opportunity to respond to the charges against them (and to argue, for instance, that they are NOT infringing copyrights or trademarks), no adversary hearing, and certainly no adjudication before a neutral, that anything unlawful is going on at these sites, only an affidavit to that effect submitted by the ICE.

Read the whole thing here:

http://volokh.com/2010/12/01/copyright-enforcement-tail-wags-internet-dog-contd-or-what-the-hell-ever-happened-to-due-process/

UPDATE - Some potential pushback worth noting here:

http://torrentfreak.com/bittorrent-based-dns-to-counter-us-domain-seizures-101130/

Film Studio Argues That Filming The Making of a Film Violates Copyright

Read all about it:

http://www.slashfilm.com/2010/05/16/paramount-thinks-that-filming-transformers-3-being-filmed-violates-copyright/

ACTA Treaty Draft Text Released

And, in the words of Groundhog Day's Ned Ryerson, "It's a doosy".

As noted previously (see Stop the ACTA (Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement)), this treaty was being negotiated in secret and is an attempt to extend the reach of the west's horrible and draconian IP (patent and copyright) regimes to other countries. As I noted, the

ACTA is also similar to another arcane law, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), which, under the guise of protecting "property rights," snuck in provisions that criminalize even the mere possession of technology that can be used to circumvent digital protection systems (see, e.g., my post TI Uses Copyright Law to Attack TI Calculator Enthusiasts). Likewise, under the guise or protecting property rights in inventions and artistic works (patent and copyright), it "seeks to provide legal authority for the surveillance of Internet file transfers and searches of personal property". As one group notes, "ACTA goes way, way beyond the TRIPS (the copyright/patent/trademark stuff in the World Trade Organization agreement), creating an entirely new realm of liability for people who provide services on the net". More invasion of personal liberty and property rights in the name of false, artificial property rights.

The draft text has now been released, under pressure from the European Parliament (see Declan McCullagh's post, ACTA treaty aims to deputize ISPs on copyrights; see aslo Michael Geist's analysis of the draft text). As I suspected, the text (available here) reveals, as McCullagh notes, that ACTA "seek[s] to export controversial chunks of U.S. copyright law to the rest of the world," such as the DMCA's "'anti-circumvention' section, which makes it illegal to bypass copy protection even to back up a Blu-Ray disc" (see, e.g., my post TI Uses Copyright Law to Attack TI Calculator Enthusiasts). This is a horrible US law that was snuck in the DMCA that may now become part of other countries' laws. It prohibits not only copyright infringement but also makes it illegal to sell devices that could be used to circumvent encryption of DRM'd information.

Now, the DMCA also contained a "safe harbor" for ISPs that probably would not pass now (since it gave ISPs an exemption for liability that turned out to be broader than initially realized when the DMCA was enacted in the 1990s). I was concerned that ACTA would contain the anti-circumvention provisions but not the ISP safe-harbor rules--but some version of this does, at least, seem to be contemplated in the ACTA text (see pp. 20-21).

In any case, this horrible treaty needs to be stopped.

ACTA is upon us

Links and analysis at Ars Technica.

YouTube Removes Hundreds of Hitler "Parody" Videos

For those of you who would argue that copyright doesn't need major reform because it already provides for exceptions such as "parody", here is an example to demonstrate how hollow such arguments can be in terms of how the law actually operates on a practical level for everyday users:

http://www.vanityfair.com/online/daily/2010/04/youtube-removes-hundreds-of-those-hitler-is-speaking-german-parody-videos.html

http://techcrunch.com/2010/04/19/hitler-parody-takedown/

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/8617454.stm

Outrageous Treaty Nonsense, or The Copyright Tail Wagging the Internet Dog

David Post over at Volokh.com lends his (blogging) voice against the international cabal (and I don't feel that such a phrase is hyperbole in this instance) that is trying to foist a stricter copyright regime throughout the world via the ACTA treaty.

Read it here:

http://volokh.com/2010/03/26/outrageous-treaty-nonsense-or-the-copyright-tail-wagging-the-internet-dog/

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