Tags: new zealand
New Zealand Prime Minister John Key today announced that Section 92A of the Copyright Amendment Act (also known as teh Guilt upon accusation law) has been delayed to 27th March. The law would force ISPs to cut the Internet connection of anybody accused of copyright infringment. Neither court approval nor proper evidence in support of the infringement claims are needed. The law was initially intended to take effect on 28th February.
via Peeter Marvet
This comic is intended to be stolen. Since it has a very good point I went ahead and nicked it.
If you are reading this blog post, you probably possess a computer with a hard drive. There are, of course, also other ways to connect to the Internet but most of us still use a regular computer. Did you know that your computer is a device which is typically intended for recording copyrighted films and you should accordingly pay the copyright owners for the privilege of having a computer?
That seems to be the reasoning behind a ruling of the German patent officials. The story, as reported by Golem.de (via Farliblog) has it that computer manufacturers should retroactively as from 2002 pay a compensation of 15 € for each computer with a hard drive they sold.
I for one have had about half a dozen computers since 2002 but I have never used any of them as a substitute of a DVD recorder. There are typically other purposes I use my computers for. Or as Farlion puts it, you could just as well argue that the most logical purpose of a piece of paper would be writing down the contents of copyrighted books.
Tags: trade marks
The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that copyrighting a logo does not bring exclusive right for distributing a product wrapped in a package with the copyrighted logo. Food giant Kraft Canada Inc. tried to stop Euro-Excellence Inc. from distributing Toblerone and Côte d’Or chocolates after their contract ended, claiming infringement of copyright, the CBC reports.
The Retail Council of Canada, an industry lobby group, welcomed Thursday’s ruling, saying it ensures competitive prices.
“Today’s ruling vindicates our belief in free trade and competitive international markets,” Diane Brisebois, president and CEO of the council, said in a news release.
A sweet ruling indeed.
According to Dagens Nyheter, the Swedish Ministry of Justice on Monday released a legislative proposal which would allow copyright holders to seek information on IP addresses they suspect having violated their copyrights. The information would be granted by a court of law in a civil procedure, i.e. without involvement of the police or other law enforcing officials. The paper quotes Minister of Justice Beatrice Ask as saying that the police have more urgent things to do and she would prefer that the copyright holders defended their interests independently.
Many Swedish blogs are less than enthusiastic. Beta Alfa points out that the proposal would in practical terms grant law enforcing powers to copyright lobbyists. The blog goes on to say that private persons would have little or no chance to defend themselves in court against corporative copyright holders.
Saftblandaren notes that evaluation of evidence in copyright cases has not been quite objective during the present legislation that requires the police to be involved. The blog is concerned that many innocent people could fasten in the invisible surveillance webs if interested parties are granted the right to say what sort of Internet behavior is suspectable and the courts do not necessarily have sufficient technical qualifications to objectively evaluate the evidence presented to them.
I wrote last year about an inquiry by the Swedish chief justice ombudsman which concluded that courts had widely spread practices of granting old fashioned telephone surveillance warrants without the suspects being specified by the police. The new proposal raises concerns that courts may not have the competence of evaluating the probable cause of releasing IP information if they are unable to even fulfill the technically much more specific statutes in the existing legislation. This proposal risks to grant copyright lobbying organizations access to personal information irrelevant to defending their interests.
The Swedish Ministry of Justice is going to collect public statements on the proposal from interested parties. The proposed legislation is intended to take effect on 1st July 2008.
Michael Heinemann bought a legal DVD copy of a movie he liked. He liked it enough to pay for the DVD rather than download a pirate copy. He voted for the movie with his wallet.
Did the movie industry thank him for the purchase? No, they are making him watch an anti piracy ad, an extremely annoying one, each time he wants to watch the best movie he knows. That, dear copyright proponents, is a very counterproductive message.
Thomas posted this image to be used free of charge by anybody who could need a picture of a bread roll for their blog. The background is that a blogger was sued for 6.000 € for an alleged copyright infringement. A photo of a bread roll in the blog was apparently copied from a recipe web site which seems to evaluate their home made photos higher than their recipes.
If you ask me, 6000 € is a lot of money, both for a bread roll and for illegal use of a photo.
The Japan Society for Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers wants Youtube to check all uploaded videos for possible copyright infingements before they go on line. According to the BBC, the copyright lobby wrote to Youtube:
The current system “is not functioning well due to the [continued] large volume of illegal uploads”.
I wonder if the Japanese censorship advocats have really thought about what this would mean in practical terms. It would probably take weeks before any uploaded video, copyrighted or not, would appear on the site. And this would still not stop anybody from posting copyrighted material. They would just post it elsewhere as Youtube would be blocked.
However, the practical issue is not what worries me most. The freedom of speech in a democratic society explicitly excludes censorship before publishing. If a publication (no matter if it is in text, image, audio or video) violates a third party’s rights, there are legal checks and balances to address the issue.
The key question here is why the interests of the music industry should enjoy such a heavy protection that it would even outweigh freedom of speech. Why indeed?
BBspot writes (via minut.ee) that MPAA is lobbying the US Congress for a legislation that would outlaw home theater facilities if a registration fee of 50 $ has not been paid to MPAA. Unauthorized theaters would have to pay a fine of 500.000 $ for each film shown. BBspot quotes chief lobbyist Dan Glickman as saying:
Just because you buy a DVD to watch at home doesn’t give you the right to invite friends over to watch it too. That’s a violation of copyright and denies us the revenue that would be generated from DVD sales to your friends.
There is also a definition of a home theatre:
The MPAA defines a home theater as any home with a television larger than 29″ with stereo sound and at least two comfortable chairs, couch, or futon.
While the article does not say what level of comfort a chair, couch or futon would have to fulfil to be regarded as comfortable, all of this sounds just so crazy that it could very well be true. It is almost too crazy to be bogus. However, a disclaimer on the site advices otherwise:
BBspot produces a variety of features like fake news stories satirizing the tech and political worlds, the BBspot Mailbag which pokes fun at the Believers (people who believe our fake news) and much more.
I would nevetheless be careful with providing copyright organisations with this sort of crazy ideas. The sense of humor most of them have demonstrated so far suggests that there is not an idea too goofy to be used as an excuse to make you and me pay them. You just spell it out as a joke and they take it as a serious lobbying argument.
The next thing we know, we just might be demanded to pay for appearing in public unless we do so completely naked. Exposing our clothes in public would no doubt infringe the copyright of a cloth designer.