Good news for artists as support for copyright smalls claims process grows

White Paper on Copyright

Commerce Department white paper supports creation of copyright small claims process

Today the Department of Commerce Internet Policy Task Force (which includes the USPTO)  released its long anticipated white paper on “Remixes, First Sale, and Statutory Damages–Copyright Policy, Creativity, and Innovation in the Digital Economy.”  Among its findings  is support for a copyright small claims process to adjudicate infringement claimsThe Copyright Alliance issued a press release summarizing the report: Continue reading →

Ruth Vitale – Without copyright…we cannot be creative and innovative.

Creative Future An interview worth listening to: Ruth Vitale, CEO of Creative Future, talked about technology and innovation in the film industry during a recent radio interview with journalist John Hockenberry for the public radio morning show The Takeaway on WNYC and PRI.  Creative Future promotes the value of creativity in today’s digital age and during the interview Vitale explains the ties that bind […] Continue reading →

Piracy apologists’ convenient lie (of omission) that Hollywood profits means piracy doesn’t matter

Piracy does damage the film industry

Yes Virginia, piracy damages both the film industry and its audience

It’s that time of year again, when the piracy apologists pull out their annual canard that Hollywood’s profits provide proof that online piracy doesn’t hurt the film industry. The fact is piracy leads to fewer films being made, fewer people being employed in the film industry, and fewer options for audiences at the movie theaters. Piracy comes with a price — and we all pay. Continue reading →

Will DMCA ‘safe harbor’ loophole finally get fixed?

Ellen Seidler's view of the DMCA and its effectiveness in protecting content creators from copyright infringement and piracy.

U.S. Copyright Office announces study on impact and effectiveness of the DMCA safe harbor provisions

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s (DMCA) “safe harbor” provision has long been a source of frustration for creators.  For years it’s allowed 3rd parties who enable, and often profit from piracy, to avoid legal liability for infringement.  Momentum to tighten eligibility standards to qualify for safe harbor protection has been growing of late, both in courts and at the U.S. Copyright Office. Continue reading →

Is pirating a movie worth the malware risk? Most say “No.”

Malware risk of piracy websites The threat of malware could turn people away from piracy Last week the Digital Citizens Alliance (DCA)* released a study that found websites offering free, pirated content were rife with malware.  According to the report, 33% of content theft sites exposed users to malware.  Every month 12 million U.S. visitors to these sites open themselves up to the theft […] Continue reading →

Newhoff responds to Pirate Bay founder Peter Sunde

The Pirate Bay

The Illusion of More’s David Newhoff takes Pirate Bay founder Peter Sunde to task

If you haven’t had the opportunity to read David Newhoff’s thoughts regarding Pirate Bay founder Peter Sunde’s recent interview published on Motherboard please take the time to do so.   It’s truly a must read. Sunde spent a brief time in prison in 2014 for his role in operating the notorious torrent site whose popularity spawned clones around the globe and gave rise to the  well-entrenched meme that piracy was somehow morally and politically justifiable. Continue reading →

Downloading free stuff online comes with a cost – Malware

Content theft sites and malware

Cybercriminals exploit pirates sites to spread malware & steal personal data

Piracy website operators have  always been incentivized by the desire to make a buck, but with online advertisers and payment processors continuing to cut ties, thieves are finding other ways to make money off their content theft. The lure of “free” movies still attracts visitors like moths to a flame, but now, instead of being blanketed with ads served by Google, according to a new study, consumers who use pirate sites risk having their computers infected with nefarious malware. Continue reading →

Copyright Au Courant – Piracy, Popcorn Time and Privacy

Piracy Time Lots of news in the copyright, piracy and privacy world of late.  Here’s some worth a look: First up, this thoughtful piece by Nelson Granados on “How Piracy Is Still Hurting The Filmmakers And Artists You Admire.”  Granados takes direct aim at the fallacy that piracy doesn’t cause damage to Hollywood studios.
“Many think naively that studios cannot be hurt too much, because after all, you hear mostly about the movies that make hundreds of millions of dollars. But the reality for many filmmakers is that they often live on the edge, seeking financing to produce quality content, and enduring high uncertainty about whether they will be able to pay off debt and have any profit left. Given the high fixed cost of producing a quality movie, losses from piracy can be the difference between making a profit or not.”
He notes that a number of “peer-reviewed” studies quantify this damage.  Bottom line, like any industry, Hollywood depends on making a return on its investment in order to stay alive.  No matter what piracy apologists allege, that’s a basic economic fact.  Granados also touches on the particular vulnerability faced by independent filmmakers.
Most artists struggle to make ends meet as they pursue their creative work with passion and dedication. Piracy may be tipping the next Quentin Tarantino over the financial edge into bankruptcy, and we will all lose.

As I’ve often said, we (consumers) won’t be aware of what we are missing if it isn’t made.  Piracy’s damage can be insidious and, to the public, somewhat invisible, but ultimately it diminishes the quantity (and quality) of film offerings we have to choose from. Continue reading →

YouTube’s DMCA decision and the campaign to morph victims into villains

YouTube will pay copyright court costs for a few users–not because it’s right–but to protect Google’s bottom line

According to a story in today’s NY Times, the folks at YouTube are ready to pony up cash to support some of its users “fair use” claims in court.
“YouTube said on Thursday that it would pick up the legal costs of a handful of video creators that the company thinks are the targets of unfair takedown demands. It said the creators it chose legally use third-party content under “fair use” provisions carved out for commentary, criticism, news and parody.”

You’ve probably read a lot about “fair use” lately.  It’s the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s mantra and if the folks there had their way, pretty much everything and anything would be considered “fair use.”  Fair use an important legal doctrine and when applied properly (criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, or research) is not an infringement of copyright.  However, these days, too often is used as a disingenuous defense for copyright theft.

The tech-funded campaign to turn villains into victims

When a court recently ruled that a snippet of a Prince song was indeed “fair use” in the notorious Dancing Baby case it gave a boost to efforts to use fair use as a cudgel against rights holders who legitimately assert their rights using the DMCA takedown process. Note that the actual video at the center of this case was reposted after the uploader sent a counter-notice. The only reason the case ended up in court was because the uploader, Stephanie Lenz, filed suit and the only reason she did so was because she was bankrolled by the EFF.  The EFF saw it as an opportunity to advance its Google-funded agenda. Continue reading →

Google’s continued do-si-do around its piracy pledge

Google pretends to fight piracy

Google continues to dodge responsibility for its role in promoting online piracy

This past week members of the House Judiciary Committee traveled to California to hold a pair of roundtable discussions on the future of copyright.  On Tuesday committee members were in Santa Clara, the heart of Silicon Valley, and on Wednesday traveled to Los Angeles to hear from a variety of stakeholders discussing everything from overhauling an out-dated U.S. Copyright Office to DMCA circumvention for tractor repairs.
Though I wasn’t at the LA event, I read with great interest a report in Variety by Ted Johnson that documented an exchange between Google’s legal director for copyright, Fred von Lohmann and Richard Gladstein, founder of Film Colony…von Lohmann’s posturing on Google’s piracy problem is nothing new, but it is worth pointing out how his statements are carefully crafted to dovetail with Google’s own (vague) propagandistic promises. Continue reading →

Will Buckley works to unite artists and fix a broken DMCA

Stop Piracy

A conversation with Will Buckley about artists' rights and efforts to update the DMCA

Will Buckley, is the founder of Fare Play a non-profit educational organization supporting the rights of individuals to control the digital distribution and sale of their copyrighted work.  He’s spent the past five years working to bring creators together and inspire them “to become evangelists for their lives and careers.”  

Continue reading →