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Copyright News Round Up

Copyright News Round Up by Copyright Alliance

October 27, 2017

Week of October 27, 2017

Stay informed about all things Copyright with our weekly Copyright News Round Up.
 
Friday’s Endnotes – 10/27/17 
Copyhype | Music Creators See Big Tech Earning Billions While ‘Strip-Mining Artists’ Work’: Guest Op-Ed — Musician and president of the Content Creators Coalition Melvin Gibbs writes, “The tech platforms wrap themselves in claims about free speech or internet censorship, but in the end they oppose measures to reduce pirated music and other creative works because that would hurt their bottom line.”
 
Land Ahoy! Does Blackbeard Signal the End of State Immunity for Copyright Infringement? 
Copyright Alliance | Although the age of actual pirates is long gone, a case involving Blackbeard highlights copyright infringement by states, acting with apparent impunity, and the harmful impact it can have on the creative community.
 
Is a Tech Company Really Claiming Ownership of Marvel Characters? 
The Illusion of More | You may have read recently that some of the major studios, most prominently Disney, are alleged to have infringed the patent rights in a certain motion-capture system used to make blockbuster films like the multi-billion-dollar Marvel movies.  Further, an article like this one in Hollywood Reporter by Eriq Gardner might give a reader the impression that a) the patent infringement allegations are indisputable; and b) that the plaintiff in this case Rearden LLC is claiming to “own” some of the famous CG characters featured in these movies. So what gives?
 
YouTubers losing viewers. What gives? 
The Illusion of More | For years, “old model” artists have been told to quit whining.  Every time some well-known and well-established creator has spoken out about the issue of mass copyright infringement online, or the hazards that monopsonies like YouTube pose for all creators, the response from the “new model” gurus has always been nauseatingly repetitive.  These legacy artists should stop clinging to old models; they should get with the program, stop thinking about selling their works and protecting their copyrights because the internet has rendered such notions obsolete.  Plus, if creators would just wake up to the new realities, they would see a whole world of opportunity to make a living from their work without the evil gatekeepers. 
 
Netflix in Canada: Let No Good Deed Go Unpunished 
Hugh Stephens Blog | Let’s say you are Netflix and you have been very successful in promoting your content subscription service, and have succeeded in signing up roughly half the households of a given country. And let’s say that this country is concerned about preserving its means of cultural expression in an audio-visual world largely dominated by major US producers of content. In pursuit of this goal, this country has for years maintained a variety of policies designed to tilt the playing field in favour of its domestic content producers (with limited success, I might add.) One of these policies is the creation of a domestic content production fund into which broadcasters and content distributors (but not online distributors) must pay a percentage of revenues. And let’s say that a number of stakeholders in this country, from the direct competition to domestic producers of content who are subsidized by the content production fund want you, Netflix, to be required to contribute to the fund in order to expand it so as to make yet more domestic content. That’s not all. As an entity outside Canada selling a digital product, you are not required by law to collect sales taxes on your Canadian subscriptions but you are nonetheless being accused by your Canadian competitors of having an unfair advantage. If you can absorb all that, then you will have some idea of the issues that Netflix is grappling with in Canada. It’s a minefield–with many people laying mines. 

We Wrote This to Help the Electronic Frontier Foundation Understand the “Kodi Box” Issue – As A Public Service 
CreativeFuture | We have a long and frustrating history on piracy and other copyright matters with the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). We’ve said it before – EFF sometimes does good work. That’s what makes their predictable intransigence about piracy so incredibly frustrating and tiresome. 

Sucking Faster: Is the Tech Backlash Happening or Not? 
The Illusion of More | At the launch of this blog in the Summer of 2012, in the intro to a podcast interview with journalist Christopher Dickey, I cited a print ad from the 1990s for a video post-production facility. In the center of the ad was an old vacuum cleaner, and the headline read:  Without the right talent, high technology just helps bad creative suck faster.  It was a damn good ad that continues to resonate with me in considering the many challenges imposed by the effects of the digital age.  Especially its effects on democratic principles. 

CASE In Fact: Small-Claims Copyright Court Conundrums (Part II) 
Above the Law | Last week, we established the landscape into which the government has now waded with the introduction of the CASE Act. This bit of proposed legislation would amend the Copyright Act to establish the Copyright Claims Board (CCB), which would hear and decide smaller-scale copyright disputes. The proceedings, which will carry damages caps, are intended to provide copyright holders with a lower-cost alternative to lengthy federal court litigation.

American Continental Group
Content & Technology Policy Report | September 28, 2017

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