Tag Archives: intellectual property

Hollywood-friendly copyright bill passes House of Representatives

Source: The Verge

"The House of Representatives has passed a bill that would make the Register of Copyright a presidentially appointed position, instead of a part of the Library of Congress. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), will now move to the Senate, where it’s being put forward by Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND). As we’ve written previously, this bill would grant the US Copyright Office more agency in advocating for specific copyright policy — something that’s previously led to conflict between the office and the Library of Congress. Goodlatte and other supporters of the bill describe it as a way to make the Register of Copyright democratically accountable, since they would be confirmed by the Senate rather than chosen by the Librarian of Congress. But it would also open it up to greater influence from lobbyists, particularly from groups that stand to benefit from harsher copyright rules — like the MPAA, which has praised the bill’s passage." [editor's note: Copyright is like a dinosaur that's dead but still flopping around and smashing stuff with its tail because the nerve signal telling it to lie still and decompose hasn't reached its brain yet – TLK] (04/27/17)


Another lawsuit tries to force an ISP into being a copyright cop

Source: Electronic Frontier Foundation
by Mitch Stoltz

"Major record labels are once again trying to force an Internet service provider into enforcing their copyrights by cutting off customers from the Internet over copyright accusations. The lawsuit they filed against Texas broadband provider Grande Communications suffers from many of the same due process problems as the BMG Music Publishing v. Cox Communications case, which is on appeal. The issue in both cases is whether and when a home broadband provider should cut off a customer’s Internet service when someone using that service is accused of copyright infringement. The legal hook for this controversy is the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, Section 512, which protects ISPs and other Internet intermediaries against the risk of massive copyright penalties stemming from a customer’s copyright infringement. But to get the protection of Section 512, an ISP has to terminate 'subscribers and account holders … who are repeat infringers' in 'appropriate circumstances.'" (04/26/17)


Appeals court: Uber engineer can't get help from the 5th Amendment

Source: Ars Technica

"Anthony Levandowski, the embattled Uber engineer who has been accused of illegally downloading thousands of documents while he worked at Google, won't be able to stop Uber from handing over documents by pleading the Fifth Amendment. That's the decision of the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, published today. Levandowski filed an emergency motion with the appeals court, seeking to overturn the decision. The decision was made by US District Judge William Alsup, who had told Levandowski he would need to hand over an unredacted privilege log. … Levandowski's lawyers had made a novel legal argument in the lower court. It wasn't just that their client wouldn't hand over certain documents: his lawyers argued that Waymo — Alphabet's self-driving car division — shouldn't even be entitled to see the names of documents they were withholding, which is what's contained in the privilege log. According to Levandowski's lawyers, revealing the name of a third-party firm that created a report about his startup company — a company that was later purchased by Uber for $680 million — would create a path for prosecutors to follow in the event of criminal prosecution." (04/26/17)


The fraud of intellectual property

Source: Bitcoin.com
by Wendy McElroy

"The trend toward IP will accelerate as the blockchain and digital currencies go mainstream. In fact, blockchain tech is already being used to register digital copyrights in a way that is both immutable and timestamped. It is called 'the poor man’s copyright' because registration is often free. And it cements together the concepts of Bitcoin and IP. But can someone actually own an idea? This is not asked as a legal question but as a practical one. The law can grant artificial property rights in anything to anyone, including the 'ownership' of another person. Such a law does not make slavery proper or logical, however. IP is a contradiction in terms and an artificial construct that blocks human progress. IP would obstruct the development of Bitcoin and similar technology while sharply diminishing its value to individual freedom." (04/23/17)


Copyright law sucks — authors can be compensated without it!

Source: Center for a Stateless Society
by Vishal Wilde

"Intellectual property 'rights' trace their origins back to copyright in literature, from which they have since expanded. With this in mind, it is fruitful to examine how authors can be compensated in the absence of copyright. Essentially, proponents of copyright in literature argue that they see no other way of compensating authors for their work. Indeed, many libertarians believe that intellectual property on the whole is harmful but make an exception for literature. If one can undermine the arguments in favour of copyright, then one casts doubt on the necessity of other forms of intellectual property. But before we look at how authors can be compensated without copyright laws, let us remind ourselves of how consumers would benefit in such a world." (04/05/17)


Patents are a big part of why we can't own nice things: The Supreme Court should fix that

Source: Electronic Frontier Foundation
by Kerry Sheehan

When you buy something physical — a toaster, a book, or a printer, for examp — you expect to be free to use it as you see fit: to adapt it to suit your needs, fix it when it breaks, re-use it, lend it, sell it, or give it away when you're done with it. Your freedom to do those things is a necessary aspect of your ownership of those objects. If you can't do them, because the seller or manufacturer has imposed restrictions or limitations on your use of the product, then you don't really own them. Traditionally, the law safeguards these freedoms by discouraging sellers from imposing certain conditions or restrictions on the sale of goods and property, and limiting the circumstances in which those restrictions may be imposed by contract. But some companies are relentless in their quest to circumvent and undermine these protections." (03/21/17)


Craig Wright wants to kill Satoshi by becoming him … again. Why? And how?

Source: Bitcoin.com
by Wendy McElroy

"The Australian computer scientist Craig Wright, who once claimed to be Satoshi Nakamoto, is continuing his effort to obtain hundreds of digital currency and blockchain patents. Why: For profit. How: By some 400 patent applications on Bitcoin and blockchain-related technology. A recent Reuters report (March 2, 2017) referred to the onslaught as an unprecedented 'land grab for intellectual property.' It is also a desecration of the gift Bitcoin's creator Satoshi Nakamoto gave to average people — economic autonomy. It is a slap at Satoshi and at his open-source masterpiece which was intended to be a weapon of independence against the very institutions to which Wright kowtows. The insult is worsened by Wright's claim to be Satoshi." (03/09/17)


Copyright law versus Internet culture

Source: Electronic Frontier Foundation
by Kit Walsh

"Fair use, unfortunately, places the burden of justifying speech on the speaker, rather than presuming speech to be permissible unless proven otherwise by the would-be censor. This is one of many reasons that copyright is an aberration in the realm of speech regulation. Copyright is also unusual in that a rightsholder can sue for extraordinary damages even if they have not suffered any actual harm from your activities. When the law assigns some people the power to control what stories others tell, it distorts culture." (02/24/17)


What do you own

Source: A Geek With Guns
by Christopher Burg

"I've annoyed many electrons criticizing the concept of intellectual property. The idea that somebody has a government granted monopoly on something simply because they were the first to receive a patent is absurd in my opinion. But we live with much more absurd ideas today. Due to the way software copyright and patent laws work, if a company loads software onto a device they can effectively prevent anybody from owning it. At most a buyer can acquire a limited use license for those devices. Combining software copyright and patent laws with the Internet of Things (IoT) just amplifies this. Now there are a bunch of devices on the market that rely on continuous Internet access to the manufacturers' servers. If the manufacture decides to drop support for the product it stops working. This wouldn't be as big of an issue if laws such as the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) didn't make it illegal for you to hack the device and load your own software onto it that allowed it to continue working." (02/22/17)


Thumbs up to DRM: The free market IP solution

Source: The Anarchist Shemale
by Aria DiMezzo

"[I]n this World Without IP, DRM still wouldn't be enough, because the pirates would be more active than ever. Not only would they finally be allowed to work publicly and openly without fear of being kidnapped by armed thugs, but they could actually make money doing it. … Since DRM wouldn't be enough, the onus would again fall to the creators to provide incentives for people to purchase their games, rather than just throwing a bit of small change at piracy groups and playing the games at substantially reduced costs." (02/22/17)