PK, the Silicon Flatirons, and the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation (ITIF) are hosting a discussion on FCC Reform, entitled: An FCC for the Internet Age: Reform and Standard-Setting. You can watch it right now:
Yesterday, the MPAA and RIAA made a giant political misstep by refusing to participate in a debate about three strikes. In doing so, they exposed the public and a number of US policy makers to policy that would strip Internet subscribers of their constitutional due process rights.
Every three years, the Copyright Office holds hearings to listen to commenters suggestions for exemptions to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s prohibition on circumvention of access controls. We’ve previouslywritten about the handful of exemptions that the Office has granted (which expire and must be renewed every three years). This year, we’re on the ground and live-twittering what’s going on. Today, Mehan is manning the Public Knowledge twitter account picking out a number of choice quotes and responding to questions.
The article gives the reader an amazingly thorough understanding of copyright damages (primarily statutory, but there's lots of background on actual damages, too) under US law as it's evolved. All of that provides a context for the authors' case for how to reform statutory damages, as the "regime has evolved in a manner that results in too many arbitrary, inconsistent, unprincipled, and grossly excessive awards and that reform is needed." Samuelson and Wheatland provide ways to refocus the purported legislative goals of statutory damages of "compensation, deterrence, and punishment" so that statutory damages are realigned with principles of due process.
The article makes a number of suggestions for how to address the problem, including principles to guide courts' interpretation of the statute and what Congress could do to make the code clearer. The article, too, questions whether statutory damages even serve a useful purpose under copyright law, and whether they should be limited to owners who have registered claims.
Statutory damages are a very important facet of the current copyright debates, and are likely to be in the spotlight during this 111th session of Congress. This article will provide its readers an amazing depth of understanding of how we got here and useful guidance on how to address some of the problems. Kudos to its authors.
Maybe we don't say it enough: "There's nothing wrong with making money from creativity!" That's arguably what at least part of copyright is about. But the studios keep arguing to law and policy makers that their lost control over their content equals lost revenue. Thus, they need
After our Action Alert this morning, we are still on red alert at PK. Thank you for your efforts to fax to and call Congress. It looks like the proposed amendment did not slip into the stimulus bill but the bill now goes to the closed-door conference process. Here's an attempt to get you up to speed.
We just sent out an Action Alert to let you know about a proposed amendment to the stimulus package. This amendment, put forth by Sen. Feinstein, would allow ISPs to "deter" child pornography and copyright infringement through network management techniques. The amendment is very, very controversial for a couple of reasons:
Infringement can’t be found through “network management” techniques. There are legal uses for copyrighted works even without permission of the owner.
It would require Internet companies to examine every bit of information everyone puts on the Web in order to find those allegedly infringing works, without a hint of probable cause.
It's gotten so easy to rent movies on the ?tv that my wife had actually rented one, 27 Dresses, three times. Yes, the money we've spent to rent this particular movie has added up to more than the cost of owning the video. No, I'm not bitter about it or anything. Earlier this week, I was helping her put some movies on the ole' iPod so she could have some in-flight entertainment for a work trip. Of course, she wanted to have 27 Dresses again, so I said, "Can we please buy this movie once and for all?!"
Unfortunately, when I went to the iTunes Store, the movie was no where to be found--for rent or purchase. I wondered if anyone else had experienced this. I swore we rented it from iTunes, and verified it in my purchase history. The closest I could get to the movie was its soundtrack, it didn't appear to be available on the other movie download services either.
This past weekend, the House and Senate approved an amended version of the Intellectual Property (IP) enforcement bill, now called the PRO-IP bill. As you'll recall, we at Public Knowledge have voiced our opposition to this bill numerous times in the past and have even called upon you to make your voice heard. We may not have been able to stop the PRO-IP bill from passing but with the help of our friends we were able to shore up the support of 41 Representatives who voted "no" on the bill. Now, it's time to thank those brave 41 Representatives, for standing up to the entertainment industry in an election year and fighting the good fight.
With the help of your calls, the bill was amended and was stripped of some of the most troubling provisions seen in previous versions, including one that would grant the Attorney General the power to bring civil lawsuits against alleged infringers on behalf of copyright holders. However, PRO-IP still increases forfeiture penalties for copyright infringement and media bootlegging, meaning that any number of multipurpose devices—even those not owned by the infringer and those not directly tied to the offense—could get caught up in the net of forfeiture penalties.
Congress may have passed PRO-IP thanks to overwhelming support from the movie and music industries but that doesn't mean that everyone supports the entertainment industry's agenda. 41 Congressmen and Congresswomen chose to stand apart from the pack on Sunday, voting against PRO-IP despite Hollywood's intense lobbying efforts. Please join us in thanking these 41 Representatives for standing strong on the issue of Intellectual Property enforcement and for working to protect the rights of users.
We want to make sure each of the 41 knows our appreciation. Please follow these quick steps to express your thanks:
Use Facebook? 16 of these 41 members do too!. Even if they’re not your member, click “Become a Supporter” on their Facebook page or add them as a friend, then leave a message on their wall thanking them for opposing the PRO-IP bill. Here's a sample message: “Thank you for opposing S. 3325, the PRO-IP bill and standing up to Hollywood.”
Use Twitter? Two of these 41 members do too! Even if they’re not your member, leave them a tweet thanking them for opposing the PRO-IP bill using this sample message: “Thank you for opposing S. 3325, the #PRO-IP bill and standing up to Hollywood”
Last week, the Senate Judiciary Committee gave the green light to S. 3325, the Enforcement of Intellectual Property Act of 2008. We need you to show them the red light, NOW! This intellectual property enforcement bill lets the DOJ enforce civil copyright claims and lets the government do the MPAA and RIAA’s intellectual property rights enforcement work for them--at tax payers’ expense.
(We're using the awesome Cause Caller for this alert, so be ready to speak to a number of different Senate offices, rapid-fire style! We've picked Senators who may be like-minded in opposing this bill. Of course, feel free to call your own Senators.)
Here at PK, we've been keeping our heads down the past few days, trying to fight against some really bad legislation. Once we finally get word of one, another one popped up. There are three in all (so far)are four (another was introduced during the writing of this post!!!) and we're going to need your help to put them away.
S. 3325, The Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights Act of 2008
A few weeks ago, Google organized and launched the Free the Airwaves campaign. PK, the other members of the Public Interest Spectrum Coalition, along with the Wireless Innovation Alliance are all in support of the campaign to get-out-the-word about the benefits of whitespaces and to get techies like you more involved in the effort.
Visual artists say they have a problem, that no one can find their work, or at least match them as the owner of their work. We’ve said it time and again, the Copyright Registry fails visual artists, because images are not part of the online registry—so users can’t search by image, or even see a sample image of the work they’re looking for.
We’ve promoted the idea of visual registries, to help owners upload digital images to a site like Flickr so that services like TinEye.com can index them and return meaningful comparative search results for users. Among the push-back we’ve had from the visual artists community with this idea, besides the cost and time issues of digitizing and uploading, is from the physical visual artists — like sculptors. Even though I believe that simply taking a few photos of the work would suffice to help users find the original owner, it hasn’t satisfied some.
On August 1, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) ruled that Comcast’s interference with its customers Internet traffic violated the Commission’s policies and was not reasonable network management. Today, the Commission released an Opinion and Order detailing its analysis and commanding Comcast to cease its discriminatory practices.
The following statement is attributed to Gigi B. Sohn, president and co-founder of Public Knowledge:
“With today’s Order, the FCC acted to protect the rights of Internet users and set the precedent that unreasonable, discriminatory behavior like Comcast’s will not be tolerated. It agreed with public interest advocates and technical experts that Comcast’s conduct violated FCC principles and was not reasonable network management.
Last week PK was sent an email by a concerned artist on, you guessed it, orphan works. Brian, as a painter and a writer, was very concerned about the proposed legislation, it's impact on artists, and PK's our stance on it. I replied to his email, trying to address his worries about the cap on damages we originally proposed (though we do not promote this any more since "reasonable compensation" is now where the ball has moved), and some of his specific concerns about what would be considered a qualifying search.
In his reply, he invited me to try to break down the orphan works legislation and issue on a blog he writes for at MyArtSpace.com, a website that empowers artists to make a place for themselves on the web, to display their creativity, get exposure, discuss and critique ideas with others, and maybe even sell some art. It's a social network for artists.
Thanks to Brian Sherwin for reaching out and his willingness to expose some potentially different views on MyArtSpace.com. I encourage anyone interested in the issue to leave a comment on Brian's blog, so we can ensure a good discussion of the issues.
Do We Really Like the Taste of Apple's Remote-Kill KoolAid?
Today’s Wall Street Journal has a story about Apple’s App Store for the iPhone. Clearly, having an easy way for mobile users to download apps is a good way to spur development and make money. According to Apple, over the past month the App Store has sold $30 million in iPhone and iPod touch apps. Of those sales, Apple should take in about $9 million, as it keeps about 30% of each app sold. While some application developers have complained about the revenue split, when one considers the costs associated with hosting the applications, cost of money changing hands, and general maintenance of the store, 30% is not unreasonable. What is increasingly unreasonable is the way Apple is controlling the App Store, both to the detriment of developers and consumers.
I'm the sucker who just over a year ago got up at 5AM to sit in a line until 6PM to buy an iPhone. There are a lot of people like me, I met many of them in line that long day. It was actually a lot of fun, but had I known that if I had just shown up at the Apple Store at 7PM that night, I could have walked out with the same iPhone, since there was plenty of supply, I think I would have done the latter. Since June 29, 2007, I have been incredibly in love with this new computing platform called the iPhone, and I've written about it a bit before.
Here I go again, trying to be constructive. But before I get there...
This Isn't About You
I'd like to know what it would take to convince you, a visual artist, alive and creating today, that orphan works policy was not meant to apply to you? There are clearly tens of thousands of artists who are being scared out of the woodwork to write their representatives to stop orphan works legislation. If you're one of these artist, who are savvy enough to know how to go to a website and click a button to write your member of Congress, then more than likely, if someone wants to use your work, they're going to find you. Why? Because you exist. You're with-it enough to be part of this debate, which in all likelihood means that after a user puts effort into finding you, you will actually be found.
In the House version of the orphan works bill there is a provision that creates a "notice of use archive," or NUA. The idea is that after a search, but before use, a user of an orphan work would have to file a statement with the Copyright Office that she intend to use the work.
In this statement, she'd have to include a description of the work, any ownership info that she knows about the work, a summary of the search that was conducted, and her contact information. The Copyright Office would charge a fee for the service, probably at a significant price per page, as it has said in a letter to Congress (PDF).
Disclaimer: I'm an Apple fanatic. I love its hardware, I love its software. I've evangelized the Mac platform to my friends, family and coworkers and I'm directly responsible for "switching" at least a dozen of them since becoming a believer myself in 2002. So, after you read this post, don't try to claim I'm an Apple hater, because nothing could be further from the truth.
So, yesterday the iPhone 2.0 software and iPhone 3G were announced at Apple's World Wide Developer Conference, and both will hit the streets sometime in early July. Both software and hardware get some significant upgrades: faster connectivity, more services to connect to, 3rd party applications, true geolocation with A-GPS, etc. These upgrades come at a significantly lower upfront cost to consumers: $199 and $299 for the different memory capacities, 8GB and 16GB respectively.
There’s a lot of Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt (FUD) being spread by some who are opposed to orphan works legislation. This is our second Myths and Facts report about orphan works:
MYTH: The bills would take away copyright protection from every work a visual artist ever created!
FACT: The bills do not take away artists’ rights. The bills set a limit on damages for users of a copyrighted work where the copyright owner could not be found, despite a search conducted in accordance with detailed guidelines that the bills lays out. Under these guidelines, lack of identifying information on a work would not be an excuse to use a work. After such a diligent search, in the unlikely event that an owner came forward after the use had started, the user would have to pay him a “reasonable compensation” for the use. The owner would also be entitled to an injunction in situations where the work was not incorporated into a new work. The bottom line is that good faith users are shielded from liability, and owners are paid if they surface.
There's a lot of Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt (FUD) being spread by some who are opposed to orphan works legislation. Here's a quick Myth and Fact about orphan works:
MYTH: The bills would mandate registration of all visual arts in expensive, private registries.
FACT: Neither bill contains such a mandate. Owners’ failure to register would not absolve users of their search obligations. The purpose behind the “visual registries” provisions is to help artists keep ownership information associated with their works and to help users find owners. In order to achieve this purpose, the bills contemplate the development of electronic databases of visual works in the market place. However, these registries do not have to be expensive. The bills do not require artists to use these services, nor do they require the services to charge a registration fee. Services that operate in the current marketplace, and provide services free of cost, could easily evolve into the visual registries contemplated by the bills. The bottom line is that the bills aim to encourage the market to solve a problem to help owners be found, but the bills do not require owners to register with these services.
So, in the past week we've had a House Subcommittee markup of the House bill and the Senate was to mark up the bill on Thursday but they held the bill over until the following week. A markup hearing is a hearing without witnesses where the members propose amendments to the bill they're considering. Those amendments are voted on by the committee or subcommittee members, and then the amended bill is voted on as a whole to be moved out of the subcommittee to the full committee and then the full committee to the full body for further consideration (House or Senate).
If you haven’t read about it, the New York Times reported yesterday that: Microsoft May Build a Copyright Cop Into Every Zune. Essentially, the large content provider would withhold their content from a distributor unless the distributor put in effective measures to prevent against piracy. We’re not talking about DRM here, we’re talking about filtering software, whether it resides on the playback device like a Zune or iPod, or in the software on a syncing computer that stores the consumers’ library of music and movies like the Zune or iTunes software. This software would troll your library checking for content that was somehow infringing or unauthorized. It may even be spyware that could report back to someone about the contents of your media library.
Yesterday, the FCC took a field trip to the campus of Stanford University in Palo Alto, California. There it heard from two panels of experts and policy shapers on the issue of network management and more broadly net neutrality. If you didn’t see it, or listen to the FCC’s stream of it, thankfully, it’s been video recorded and put on the web…
Panel I: Network Management and Consumer Expectations
Professor Lessig presented one of his illustrative keynotes at the start, and apparently he recorded the live audio and dubbed it to the video later:
Mark Simon wrote in Animation World Magazine last week about orphan works. I presume it was meant to be an in depth analysis of current orphan works legislation, but unfortunately he does himself and his readers a disservice because the article was factually shallow and didn't accurately portray anything ever offered up by this or previous Congresses. I was ready to post all the problems with it, but Meredith L. Patterson over at Radio Free Meredith did all the work for me--it's worth a read, so go read it first and then come back. Go ahead, I'll be waiting.
While the market may value someone’s use of a creative work greater than another’s, copyright law makes no value distinction between the two. That may change soon, and creators should be worried.
At the March 13 hearing on orphan works, the textile manufacturer representative, Corinne P. Kevorkian of Schumacher (read her testimony here (PDF)) brought up a new argument related specifically to graphics created for textiles: that orphan works relief should be prohibited from protecting users of ”pictorial or graphic work[s] that w[ere]as initially created for commercial exploitation or w[ere]as at any time commercially exploited.”
Women's Wear Dailyis reporting that the American Apparel & Footwear Association and the Council of Fashion Designers of America have failed to meet a compromise on legislative language that would amend H.R. 2033, a bill that would prevent designers from making garments and accessories that look the same or substantially similar to protected designs.
I just finished reading the live coverage of Apple’s iPhone SDK pressconference. There was a lot to like. Apple spent about 70% of the event touting the ability of any Mac developer to use the same tools that are used to create Mac OS X applications on a computer to create feature-rich apps for the iPhone. iPhone applications developers appear to have pretty much the same access to technology that a traditional computer application developer would have. That's empowering.
NBC-Universal, in a recent filing with the FCC, has argued that Comcast's interference with BitTorrent is justified. But contrary to its argument, the "800 pound gorilla" in the room is not "the tidal wave of unlawful conduct by BitTorrent users[.]" The 800 pound gorilla is whether or not Comcast's actual behavior was "reasonable." The outcry by Comcast customers and the public interest community should provide a strong hint that it was not. Comcast's bait-and-switch tactic of secretly changing the service it provides its customers is more important here than the theory of network management. The focus of this debate should be what Comcast actually did and said.
Today the Wireless Innovation Alliance (a group of which PK is a member) sent a letter (PDF) to the Hill. In it, we ask members of Congress to see through the FUD that NAB has been spreading about interference. Much of the FUD about whitespaces is trying to fool the uneducated about what's being tested and what stage of the testing we're at. I wanted to try to catch you up on the latest goings on and clear out the fear, uncertainty and doubt.
Yesterday, The House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet, and Intellectual Property, held a hearing entitled ”Design Law: Are Special Provisions Needed to Protect Unique Industries?”. Unfortunately, because the Judiciary committee had three hearings, two at the same time, they weren’t able to webcast this one or post audio feeds.
Rashmi and I were there, for the whole thing (started at 2pm, ended at 5:30pm!). Testifying in opposition to the fashion bill was Steve Maiman, co-owner of Stony Apparel who produces young women’s clothing under the Eye Shadow clothing line in stores like Sears, J.C. Penney, Dillard’s, and Belk.
In case you don’t remember the issue, here’s a quick introductory video:
The panel went on for an hour, which is kind of long for any one with just a casual interest to stream over the Internet (Real Player video). I wanted to make sure that folks saw some of what I thought were the more important statements about content filtering—straight from the source: the RIAA.
Sometimes the market for a certain thing or feature gets stagnant. There comes a point when a once innovative feature becomes standard on every product. Case in point, the DVR interface. You know what I’m talking about, those linear menus that force you to scroll down, sequentially through every option. Way too often, the buttons on the remote aren’t responsive enough making the whole idea of having a long list of content choices into a burden. Enter two new interfaces from Hitachi and HillCrest Labs:
So, the trip out to Vegas was a long one. Sherwin and I had a stop in Little Rock, Arkansas along the way. The total time was of the trip was about seven hours. Knowing this, I had planned to catch up on the second season of Heroes and was going to download it all to my iPhone the night before the trip. That’s when it sunk-in that NBC Universal pulled out of the iTunes Store. NBC offers their content via Hulu and NBC’s own site but both are just a stream - you can’t download or time shift shows to your Mac or PC, let alone your iPod or iPhone. So, I instead of watching new shows (well, at least new to me), I watched older shows I had already downloaded.
Well, the time difference is wreaking havoc on me. It’s 5:30AM here and I haven’t been able to sleep for the past hour so I figured I’d try to be useful and report to you some interesting things from the Gates keynote, presuming my shoddy internet connection stays up (thanks Luxor!) and that I don’t fall asleep at the keyboard.
To start off, because Bill will be stepping down from his day to day duties at Microsoft later this year, the folks at Microsoft put together a clever video about what that last day would be like. Fortunately, they’ve posted the video to Microsoft’s Soapbox:
We've decided to get aggressive about social platforms here at PK. For a while, we've had a facebookgroup, and now we've started a NingPublic Knowledge group. Each offers something a little different. At facebook, you've got the large communities of people who are already invested in the platform. I'm hoping that they allow for group administrators to embed applications into group pages (until they do, we'll keep manually inputting our content). That's actually what I think the Ning group offers more of, is the ability to syndicate content.
A lot of the attention on the PRO-IP Act has been on Section 104's compounding of damages provision. And rightly so. However, I want to bring to light the issue of criminal enforcement of copyright infringement, and the changes this bill makes to remove the current requirement of registration-before-enforcement.
The DOJ has repeatedly (PDF) stated that this change to Title 17, §411 is only a "clarification," and that the law already permits criminal enforcement without the registration prerequisite. That's simply not the case. I first refer you to the current law:
I'm an analog cable subscriber and was hoping to upgrade to an HDTV this holiday season, and apparently I'm not alone. Before I buy-in, I've been considering the freedom that "going digital" should give me compared to the old analog world. The primary reason I haven't "upgraded" to digital cable up to this point comes down to TiVo, it and the freedom that devices like it that connect to an analog coax cable give me. Digital technology is supposed to deliver more, not less freedom, isn't it? It's not clear that upgrading to digital cable gives me the freedoms I'm used to.
Section 2: This section allows the Attorney General to bring a civil cause action for conduct that would otherwise be criminal infringement of copyright under section 506 of Title 17. This language comes from the old PIRATE Act, and as before, we believe that is an inappropriate use of federal funds to enforce private rights of action--something that rarely occurs under other parts of the law, and at those times, typically as a "public good" (as opposed to the benefit of an individual, movie studio or record label). Here, you have the DOJ acting as a copyright holder's private attorney.
Gigi recently gave a speech in Boston where she highlighted a number of changes to copyright law that are needed to enforce copyright users rights. Two of the concepts deal with non-commercial personal use of one's own legally obtained content and the need codify the Sony Betamax standard of secondary liability for infringement, to ensure that developers and innovators of devices and software will continue to excite consumers with new ways to use the content they've legally purchased, and, shocker, even encourage them to consume more content. Recently a series of fun new features and games are hitting the market that I think highlight what we're talking about here in these reforms.
There's been a lot of talk lately about the courageous and clever developers untethering the iPhone from the shackles of the AT&T network. I guess I'm the only one who's actually satisfied with AT&T's performance. Anyhow, a lot of the flap about the iPhone unlocking has come from the industry side: reportedly, AT&T has released the hounds after these tinkerers to prevent them from releasing software and hardware that would free the iPhone from the anointed wireless network.
Over the past four years, Public Knowledge has recognized leaders in the fields of Intellectual Property, Information Policy, and Internet Protocol, with the IP3 Award. These are individuals who over the past year (or over the course of their careers) have advanced the public interest regarding one of the three kinds of "IP." While these increasingly overlapping policy arenas pose important challenges for us, they also create important opportunities for creative individuals in each of the three underlying fields to advance the public interest.
We'd like your help in recognizing leaders in the fields of Intellectual Property, Information Policy, and Internet Protocol. As with the past three awards, we're asking you for nominations. Please email your nominations to IP3nominees@publicknowledge.org, or you can leave a comment to this post, below.
Today, a number of public interest and consumer groups wrote a letter in support of a complaint CCIA filed with the FTC. In CCIA's complaint, it argues that those in the copyright industry "materially misrepresent U.S. copyright law" which confuses consumers. We've all seen these bogus notices at the beginning of cassettes and DVDs:
All material is protected by copyright laws of the United States and all countries throughout the world. All rights reserved. Any unauthorized exhibition, distribution, or copying of this film or any part thereof (including soundtrack) is an infringement of the relevant copyright and will subject the infringer to severe civil and criminal penalties.
at the beginning of your favorite televised sporting event:
This copyrighted telecast is presented by authority of X. It may not be reproduced or retransmitted in any form, and the accounts and descriptions of this game may not be disseminated, without express written consent.
Subcommittee Chairman Ed Markey (D-MA) started the questioning with a consumer friendly question of the Commissioners, whether or not consumers should be able to take their mobile phone with them when they switch carriers. On this, Commissioners Jonathan Adelstein, Michael Copps, and Chairman Martin were in agreement, but Commissioners Deborah Tate and Robert McDowell said they were still considering the issue:
Well, DUKWs more precisely. In DC there’s a tour company that drives these old open-air amphibious people movers around the city and in the Potomac River to get a unique point of view of our nation’s capitol. We had a great time, thanks to Captain Kent. Below is a slideshow of the fun we had.
Alarm clock goes off. Yesterday I knew my motto for today would have to be "the early bird gets the worm." That was before last nights very successful Digital Freedom Campaign Artist Showcase (more on that later today). This morning, my body was telling me that an extra half-an-hour wasn't going to hurt my chances of obtaining an iPhone. Reset alarm clock for 5:30am. Zzzz...
AT&T's reason for this new-found partnership comes from the realization that it distributes Hollywood's content when it sells its Uverse TV service. James W. Cicconi, an AT&T senior vice president is quoted in the article as saying: "We do recognize that a lot of our future business depends on exciting and interesting content." Piracy competes with that new revenue stream, so AT&T had better take an active role in protecting Hollywood's content.
Digital preservation, online sharing, website archiving: these are just a few of the issues not addressed in USC Title 17 S. 108, the law governing copyright exceptions in libraries. That's why the Library of Congress has convened a study group of academics, librarians, and publishers to address the new needs of libraries and authors in a digital environment, and to make recommendations to Congress for change. The Section 108 Study Group has been meeting since 2006 and plans to issue its report sometime this year. In this episode of PK's In the Know Podcast, I sit down with Peter Hirtle, Intellectual Property Officer at the Cornell University Libraries, and one the members of the study group, to talk about the challenges posed for the study group, and some potential solutions. You can get the interview here|RSS.
We're still waiting on one more to arrive but since two of them are already blogging, it's a good time to finally and formally introduce the Summer 2007 interns to you. Please read all about Brendan, John, Elizabeth, Ben, Jacob, and Kim on our PK Interns page.
This episode of In The Know Podcast is something a little different—it’s a video, so you’ll only receive it automatically if you’re subscribed to the media feed, or you can view it in your browser in this post after the jump.
Last month, Rep. Bill Delahunt (D-MA) introduced HR 2033, the "Design Piracy Prohibition Act," to the House Judiciary Committee to extend copyright protection to the fashion industry. In this episode of the In The Know Podcast, I discuss the implications of fashion copyright with Christopher Sprigman, an Associate Professor of Law at the University of Virginia.
The folks over at TWiM do another great job of making a complex issue simple and even interesting to the casual listener. This time (MP3), it's on the topic of Internet Radio an the changes in compulsory licensing payments that threaten that diverse and independent method of distribution. They pull in net radio pioneer and MacBreak Weekly regular Scott Bourne and Pandora Founder Tim Westergren to discuss the history of the issue and discuss the current problems.
Although we don't have a formal House bill number yet, news reports are saying that Reps. Bob Goodlatte and Bill Delahunt have reintroduced last year's bill, renamed Design Piracy Prohibition Act, which aims to protect fashion designs that are registered. Protection would cover not only clothing but accessories as well, for a three-year duration starting at the date of registry, though the article suggests that some would like to extend the protection from the three years from date of last manufacturer instead. We anticipate the bill will be introduced in otherwise the same form as last year.
April 5th's episode touches on the Sirius-XM merger, EMI dropping DRM, Verizon's wireless broadband caps, and an FCC violence study. This is my first exposure to the TPW podcast and I just finished listening to the most recent episode. I really like the round-table format which lent itself to a good discussion of the issues, the audio quality was top-notch, and the length was just right.
If you subscribe to the PK In the Know Podcast, you may already be aware of the most recent episode which was posted last week (thanks, Scott!). For this episode we replay a press conference call from The Save Our Spectrum Coalition. The coalition filed ex parte comments with the FCC on how it should use its auction of the valuable 700 MHz spectrum to create high-speed Internet service that will be a true competitor to broadband services offered by telephone and cable companies. The following coalition members participated in the call:
At a press conference today in London, England, EMI and Apple announced that they will sell unDRMd music starting in May, 2007. Sorry for the scattered look of all of this, but I wanted to get it posted as fast as possible:
If you're not listening to or watching podcasts, get your head out of the sand and embrace the 21st century! If you're just starting out, and you're an active reader of the PK policy blog, a good podcast to start would be This Week in Media [subscribe here]. It's made by the good folks over at the Pixel Corps, and on TWiM they discuss the newly-available-to-consumer tools that are spurring professional-grade user generated content, and the business models and policy surrounding that new media creation.
A problem lurking around all these events is the steady erosion of the right to fair use in favor of the rights of content owners, who have found the simple threat of copyright litigation is a valuable weapon.
The Wall Street Journal’s Personal Technology Guru Walt Mossberg writes and tells us his editorial thoughts on the problems for consumers and innovators caused by current copyright law and the DMCA. He suggests Congress specifically address consumers’ problems using the digital media that they legally obtain on their devices of choice, and their ability to share small clips of others content.
I could tell you more, but why write when you can watch him yourself:
Jeff Rabhan, who manages artists and music producers including Jermaine Dupri, Kelis and Elliott Yamin, says CDs have become little more than advertisements for more-lucrative goods like concert tickets and T-shirts. "Sales are so down and so off that, as a manager, I look at a CD as part of the marketing of an artist, more than as an income stream," says Mr. Rabhan. "It's the vehicle that drives the tour, the merchandise, building the brand, and that's it. There's no money."
You’ve probably read the news this morning about Viacom suing YouTube and Google for the videos users upload, some of which includes clips of Viacom’s content. We don’t think it makes a lot of sense. Users cannot only upload clips of main stream media’s content, they can comment on them, video comment on them, remix them as comment or criticism, etc. Despite the fair use argument, does it make much business sense to sue a website that likely makes you more money, not just potentially from ads, but from additional exposure and user/audience involvement. An involved and excited audience leads to more consumption, more eyeballs, and more revenue for the creator.
The common theme of the solutions was not only educating students (which all of the witnesses said that they were working on collaboratively), but for campuses to employ technology to filter the packets flowing over the network.