News Tidbits—week of July 6

Monday, July 6th

  • Jammie Thomas-Rasset’s lawyers have filed a motion asking the federal judge to toss the $1.92 million damage award, calling them “grossly excessive.” The lawyers point to the absurd ratio of 1:62,015 comparing the actual value of each song ($1.29 on iTunes) and the statutory damages ($80,000 per song).
  • Harvard University’s Charles Nesson posted recordings of pretrial hearings of Joel Tenenbaum’s case on the website of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society, a research center founded by Nesson 12 years ago. Tenenbaum, a 25-year-old former graduate student at Boston University, is fighting a file-sharing lawsuit against the RIAA and Nesson is his legal counsel. RIAA is now seeking the removal of these “illegal recordings” on the grounds that they were surreptitious, unauthorized, and in violation of state law.

Tuesday, July 7th

  • We’ve heard a lot of talk about the Papal encyclical letter Caritas in veritate (“True charity”) in which Pope Benedict XVI condemns over-zealous IP protection in section 22: “On the part of rich countries there is excessive zeal for protecting knowledge through an unduly rigid assertion of the right to intellectual property, especially in the field of health care.”
  • Something funny has happened: Moby’s new single “Shot in the back of the head” is flying off the hypothetical shelves of iTunes. “Why is that funny?” the artist himself asks in an email to Bob Lefsetz, “Because it’s the track we’ve been giving away for free for the last 2 months and that we’re still giving away for free.”
  • Radiohead manager Brian Message has launched a new music label called Polyphonic in which artists will keep their own copyright. Remember that this is the guy who said file sharing is great for music and championed the band's "pay what you want" experiment. The label is a joint venture with Nettwerk’s Terry McBride.

Wednesday, July 8th

  • Our very own Art Brodsky gets a shout out from Techdirt on the many problems with Connected Nation.

Thursday, July 9th

  • In its continued attempt to expand the definition of a public performance, ASCAP is now claiming that embedding YouTube videos that contain music is a public performance. They’ve even started sending collection letters.

Friday, July 10th

  • A judge in Spain has ruled that not-for-profit sharing between users via P2P doesn’t violate copyright laws.
  • HADOPI returns! The French Senate has approved an updated version of the three-strikes online copyright infringement bill; the bill now includes provisions for judicial oversight. A judge can then choose to ban the user from the Internet, fine him or her €300,000 (according to the AFP), or impose a two-year prison sentence.

Saturday, July 11th

  • UK National Portrait Gallery has threatened litigation against a Wikipedia user for uploading photographs of some 3,000 paintings, all old enough to be firmly in the public domain, saying that the photos are a “product of a painstaking exercise on the part of the photographer.”

 

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