Innovation and Piracy — The Wall Street Journal had an excellent article early this week that took a behind-the-scenes look at NBCUniversal’s efforts to minimize the effects of piracy. The piece also discussed Wolfe Video’s experience with piracy. Wolfe is a small, independent distributor of LGBT films and has seen sales drop in the face of piracy despite worldwide distribution on all major platforms and assertive anti-piracy efforts. Here, Sandra Aistars notes, “What’s more, Wolfe serves the LGBT market for films. Beyond entertaining audiences, Wolfe brings realistic and meaningful films to an otherwise underserved community.  When companies like Wolfe who serve niche audiences, are affected by piracy it threatens entire communities. Poor (legal) distribution prospects not only threaten distributors like Wolfe, but adversely impact financing for the film projects to begin with.  Films are not made without financing, so piracy literally threatens to silence the voices of entire communities.”

To Save Everything, Click Here: How to Vanquish Technological Defeatism — Evgeny Morozov has been making the rounds to promote his new book, To Save Everything, Click Here: The Folly of Technological Solutionism, and based on this excerpt in Slate and previous ones, the book has moved to the front of my to-read pile. The book is not about copyright, yet Morozov’s broader critique of “The Internet” (as opposed to just the internet) remains relevant since the same worldview is often shared by those who advance anti-copyright arguments.

Input/Output Podcast: David Lowery and the Future of Artists’ Rights — I’ve been a regular reader of Trust Me I’m a Scientist for a while now, and I was pleasantly surprised to see this podcast with Camper Van Beethoven’s David Lowery pop up this week. Lowery touches on everything from his letter to Emily White to Pandora in this wide-ranging, free-wheeling 45 minute discussion.

Annual Frey Lecture in Intellectual Property 2013 — Duke Law School held its annual Frey Lecture this week, with RIAA Chairman and CEO Cary Sherman. Sherman admits that the RIAA does, in fact, kill kittens, and if you think he is not joking than I recommend watching this video even more.

Please Help Me Welcome Our Newest Writer, Helienne Lindvall… — Songwriter and music journalist Lindvall joins the crew at Digital Music News.

The Fallacy of “Incremental Revenue” Part 1 — Chris Castle tells an engaging (and cautionary) tale about “special markets” in the music biz. Looking forward to part 2.

The Curious Case of Cell Phone Unlocking and Copyright — Finally, over at the Copyright Alliance’s Idea/Expression blog this week, I wrote about the White House’s response to a petition to make cell phone unlocking legal, why this is a copyright issue, and why the Library of Congress plays a role.

 

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3 Comments

  1. Okay, the phone unlocking issue is just plain… strange. I only heard about it in passing via comments on my blog and I assumed that it was about jailbreaking.

    Still, I assume it’s nothing that can’t be solved without harm to any parties involved. F’rinstance one could envision an industry-standard contract which requires the customer to return any unrecouped phone subsidy if they terminate before the end of the term. Once the contract expires, they should be able to do anything they like with the phone – which is now unquestionably theirs.

    • The point is that people want to be able to unlock their phone even if it’s still *under* contract. You have always been able to unlock a phone once it’s past the contract period. And if you pay full price for the phone you can unlock it right away

      The LoC is pointing out that the original reason for unlocking iPhones is no longer valid. It used to be that you could only get them on AT&T, and people might be in a situation where they wanted an iPhone but didn’t want to cancel their existing phone service. But now almost every carrier offers the iPhone, and there are plenty of other smartphones out there.

      • I admit, I completely forgot about the iPhone issue – possibly because it was donkey’s years ago.

        Frankly speaking, I can think of no good reason for allowing people to unlock phones that are still under contract. It’s not like anyone can force you to enter one and if you agree that for the term of said contract you will use the provided phone solely on the network of the party you entered into the contract with then why is it anyone’s business.

        I’d even go so far as saying that a piece of new shiny-shiny being available with only one provider is hardly justifiable cause. It’s pretty much a question of what’s it worth to ya – do you want to switch providers or not. If not, means you don’t want the iPhone (or whatever) badly enough.

        Whatever happened to freedom of contracts anyway? It’s not like locked phones are a case of undue influence or unfair restriction. I see no public interest here.