House Judiciary Chairman to launch sweeping review of US copyright law — Topping the US copyright news this week was Rep. Goodlatte’s announcement that his Committee will be conducting a series of comprehensive hearings over the next several months with the aim of taking a thorough look at the current state of copyright law. Hilicon Valley reports, with statements from several copyright-related organizations responding to Goodlatte’s announcement.
Why Aereo encourages the wrong kind of innovation — Peter Leung discusses the Aereo decision, with a brief look at cases from Australia, Japan, and South Korea which held that similar services infringed on copyright protections. But the heart of Leung’s argument is that a win for Aereo is a loss for everyone else. “Although IP law is generally supposed to promote innovation, it is strange to think that Aereo’s business plan largely involves creatively engineering its way around the law rather than solving an actual technical problem. Other than Aereo, the clear winners in this are manufacturers of server hard drives and tiny antenna arrays.”
Embedding is no criminal offence, the Brussels Court of Appeal says — A court in Belgium ruled that embedding an infringing YouTube video does not rise to the level of a criminal offense under that country’s laws. Unlike civil liability, criminal liability requires the additional element of malicious or fraudulent intent. Here, the court found that lacking, in part because YouTube’s terms of service prohibit the uploading of infringing content, so it cannot be presumed that the defendant was aware the video was infringing.
Churnalism: Where is Your Journalism Coming From? — A new tool from the Sunlight Foundation allows you to check online news sites and articles to see if passages from Wikipedia or press releases show up without attribution. An interesting tool. Plagiarism Today’s Jonathan Bailey points out, “The big idea behind both versions of Churnalism is not so much to detect all kinds of plagiarism or spot instances of copyright infringement. Rather, the goal is to find instances where journalists recycle content from sources that readers might not deem trustworthy or, in other cases, may take quotes out of context.”
MPAA Supports Meaningful Treaty for Visually Impaired — Chris Dodd of the MPAA writes, “We believe that access for the blind to books and other publications is a cause worth promoting. We also believe in the fundamental principles of copyright that empower creators and encourage creativity around the world. Unlike those who seek to weaken copyright protection, we believe these two objectives are not mutually exclusive.”
What Hunter S. Thompson Really Said About the Music Industry… — Paul Resnikoff digs up an interesting tidbit showing that the oft-quoted line attributed to Thompson is not entirely accurate.
Facebook Home Propaganda Makes Selfishness Contagious — Not copyright related per se, but the ethics observed in the article are shared by some who argue against effective copyright protection. The author writes, “This isn’t intended to be a “get off my lawn!” argument, though it is indeed old-fashioned to believe everyone deserves respect. Back in the 1700’s, German philosopher Immanuel Kant made a big deal out of these ideals, asking what right we have to be self-absorbed while expecting others to rise above indifference. My argument is that some convictions deserve to be innovation proof.”