… And we’re back. Unfortunately, the site has been suffering some technical difficulties over the past couple of weeks, preventing any updates. But things seem to be running smoothly once again.
That there is property in the ideas which pass in a man’s mind is consistent with all the authorities in English law. Incidental to that right is the right of deciding when and how they shall first be made known to the public. Privacy is a part, and an essential part, of this species of property.
— Prince Albert v. Strange, 1 McN. & G. (1849).
The Internet Does Not Reset the Copyright-Free Speech Balance — Law prof Sean O’Connor takes on the meme that “free speech trumps all other legal rights in cyberspace — including copyright.” Says O’Connor, “Commercial websites that play on this invalid meme are doing a disservice to their users and to copyright owners. In their rush to attract ever more users, and pump ever more commoditized content through their sites, these firms are inducing or contributing to widespread infringement under the guise of ‘free speech.'”
Should Wikipedia be allowed to ban paid advocacy editors? — Over at the Copyright Alliance blog, I write about the news this week that the non-profit that runs Wikipedia has taken a strong stance against a firm alleged to write positive articles on behalf of paying clients, sending a cease and desist letter that warns of future legal action. It’s not a copyright issue per se, but it shares similar underlying principles. “Wikimedia wants to maintain some right and ability to control its content, even as it makes it freely and publicly accessible. That control serves as a basis for the innovative service they provide and the community that has been built up around it. We as a society should recognize that ability to control.”
Spin This: Copyright Industries Grow at Twice the Rate of US Economy — David Newhoff looks at a report from the International Intellectual Property Alliance that shows the tremendous contribution of copyright industries to the US economy, industries that directly employ over 5.6 million workers, with above-average wages. Newhoff says, “here’s the bottom line I think we should take away from this report and any pollyanna attempts to rebut or redirect its relevance: copyright works, don’t break it.”
Copyright is still essential to a free market in creative works — Just in time for this week’s IIPA report revealing that core copyright industries’ contribution the US economy have for the first time topped $1 trillion comes this article from Matt Barblan, who writes, “even in today’s digital age, strong property-based copyright protection remains an essential component of our creative economy. It is the bedrock supporting the free market for creative works, and it is vital to maintaining the market mechanisms that promote the creation, commercialization, and distribution of creative works. Repeated calls to weaken copyright (and accompanying suggestions of alternative legal or business models) routinely ignore copyright’s fundamental economic importance.”
Internet myths, part 1 — Some great background and information on the genesis and development of the internet from tech expert Richard Bennett.
Film Industry In Developing Countries Needs To Implement Copyright, Speakers Say — A reminder of the fact that, among other things, copyright plays an important role as an economic asset — sometimes the only economic asset — that creators have to enter into negotiations in the marketplace. “An event held today alongside the World Intellectual Property Organization committee on development gathered several cinema professionals working in emerging or developing countries and said that film makers in those countries need to better understand the functioning of the intellectual property system to be able to be part of the global film industry.”