Hacking Democracy: Google/YouTube Proxy Group “Fight For The Future” Crashes US Copyright Office Website During Crucial Comment Period — Last week was the US Copyright Office’s deadline for submitting public comments on Section 512 (the DMCA safe harbor and notice-and-takedown process). On the last day, dark money group Fight for the Future ran a campaign that resulted in over 90,000 form comments being submitted, showing how easy it is for anti-democratic groups to dress up in populist clothing and disrupt legitimate policy processes. 90,000 copies of a form comment submitted by individuals identifying themselves as “aaaaaa” or “fsdafsadfsdafsad” add nothing of substance to the study and strain the (already limited) resources and expert staff at the Office, who are dedicated to ensuring public and accountable processes.
Astroturf Organizations Typically Hysterical on DMCA — Turning from process to substance, David Newhoff examines the claims found in the Fight for the Future form comment, finding them lacking.
Talking Copyright and the Digital Single Market at the Fordham IP Conference — Last week, the Fordham IP Institute held its annual conference. Here, Stan McCoy shares his remarks from the conference on the European Commission’s push for a “Digital Single Market” in the EU. Says McCoy, “At Fordham, I argued that caution is warranted before the EU institutions tinker with the DNA of copyright. The data supports that approach: research paid for by the European Commission confirms that over 90% of people are finding what they want online, and fewer that 4% try to access services from another member state. It bears repeating that 7 million jobs in Europe’s core creative industries depend on copyright. Little modifications to copyright, one after another, have the potential to weaken the foundations that allow those people to earn a living and support their families in these industries. The EU Charter of Fundamental Rights requires that intellectual property be protected – another reason for caution.”
Instagram and the Cult of the Attention Web: How the Free Internet is Eating Itself — “We want our web and we want it for free. However, the inconvenient truth is that there is a cost to doing business and at some point companies have to make money. And so we sacrifice the magic. We devalue content and products by refusing to pay for the work it takes to create and maintain them. We are satisfied wading through poorly designed, ad-based experiences. And we allow our most precious resource, our time, to become a commodity to be traded, sold and manipulated. Our data is mined, our privacy discarded and our actions tracked all in the name of more targeted advertising.”
Googling Hollywood’s Next Epic Disaster — “The FCC calls it the ‘unlock the box’ proposal. Critics call the FCC’s pending action to deregulate the market for cable TV set top boxes a disaster for Hollywood, niche cable channels, producers and distributors of indie movies and TV, and many others.”
Ursula K. Le Guin on the Sacredness of Public Libraries — Some brief remarks from noted author Le Guin. “Knowledge sets us free, art sets us free. A great library is freedom.”