Happy New Year, readers!

Study on Expanded “User Rights” Fails Econometric Scrutiny — “Earlier this month, scholars at the American University Washington College of Law’s Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property (PIJIP) published a paper suggesting that governments around the world should consider weakening copyright protection in favor of expanded ‘user rights.’ The Google-funded report presents an index purporting to show a positive correlation between broad fair use and safe harbor laws and certain economic and scholastic benefits. But, as economist George Ford explains in an essay published last week, the report is an exercise in flawed design and misapplied empirical analysis which cannot be relied upon for informed policymaking.”

Globe and Mail editorial attacks on Canadian creators and broadcasters: what’s up with the Globe? — Barry Sookman takes a closer look at a recent Globe and Mail op-ed to explain why its criticisms of site blocking as a measure to address online piracy don’t hit the mark. Says Sookman, “As I pointed out in a prior blog post, website blocking of pirate sites is a tried and true way of addressing internet piracy among many of Canada’s trading partners. Further, the courts which have addressed ISP blocking have found that such orders do not violate freedom of expression values. In short, orders that target Internet pirates cannot be considered as a ‘frontal [or any other kind of] attack on online freedom’.”

Dish Network Files Two Lawsuits Against Pirate IPTV Providers — “In broad terms, there are two types of unauthorized online streaming of live TV. The first is via open-access websites where users can view for free. The second features premium services to which viewers are required to subscribe. Usually available for a few dollars, euros, or pounds per month, the latter are gaining traction all around the world. Service levels are relatively high and the majority of illicit packages offer a dazzling array of programming, often putting official providers in the shade.”

Spotify Hit With $1.6B Copyright Lawsuit Over Tom Petty, Weezer, Neil Young Songs — “On Friday, Wixen Music Publishing filed a lawsuit in California federal court that alleges that Spotify is using Petty’s ‘Free Fallin’,’ the Doors’ ‘Light My Fire’ and tens of thousands of other songs without a license and compensation. The plaintiff is seeking a damages award worth at least $1.6 billion plus injunctive relief. Wixen’s lawsuit is being revealed here for the first time, but the move will come as hardly a surprise to those who have been paying attention to Spotify’s growing copyright problem.”