T Bone Burnett’s Remarks on Music and the American Story (with intro by Rosanne Cash) — “We are not looking backward. We are looking forward to a better place. As artists and creators we constantly use the technology that has brought us this anywhere / anytime / anything digital world. But we insist on being recognized and respected for what we bring to the table as well.”

Music Piracy Triggers Significant Losses, EU Study Shows — Torrentfreak reports, “New research published by the European Union Intellectual Property Office shows that piracy hurts both digital and physical music sales. In EU countries the total losses are roughly 5% of yearly revenues, which equals €170 million. In addition, piracy also triggers secondary losses for governments and the public sector.”

Will CBS Continue Axanar Lawsuit On Its Own? — Previously in the Axanar lawsuit, the court denied a motion to dismiss by the production company that had been sued by the copyright owners of Star Trek for planning to make an unauthorized Star Trek film. Then, last week, it was reported that the two sides were in settlement talks, and the suit would be dropped. However, to date, the litigation continues, with Axanar filing an answer to the initial complaint and a counterclaim against the Star Trek owners, arguing that its planned film is fair use.

How Technology Hijacks People’s Minds — from a Magician and Google’s Design Ethicist — An interesting read about the different techniques developers use to “play your psychological vulnerabilities (consciously and unconsciously) against you in the race to grab your attention.”

Most Music Tech Startups Don’t Know Shit About How Labels Work – A Response To David Pakman — A point-by-point takedown of Pakman’s article about how “The Music Business Buried More Than 150 Startups.” Very informative.

Going Viral ≠ Increased Business — Finally, this week, Leslie Burns writes about the illusory benefits of a photo “going viral.” “People don’t impulse-buy photography. No one is likely to see the viral photo and say ‘I need to hire that photographer!’ unless, maybe, s/he was already looking for a wedding photographer. Assignment/commissioned photography is still not a commodity, not a product on the shelf, so exposure like that may never pay off.”

New Research Debunks Myth That Piracy Site Blocking Does Not Work — “The trio studied the effects on consumer behavior of the court-ordered blocking of 53 piracy websites in the U.K. in November 2014. Their research paper released last month showed those take-downs caused a 22% fall in total piracy (including blocked and unblocked sites) for all U.K. users of blocked sites and a 16% drop in piracy consumption across all U.K. internet users. Even more positively, there was a 10% increase in videos viewed on legal ad-supported streaming sites such as the BBC and Channel 5 and a 6% increase in subscription streaming sites such as Netflix.”

Italian court says that rightholders do NOT have to indicate URLs when submitting takedown requests — Eleonora Rosati reports on the decision, saying, “If not a general obligation to monitor, this closely resembles what rightholders have been advocating for a while, ie a notice-and-stay-down system.”

Judge Refuses to Dismiss Lawsuit Over Crowdfunded ‘Star Trek’ Film — The latest on litigation involving an unauthorized Star Trek film, Prelude to Axanar. The court declined to throw the complaint out, saying Paramount has sufficiently alleged copyright infringement.

One Simple Trick to Make Journalism Profitable? Copy and Paste It. — The story of a local news startup caught scraping another site’s content rather than, as it claimed, creating its own. “Dopkin observed that in technology-focused Silicon Valley, content is usually a minor concern. Nor do the Valley’s digital gurus respect the blood, sweat, and tears frequently required to produce it, he said.”

The biggest problem for the Oracle v. Google retrial: Judge Alsup’s reality distortion field — Florian Mueller takes on the Oracle v. Google retrial. Following a Federal Circuit decision in 2014 holding that the Java API headers and structure, sequence, and organization, which Google copied, is protectable under copyright law, the litigation came back to the District Court this week for a jury to determine whether Google has a fair use defense.

Dear YouTube: An open letter from Irving Azoff — The notable artists’ manager writes, “You state with apparent pride that you have licenses with labels, publishers and PROs. But don’t confuse deals made out of desperation with marketplace deals made by willing participants. YouTube has benefitted from the unfair advantage which safe harbors gives you: Labels can take the deals you offer or engage in an impossible, expensive game of ‘whack a mole,’ while the music they control is still being exploited without any compensation. Spotify and Apple don’t have that advantage, and this is why they are better partners to music creators.”

Google Image Search and the Misappropriation of Copyrighted Images — In 2013, Google changed its image search function from displaying low resolution thumbnails in its results to offering full size, high resolution versions of the images. Last week, Getty Images filed a complaint in support of the EU’s ongoing investigation into Google’s anti-competitive behavior, saying “[b]ecause image consumption is immediate, once an image is displayed in high-resolution, large format, there is little impetus to view the image on the original source site.” Kevin Madigan has more on the issue.

What Do Superheroes Wear In Off-Hours? Captain America: Civil War’s Costume Designer Explains — Even the casual clothes in a film are carefully considered to add depth to the characters and story. Or, Robert Downey, Jr. is the Avengers’ dad.

Toronto author sends Anne Frank’s diary to German politician after copyright complaints — After German MEP Julia Reda publicly complained that copyright prevented her from reading Anne Frank’s Diary, Toronto author John Degen walked down the street from his office, bought a copy of the book, and mailed it to her. Carol Off of CBC Radio’s As It Happens interviewed Degen about what motivated him.

60 Lawmakers Voice Concerns to Wheeler About FCC Set-Top Box Proposal — The US House members write that the FCC’s proposal would “produce very few benefits for consumers, while potentially harming the viability of these providers.”

Can a Copyright Protect a Cheerleader Uniform? — Continuing its trend of picking very niche copyright cases, on Monday the Supreme Court granted cert in Varsity Brands v Star Athletica, concerning the copyrightability of cheerleader uniforms. Specifically, the Court will look at the idea of conceptual separability, the doctrine used by courts to distinguish between noncopyrightable functional aspects of useful articles and copyrightable creative features of those articles. The Court will hear the case next term, which begins in October.

Re: World IP Day — A must-watch video from HITRECORD and Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

US Congress to look for areas of consensus on copyright law — At a World IP Day event organized by the US Copyright Office and the Copyright Alliance, House Judiciary Chairman Goodlatte announced the next phase in the copyright review process that began three years ago. After identifying the numerous issues the Committee has examined in that time, he said in the weeks ahead, the Committee would be identifying areas of potential reform and convening stakeholders for further work on those areas.

Google Accused of Enabling Photography Piracy — Getty Images has filed a complaint against Google to the EU’s antitrust commission regarding Google Images, which, since 2013, “displays full-screen slideshows of high-resolution copyrighted images.” Getty alleges that the service siphons traffic from photographers and publishers and erodes the ability to license visual works.

The Android Administration — The Intercept illustrates “Google’s remarkably close relationship with the Obama White House.” One example shows “55 cases of individuals moving from positions at Google into the federal government, and 197 individuals moving from positions inside the government to jobs at Google.”

Separating Fact from Fiction in the Notice and Takedown Debate — A closer look at the recent Notice and Takedown in Everyday Practice study.

US News Editors Find it Increasingly Difficult to Defend the First Amendment — While the internet has opened opportunities to reach new audiences, it has also hurt the ability of news organizations to sustain themselves. And that spells trouble for freedom of the press. “‘Newspaper-based (and especially TV-based) companies have tougher budgets and are less willing to spend on lawyers to challenge sunshine and public records violations,’ one editor acknowledged. Another editor declared, ‘The loss of journalist jobs and publishers’ declining profits means there’s less opportunity to pursue difficult stories and sue for access to information.’ The costs of litigation constrain organizations.”

Amazon Unintentionally Paying Scammers To Hand You 1000 Pages Of Crap You Don’t Read — Maybe the internet hasn’t made publishers obsolete. “Right now, the scammers are mostly an inconvenience to readers and authors alike. But the bigger they get, the fewer people are going to trust their work to Kindle Unlimited, and the less decent stuff there will be for subscribers to read.”

EU digital chief calls on YouTube to pay music artists more — “The EU’s digital chief waded into a growing fight between record labels and YouTube, calling on the Google-owned video site to hand over more revenue to rights holders. Andrus Ansip, who is overseeing an overhaul of the bloc’s copyright rules, said the YouTube’s comparatively small payments to artists gave it an unfair advantage over rivals such as Spotify, the Swedish streaming service.”

How the FCC’s ‘Set-Top Box’ Rule Hurts Consumers — The CEO of Roku weighs in against the FCC’s set-top box proposal. “The proposed regulation would—as we say in the industry—’decouple the user interface’ from the video and data itself. This would allow a company like Google to do to the TV what it did on the Web—build an interface without the ‘inconvenience’ of licensing content or entering into business agreements with content companies such as ABC, FOX, HBO, or video distributors like pay TV operators. The unintended consequences of circumventing these kinds of arrangements are likely to include increased costs for consumers, reduced choices and less innovation.”

Piracy is the biggest threat facing the film industry as we know it — but not in the way you think — Film producer Jason Blum notes that as piracy hits studio bottom lines, it isn’t the big blockbuster franchise or low budget genre film that disappears, it is the high-end art film like Moneyball, The Social Network, 12 Years a Slave, or The Revenant.

Intellectual Property Professors Call on Congress to Modernize the Copyright Office — WIth the confirmation hearing of Dr. Carla Hayden for Librarian of Congress scheduled for next week, it is a good opportunity to assess what can be done to allow the Copyright Office, which resides within the Library, to operate effectively in the 21st century. Here, a group of IP Professors share their recommendations.

The Constitutional Foundations of Intellectual Property: A Natural Rights Perspective — Distinguished legal scholar Richard Epstein takes a look at Randy May and Seth Cooper’s recent book, The Constitutional Foundations of Intellectual Property: A Natural Rights Perspective. “It is perfectly permissible, even if ill-advised, for modern scholars to deride natural law principles,” writes Epstein. “But it is far riskier to deny that these theories had any traction at the time that the United States Constitution—which offers explicit protection to intellectual property—was drafted.”

Here’s why the music labels are furious at YouTube. Again. — A frank discussion with RIAA head Cary Sherman about the challenges the recording industry still face. Says Sherman, “When you compare what we get when we get to freely negotiate, with a company like Spotify, vs. what we get when we are under the burden of an expansively interpreted ‘safe harbor,’ when you’re negotiating with somebody like YouTube, you can see that you’re not getting the value across the platforms that you should.”

Google’s “safe browsing” initiative is more bark than bite — Vox Indie’s Ellen Seidler writes, “Despite headlines, it’s still business as usual for Google — Piracy sites full of malware and deceptive ads remain at top in Google search results.”

The FCC Should Drop Its Proposed Rules For Set-Top Boxes — “It is difficult to see who would benefit from the proposed rules. Certainly programmers would not benefit. Those who prefer no set-top box can already distribut[e] programming directly to consumers over the Internet. Few manufacturers of set-top boxes would benefit. With proprietary devices outlawed, only generic set-top boxes would be lawful. Manufacturers that can produce the devices more cheaply might do better. But manufacturers that specialize in customizable proprietary software and ever better security systems would have a diminished market. Cable and satellite distributors would not benefit because they no longer differentiate as strongly their product in terms of security and privacy from purely on-line services. Consumers would not be better off. The range of video options would be diminished, and the security and privacy currently afforded by set-top boxes would be lost.”

Facebook takes on its freebooting problem with Rights Manager — When Facebook unveiled its new video platform, it quickly became a magnet for “freebooting”, where users uploaded YouTube videos without authorization to the service. Freebooting is a particularly acute problem for the emerging group of YouTube-native creators, who have taken advantage of the platform to build audiences for their work, only to see those efforts siphoned off by piracy. So it is welcome news that Facebook has announced the implementation of a tool that will allow creators to help prevent copyright infringement.

Last month, the Supreme Court denied review of a cert petition in DC Comics v. Towle, regarding whether the Batmobile can be protected by copyright. This in itself isn’t news—the Supreme Court only grants roughly 5% of all petitions it receives. But the subject matter of this litigation brought a fair amount of attention, so let’s take a quick look at last September’s Ninth Circuit decision, which now stands.

This litigation begins, as the court recounts, with defendant Mark Towle, who runs a business called Gotham Garage. Among other things, his business sells replicas of the Batmobile, as depicted in the 1966 television show and 1989 motion picture. He also sells kits which allow customers to modify their cars to look like these Batmobiles. DC Comics, the publisher of comics featuring Batman, sued Towle for copyright infringement, trademark infringement, and unfair competition for manufacturing and selling the replica Batmobiles. Both parties moved for summary judgment, and in a 2013 order, the district court granted summary judgment in favor of DC Comics on the copyright claim, finding that the Batmobile “was a character entitled to copyright protection.” On appeal, the Ninth Circuit affirmed, concluding that “the Batmobile character is the property of DC, and Towle infringed upon DC’s property rights when he produced unauthorized derivative works of the Batmobile.”

Under the Copyright Act, copyright protection subsists in works.117 U.S. Code § 102. But courts have long held that characters can be independently protected by copyright.2Rice v. Fox Broad. Co., 330 F.3d 1170, 1175 (9th Cir. 2003); Warner Bros. Inc. v. Am. Broad. Cos., 720 F.2d 231, 235 (2d Cir. 1983); 1 Melville B. Nimmer & David Nimmer, Nimmer on Copyright § 2.12 (2015) (“Although there has been some conflict in the cases, it is clearly the prevailing view that characters per se are entitled to copyright protection.” (footnotes omitted).). It’s worth noting that trademark protection for characters may overlap with copyright protection for characters. See Jane C. Ginsburg, Licensing Commercial Value: From Copyright to Trademarks and Back 2-3 (Colum. Law Sch. Ctr. for Law and Econ. Studies, Working Paper No. 516, 2015); Kathryn M. Foley, Protecting Fictional Characters: Defining the Elusive Trademark-Copyright Divide, 41 Conn. L. Rev. 921, 939 (2009). Courts that have found characters independently copyrightable have done so when “the character appropriated was distinctively delineated in the plaintiff’s work,”3Salinger v. Colting, 641 F. Supp. 2d 250, 254 (S.D.N.Y. 2009), vacated on other grounds, 607 F.3d 68 (2d Cir. 2010) (quoting 1 Nimmer, supra note 16, § 2.12). or are “‘especially distinctive’ or the ‘story being told.’”4Rice, 330 F.3d at 1175. Examples include Amos ‘n’ Andy,5Silverman v. CBS Inc., 632 F. Supp. 1344, 1355 (S.D.N.Y. 1986), aff’d in part, vacated in part, 870 F.2d 40 (2d Cir. 1989). James Bond,6Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc. v. Am. Honda Motor Co., 900 F. Supp. 1287, 1296 (C.D. Cal. 1995). Betty Boop,7Fleischer Studios, Inc. v. A.V.E.L.A., Inc., 772 F. Supp. 2d 1135, 1147 (C.D. Cal. 2008). Freddy Krueger,8New Line Cinema Corp. v. Bertlesman Music Grp., 693 F. Supp. 1517, 1521 n.5 (S.D.N.Y. 1988). Godzilla,9Toho Co. v. William Morrow & Co., 33 F. Supp. 2d 1206, 1216 (C.D. Cal. 1998). Holden Caulfield from Catcher in the Rye,10Salinger, 641 F. Supp. 2d at 266. Jonathan Livingston Seagull,11Bach v. Forever Living Prods. U.S., Inc., 473 F. Supp. 2d 1110, 1118 (W.D. Wash. 2007). Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler from Gone with the Wind, Tom and Jerry,12Warner Bros. Entm’t v. X One X Prods., 644 F.3d 584, 597 (8th Cir. 2011). Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck,13Walt Disney Prods. v. Air Pirates, 581 F.2d 751, 757-58 (9th Cir. 1978). and characters from The Wizard of Oz.14Warner Bros. Entm’t, 644 F.3d at 597.

The fact that the Batmobile is an inanimate object and not a sentient being doesn’t prevent this protection. Courts have recognized that copyright could protect characters such as “Eleanor,” a 1967 Shelby GT-500 appearing in Disney’s 2000 film Gone in 60 Seconds, and Freddy Krueger’s glove.15Halicki Films, LLC v. Sanderson Sales & Mktg., 547 F.3d 1213, 1225 (9th Cir. 2008); New Line Cinema Corp. v. Russ Berrie & Co., 161 F. Supp. 2d 293, 302 (S.D.N.Y. 2001).

The most important question facing the Ninth Circuit was whether the Batmobile could be protected as an independent character despite not having a consistent appearance in all works. The car that appeared in the 1966 television show, after all, looked quite different from the car in the 1989 motion picture. But the court did not find this an impediment to copyright protection. It observed that “district courts have determined that James Bond, Batman, and Godzilla are characters protected by copyright, despite their changes in appearance.” And in each instance, it said,

[C]ourts have deemed the persistence of a character’s traits and attributes to be key to determining whether the character qualifies for copyright protection. The character “James Bond” qualifies for copyright protection because, no matter what the actor who portrays this character looks like, James Bond always maintains his “cold-bloodedness; his overt sexuality; his love of martinis `shaken, not stirred;’ his marksmanship; his `license to kill’ and use of guns; his physical strength; [and] his sophistication.” Similarly, while the character “Godzilla” may have a different appearance from time to time, it is entitled to copyright protection because it “is always a pre-historic, fire-breathing, gigantic dinosaur alive and well in the modern world.”

Having reviewed the existing precedent, the Ninth Circuit synthesized a three-part test for determining when a character like the Batmobile, which may span multiple works and vary in appearance, can be independently protected by copyright.

First, the character must generally have “physical as well as conceptual qualities.” Second, the character must be “sufficiently delineated” to be recognizable as the same character whenever it appears. Considering the character as it has appeared in different productions, it must display consistent, identifiable character traits and attributes, although the character need not have a consistent appearance. Third, the character must be “especially distinctive” and “contain some unique elements of expression.” It cannot be a stock character such as a magician in standard magician garb. Even when a character lacks sentient attributes and does not speak (like a car), it can be a protectable character if it meets this standard.

The Ninth Circuit then applied this test to the Batmobile, and concluded that the Batmobile met the standard. Its “bat-like appearance” is a consistent theme throughout its appearances in comics, movies, and television shows, making it recognizable as the same character whenever it appears. The character displays consistent, identifiable character traits and attributes; says the court, “No matter its specific physical appearance, the Batmobile is a ‘crime-fighting’ car with sleek and powerful characteristics that allow Batman to maneuver quickly while he fights villains,” and it “always contains the most up-to-date weaponry and technology.” Finally, the court found the Batmobile to be “especially distinctive,” noting “it is not merely a stock character.” Having established that the Batmobile is protected by copyright, it was short work to conclude that Towle’s Batmobile replicas infringed on DC’s copyright.

The Ninth Circuit’s holding is consistent with longstanding business practices. Many derivative works, like sequels or tie-ins, rely on the same characters but share no other similarities in terms of plot or expression of existing works.16Benjamin A. Goldberger, How the “Summer of the Spinoff” Came to Be: The Branding of Characters in American Mass Media, 23 Loy. L.A. Ent. L. Rev. 301, 302 (2003) (“Characters are central to the most common types of recycling and reuse in the entertainment business.”); see also 1 Nimmer, supra note 16, § 3.04[A]. As DC has done with the Batmobile and other Batman characters, it is common practice to license characters for use in new works.17See, e.g., Burroughs v. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc., 683 F.2d 610, 611-12 (2d Cir. 1982) (involving license granting rights to produce original story with the character Tarzan); Fleischer Studios, 772 F. Supp. 2d at 1140 (referencing agreement that transfers interest in, inter alia, “all characters contained therein”). Such practices rely upon certainty, so having courts provide consistent and stable rules facilitates beneficial economic and cultural activities with these characters.

References   [ + ]

1. 17 U.S. Code § 102.
2. Rice v. Fox Broad. Co., 330 F.3d 1170, 1175 (9th Cir. 2003); Warner Bros. Inc. v. Am. Broad. Cos., 720 F.2d 231, 235 (2d Cir. 1983); 1 Melville B. Nimmer & David Nimmer, Nimmer on Copyright § 2.12 (2015) (“Although there has been some conflict in the cases, it is clearly the prevailing view that characters per se are entitled to copyright protection.” (footnotes omitted).). It’s worth noting that trademark protection for characters may overlap with copyright protection for characters. See Jane C. Ginsburg, Licensing Commercial Value: From Copyright to Trademarks and Back 2-3 (Colum. Law Sch. Ctr. for Law and Econ. Studies, Working Paper No. 516, 2015); Kathryn M. Foley, Protecting Fictional Characters: Defining the Elusive Trademark-Copyright Divide, 41 Conn. L. Rev. 921, 939 (2009).
3. Salinger v. Colting, 641 F. Supp. 2d 250, 254 (S.D.N.Y. 2009), vacated on other grounds, 607 F.3d 68 (2d Cir. 2010) (quoting 1 Nimmer, supra note 16, § 2.12).
4. Rice, 330 F.3d at 1175.
5. Silverman v. CBS Inc., 632 F. Supp. 1344, 1355 (S.D.N.Y. 1986), aff’d in part, vacated in part, 870 F.2d 40 (2d Cir. 1989).
6. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc. v. Am. Honda Motor Co., 900 F. Supp. 1287, 1296 (C.D. Cal. 1995).
7. Fleischer Studios, Inc. v. A.V.E.L.A., Inc., 772 F. Supp. 2d 1135, 1147 (C.D. Cal. 2008).
8. New Line Cinema Corp. v. Bertlesman Music Grp., 693 F. Supp. 1517, 1521 n.5 (S.D.N.Y. 1988).
9. Toho Co. v. William Morrow & Co., 33 F. Supp. 2d 1206, 1216 (C.D. Cal. 1998).
10. Salinger, 641 F. Supp. 2d at 266.
11. Bach v. Forever Living Prods. U.S., Inc., 473 F. Supp. 2d 1110, 1118 (W.D. Wash. 2007).
12. Warner Bros. Entm’t v. X One X Prods., 644 F.3d 584, 597 (8th Cir. 2011).
13. Walt Disney Prods. v. Air Pirates, 581 F.2d 751, 757-58 (9th Cir. 1978).
14. Warner Bros. Entm’t, 644 F.3d at 597.
15. Halicki Films, LLC v. Sanderson Sales & Mktg., 547 F.3d 1213, 1225 (9th Cir. 2008); New Line Cinema Corp. v. Russ Berrie & Co., 161 F. Supp. 2d 293, 302 (S.D.N.Y. 2001).
16. Benjamin A. Goldberger, How the “Summer of the Spinoff” Came to Be: The Branding of Characters in American Mass Media, 23 Loy. L.A. Ent. L. Rev. 301, 302 (2003) (“Characters are central to the most common types of recycling and reuse in the entertainment business.”); see also 1 Nimmer, supra note 16, § 3.04[A].
17. See, e.g., Burroughs v. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc., 683 F.2d 610, 611-12 (2d Cir. 1982) (involving license granting rights to produce original story with the character Tarzan); Fleischer Studios, 772 F. Supp. 2d at 1140 (referencing agreement that transfers interest in, inter alia, “all characters contained therein”).

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.”

Katy Perry, Christina Aguilera sign letter calling for changes to copyright law — “Hundreds of artists, songwriters, managers, and other players in the music industry are calling on the U.S. Copyright Office to make what they consider to be long overdue changes to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, a law they say is not only out-of-date, but detrimental to artists and the future of the industry.”

Guadamuz on the Monkey Selfie — Andrés Guadamuz (University of Sussex) looks at the copyright issues of the (in)famous monkey selfie from a UK and European perspective, concluding that, “Under current originality rules, David Slater has a good copyright claim for ownership of the picture.”

Video Creators Are Frustrated With Facebook’s Antipirating Efforts — Facebook has seen staggering growth in the amount of users watching videos on its platform, but its antipiracy efforts have not kept pace. This is especially frustrating for individual YouTube creators, who see their own videos “freebooted” onto Facebook, hurting their ability to earn revenue.

Web TV Company Not Entitled to License to Stream Content — A federal district court in Illinois held that FilmOn X does not qualify for the cable compulsory license in the Copyright Act, making it the third court to say as much, and making the sole court to hold otherwise even more of an outlier.

The Costs and Benefits of Copyright: Getting the Facts Straight — Hugh Stephens takes a look at the flaws in a number of studies purporting to show losses due to stronger copyright provisions in trade agreements.

How to Send a Takedown Notice to Google in 46 (or more) Easy Steps! — Unfortunately, not an April Fools joke!

Protecting copyright without stifling innovation — Paul Doda writes, “[C]ertain hosting platforms that did not exist in 1998 have structured their businesses to exploit the DMCA cloak from liability. They do so by taking material down while at the same time rendering the notices meaningless by encouraging the reappearance of the same infringing works from a sea of ready replacements. These structural infringers cannot be counted on to voluntarily adopt anti-piracy measures, such as the reasonable filtering techniques currently being deployed by other platforms, because that would cripple their free-riding business model, which depends on their users’ posted infringements to sell subscriptions and generate advertising revenue.”

Did pirates kill ‘Hannibal’? — Only so many names can fit onto a marquee, film poster, TV show’s credits or in a movie’s trailer. Maybe the millions of people who illegally download movies and TV shows are thinking only of the top-billed stars, excusing their actions with the notion that one viewing will not do much harm to a superstar. But on a set, every last crew member and creative — right down to the person who designed that poster or edited that trailer — is affected if the fruits of their labor are stolen.”

Creative Strategies for Beefing up Copyright Enforcement — Michael Carroll reviews a paper by professor Eric Priest, Acupressure: The Emerging Role of Market Ordering in Global Copyright Enforcement. In his paper, Priest examines two case studies which use market pressure, one through voluntary initiatives and the other through state unfair competition laws, to minimize copyright infringement. He then abstracts the key elements that make these types of strategies for copyright enforcement work.

Govt has ‘bungled’ copyright costs — When the Trans-Pacific Partnership was being finalized, the New Zealand government concluded that the changes it would need to make to its copyright law to comply with the agreement would cost the country $55 million. Now, economist Dr. George Barker is telling the government that estimate is incorrect. “Dr. Barker said that estimate was based on erroneous research in 2009 by an Australian economist. Officials were unable to provide access to the data behind the estimate, and Dr. Barker said one possibility was a decimal point could have been put in the wrong place.”

Apple Music, Dubset Partner to Stream Previously Unlicensed Remixes and DJ Mixes: Exclusive — A new service is using technology to automatically identify and clear the dozens of separate sound recordings that may make up previously unlicensed remixes and DJ mixes to enable them to be legally distributed through platforms like Apple Music.

“Dancing Baby” Appeals Court Decision Stands Minus the “Fair Use” Algorithms — This week, the Ninth Circuit refused EFF’s petition to overrule existing precedent and impose an unworkable objective standard on misrepresentation claims under Section 512(f). Or, to put it simply, you don’t need a lawyer to stop your work from being pirated online. Hollywood Reporter has more details on the latest in Lenz v. Universal Music, which also includes an amended opinion.