The Anti-Commons Revisited — A common claim among IP academics is that IP rights like copyright suffer from anti-commons effects, where numerous and overlapping rights prevent transactions and innovation. Jonathan Barnett examines the claim and finds evidence for it scarce, while finding evidence that markets and private actors correct for anti-commons effects is abundant.

House Judiciary Committee Announces Next Step in Copyright Review — “The Committee has issued joint invitations to all prior witnesses of the Committee’s copyright review hearings to meet with Committee staff and provide additional input on copyright policy issues… The Committee is also openly inviting any interested party to come and discuss their interests in copyright law during this process as well.

Visual Artists: Recent Orphan Works Rumors Are Not True — A look at recent erroneous claims of new copyright legislation that hijacked an unrelated Copyright Office public comment proceeding.

Oracle and Google both propose Android-Java trial dates in the spring of 2016 — FOSS Patents has the latest on the litigation between Oracle and Google involving the Java API. The case has returned to the District Court following last month’s denial of a cert petition by the Supreme Court involving the 2014 Federal Circuit decision that held the Java API is copyrightable.

Coalition Asks WIPO To Follow Proposed Guidelines To Better Defend IP Rights — 85 organizations in 51 different countries published a letter this week affirming the importance of IP rights, including copyright. According to the letter, “Advanced societies have long understood that by protecting the proprietary rights of artists, authors, entrepreneurs, innovators, and inventors, they were promoting the greater public welfare. The continued protection of these fundamental rights is essential to global innovation, creativity and competitiveness.”

Sound is the forgotten flavor sense — “Manipulating sound can transform our experience of food and drink, making stale potato chips taste fresh, adding the sensation of cream to black coffee, or boosting the savory, peaty notes in whiskey.”

Now Hiring: Screenwriters — “When a writer types THE END, it is the beginning of a process that involves hundreds of jobs and services before the script even reaches the actual production stage. Staff at the Producer’s office, Studio execs and Story execs and their staff who are employed to read, develop, finance and produce your script get to keep their jobs because of writers. Agents, Managers, Lawyers who negotiate the writer deals, all have jobs in part because of writers. Once the script goes into the production stage, the amount of jobs required to produce a film grows exponentially; crews of 100-400 and more become necessary; local vendors and merchants in the location where my script is being filmed benefit and are able to boost employment. Hotels, car rental agencies, airlines, local restaurants, stores, shops, all benefit enormously by my typing THE END.”

Do weaker copyrights really increase economic growth? — No, says Tom Sydnor. Following an analysis of a recent Lisbon Council report that found it contained serious methodological blunders to reach its conclusion that weaker copyright protection increases economic growth, Sydnor looks at several of the “serious errors of law” the report also made.

‘Don’t Be Mad': Scott Borchetta Talks Apple Negotiations, How Taylor Swift Told Him About Her Letter — “What really went down leading up to Taylor Swift’s show-stopping Father’s Day letter to Apple regarding streaming payments during Apple Music’s free trial?”

Modernizing the Copyright Office — “The key question is: Are at least some of the complaints about the copyright system more matters of the limitations of the Copyright Office than they are limitations of copyright law? The answer seems to be yes, and with more autonomy and better infrastructure, a 21st Century Copyright Office should be able to solve some of the logistical problems consumers face when trying to use creative works.”

Guild to Congress: Close Internet Piracy Loopholes, Implement “Notice and Stay-Down” — “Court decisions have construed the Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s Notice and Takedown provisions to mean that a copyright owner is required to send a notice for each separate instance (i.e., copy) of infringement, specifying the URL. But as soon as a pirated copy is taken down, it is usually put right back up. Needless to say, copyright owners cannot keep up with this senseless game, and individual authors do not begin to have the resources to send a new notice every time a pirated copy is posted or reposted. We are asking for a ‘Notice and Stay-Down’ regime: once a webhost knows a work is being infringed, it should not continue to receive “safe harbor” immunity from claims of infringement unless it takes reasonable measures to remove all infringing copies of the same work.”

After a brief hiatus due to vacation and holidays, we’re back!

Copyright And The Public Interest: Not Necessarily Competing Forces —  “It does not serve the aspirations of developing societies to return to a system in which the voices of the people serve the whims of the private elite, or worse, to allow governments to be the sole determining body in the matter of cultural works. By permitting creative genius to be fueled by market forces, we unleash the cultural power and potential of the diversity of individuals, freeing creative impulses from the tyranny of centralized controls and making creative works accessible to the public at large. While copyright may be inadequate on its own in creating fair market conditions, it remains by far the most powerful tool for fostering creativity and democratizing culture itself.”

IPA: ‘Freedom of expression linked to copyright’ — A new report from the International Publishers Association looks at the connection between weak freedom of expression protections in developing countries and weak copyright protections.

The Lisbon Council’s 2015 Intellectual Property and Economic Growth Index: A Showcase of Methodological Blunder (PDF) — According to a Phoenix Center analysis, a recent report purporting to show that so-called flexible copyright limitations and exceptions have a positive economic effect “is junk science and should be ignored.” The analysis details some of the report’s methodological flaws.

Five Hard Lessons We Learned Making GHOST SHARK 2: URBAN JAWS — Some perhaps helpful advice for new filmmakers, as well as an interesting look into DIY filmmaking. And the filmmakers conclude by saying, “Enjoy our strange little movie, and please, for the love of God, don’t pirate it.”

40 states line up with Mississippi in Google Adwords pharma scrap — “‘In my ten years as Attorney General, I have dealt with a lot of large corporate wrongdoers. I must say that yours is the first I have encountered to have no corporate conscience for the safety of its customers, the viability of its fellow corporations or the negative economic impact on the nation which has allowed your company to flourish,’ Hood wrote in a letter to Google chairman Eric Schmidt.”

Copyright Office modernization efforts deserve broad support — From Tom Sydnor at American Enterprise Institute: “the outdated and ineffective IT procurement processes at the Library of Congress have forced the US Copyright Office to try to run a 21st century copyright system with 19th and 20th century technologies. That anachronism disserves the legitimate interests of everyone affected by copyrights – creators, creative industries, content distributors, and users of expressive works. The Copyright Office needs independent IT funding and procurement authority, and internal IT personnel, in order to use the latest technologies to make copyright registration, recordation, and search far more effective, efficient and accessible than they are today.”

Supreme Court Recognizes that Patents are Property — In a case involving raisins, obviously. The Court’s discussion applies just as much to copyright.

Authorship and Authority in the Moral Foundations of Moral Rights — Brian Cwik sketches out an alternative justification for moral rights, one that shows that moral rights and copyright have more in common than often suggested.

How Television Won the Internet — Reports of “old media’s” demise have been premature. “The fundamental recipe for media success, in other words, is the same as it used to be: a premium product that people pay attention to and pay money for. Credit cards, not eyeballs.”


‘Mad Men’ era Copyright Office needs to be brought into the 21st century — “Let’s start with where the U.S. Copyright Office is housed: in the Library of Congress. Why? Well, in 1890, placing it there was a convenience to help the Library build its collection of books that were deposited for registration. Of course, this is meaningless in the electronic era and allows the Library to re-direct funding to other projects. Although knowledge of copyright law is not a requirement to be Librarian of Congress, that person is in charge of issuing copyright regulations. Congressional hearings have produced a consensus that the Copyright Office needs budget and operational autonomy to function properly.”

Making John Lasseter Cry: Pete Doctor and Jonas Rivera on “Inside Out” — Great interview with the producer and director of Pixar’s latest, “Inside Out”, out today. The original story took five years to develop.

Justin Bieber Must Face Copyright Suit, Appeals Court Rules — The Fourth Circuit reversed the decision of a lower court to dismiss a copyright complaint alleging Usher and Bieber infringed an existing song. The Circuit held, after listening to the two songs itself, that “a reasonable jury could find the songs intrinsically similar,” so the litigation should survive the pleadings stage.

Jenner & Block Accuses Google of Abusive Litigation Tactics — “‘The most fundamental purpose of these subpoenas is to send a message to anyone who dares to seek government redress for Google’s facilitation of unlawful conduct: If you and your attorneys exercise their First Amendment right to seek redress from a government official, Google will come after you,’ Jenner & Block partner David Handzo wrote. ‘The court should not allow Google’s abuse of the litigation process.'”

Canadian court reflects common sense in rejecting Google appeal — Google lost an attempt in Canada to ignore a court order to restrain infringement. Here’s David Newhoff’s take. “The case of Equustek v Google demonstrates that a very narrow and carefully weighed judicial approach to de-indexing clearly criminal sites can coexist with free speech and of course not break the Internet. More importantly, the Canadian court places what seems like a very fair and minimal degree of burden on the site owner, rejecting the all-too-popular claim that sites are to be treated exclusively and universally as neutral, passive entities in these matters.”

Top Nine Myths About Trade Promotion Authority And The Trans-Pacific Partnership — A bit of trade-related posts this morning since the House is set to vote on Trade Promotion Authority today (and trade agreements include important provisions setting minimum standards for copyright protection). “Despite the tireless efforts of trade policy experts to explain why TPA and the U.S. trade agreements it’s intended to facilitate are, while imperfect, not a secret corporatist plot to usurp the U.S. Constitution and install global government, myths and half-truths continue to infect traditional and social media outlets.”

Three letters that spell a better economic future — BSA CEO Victoria Espinel pens this op-ed in favor of TPA, noting, “In the 1980s, we took stock of how our economy was changing and where our future strengths lay. We found that we were innovators, so intellectual property protection was essential. We also found that we were strong in a broad range of services. But at that time there were not trade rules in place to ensure we could reap the full benefits from those advantages. So the U.S. took the lead in negotiating strong trade rules to ensure we could take full and fair advantages of these strengths.”

Copyright’s Republic: Copyright for the Last and the Next 225 Years — In case you missed it, Mark Schultz and Devlin Hartline introduced a series of essays that will show that “Copyright laid the foundation for, and continues to support, the largest, most enduring, and most influential commercial culture in human history. That commercial culture is uniquely democratic, progressive, and accessible to both creators and audiences.” So far, part one is up, Promoting an Independent and Professional Class of Creators and Creative Businesses.

“YouTube for YouTube” — Chris Castle asks the question, how innovative is Google’s “YouTube for Artists” initiative? He gets insightful responses from David Lowery and Blake Morgan.

CloudFlare Enjoined From Aiding Infringers: Internet Unbroken — Last week, a federal court rejected CloudFlare’s (and EFF’s) argument that the service did not have to comply with a court-ordered injunction because it wasn’t aiding and abetting infringing activity. Here is excellent analysis of that decision.

The Pharaohs Of Silicon Valley: My Journey Through Google Headquarters — “With elegant, deliberate precision, the Google Car starts its own motor and makes a slow, controlled trip around the quarter-mile track. It comes to a perfect, gradual stop at the finish line. The door to the car opens and the scientist emerges. He now has the head of a falcon. He emits frightened birdlike shrieks from his new beak as he grasps in horror at his monstrous new head.”

#Copyright225 — Last Sunday marked 225 years since George Washington signed the first US Copyright Act into law. Take a look at some of the benefits it has provided since then.

The Copyright Office for the Digital Economy Act — A discussion draft of legislation that would take the first step toward modernization of the US Copyright Office was introduced by Reps. Judy Chu and Tom Marino on Thursday. The primary function of the bill would be to shift the Office to an independent agency outside the Library of Congress, where it currently resides.

Copyright Office Modernization — And in case you want all the background on Copyright Office Modernization, what it is, what issues are involved, and why it’s necessary, be sure to check out this handy list of resources.

Orphan Works and Mass Digitization — The Copyright Office Thursday released its long anticipated report covering orphan works—an issue it has studied for over a decade—and mass digitization, a related issue that has come to the forefront more recently. The Office recommends legislation to limit remedies for users of orphan works following a good faith diligent search for the copyright owner. The Office also proposes a system of extended collective licensing to help facilitate nonprofit mass digitization projects for education and research purposes. It recommends starting with a limited “pilot program” for a small number of classes of works as well as soliciting public comments on various issues concerning the scope and administration of any extended collective licensing program.

The Effectiveness of Site Blocking as an Anti-Piracy Strategy: Evidence from the UK — “[O]ur results showed that when 19 sites were blocked simultaneously, former users of these sites increased their usage of paid legal streaming sites by 12% on average, relative to the control group. The blocks caused the lightest users of the blocked sites (and thus the users who were least affected by the blocks, other than the control group) to increase their use of paid streaming sites by 3.5% while they caused the heaviest users of the blocked sites to increase paid streaming visits by 23.6%, strengthening the causal inference in our result.”

Five years later, why this “stupid Gay” fights piracy — Ellen Seidler: “How can we change the status quo? We speak out. The good news is that we are. Artists across the spectrum have begun to focus frustration into action. We’ve begun to speak out and formed coalitions, demanding with one voice that our representatives in Washington take action to better safeguard creative work (and livelihoods) in the digital age.”

Down the Rabbit Hole: Why Inside Out is Unlike any other Pixar Film — “Their story creation process at Pixar is notoriously labor intensive and exacting. The men and women behind these films craft their narratives for years (and years), until they are satisfied they are telling the best version of that story possible…”

U.S. Dept. of Justice finds Google’s Supreme Court petition in Oracle case flawed, recommends denial — This week, the Solicitor General recommended against Supreme Court review of the 2014 Federal Circuit decision finding Google liable for copying Oracle’s Java platform. The SG rejected Google’s arguments to abandon well-settled principles of copyright law.

Did your favorite TV show get canceled? Here are 7 reasons it might have — An informative look from Vox about some of the economics behind episodic television.

About that deal — SciFi author John Scalzi recently signed a deal with Tor for 13 books and a $3.4 million advance. That amount generated plenty of reactions; here, Scalzi answers some of the frequently asked questions about what the deal really entails.

In breach of EU copyright law, Paris Court refuses to protect Mankowitz’s photo of Jimi Hendrix — “On 21 May 2015, the High Court of First Instance of Paris (Tribunal de Grande Instance) rendered a judgment in which it ruled that a famous photograph of Jimi Hendrix, taken by Gered Mankowitz, is not original and therefore not protected by copyright.” The author of this article has sharp words about that decision.

Book Review: The Art of Mad Max: Fury Road — “With a foreword by Miller himself and dozens of pages of storyboards, concept art and behind-the-scenes details, this volume is not mere fan service. It is a window into just how complex the process was behind this film.”

Overdue legal recognition for African-American artists in ‘Blurred Lines’ copyright case — Sean O’Connor, Lateef Mtima, and Lita Rosario present an original take on the March 2015 jury verdict. “The older focus on literal melodic copying systematically disfavored artists of color. Relying on this presumed exclusion of harmonic and rhythmic elements, record companies perennially promoted white artists from Elvis Presley to Iggy Azalea who could perform songs imitating artistic innovations of black artists. Many copyright experts have been content to live with this system, so long as marginalized artists of color were the ones to suffer the inequity.”

How 15 Minutes of Internet Fame Did Nothing for my Books — Putting your stuff online doesn’t guarantee an audience, and, as this article shows, even going “viral” doesn’t provide many lasting benefits.

Major Advertisers Are Still Funding Online Piracy — A new report from Digital Citizens Alliance shows, “First, ad-supported content theft is big business and major advertisers continue to support it, inadvertently or otherwise… Second, around a third of the content theft sites examined in the research had the potential to infect users’ computers with viruses or other malware, which could pose security risks for users and also be used to generate fake website visits often used to defraud advertisers. Third, online piracy sites are rapidly evolving, largely to meet consumer appetite for streaming content instead of downloading it.”

5 Reasons The Major Labels Didn’t Really Blow It With Napster — “Pundits are fond of saying that the major labels blew it by suing Napster instead of doing a deal with them. It’s as though they’re obligated to repeat it as a mantra; they didn’t get it, they were asleep, how could they have missed such a golden opportunity, yadda yadda. Shift through all the reverential twaddle, and you’d think Napster walked into the major labels offering trays of gold and were rebuffed.”

Email Shows How Google Gets Things Done In Washington — BuzzFeed reports, “Days after a damaging Wall Street Journal article, a Google lobbyist in Washington pushed the FTC to issue a statement that would help clear the air. The statement came soon after.”

Print Lovers Magazine is Going Digital! — “We will still be providing the same level of quality content that we have for over a decade to our readers—our readers who know that cracking open a new book will always be more satisfying that holding a tablet; that flipping through a fresh newspaper will always be a more satisfying way to get your news than typing in a URL address; that print is forever and digital literature will come and go.”

The Untold Story of ILM, a Titan that Forever Changed Film — “As it turns 40 this year, ILM can claim to have played a defining role making effects for 317 movies. But that’s only part of the story: Pixar began, essentially, as an ILM internal investigation. Photoshop was invented, in part, by an ILM employee tinkering with programming in his time away from work. Billions of lines of code have been formulated there. Along the way ILM has put tentacles into pirate beards, turned a man into mercury, and dominated box office charts with computer-generated dinosaurs and superheroes.”

At West Point, Shaping Future Warriors Through Plutarch and Shakespeare — Elizabeth Samet teaches literature to soldiers. “Lessons from literature, she said, can guide soldiers ‘to follow lawful orders and never surrender their moral judgment.'” A fascinating read.

What Hollywood Can Teach Us About the Future of Work — Interesting article: “Our economy is in the midst of a grand shift toward the Hollywood model. More of us will see our working lives structured around short-­term, project-­based teams rather than long-­term, open­-ended jobs.” And later in the story: “It helps that, despite the work’s fleeting nature, Hollywood is strongly unionized, which keeps wages high.”

Copyright from the lens of a lawyer (and poet) — For 350 years, academic journals have preserved and shepherded scientific knowledge. One of the leading scholarly publishers today is Elsevier; here, read a personal account of Elsevier’s general counsel Mark Seeley.

‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ Composer: ‘The First Time I Saw The Movie I Thought, This Is So Insane!’ — “Miller hired Holkenborg for the job in the summer of 2013 and the two worked for 18 months melding sound and vision, developing a pulse-pound and often hair-raising score. On it nearly 200 instruments were used — many of which were played by Holkenborg — conjuring primal drums, searing guitar riffs and string and woodwind passages that recall the work of Alfred Hitchcock’s longtime collaborator Bernard Hermann.”

The revenue sources for websites making available copyright content without consent in the EU [PDF] — This recent report found that the vast majority of pirate sites relied on advertising as a source of revenue. More importantly, nearly one-third of advertisements on such sites are malicious or potentially harmful to end users.

Grooveshark Shuts Down to Settle Copyright Infringement Suit — The notorious service, beset by lawsuits, announced yesterday that it would be ceasing operations, along with this apology: “We failed to secure licenses from rights holders for the vast amount of music on the service. That was wrong. We apologize.” Rather than license catalog, the site opportunistically hid behind the DMCA safe harbors and populated its service with user-uploaded content. And unlike good faith user-generated content sites, it jury-rigged its service to ensure that takedown notices would be ineffective and instructed its own employees to upload music to its servers.

Will the American Law Institute “Restate” or Try to Rewrite U.S. Copyright Law? — “The academics, lawyers, and others involved in the ALI copyright project have rather strongly held, but disparate views on the legal principles they have been tasked to restate. Restatement, therefore, could easily drift in the direction of rewriting. For instance, NYU School of Law Professor Christopher Sprigman, ALI’s appointed Reporter for the project, has signed several recent letters sent to federal policymakers that, among other notions, support broader interpretations of fair use, and has written books and articles that equate increased innovation with less protective intellectual property laws.”

Why the U.S. Copyright Office Wants to Run Away From Home — Copyright Office modernization, including the question of what legal structure is needed for the Office to operate most effectively, dominated this week’s final copyright review hearing in the House Judiciary Committee. The National Journal’s Kaveh Waddell takes a look at that discussion.

U.S. Copyright Office Fair Use Index — Speaking of the Copyright Office, it released a fantastic new fair use index this week. It’s geared toward making fair use more understandable to the general public and should prove useful for individual artists and creators.

Innovation: Did Google Just Launch a New Astroturf Organization Made Out of Own Astroturf Orgs? — Says Lowery, “EFF? CCIA? CEA? CDT? MDF*? Public Knowledge? Are we getting the band back together? Is this a reunion tour?”

Get That Life: How I Co-Wrote the Music and Lyrics for “Frozen” — Great profile of Kristen Anderson-Lopez, who co-wrote “Let it Go,” from Disney’s Frozen.

How the ‘Average American’ Actually Consumes Media… — Radio and TV still top the charts.