Garrett Brown: An Interview with a Visionary-Part 1 — Nick Friedman speaks with Garrett Brown, a cinematographer and inventor of the Steadicam, an innovation which, in the words of Stanley Kubrick (who famously used it in The Shining) “would revolutionize the way films are shot.”

Great Photos, Little Cash: The Problem of “Small Claims” in Copyright — Coinciding with the House Judiciary IP Subcommittee’s hearing on copyright remedies, attorney Tara Aaron highlights a recent default judgment against a website that had allegedly infringed a photographer’s copyrights. Though the court awarded the photographer statutory damages and attorney fees, because the award of attorney fees was limited by local rules, the photographer still ended up short. It’s a good case study for the need for a “small claims” procedure.

“Notice & Notice” does Not Contribute to a Balanced Copyright System — A comparison between the US notice-and-takedown system and Canada’s new notice-and-notice system and why the first is better for creators.

Disney’s corporate synergy, 1957 and today — Screenwriter John August shares an interesting chart from 1957 showing how “the various elements of the Walt Disney company fit together.” This holds true still today. “The company makes money in many ways, but feature films are still the key drivers. You don’t get Cars merchandise without the movie. The success of Frozen is an example of how Disney can capitalize on a hit film by using it in other divisions: Disneyland attractions, TV tie-ins (Once Upon a Time), music, books, merchandise, and possibly a Broadway musical.”

Report on the responses to the Public Consultation on the Review of the EU Copyright Rules — Like the US, the European Union is currently in the process of reviewing its copyright laws. Here is the result of a public consultation process that concluded earlier this year, generating nearly 10,000 responses. “The consultation covered a broad range of issues, identified in the Commission communication on content in the digital single market , i.e.: ‘territoriality in the Internal Market, harmonisation, limitations and exceptions to copyright in the digital age; fragmentation of the EU copyright market; and how to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of enforcement while underpinning its legitimacy in the wider context of copyright reform’.”

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“Fifteen years of utter bollocks”: how a generation’s freeloading has starved creativity — A great essay from author Chris Ruen, whose excellent book Freeloading: How our insatiable appetite for free content is starving creativity has recently been released in the UK. “Any desperate excuse was good enough, so long as it justified the original campaign. Otherwise, the people who fought against copyright in this battle would have to confront the fact that they were never carrying the flag for freedom or ‘openness’, but for aggression, entitlement and selfishness masked by superficial delusions of grandeur.”

5 Major Publications that Cover Copyright Well — From Jonathan Bailey at PlagiarismToday, a nice list of mainstream news sources with above average copyright coverage.

Aereo Hits Roadblock in Effort to Become Cable System — Back in the District Court following the Supreme Court’s remand, Aereo pursued a new line of argument: that it is a cable system, and thus entitled to carry broadcast programming under the Copyright Act’s Section 111 compulsory license. This week, the Copyright Office rejected that argument (though it provisionally accepted the application until the court rules on the issue). Aereo still has the option of bringing the question to the FCC, but that would subject it to a host of regulations, including the need to negotiate retransmission consent with the broadcasters.

DMCA’s protection of copyright management information applied to non-electronic works — Evan Brown provides a heads-up on a recent decision involving § 1202, a lesser known section of the DMCA that prohibits the removal or alteration of “copyright management information.” The question here was whether that provision applies “only to electronic works intended for distribution over the internet, or whether it applies to more traditional works such as hard copy technical drawings.” The court here chose the latter.

Fishman on Creating Around Copyright — “It is generally understood that the copyright system constrains downstream creators by limiting their ability to use protected works in follow-on expression. Those who view the promotion of creativity as copyright’s mission usually consider this constraint to be a necessary evil at best and an unnecessary one at worst. This conventional wisdom rests on the seemingly intuitive premise that more creative choice will deliver more creativity. Yet that premise is belied by both the history of the arts and contemporary psychological research on the creative process. In fact, creativity flourishes best not under complete freedom, but rather under a moderate amount of restriction.”

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Is Silicon Valley Funding the Wrong Stuff? — Eye-opening: “Consider this. The entire market for advertising is around $100 billion a year in the U.S. (Globally it’s close to $500 billion.) Yet the nation’s gross domestic product is more than $16 trillion. That means every venture-backed startup chasing advertising revenue is going after just 0.6% of the economy. Put in employment terms, the ad-related economy employs just a few million people, versus 140 million Americans whose job it is to do everything else. Still, the pursuit of advertising dollars includes about every startup that is going for scale first and says it will figure out how to ‘monetize’ its users ‘once it has the eyeballs.’”

Number of Statehouse Reporters Is in Decline, Study Shows — “The nation’s statehouses lost more than one-third of the journalists devoted to covering legislative matters full time, according to a study released on Thursday morning by the Journalism Project at the Pew Research Center.” Potato salad Kickstarter coverage remains unchanged.

Under Tariff 8, Barenaked Ladies would need 9,216 plays of “If I Had $1,000,000″ to earn enough royalties to buy one box of Kraft Dinner — A recent decision by the Copyright Board of Canada has set one of the worst royalty rates in the world for music streaming.

Taking on Amazon — If you haven’t checked out Scott Timberg’s blog CultureCrash, I highly recommend it. A great blog that covers issues relating to the sustainability of creative individuals and industries. Here he reports on several items related to Amazon and its dealings with authors and publishers.

A Notice of Author Obviation — “Dear Content Creator, We are happy to announce that our recent efforts in fiction generation have been successful, and we are now able to feed the entirety of any individual writer’s output into our computer and procedurally generate new works using a combination of Markov chains and random syntax sampling. A regular expression-based pattern matching system then determines which sentences are most similar in style to ones you would have personally constructed, and arranges them in terms of plot development (or what passes for plot in your novels). In essence, we have rendered you obsolete.”

Copyrights are more than just federal “privileges” — As Tom Sydnor explains, copyright “alone creates a system for producing expressive works that lets private creators and investors make the risky, long-term investments of financial and human capital needed to produce expressive works designed to inspire or entertain large numbers of private, ordinary citizens – rather than works designed to indulge the preferences of Tenure Committees, rich philanthropists, or government bureaucrats.”

From Google to Amazon: EU goes to war against power of US digital giants — “Google’s earnings from search have drained advertising spending from European newspapers, magazines and radio stations. Piracy, facilitated by search engines and broadband, has hit revenues for record labels hard. Bookshops and electronics stores have disappeared from high streets as sales migrate to Amazon and even Apple’s bricks and mortar retail outlets. Europe’s mobile phone networks, once considered global technology pioneers, have handed fortunes to Apple and South Korea’s Samsung in subsidies for mobile phone handsets. The sense of injustice has been reinforced by revelations about tax. Amazon, Google and Apple have found ways to reduce their corporation tax payments on international revenues to single-digit percentages of profits. Now fear has been added to the mix, with Edward Snowden’s revelations about digital surveillance.”

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The emperor of “disruption theory” is wearing no clothes — A lot of reaction this week to a New Yorker piece by Jill Lepore criticizing some of the core principles guiding Silicon Valley, this is one of the latest. “It’s possible to be critical of the way Silicon Valley is agitating for regulatory reform that is designed to nurture Silicon Valley business models without being ‘anti-technology.’ It’s possible to explore the question of how the current pace of technological innovation is affecting jobs and inequality without being anti-technology. It is possible to be critical of how, in the current moment, technology appears to be serving the interest of the owners of capital at the expense of workers without being anti-technology. It’s even possible to love one’s smartphone and the Internet while at the same time critiquing run-amok ‘change the world’ hype.”

The Walking Dead producer criticises Game of Thrones executive over piracy — “‘When consumers do go [onto pirate websites] they look legitimate,’ she said. ‘They have advertising from well-known brands, and they take credit cards. How would the consumer know the difference between legitimate sites and illegitimate sites? There is a lot the advertising industry, credit card industry and search industry can do to help protect legit content.’”

Congress moves against ad-supported piracy — Writer and director Alec Berg (Seinfeld”, “Curb Your Enthusiasm”, “Silicon Valley.”) applauds recent efforts in Congress to draw more attention to the fact that major brands advertising on sites offering unauthorized creative works. “These major brands can avoid funding illegal activity. They can. The question is: Will they?”

Copyright exhaustion does not apply to digital goods other than software, Hamm Court of Appeal says — Good news for creators, as a court in Germany declined to extend the 2012 UsedSoft decision, which held that the distribution right for software can be exhausted by digital transmission under certain circumstances, to subject matter beyond software — here, audiobooks.

Google ordered by BC court to block websites selling pirated goods: Equustek Solutions Inc. v. Jack — Another positive decision, this one from Canada. As attorney Barry Sookman explains, plaintiffs won a default judgment against a website that was selling counterfeit goods and asked Google to help. “When Google refused to de-index the offending websites from its search results, the plaintiffs brought a motion against Google for interim relief requiring Google to de-index the websites. Over Google’s objections, in Equustek Solutions Inc. v. Jack 2014 BCSC 1063, Madam Justice Fenlon of the British Columbia Supreme Court granted the injunction.”

AJ Rafael Announces Hiatus from Performing [Exclusive Letter] — That didn’t take long. This week, a YouTube artists announced he is retiring, citing the difficulties for creators to sustain a career distributing and promoting their work through the free online video site.

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If one supposes that information storage and retrieval systems are not now and are not likely to become commonplace during our lifetime, then we may leave the resolution of the rights of a copyright proprietor in respect of computer usage as a legacy to future generations.

But in doing so, would we not be creating another jukebox exemption, this time one of even greater consequences to the world of private authorship and private commercial publishing?

The hard, inexorable facts are, that information storage and retrieval systems do exist and are increasing numerically as well as in the scope of their uses.

Testimony of Bella L. Linden (American Textbook Publishers Institute), Copyright Law Revision, Hearings Before Subcommittee No. 3 of the Committee on the Judiciary, House of Representatives, Eighty-Ninth Congress, First Session on H.R. 4347, H.R. 5680, H.R. 6831, H.R. 6835, at 1429 (June 30, 1965), available at HathiTrust.

Seriously, What if Music Streaming Doesn’t Work Out? (via CultureCrash) — “Not one of the music streaming companies has made a profit yet, not one. Most are involved in corporate growth quarterly suicide, driven by large sums of VC money, or public pressure to return shareholder value. That’s fine, but that’s no way to nurture a creative company. I wish them all well, but honestly, that doesn’t seem like a good situation for the industry or consumer, maybe the VCs and shareholders, and money managers, but not us.”

Why online tracking is getting creepier — “Tracking people using their real names—often called ‘onboarding’—is a hot trend in Silicon Valley. In 2012, ProPublica documented how political campaigns used onboarding to bombard voters with ads based on their party affiliation and donor history. Since then, Twitter and Facebook have both started offering onboarding services allowing advertisers to find their customers online.”

Lack of Registry is No Excuse for Bad Royalty Accounting to Artists: The Return of the Magic Thingy — From The Trichordist: “This ‘if we just had a good database’ dodge has been a frequent feature of Internet lore for quite a while.”

“My Data Belongs To Me”: Returning Online Control To Consumers — “Data protection has not been successful in guaranteeing against misuse, claims Bruck. He proposes instead a human rights approach to data, where the ‘issue is not protection, but rights, not safeguarding, but property ownership.’ … ‘If you wish to use my data, get my permission. And then make transparent what uses you are taking,’ he said.”

The Illusion of Free Stuff — David Newhoff: “We’re seeing a trend of popular artists take gigs to perform for sponsorships, corporate events, or private parties for wealthy individuals; and this move toward patronage by the elite is a direct response to the fact that we the people are no longer a source of revenue.”

Shannon Hurley: “We Must Respect and Value Songwriters” — Indie songwriter Hurley on the inequities her and other songwriters currently face under the current licensing regime.

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Lessons from the ‘right to be forgotten’ — “I’m surprised at how many technology lawyers in the U.S. are alarmed at this decision. Many seem to believe that it represents a fundamental break in the EU from American models of free speech. But in fact, we in the U.S. have long had to try to balance privacy and free-speech concerns. The Fair Credit Reporting Act, for example, balances credit-reporting agencies’ right to speak about our pasts with our right to ensure that the report is accurate, and also to keep certain things off the report once a certain amount of time has elapsed. The Spanish case [that led to the European Court of Justice's decision] involved a credit problem that persisted for over 10 years, which is the cut-off for a bankruptcy report to appear on a U.S. credit report.”

Let’s not turn the clock back on internet video — “Unlike with the physical ownership model, you don’t need to plan in advance, take all the content you might want to watch with you when you travel, or worry about forgetting to bring it. Moreover, if you lose or break physical copies of content you own, you will need to pay to replace them. You can’t lose or break Internet content, and if you lose or break your device, many services will reload the content for free.”

Online pirates thrive on legitimate ad dollars — “Content thieves attract visitors with the promise of free downloads and streams of the latest hit movies, TV shows and songs. Then they profit by pulling in advertising from around the Internet, often concealing their illicit activities so advertising brands remain unaware. Pirate websites run ads that are sometimes covered up by other graphics. They automatically launch legitimate-looking websites as pop-up windows that advertisers don’t realize are associated with piracy. At the end of the day, the pirate website operators still receive a check for serving up a number of views and clicks.”

T Bone Burnett’s plea: The piper must be paid — “Music is uniquely durable and, as a result, has for centuries been the medium through which knowledge and insights are passed from generation to generation. Fans can still hear the work of America’s musical pioneers, thanks to online and mobile services. Through downloads and streams and services such as Pandora and Sirius XM Radio, these giants’ recordings continue to captivate and influence young musicians, singers, songwriters and producers. Yet some of these same companies have made the decision to devalue the music of these artists for their own profit by not paying for it.”

Ginsburg on Fair Use & “Permitted but Paid” Use — The esteemed Jane Ginsburg has a new article proposing a middle ground between the currently binary outcomes of fair use. She suggests distinguishing between new distributions and new works, with the latter subject to the traditional fair use analysis and the former subject to “permitted-but-paid” statutory exceptions.

Negotiating Film and Video Content Distribution Agreements in the Digital Age — CDAS attorney Simon Pulman has a helpful guide for filmmakers seeking distribution deals for their works.

Doonesbury — “Don’t be Google.”

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We Need to Talk About Aereo: Copyright-Avoiding Business Models, Cloud Storage and a Principled Reading of the “Transmit” Clause — Rebecca Giblin and Jane Ginsburg look at Aereo and the Transmit Clause in detail, presenting two possible interpretations that provide a principled approach that is not technologically determinative.

Your Newfangled Media Algorithms are Bullshit — “I love the idea of a new world of media that exists solely on the Internet. And I really, really want to be part of it. But I also want to pay my rent and feed my cat.”

Oliar, Pattison, & Powell on Copyright Registrations — “Using an original data set containing all 2.3 million registrations from 2008 to 2012, we provide a snapshot of current patterns of registration. We describe who is registering what, where, when, and why. Our main findings include the types of work being registered, how the registrations of individuals and firms differ, when works are being registered relative to their date of creation and date of publication, the age distribution of authors in different creative fields, and the geographic distribution and concentration of registration claimants.”

Bots and ‘Drone Pools’: The Deep Bag of Tricks in Video-Ad Fraud — The online ad market is dysfunctional. “Wenda Harris Millard, president and COO of the ad consultancy Medialink, estimates that as much as 25% of online ad revenue is wasted on fraud and piracy. Similarly, a February report from audience-research firm comScore found that 36% of online ad impressions, or views, are generated by nonhumans.”

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Strong copyright law supports journalism and informed communities — Caroline Little writes about the fundamental importance of journalism to democracy and how aggregators undermine the ability to gather and analyze news. “Newspapers’ concern in this area is not the personal use of newspaper-generated content but rather its use by businesses that benefit financially through the unlicensed monetization of that content. By taking newspaper content without paying for it, these companies undercut the fundamental economic model that supports journalism that is so important to our communities.”

The film and television industry is a nationwide network of small businesses — An infographic of the involvement of small businesses in the film industry in honor of National Small Business Week (which was actually last week). According to the chart, 85% of the 108,000 businesses comprising the industry employ fewer than 10 people.

“A Personal Hit on Me” — A (short) video from PBS Frontline about a journalist who discovers that the NSA was piggybacking off one of Google’s tracking cookies, highlighting the dangers of commercial monitoring. Google’s response was to try to discredit the journalist.

A fair deal for authors — “Like us all, authors have to put food on the table and pay bills. However, in an increasingly digitized market and amid expectations, in some quarters, that all content should be free, it is a struggle for many authors to support themselves and to finance their creative endeavors. The official launch of the International Authors Forum (IAF), a new organization representing authors (writers and visual artists) globally, took place at WIPO in December 2013.”

YouTube Threat To Indies Over New ServiceThe Quietus reports, “Website allegedly moving to block labels’ videos unless they sign up to new streaming service”; or, Google wants to break the internet. More on this dispute and Google’s strong-arm tactics at Billboard.

There’s no such thing as used digital media — Great piece from David Newhoff, who writes, “This notion of ‘used’ digital media is just one way in which technological opportunists can be disingenuous when it comes offering up what sound like market-based theories. They want the luxury of cherry picking from both the past and the present as suits their purposes. In reality, though, these ideas don’t come from particularly innovative technologists, but rather from standard-issue middlemen looking to exploit a consumer-serving limitation on copyrights to siphon value from creators and line their own pockets.”

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EFF’s Misleading Criticism is a Wasted Opportunity to Contribute to the Discussion on How to Reduce Online Piracy — “In its quest to vehemently condemn creative attempts to address piracy, EFF not only makes unfounded and misleading criticisms. EFF also misses the opportunity to make constructive, collaborative suggestions to reduce piracy – a goal we all agree on.”

A Bitcoin for Digital Art — Many dismiss bitcoin and other digital currencies as a sham or a fad. But the technology underlying the currency may have broad applications, including applications for visual and other creators, that are only now being explored. A thought-provoking piece that looks at some of those potential applications.

Refresher Q&A on Oracle v. Google after appellate ruling: this copyright case is NOT about $1 billion — FOSS Patents takes a look at some of the details from last week’s important Federal Circuit decision holding Google liable for infringing Oracle’s Java platform.

Is it really a tech bubble, or is it something else? — “We live in crazy times — that is true — and things have gotten crazier, but it still doesn’t feel like the turn of the century. Last week, another former colleague from Red Herring brought up the topic and wondered how different things are now versus the 1999-2000 madness. And then he answered the question himself: 1999 had a gold rush mentality, a sense of broader mania. This time around you see more of a gross entitlement; and that’s what is different about the Bay Area.”

Mapping The International Availability of Entertainment Services — Cool maps, bro.

The joy of telling people how much money you make — Indie musician Nicole Dieker shares her experience with providing her fans with information about how much she makes through her music career. She observes, for example, that “One of the subtle assumptions of independent musicianry is the idea that once you go full-time, you somehow make a full-time income as a musician.”

Menell on Copyright’s “Making Available” Right — Legal Theory Blog points to Peter Menell’s latest, which responds to recent rebuttals of his earlier work that showed the legislative history of the 1976 Act supported the idea that US Copyright law provides for a general right of “making available.”

Google, don’t be secretive — “Now that these little garage businesses are some of the biggest companies in the world, it’s a whole lot harder for them to exhibit the qualities that once made them the darlings of the culture and counterculture alike. Yes, digital companies are being held to a higher standard than companies of previous generations. But this is largely because we all understand that they are building the infrastructure in which our economics, culture and perhaps even a whole lot of human consciousness will take place.”

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The Story “Transcendence” Didn’t Tell — Another great piece from David Newhoff. “I defend copyrights for the same reason I’m uncomfortable with drone warfare and don’t want to see autonomous weapons, even if they might make my own kid’s future job in the Navy less hazardous. Copyrights, I believe, are merely one way in which we affirm that humans maintain dominion over their technology. When we reduce our intimate thoughts, ideas, and creative expressions to the banality of data, we take a step closer toward abdicating that authority.”

Comparative Study Of National Approaches To Internet Intermediary Liability — IP Watch discusses findings of a recent paper, presented at an April 30 side event to the WIPO Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights which examined how 30 different jurisdictions handle the liability of internet intermediaries for infringement occurring on their systems.

Making Amends: China Music Copyright Law Primer — Professor Eric Priest provides an excellent intro to copyright law and policy in China.

Fearing Google — Bruce Schneier points to Mathias Döpfner’s open letter to Google and collects several reactions about concerns over the internet giant’s growing dominance.

Ti West On Why Piracy Hurts Indie Film (and It’s Not All About The Money) — “The independent film world is a fragile ecosystem. It allows for unique experiences and challenging stories to be told by bold filmmakers in adventurous and often unproven ways. Studio films do not take the same risks. But this adventurousness, this ability to surprise us, is why we love indie movies. By supporting this ecosystem, we are supporting the possibility of original, rewarding experiences that would otherwise go unnoticed.”

More Ad Dollars Flow to Pirated Video — The Wall Street Journal reports, “Sites brimming with pirated movies and television shows are being supported, inadvertently, by major marketers that buy ad space on them. Thanks to the rise of automated ad-buying technologies, more ad dollars are flowing to sites with stolen copyrighted content than ever before, ad executives say. Who should do the policing is a matter of debate in the industry.”

Dropbox disables old shared links after tax returns end up on Google — There are many reasons why one needs to be careful about what one is making available online as more and more of our dealings shift toward the cloud, as this story demonstrates. “IntraLinks said that ‘During a routine analysis of Google AdWords and Google Analytics data mentioning competitors’ names (Dropbox and Box), we inadvertently discovered the fully clickable URLs necessary to access these documents that led us to live folder contents, some with sensitive data. Through these links, we gained access to confidential files including tax returns, bank records, mortgage applications, blueprints and business plans—all highly sensitive information, some perhaps sufficient for identity theft and other crimes.’”

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