Copyright Works: Professional Authors Tell It as It Is — Read the personal experiences of authors from South Africa, Sudan, Panama, Canada, Australia, Malawi, and India in this booklet from the International Authors Forum.

Sorry slacktivists: The Man is shredding your robo responses — Orlowski: “The EU this week binned thousands of responses to a copyright consultation generated by a Canadian lobbying group OpenMedia, a groupuscule funded by Canada’s technology industry. In December, OpenMedia declared that the European Commission was going to “copyright the hyperlink” and urged people to submit a roboform to “Save The Link”. Scared out of their wits, 75,000 people did just that. The problem was that the scare was entirely bogus. Even academics hostile to copyright declared that the EU wasn’t proposing anything of the sort. The protections safeguarding publishers large and small would remain intact.”

FilmOn X Not Entitled To Cable License, Broadcasters Tell Appellate Court — Last week, broadcasters filed a brief in the Ninth Circuit arguing that the Copyright Act’s compulsory cable license does not apply to internet retransmissions. On Wednesday, they were joined in support by a number of amici, including the Copyright Alliance, the International Center for Law & Economics and the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the National Association of Broadcasters, and the Washington Legal Foundation.

Bestselling Authors and Rights Organizations Support Authors Guild in Asking Supreme Court to Review Authors Guild v. Google Ruling — Amicus briefs supporting the Authors Guild cert petition also rolled in this week. The Authors Guild collects seven of them from a broad group of individuals and organizations.

Authors Guild v Google: The Fair Use Transformed — Speaking of the Authors Guild petition, be sure to check out my article at the Copyright Alliance site explaining why the Copyright Alliance filed an amicus brief supporting Supreme Court review.

Attacking the Notice-and-Takedown Strawman — Devlin Hartline makes a sharp observation regarding criticisms of certain proposals to improve the DMCA notice and takedown process, “supporters of notice-and-staydown today are actually advocating for what the EFF recognized to be reasonable over eight years ago.”

White Paper on Remixes, First Sale, and Statutory Damages — The Department of Commerce’s Internet Policy Task Force, led by the USPTO and NTIA, released its anticipated White Paper on copyright policy yesterday, highlighting a number of recommendations regarding the legal framework for remixes, first sale in the digital environment, and statutory damages.

The High Price of Free — The focus of this article is on web developers, but many of the points are relevant to other creative disciplines. “We know that not paying speakers and not covering speaker expenses causes events to become less diverse. The ability to give time, energy and professional skills free of charge is a privilege. It is a privilege that not everyone has to begin with, but that we can also lose as our responsibilities increase or as we start to lose the youthful ability to pull all-nighters. Perhaps we begin to realize how much that free work is taking us away from our families, friends, and hobbies; away from work that might improve our situation and enable us to save for the future.”

Some Pirate Sites Have Little Respect for their Users — Torrentfreak: “It’s a bitter pill but it needs to be said. While there are thousands that don’t, there are large numbers of pirate sites that fall way below the standards those who pay their bills deserve. Why some site operators sink to these levels isn’t always clear, but aggressive redirects, misleading advertising, fake virus warnings and malware are always unacceptable.”

Cosplay, Copyright and Fair Use — “Despite Public Knowledge’s attempt to have cosplayers believe otherwise (and support them and Star Athletica), cosplayers are not going to feel the brunt of any decision the Supreme Court makes on the designs of cheerleading uniforms. The highest court of the land is not ‘quite literally deciding the test by which the legal status of cosplay will be judged.'”

Torrenting the Oscars 2016 — John August, on a piracy group’s “apology-slash-justification” following a leak of 15 Oscar screeners: “So by leaking the movie before it was released, then backtracking, they’re pretty sure Miramax will make its money back because imaginary math is magic.”

A Primer on Oscar’s Sound Editing and Mixing Categories — Speaking of the upcoming Oscars (February 28), Variety explains two of the categories: sound editing and sound mixing. Contrary to common misconceptions, the former involves editing sounds while the latter involves mixing sounds.

Penguin Random House Ebooks Now Licensed for Perpetual Access — Robert C. Maier, a member of the American Library Association’s Digital Content Working Group, has this to say about the benefits of licensing, “Though we were in shock when HarperCollins instituted its 26-loan limit in 2011, that rental model is now recognized as an attractive alternative to high-priced perpetual access. At this point, the ideal arrangement would be the ability to license any title for perpetual access and to license the same title for a set number of circulations or a set time period, combining the library’s need to build its collection and to meet current popular demand.”

Endless Whack-A-Mole: Why Notice-and-Staydown Just Makes Sense — “A quick search of YouTube today shows that The Hateful Eight, which is still in theaters, is legitimately available for pre-order and is illicitly available to be streamed right now. One wonders why YouTube chooses to compete with itself, especially when it has the tool to prevent such unfair competition.”

It’s Wikipedia mythbuster time: 8 of the best on your 15th birthday — Here’s number 6: “But isn’t Wikipedia all about the democratisation of knowledge, and diversity? No, actually. Wikipedia, being a free resource, holds an inherent price advantage. It has no real competitors. As academic Heather Ford points out, ‘rather than this leading to an increase in the diversity of knowledge and the democratisation of expertise, the result has actually been greater consolidation in the number of knowledge sources considered authoritative.'”

Photographer Sues Twitter for Not Removing Photos Despite DMCA Requests — “The DMCA’s ‘Safe Harbor’ provision protects Internet companies from being responsible for the copyright infringements of their users, but only if they promptly and adequately respond to DMCA take down requests. If a company fails to honor DMCA requests, they could be held liable. Reilly says that’s what happened in this case. ‘Twitter had actual knowledge of the Infringing Uses,’ the lawsuit states. ‘Reilly provided notice to Twitter in compliance with the DMCA, and Twitter failed to expeditiously disable access to or remove the Infringing Uses.'”

No, Piracy Is Not the Sincerest Form of Flattery — Robert Atkinson observes, “while most people would recognize an uptick in criminal activity as a problem, perennial piracy apologists defiantly insist, against logic and evidence, that this is a sign of good fortune for Hollywood.”

On Piracy and Promotion — David Newhoff unpacks the numerous fallacies and inconsistencies contained in the argument that piracy is good promotion for creative works.

Piracy apologists’ convenient lie (of omission) that Hollywood profits means piracy doesn’t matter — On that same topic, Vox Indie’s Ellen Seidler looks at the canard that a rise in box office revenues proves that piracy doesn’t matter. For example, says Seidler, one of the effects of piracy is that fewer films are being made. “The Hollywood films that are being made are those that are sure bets to overcome digital theft and still make money. In 2015, the top 5 films made 20% of the revenue.”

Judge Allows Graffiti Artist’s Lawsuit Over Katy Perry’s Met Gala Dress — Over in the courts, a California judge denied a motion to dismiss a claim against the designer of a dress worn by Katy Perry that allegedly copied a design from street artist Rime. Among the claims that survived is one for copyright infringement and one for removal of copyright management information.

Twitter sued for copyright infringement & for ignoring DMCA takedown requests — A photographer has sued Twitter after the service failed to remove 50 of the 56 allegedly infringing works identified in DMCA takedown notices that were sent.

Why Music Makers Are the Real American Innovators — Musician Blake Morgan pens this stirring call to arms. “We know all about American innovation. Rock & Roll is an American innovation. Hip-Hop is an American innovation. Jazz is an American innovation. Blues, Country, Gospel, Bluegrass, each of these — and so many others — are distinct American innovations. Music is one of the things America still makes that the world still wants. The people who make that music should be paid fairly for their work.”

Why we fear Google — In this open letter to Eric Schmidt, Mathias Döpfner, CEO of Axel Springer SE, explains why Google’s global monopoly on user data and behavior is so chilling.

Major piracy group warns games may be crack-proof in two years — Reports from a number of groups who devote their time to circumventing copying restrictions on newly released games show that the task is getting more and more difficult. This underscores the importance of anti-circumvention laws to the software industry.

Richard Russo on Authors Guild v. Google — On December 31, the Authors Guild filed a petition to the Supreme Court, asking it to review the Second Circuit’s decision involving the Google Books Project. Here, author Richard Russo shares his thoughts. “It’s completely disingenuous for [Google] to argue that their behavior is selfless when it leads directly to an improved bottom line and increases their value as a corporation. When libraries loan books, the democracy benefits, not the library. Google may be larger than many public institutions and wealthier than some nations, but that doesn’t mean they are acting in the public interest simply because they claim to be and can demonstrate some benefit to the public sector.”

Industry efforts to fight digital piracy complement government action — “While these voluntary efforts have been largely successful, more can be done. For example, the private sector still needs a stronger framework for payment processors to cut off pirate sites from their payment networks. And Internet domain name registrars, together with content creators and others, should come together to develop better methods for enforcing terms of service that prohibit criminal groups from using websites that promote the theft of digital content. Finally, the private sector should continue to improve industry efforts to demote search results that involve piracy.”

Why Canada has nothing to fear over TPP and Intellectual Property — Canadian attorney Barry Sookman responds to critics of the intellectual property provisions in the recently concluded Trans-Pacific Partnership. The twelve nations making up the TPP hope to sign the deal in early February.

TPP, copyright, e-commerce and digital policy: a reply to Michael Geist — Barry Sookman: “Geist likes to use the emotionally super-charged metaphor of content being “locked up” or “locked down” because of copyright to garner maximum visceral reaction for his claim. It sounds from listening to him like all works that were scheduled to fall into the public domain will immediately be made inaccessible by being pulled from stores and libraries and be buried as radioactive waste at the Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository, or some similar facility.”

Goodbye “Incentive.” We Hardly Knew Ye. — John Degen: “Copyright protected works can be remarkably valuable. That value is a form of property, and we extend copyright terms past the death of the author in order to allow the author to leave said value to her heirs. If incentive comes into play at all in extended copyright terms, the incentive acts upon the living author to create yet more valuable property that can then be protected in her estate.”

Photographer Profile – Yunghi Kim: “I wanted to protect myself. And I wanted to empower other photographers” — “Kim’s holiday gift to photography underscores her commitment to the profession, but, moreover, her belief that there is a place in photography’s future for traditional notions of professionalism — for both intellectual property rights and creative ownership that places inherent value on work. ‘We’re not so helpless when it comes to all this,’ Kim says. ‘That’s the whole message behind the grants.'”

Music Publisher Gets $25 Million Jury Verdict Against Cox in Trailblazing Piracy Case — Following last month’s ruling that the ISP’s failure to reasonably implement a repeat-infringer policy, a jury found Cox liable for contributory infringement, awarding damages for willful infringement of nearly 1400 songs by its users.

Copyright Office Lays Out Technology Upgrade Plan, Pushes for Tech and Data Workers — “Pallante said the office would like to eventually ‘morph’ about a third of its employees (about 150 workers), into tech and data experts. ‘These experts should not merely be assigned or on-call from another part of the agency, but rather be integrated into the copyright office mission where they can work side by side with legal and business experts,’ Pallante said.”

Protecting artists from streaming piracy benefits creativity and technology — Although a viewer’s experience is essentially the same whether they download or stream a copyrighted work from a site, the potential criminal penalties for an infringing service vary widely based on this distinction. Here, CPIP’s Devlin Hartline and Matt Barblan argue that the distinction no longer makes sense, and Congress should harmonize copyright’s criminal penalties to better address wide-scale, online commercial infringement.

Streaming Now Consumes 70 Percent of Internet Bandwidth — Underscoring the above point, a new study shows that streaming has overtaken downloading—and, indeed, all other uses—in terms of consumption of internet bandwidth. Paul Resnikoff also observes that Netflix alone has grabbed an impressive 37.1% of bandwidth in North America using a paid-only model, which”raises some serious questions about Spotify’s ‘freemium’ approach.”

U.S. Copyright Office Deserves 21st Century Upgrade — “The Copyright Office’s administration of the law helps to support an industry that adds over $1 trillion to the U.S. economy every year. But it is currently subservient to the Library’s discretion, not just on IT, but budget, human resources, and every essential aspect of its operation. The result is that the systems of the Copyright Office are woefully outdated; stakeholders and policymakers unanimously agree that the Copyright Office must modernize. Congress has a perfect opportunity to give the Copyright Office the autonomy it needs to modernize according to its vision and the demands of its customers to better serve the American people and industry. That opportunity should not be missed.”

Facebook Stole My Work and All I Got Was This Hangover — A new cohort of creators have found success taking advantage of the opportunities provided by internet native platforms like YouTube to reach new audiences. But, unfortunately, they have not been immune to the harm of piracy that established media like film and television have long faced. Here, Ruth Vitale discusses the emerging problem of “freebooting”, where videos are ripped from one site, like YouTube, and reposted on another site, like Facebook, without permission or credit.

Downloading free stuff online comes with a cost – Malware — Ellen Seidler reports on a new study by Digital Citizens Alliance which shows that infringing sites pose an increased risk to consumers of being exposed to malware. As the study points out, many sites, in fact, make money primarily through the distribution of all forms of malware and use stolen content merely as bait to lure unwitting users to the site.

Finn on Deontological Justifications of Intellectual Property — Very broadly speaking, IP is justified on two grounds: effects-based, or consequentialist grounds, and rights-based, or deontological grounds. A recent Mark Lemley article attempted to argue that deontological justifications are illegitimate. Here, Finn responds that Lemley’s arguments are based on logical fallacies.

CPIP Publishes White Paper on Copyright Principles and Priorities to Foster a Creative Digital Marketplace — The Center for Protection of Intellectual Property’s white paper lays out principles that Congress should consider as it continues its review of copyright law as well as a number of priorities it should focus on. The paper is available here (PDF).

YouTube wants to compete with Netflix, seeks movie and TV show deals — But not user-generated content.

This Photographer is Paying it Forward with $10,000 from Copyright Infringers — “Yunghi Kim, a decorated photojournalist and 20 year member of Contact Press Images, is bringing more than turkey to Thanksgiving this year: she’s donating $10,000 to create ten one-time grants of $1,000 with money that she has received ‘from fees recovered from unauthorized use of my work.'”

Op-ed: John Degen on copyright and the authorship of Anne Frank — Degen responds to “what really should be a non-story”: a recent attempt by the Swiss foundation that holds the copyright in The Diary of Anne Frank to extend the duration of protection in the work, which caused a good deal of consternation among copyright skeptics. Degen explains why this is not a “terrible injustice.”

How YouTube Pays Artists by East Bay Ray — The Dead Kennedys co-founder writes, “YouTube is taking almost twice the “old evil” music companies’ cut, for basically doing no more than hosting on a server…  And if you leave it, the businessmen at Google still make big money because they do not have to get your consent to ‘monetize’ anyone’s files. Or photos. Or life. Yes anyone, including you. There’s a loophole in the law. That can be corrected.”

The Return of “In-Camera” Effects in Krampus & The Force Awakens — While not necessarily inferior to CGI effects, some filmmakers and fans do hold a particular reverence for practical effects. The Credits highlights two upcoming films that make heavy use of such effects.

Google’s DMCA Publicity Stunt — “A ‘game changer?’ Not even close. This new program really changes nothing since you can count on one hand the people who might benefit from it. The new policy is really nothing more than a publicity stunt, designed to encourage more people to upload to YouTube videos of dubious legality, while at the same time acting as an intimidation tactic to discourage the filing of valid takedown notices. Google takes this action for one reason only: to protect its bottom line.”

Industry-Wide Survey Reveals 67% of Professional Photographers Are Affected by Unauthorized Use of Photos — “According to a recent industry survey by Professional Photographers of America (PPA) on the prevalence and impact of copyright infringement among professional photographers, 67% of the nearly 2,000 respondents said they have had photographs used without their permission. Of that group, more than half estimate unauthorized uses of their images totaled five or more in the past five years.”

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2‘s Production Designer on Creating the Capitol — A look at the efforts that went into translating the scenes from the book into physical sets for the final installment of the Hunger Games series.

Google’s continued do-si-do around its piracy pledge — Ellen Seidler: “Google pretends to be working on its piracy problem, but when you drill down it’s clear that the tech giant is doing everything it can to avoid taking action or responsibility. I hope those House members who sat and listened to Mr. von Lohmann will not take him at his word, but instead, examine actual facts. Google still has a very long way to go when it comes to fighting piracy.”

YouTube to Pay Fees for Some Video Makers to Fight Takedowns — The most powerful company on the planet says it may offer help to as many as four of its users.

‘All You Need to Know About the Music Business’ Author Donald Passman on ‘Freemium’, New Realities — Highlights from the latest edition of the guidebook to the music industry, with thoughts on the vinyl boom, consent decrees, and freemium.

Previously on Copyhype — On Wednesday, both parties in Fox News v. TVEyes told the court they intended to appeal the case to the Second Circuit. Fox News is appealing the court’s September 9, 2014 order, which I wrote about in Fox News v TVEyes: Fair Use Transformed.

Judge Restricts Sharing of Fox News Clips Through Email and Social Media — Following an extraordinarily broad fair use decision last year and a second, narrower fair use decision last summer, Judge Hellerstein this week ordered a somewhat surprisingly broad permanent injunction against news clipping service TVEyes, which had been sued by Fox News for copyright infringement. The injunction prohibits: “Enabling users to download to their own computers video clips of content telecast on the Fox News Channel or Fox Business Network. Enabling users to view FNC or FBN content by searching by date, time and channel. Enabling users from sharing video clips of FNC or FBN content on social media websites rather than by personally directed emails, with further limitations.”

FilmOn Can’t Use Compulsory Copyright License, Judge Says — The Aereo clone won a victory in a California court last July when a judge ruled that it could qualify for a cable compulsory license under the Copyright Act. But this week, in parallel litigation, a DC court judge ruled the opposite. The sealed ruling sets up a potential circuit split on the interpretation of 17 USC § 111.

Music piracy, copyrights and royalties in Ivory Coast — Music Africa reports: “Piracy does not only stifle distribution houses and producers. The entire chain of the music industry is affected. Recording studios no longer generate income, since there are very few albums produced. Musicians are given no contracts to sign. Graphic designers who make the covers of CDs and especially the Ivorian Office for Copyright (BURIDA) are all experiencing the downfall. Since 2006, for example, according to BURIDA figures, the number of musical registrations fell from 870 000 to 320 000.”

Google-chaired think tank says Google’s No.1 for digital rights — Orlowski: “Just fancy that! A Washington think tank chaired by Eric Schmidt, Alphabet Inc’s executive chairman, has given Alphabet Inc. an award for ‘protecting your digital rights’.”