By , March 11, 2011.

A Blogging Hiatus — Ben Sheffner has put his site, Copyrights and Campaigns, on hiatus after his recent move from NBC Universal to Content Protection Counsel at the MPAA. Since the end of 2008, Ben has brought solid, in-depth reporting and analysis on copyright issues from a reasonable, pro-copyright-owner perspective. His voice will be missed in the blogosphere.

Stuck on Rewind — The Copyright Alliance takes aim at a remark by Public Knowledge about the film industry’s supposed fear of technology. As the Alliance’s Sandra Aistars responds: “Seriously? The notion that the creative world is somehow afraid of, opposed to or otherwise unable to co-exist with a 21st Century technology world is about as up-to-date as the Betamax recorder.”

Copyright PSA for the Reel Challenge via Ray Dowd’s Copyright Litigation Blog. More from the filmmakers behind the video at


Golan v. Holder: Supreme Court to Review Copyrighting Works in Public Domain — Edward Lee (a former professor of mine) shares some thoughts on the case he helped bring which was recently granted cert by the Supreme Court. I wrote a brief summary of the case last week.

Are Canada’s copyright laws friendly or unfriendly towards wealth destroyers according to Prof. Geist? — Barry Sookman thoroughly examines the inconsistent and contradictory claims of law professor Michael Geist concerning litigation between the CRIA and IsoHunt. Worth a read, especially since many of Geist’s copyright claims are repeated as gospel among copyright critics.

Isaac Newton’s Shamefully Unpublished Calculus Book — I’m currently reading a book on the history of mathematics and came across this gem of an article from the mid-90s. For over a decade, we’ve heard of how computers and the internet will free artists from the evils of book publishers (or record labels, or film studios, etc). Much of the talk is hype, but sometimes, as this article demonstrates, things are just flat-out made up.


  1. Barry Sookman’s piece on Michael Geist is great. Nice find, thanks!

  2. I find Mr. Lee’s (and that of many others) attempting to associate materials for which copyright has lapsed as comprising “public property” to be a fundamental distortion of property law in general.

    A hallmark of the social construct known as “property” is the right to exclude. Thus, I find it difficult to accept as a general proposition that the absense of a right to exclude can likewise be characterized as “property” in the context of copyright.

    Obviously, it is possible that the “public at large” is capable of owning property (e.g., the transfer of fee title to land underlying a right-of-way”), but this is a far cry from what is involved under our copyright laws.

  3. The PSA was boring, until the end when it put up the message about the poor artists.

    I wonder how much the artists get compared to the Sonys and Warner Brothers of the world?

    It makes the whole message less genuine.

    Just Wonderin’,

  4. I’m finding Sandra Aistars argument seems not to follow what Public Knowledge is saying in their statement. PK is talking about distribution to meet the needs of the consumers.

    Aistars is discussing selective discrimination based on what the artist supposedly needs.

    To say nothing of the myriad other creative industries who license and use technology to distribute copyrighted works, including recorded music, books, news media – even sheet music publishing.

    This is rather disingenuous since people have automatic copyright upon creation of a work, not saying anything about different licensing schemes that people use to spread those works. It’s basically a comment about how pizza is great but you forget to put in tomato sauce which changes everything.

    The last paragraph is rather chuckle inducing:
    ““Such groups seem to reflexively label every step taken by copyright owners against online theft as a mortal threat to the Internet; continually predict dire outcomes if the arguments of copyright owners and creators prevail; support enforcement strategies in the abstract, only to attack them as soon as they are deployed; stoutly defend technologies that are widely used to steal copyrighted materials, while attacking technologies that could be used to defend copyright; predictably oppose virtually all proposals for better or more efficient copyright law enforcement; and sometimes even encourage intermediaries to follow a path of ‘plausible deniability,’ instead of constructive cooperation, about online copyright theft.”

    A meaningful and relevant discussion must be rooted in present-day realities, not decades-old rhetoric.”

    1) It’s not artists going out to sue possible customers for links to websites, for domain seizures, nor forcing expensive lawsuits through the judicial system for $1 trillion dollars for inducement.

    2) See 1 regarding domain seizures.

    3) distribution := stealing – When the movie industry continues to make profit hand over fist in theater distribution it hurts their argument greatly. It also hurts their argument that even Warner Bros can figure out that pirates want content. They just have to find a way to make it happen without the litigious route.

    4) Let’s see, 1st Amendment rights along with 4th Amendment rights to privacy, vs an industry’s right to throw people under the bus for finding ways to find links at a cheaper price than those set…

    Here’s an even better idea, if law enforcement actually did things by the book, why are so many noting their ineffectiveness?

    The final point is that if you take all of these together, along with looking at their supposed “advancement”, this is really coming off as more a waste of time for the big guys who are fighting to try to control something short of a wave in the ocean.