By , June 17, 2011.

CREATE: Protecting Creativity from the Ground Up — On Wednesday, I had the pleasure of attending this event from Arts+Labs, which brought together creators, content and technology professionals, elected officials, and others to “examine the business and rights challenges facing creators in the digital era.” The Arts+Labs blog and YouTube channel has video of the panel discussions that are worth watching if you were unable to attend:  PROTECT – Current State and Future of Copyright, Counterfeiting, and Beyond, The Future of the Digital Economy, and A Conversation with the Creators.

StageIt — Evan Lowenstein (of Evan and Jaron) was one of the panelists on the Conversation with the Creators panel at CREATE on Wednesday. Lowenstein talked briefly about the company he launched last year, StageIt, which he described as “a front row seat to a backstage experience.” The service allows artists to give intimate performances in front of their computers and allows fans to interact with the artists via chat.

Why Selling E-books at 99 Cents Destroys Minds— Open Letter Books publisher Chad Post discusses e-books and pricing, and why his nonprofit publishing house decided to offer its books in digital format at $4.99. On the current popularity of 99 cent e-books, Post explains, “Now, you pay what you would pay for an app and dump it after you’re done. And why not? Those ‘expensive’ books are a lot of work. As someone devoted to literary culture, this scares the crap out of me.”

Behind the music: Illegal downloads are an ‘economic issue in ideological drag’ — The Guardian reports on this past weeks’ World Copyright Summit held in Brussels. “A few eyebrows were raised when it turned out Google had sent a representative to make a presentation at said party, opening his speech with the words: ‘I’m not going to speak about copyright as I know nothing about it.’ He then proceeded to demonstrate a new project they were working on, digitising artwork from some of the world’s most prestigious museums.”

President of NMPA Calls for Blanket Licensing of Mechanical and Sync Rights — Also this week was the annual meeting of the National Music Publishers Association. Billboard reports on president David Israelite’s call to revisit the Section 115 Reform Act of 2006, which sought to address “the current unavailability of an efficient and reliable mechanism whereby legitimate music services are able to clear all of the rights they need to make large numbers of musical works quickly available by an ever-evolving number of digital means while ensuring that the copyright holders are fairly compensated.”

Copyright-Protected Assets in the National Accounts, Rachel Soloveichik and David Wasshausen — “The Board on Science, Technology, and Economic Policy of the National Research Council has created the Committee on the Impact of Copyright Policy on Innovation in the Digital Era in order to evaluate and propose how to expand and improve research on the impacts of copyright policy, particularly on innovation in the digital environment.” To that end, it has set up the Copyright Policy Research Forum to present draft papers and solicit feedback. This paper presents data from the past 70 years about the investment, prices, and costs of “long-lived artwork” like films, scripted television, and music that is interesting in and of itself. It also has yet to receive any feedback and could, I think, benefit from a close look at some of the assumptions used to calculate production costs of various types of works.

First Circuit Notes Split re: CopyrightAct Requires Written Agreement Before Creation of the Work — A “work made for hire” agreement must be in writing in order to be valid under the Copyright Act. But does the written agreement have to be made before a work is created? In TMTV v. Mass Productions, Nos. 09-1439, 09-1956 (June 13, 2011), the First Circuit noted that the circuit courts are split on this question.

Easy versus Right— Leslie Burns reviews Google’s new Image Search feature, which provides image owners the ability to search for infringing uses of their works, giving it a thumbs-down. Burns writes, “Sounds great–an easy way to find infringing uses of your work. Wonderful! Free! Huzzah! Except, it really isn’t free. You’ll pay for it, just as you do for all things Google. It’s just not so obvious as getting a bill every month.”

Gone Elvis— The Copyright Alliance reports on First Lady Michelle Obama’s recent talk at a meeting of Hollywood guilds where she urged creators to support military families by sharing their stories through film. “The wars are coming to a close, but the real work continues,” said Obama “I urge you to do what you do best: Be creative, funny, dramatic and move us.” The Copyright Alliance notes, “The role the First Lady has called on our community to play is a role that we act out every day.  Through their work, artists and creators inspire and inform, and give us a deeper, more personal understanding of the world around us.”

Swedish Copyright Reform Proves Ability to Deter — James Gannon notes the dramatic shift in Sweden’s willingness to protect the rights of creators. Though the country has long been known as somewhat of a haven for digital piracy websites, one of the largest BitTorrent trackers there recently announced it was shutting down, citing the increasing risks of operating outside the law.

The Adventures of the Statute of Anne in the Land of Unlimited Possibilities: The Life of a Legal Transplant (PDF) — Reader David pointed me to this article by law professor Oren Bracha, which traces the history of US copyright law. It looks at the similarities of substance and language between the Statute of Anne and the first US Copyright Act and offers several possible reasons for why the first Congress relied so heavily on England’s copyright law.


  1. e-books. Even the term sounds quaint at this point. Like MySpace or something…

    There are many people that never got over the dot-bomb bust in 2000. They’re easy to spot; they wander the web claiming all 20th century ways are ancient, outdated, and immaterial, even when reality demonstrates otherwise on a daily basis.

    Google thinks no one will ever develop a better search engine. Google is funny, aren’t they? And getting funnier by the week. I love dinosaurs. They’re so cute.

  2. Quite frankly, the entire notion of work for hire where an employer is automatically deemed by statute to be the author leave me high and dry, a point made only too clear in the recent Supreme Court decision relating to patents entitled Stanford v. Roche.

    Patents – constitutional imperative that it in the first instance rights vest in inventors, and transfer to a third party are via assignments.

    Copyrights – constitutional imperative that rights are to be secured to authors, and yet in employed authors are not really the authors by virtue of a statutory definition.

    I see no rational basis in logic and law that supports this remarkable difference in two bodies of law that are birthed form the very same constitutional provision.