How Piracy Can Hurt Consumers — One of the challenges copyright supporters face is that the effects of the law are long term and, given their subjective nature, difficult to measure. Here, researchers consider this challenge and compare the number of Academy Award winning films produced in different countries to see if there is a correlation with the rate of piracy within those countries. And indeed there is. “In Italy and Mexico, two countries in which piracy has strongly influenced demand, the number of awards decreased significantly from the pre-piracy to the post-piracy period, whereas in the U.K. and France, two countries in which piracy has had a smaller effect on demand, the number of awards won increased meaningfully.”
Website blocking proposal good policy — Barry Sookman analyzes a recent proposal in Canada that would provide that country’s telecommunications regulatory agency with authority to block websites engaged in infringement.
Federal Courts Not Empowered to Cancel Copyright Registrations — “[Plaintiff’s] Complaint raises two distinct issues: (1) the validity of [Defendant’s] registration; and (2) rightful ownership of the copyright. Although ‘copyright’ and ‘registration’ are sometimes treated as synonyms in common parlance, it is important to distinguish these two legal concepts. A copyright ‘exists automatically upon the creation and fixation of an original work of authorship in a tangible medium of expression.’ A registration, in contrast, is granted by the Copyright Office, and the Copyright Act conditions certain statutory benefits—most notably, the right to sue for infringement—on registration. In other words, copyrights exist by virtue of the author’s creation, while copyright registrations exist by grant of the Copyright Office… Nothing in the Copyright Act, nor any other federal statute, grants federal courts the power to cancel or nullify a copyright registration.”
“Big Pimpin'” Appellate Arguments Focus on Labels — In a long running court battle, an Egyptian composer is suing Jay Z over the use of a 1957 song that was sampled by Jay Z for his 1999 song “Big Pimpin'”. The case is now in front of the 9th Circuit, which recently heard oral arguments on the question of whether the Egyptian composer has standing to sue. And that question involves a meaty discussion regarding Egyptian moral rights and whether they are analagous to US derivative work rights.
Some Good Copyright News From Down Under — David Newhoff writes, “Because copyrighted works are uploaded by users, a platform like YouTube remains shielded from liability but still free to reap the rewards of traffic driven by the high volume of infringement. The fundamental flaw in the policy should be obvious: where a corporation has both financial incentive and zero liability, it’s probably going to make some effort to profit from whatever conduct was supposed to be mitigated by the policy. Both the harm done to creators and the untouchable market dominance of YouTube are unintended results of the safe harbor provisions in the DMCA.”