[Luisa Guzmán] Last week Fundación Via Libre released a statement urging Argentinian lawmakers to drop a bill proposing a Copyright term extension for photographs, and asking them to open a public debate with the purpose of improving the general conditions for the circulation of cultural goods. To date, over 50 cultural, artistic, and digital rights organizations have signed the statement.
The monkey selfie is back. Again. This time in an improbable lawsuit for copyright infringement filed by an improbable plaintiff, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), on behalf of the improbable photographer—an Indonesian crested Macaque named, according to the complaint, Naruto.
The backstory is that Naruto was minding his own business on the wildlife reserve where he lives when he happened upon an unattended camera belonging to the wildlife photographer David Slater. Intrigued by his discovery, Naruto grabbed the camera and snapped a few photos, including the now famous shot (reproduced at left) of his handsome, grinning face. The photo’s inaugural turn in the global press and as an Internet meme was back in 2011, when Slater first released the shots of Naruto to the media along with the story of their surprising origin. Caters News Agency published a full-body shot (also reproduced at left) with a caption asserting that it owned copyright in the photo, introducing two legal questions: Are these photos subject to copyright? If so, who owns the copyright in them?
Chile is about to become the first country to successfully kill creative commons and other open licensing for audiovisual works with a copyright bill that has been already approved in the House of Representatives in an unprecedented fast speed. It is now in the Senate. This dream bill for collective societies of rightholders is the Bill for Copyright for Audiovisual Authors.
Here is a link to the bill and the legislative discussions. Here is how it works against open licensing:
Fundación Vía Libre reports that Fundación Vía LibreZ report that Liliana Mazure, Gloria Bidegain, Susana Canela, Gastón harispe, Héctor Recalde y Eduardo Seminara have introduced a plan to extend the term of copyright protection to life of the author plus 70 years. This would apply retroactively. Vía Libre has written lawmakers to express concern.
Their blog post and a link to the full letter is reposted below:
Los diputados del FPV Liliana Mazure, Gloria Bidegain, Susana Canela, Gastón harispe, Héctor Recalde y Eduardo Seminara impulsaron un proyecto para homologar la extensión de la duración del monopolio de propiedad intelectual sobre fotografía al de las demás obras, es decir, toda la vida del autor más 70 años después de su fallecimiento.
[Paul Keller, Communia, Link (Public Domain)] It is generally accepted wisdom that if you do not want something to be noticed you can best announce it on a Friday afternoon. Presenting a study right before the start of the summer holidays is a variation of this. Seen in this light, it is a bit unfortunate that the Spanish Association of Publishers of Periodical Publications (AEEPP) decided to release a study on the impact of the Spanish ancillary copyright on the 9th of July when half of Europe was already in (pre)vacation mode (which is why we are covering the study 3 months after its release—for your post vacation enjoyment).
Abstract: This study analyzes the policy options used by Brazil, India, and South Africa in their transition to a TRIPS-compliant patent law and the introduction of pharmaceutical patents. This comparative review can be used to explore possible policy options that could also be utilized by Least Developed Countries, including Bangladesh.
We write in response to your request for public comments on South Africa’s planned copyright legislation reform. We’re grateful for the chance to make a contribution in support of this extraordinary effort on the part of the Department of Trade and Industry to modernize South African copyright law and – in so doing – to make South Africa an international leader in the field at a critical moment in its history.
[EFF Press Release, Link (CC-BY)] An appeals court in San Francisco today affirmed that copyright holders must consider whether a use of material is fair before sending a takedown notice. The ruling came in Lenz v. Universal, often called the “dancing baby” lawsuit.
The Kenya Copyright Board (KEBCO) is preparing to propose amendments to the Copyright Act that would block sites hosting content which infringes local creators’ copyrights. Local internet service providers that refuse to take down content would face fines and even prison sentences. KEBCO’s webpage notes that the new rules should “come into play by the end of the year… The laws will be ready for public discussions next month before they go to Parliament.”
The South African government has introduced a draft Cybercrimes & Cybersecurity Bill for public comment. The Bill states that anyone who “sells, offers for download, distributes, or otherwise makes available” copyrighted works “by means of a computer network or an electronic communications network” will be guilty of an offense. Penalties include fines or up to three years imprisonment.
EFF Deeplinks Blog, Link (CC-BY)
A bill extending the term of copyright by an additional 45 years—almost doubling it, in the case of corporate and government works—sailed through the Jamaican Senate on June 26, after having passed the House of Representatives on June 9. The copyright term in Jamaica is now 95 years from the death of the author, or 95 years from publication for government and corporate works. This makes it the third-longest copyright term in the world, after Mexico and Côte d’Ivoire respectively with 100 and 99 years from the death of the author.
Jennifer Urban and I just published a short version of our work on notice and takedown in the Communications of the ACM (currently paywalled but accessible through most universities). Here’s the general argument:
As automated systems became common, the number of takedown requests increased dramatically. For some online services, the numbers of complaints went from dozens or hundreds per year to hundreds of thousands or millions. In 2009, Google’s search service received less than 100 takedown requests. In 2014, it received 345 million requests. Although Google is the extreme outlier, other services—especially those in the copyright ‘hot zones’ around search, storage, and social media—saw order-of-magnitude increases. Many others—through luck, obscurity, or low exposure to copyright conflicts—remained within the “DMCA Classic” world of low-volume notice and takedown.
This split in the application of the law undermined the rough industry consensus about what services did to keep their safe harbor protection. As automated notices overwhelmed small legal teams, targeted services lost the ability to fully vet the complaints they received. Because companies exposed themselves to high statutory penalties if they ignored valid complaints, the safest path afforded by the DMCA was to remove all targeted material. Some companies did so. Some responded by developing automated triage procedures that prioritized high-risk notices for human review (most commonly, those sent by individuals).
Others began to move beyond the statutory requirements in an effort to reach agreement with rights holder groups and, in some cases, to reassert some control over the copyright disputes on their services.