copyright - Page number 6

Nollywood and the copyright conundrum

Over the holidays I thought a bit about the copyright conundrum. Is copyright a vital source of creativity, or more of a hindrance?  Most of us assume that we need strong laws to prevent copying of certain forms of expression, including books, movies and computer programs. We generally take it as given that unless unpermitted copying is quashed, creators would have no incentive to create, and society would lose the benefit of their creative work. We've erected a powerful system of copyright laws, with broad scope, lengthy terms, and draconian penalties, based on these basic assumptions. » Read more

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Copyrights vs. human rights

I wrote last week about the "Typhoid Mary" of internet restriction laws, observing how Wikileaks has confirmed that a wing of the US Government - the US Trade representative (USTR) - has been systematically bullying European and other world governments. » Read more

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Rise of the fashion trolls

A funny thing happens as a Congressional session comes to a close. Priorities, whether political or policy, rocket to the surface.  It becomes a war of attrition, of who can keep things 'out of sight, out of mind' before people get tired and want to go home.  

But, there are always numerous pieces of legislation that don’t get much love either way. The problem is, although they technically “go away” for now, the ideas behind them aren’t dead.
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On cookbooks, orphans, and out-of-print books

Several years back, I sought one rather elusive cookbook. I first spotted The Use-It-Up Cookbook (A Guide for Minimizing Food Waste) in a used bookshop during a weekend getaway in Seattle. At $8.00, the price was right, but my suitcase had a serious lack of room for additional purchases. I reluctantly placed it back on the shelf and decided it would be simpler to order a copy online when I returned home to North Carolina.

How wrong I was. » Read more

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Theft! A History of Music —Part 3: If I could turn forward time...

Imagine a 20-year-old musician publishing his work today. Let's pretend he's living the fast and reckless life of a rock star and will die young at 45. Because the copyright term has been ratcheted up to life of the author plus 70 years (or 95 years from publication for corporate works), you won't be able to sample his work without permission (for your heartfelt tribute song, of course), until 2105. But since you're not living his rock star lifestyle, maybe you can hang on another 95 years to grab your chance. » Read more

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Theft! A History of Music—Part 2: Copyright jams

Our society and its lawmakers are notoriously bad at predicting the effects of new technologies. I think of the ongoing battles over new distribution formats, like the assumption that "the VCR [would be] to the American film producer and the American public as the Boston strangler is to the woman home alone." Jennifer Jenkins, one of the authors of Theft! A History of Music, has an even more basic and older example: musical notation. » Read more

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Theft! A History of Music—Part 1: Plato and all that jazz

Why did Plato argue that remixing should be banned by the state? What threats did jazz and rock 'n roll pose? And what does all of that mean for the conflicts between artists and copyright today? » Read more

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Developing films the open source way

In a world where movies are produced on budgets of hundreds of millions of dollars, at a time when studios expect a huge return on their investment, in an industry where the opening weekend can make or break a film--one man refuses to live by society's (or the movie industry's) rules. One man is willing to put it all on the line and do something different. Something daring. Something... free. » Read more

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On copyright aggregation

A collaborative activity dubbed Project Harmony is now under way between corporate and corporate-sponsored participants in the free and open source software communities (not to be confused with the Apache Java project of the same name). The project seeks to harmonise the various participant and contributor agreements – collectively termed “contributor agreements” by some – used by many open source projects. » Read more

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Lawrence Lessig's new journey (part two)

I think I was as surprised as anyone when I heard that Larry Lessig was stepping away from Creative Commons. It seemed like a sudden change of direction, because Lessig has been a vocal advocate for freedom and choice for so many years. But as I hear Lessig describe his journey from Creative Commons to Change Congress, I’m reminded of Daniel Okrent’s history of the prohibition movement in the United States, "Last Call". » Read more

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