Fun With UK Copyright Laws

Copyright legislation will destroy design publishing says Charlotte Fiell:

New legislation regarding the use of images of “works of artistic craftsmanship” is being introduced next year as part of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act.

The legal reform will extend copyright protection on mass-produced artistic works from 25 years to the length of the author’s life, plus 70 years – the same as books and music.

While the main intention of the law is to protect mass-produced products from copycats, it could also mean 2D images of designed objects will be subject to the same copyright rules as 3D copies. This would mean publishers will be forced to pay licensing fees for images of designed objects.

“What we’ve got here is an unintended consequence of probably well-meaning legislation, but it could have a disastrous effect on design teaching and general debates about design too,” Fiell told Dezeen.

What about a carve-out clause:

“There’s a simple fix, which is to have what’s known as a carve-out clause that says yes this governs 2D copies or representations, but not if they’re used in publications or for review purposes,” she added.

According to the consultation document, the government will make no distinction between a 3D or 2D copy.

Weak.

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Attribution? What’s that?

Over at The Awl, Brian Feldman on Instagram celebrity, The Fat Jew:

Over the weekend, Instagram celebrity The Fat Jew—real name Josh Ostrovsky—faced swift and concentrated denunciation over the content (“jokes”) he posts on his account—one-liners, supposedly funny pictures, lowest common denominator viral chaff. Ostrovsky, who swipes material from others without credit and does not make much of what he posts, is arguably the native Instagram celebrity, with 5.7 million followers. There are people with more followers on Instagram, but mostly because they were celebrities before they joined; the Fat Jew is wholly a product of and for Instagram.

The Internet is all about posting uncredited words and images. It sucks.

For the record, I always do my best to give attribution to the quotes and words I post on this site.

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Law

Those 140 Characters Are Mine

Tweets are copyrightable:

Let’s face it: coming up with a grade-A tweet isn’t easy. That’s why some people just copy good tweets from other people and act like they came up with the 140-character witticism on their own. This has been going on since the beginning of Twitter.

It now appears Twitter is using its legal authority to crack down on these tweet-stealers. A number of tweets have been deleted on copyright grounds for apparently stealing a bad joke.

Don’t steal. Remix.

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Law

Apple Watch Success Metrics

Horace Dediu tries to figure out how we’ll figure out if the Apple Watch is a success:

  1. Language. Measure whether “Watch” will come to mean “Apple Watch”. “Phone” has come to mean not only “smartphone” but also all mobile/cellular phones and not just things used for calling but things used for all manner of information. This is a great test because the theft of semantics can only be accomplished through a degree of ubiquity of influential mindshare. Incidentally, the brand may well have been designed to do just that.
  2. A measurable and significant reduction in the use of the iPhone. The Watch peels off uses from the iPhone and therefore the more it peels off, the less remains. However, that which remains will be more uniquely valuable to the incumbent. This is the process of carving and erosion that the PC experienced vs. mobile devices in general.

“The theft of semantics.” I love that phrase.

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Law, Product

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Slap on the Wrist

Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice was caught on a security camera dragging his unconscious wife-to-be Janay Palmer by the hair, after knocking her unconscious, and the National Football League has chosen to suspend him for two games. Rice in fact will return to the field just in time to wear the NFL’s pink-festooned uniforms to celebrate their deep commitment to breast cancer awareness.
—Dave Zirin, edgeofsports.com
via DrewBot

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Law

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divided

fellow_americans_bl.png
—Me, I said this. Maybe it’s time the Supreme Court rethought handing down its decisions a week before we’re supposed to be celebrating as one nation.

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Law

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Monkeys With Guns

At The Guardian, Trevor Timm points out technology law will soon be reshaped by people who don’t use email:

This is not the first time justices have opened themselves up to mockery for their uninitiated take on tech issues. Just last week, in the copyright case against Aereo, the justices’ verbal reach seemed to exceed their grasp, as they inadvertently invented phrases like “Netflick” and “iDrop”, among others. Before that, many ripped Justice Roberts for seemingly not knowing the difference between a pager and email. And then there was the time when a group of them tried to comprehend text messages, or when the justices and counsel before them agreed that “any computer group of people” could write most software “sitting around the coffee shop … over the weekend.” (Hey, at least Ginsburg reads Slate.)
The first time I remember being scared how little the government knew about technology was back in 2006 when John Stewart skewered the late senator Ted Stevens when he described the Internet as a series of tubes.
You shouldn’t be allowed to make judgements on cases involving technologies you don’t understand.
These justices are like monkeys with guns. They may not know how things work, but they’re still dangerous.

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Law

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“it’s copyright law that leads to this bizarre result…”

At Techdirt, Mike Masnick on the Aereo court case:

We mentioned this briefly in our writeup of the oral arguments at the Supreme Court in the Aereo case, but I wanted to focus in on one particularly annoying issue that has come up repeatedly throughout this company’s history: the idea that its compliance with the law is actually the company circumventing the law. A perfect example of this is an incredibly ill-informed opinion piece for New York Magazine’s Kevin Roose that declares, based on a near total misunderstanding of the case, that the Supreme Court should shut down Aereo because its 10,000 antennas are a cheap “copyright-avoidance gimmick.”

But that’s simply incorrect. It’s actually 100% the opposite. We’ll fully admit, as that article does, that the setup of Aereo is simply insane from a technology standpoint. There is no good reason at all to design the technology this way. But the reason they’re doing this is not to avoid copyright but to comply with it. If you think that this is insane (and you’re right) the answer is not to whine about what Aereo is doing, but to note that it’s copyright law that leads to this bizarre result. Don’t blame Aereo for following exactly what the law says, and then say it’s a “gimmick.” Blame the law for forcing Aereo down this path.
Copyright law is broken. It’s been so for quite some time.

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Law

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Fair Use

As someone who appropriates the imagery of others in his artwork, I keep a close eye on cases like the one between Richard Prince and Patrick Cariou:

The appeals court ruled that of the 30 works by Mr. Prince in question, 25 were permissible under the fair use exception because they manifested “an entirely different aesthetic” from Mr. Cariou’s pictures. Five works were sent back to the lower court for a determination. The terms of the settlement concerning those five works were not disclosed in court papers filed Tuesday, but the documents make clear that none of the paintings will be destroyed – an option that the federal judge in the 2011 decision had made available to Mr. Cariou.
We don’t mind stealing from others, until they steal from us.

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Law

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Coffee Is For Closers

Bloomberg: Apple Defeats Patent Claim Over Invention of Smartphone:

Apple Inc., the world’s most valuable technology company, was found by a federal jury not to infringe the patent of a 70-year-old electrical engineer who claims he came up with the idea for the smartphone.
The whole patent system is screwed up, and this is just one example.
Conversely, Apple (and Samsung and Dell and many other tech companies) is also guilty of getting lawsuit happy on very vague to very specific patents over things they’ve made, like Apple’s Slide To Unlock patent which was invalidated in Germany earlier this year.
I came up with ideas for a lot of shit when I was a kid, but I never made any of them. Doesn’t mean I should collect money for them.

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Law

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Copyright Law Myths

Andy Baio breaks down the myths around the Goldieblox vs. Beastie Boys lawsuit:

It’s entirely possible that the Goldieblox video is simultaneously:

  • A parody
  • An advertisement
  • A derivative of the Beastie Boys’ copyrighted work
  • A violation of MCA’s dying wishes
  • And, yet, perfectly legal under the fair use doctrine.

Only a judge can decide whether Goldieblox’s parody is fair use. And, until they do and all the appeals are closed, none of us will know.
He should know, he’s dealt with this kind of shit himself.

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Law

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Kick It Over Here, Baby Pop

So, the Beastie Boys are suing Goldieblox for riffing off the classic ‘Girls’ track in their new promo video/commercial.
The B-Boys have released a statement (via GigaOm):

As creative as it is, make no mistake, your video is an advertisement that is designed to sell a product, and long ago, we made a conscious decision not to permit our music and/or name to be used in product ads… When we tried to simply ask how and why our song “Girls” had been used in your ad without our permission, YOU sued US.
The Beasties are one of my all-time favorite groups, but I’m not sure I agree 100% with them on this.
License To Ill—the album which includes ‘Girls’—also includes tracks the Beasties did a lot of their own sampling on (back before there were laws around sampling and copyright).
Take the track, Rhymin’ and Stealin’:

Which samples the drums from Led Zeppelin’s When the Levee Breaks:

Or how about She’s Crafty:

Which samples again from Led Zeppelin’s The Ocean:

Is Goldieblox’s use of Girls fair use?
As the GigaOm article above notes, this is not a black-and-white case.

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Law

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Copywrong

In the last few years I’ve become more and more interested in and copyright law, both on the tecnology/patent side and the art/imitation side. Kirby Ferguson’s TED Talk, Embace The Remix, is required viewing if you’re interested.
According to The Center for the Study of the Public Domain nothing entered the public domain in 2013:

What is entering the public domain in the United States? Nothing. Once again, we will have nothing to celebrate this January 1st. Not a single published work is entering the public domain this year. Or next year. In fact, in the United States, no publication will enter the public domain until 2019. Even more shockingly, the Supreme Court ruled in 2012 that Congress can take back works from the public domain. Could Shakespeare, Plato, or Mozart be pulled back into copyright? The Supreme Court gave no reason to think that they could not be.
via Open Culture

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Law

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