Happy Birthday's copyright status is finally, mysteriously settled

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September's court ruling that Warner Chapell Music didn't hold the copyright to "Happy Birthday" was swiftly followed by a claim from the Association for Childhood Education International, a nonprofit established to administer the money that Warner Chapell extorted through its fraudulent claims. Read the rest

ACT! Step-by-step guide to filling in the EU's vital, terrible survey

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The European Commission is considering new Internet regulations that would make online services legally liable for their users' bad actions, meaning that services like Youtube, Facebook, and the comments section of your favorite website would have to somehow review everything that users post before making it public, assessing all user-submitted material for its legal compliance with a bewildering array of international guidelines. Read the rest

European Commission resurrects an unkillable stupid: the link tax

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Meghan writes, "You've probably never been kept awake at night worrying about a European Commission communication. But that doesn't mean that you shouldn't be. Today the Commission published its roadmap for EU copyright reform, and despite the fanfare around portability of Netflix, it's clear that the bad idea known as 'ancillary copyright' has come back -- from the dead! -- to haunt us." Read the rest

Ecuador's draft copyright law: legal to break DRM to achieve fair use

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All over the world, laws promulgated by the US Trade Representative ban breaking digital locks -- the "Digital Rights Management" technologies that lock up our TVs, tablets, phones, games consoles, cars, insulin pumps, tractors, coffee makers, etc -- even if you're breaking them to do something legal, for example, making "fair use" (like parodies, critiques, and new, transformative works like mashups). Read the rest

One billion Creative Commons licenses in use

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Jane from CC writes, "Creative Commons, the global nonprofit that makes it easier for creators to share their work under simple copyright terms, announced a major milestone in the release of its 2015 State of the Commons Report today: over 1 billion works have been licensed using Creative Commons since the organization was founded." Read the rest

The Big List of What's Wrong with the TPP

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The Trans Pacific Partnership: it's thousands of pages' worth of dense bureaucratic language setting out the give-and-take of years' worth of secret negotiations. Figuring out what it means for you is a transcendentally difficult process. Read the rest

Hacker puppets explore the relationship between carbon paper and copyright

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Gus writes, "Remember carbon paper? You’re probably of a certain age if you can recall typing on a sandwich of two sheets of paper with a thin, grimy, black sheet between them to make copies." Read the rest

Raising money for the Public Domain Legal Defense Fund

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Rogue archivist Carl Malamud writes, "Like many of my fellow nonprofit executives, the holidays are a mixed bag for me. Public Resource has enough money in the bank to get us through January. Like other nonprofits, Public Resource gets almost all our yearly contributions over the holidays. So, it's nail-biting time while I watch the gas tank get down to fumes." Read the rest

Free talk on surveillance, copyright and DRM tomorrow in Berlin: "PINEAPPLE!"

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I'm in Berlin to speak at OEB, a conference on technology and education. It costs a hefty sum to attend the whole event, but my talk tomorrow at 1200h, "No Matter who's Winning the War on General Purpose Computing, You're Losing " is free. Just show up at the Hotel Intercontinental on Budapester Strasse and check in at the OEB desk with the password "PINEAPPLE" for a voucher that will get you into my talk. Read the rest

HOAX

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It's a hoax!

This isn't the first time that a remix of the silent track's been targeted for copyright enforcement, but it never gets old. Read the rest

Scholars and activists stand in solidarity with shuttered research-sharing sites

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This week, the scholarly publishing giant Elsevier filed suit against Sci-Hub and Library Genesis, two sites where academics and researchers practiced civil disobedience by sharing the academic papers that Elsevier claims -- despite having acquired the papers for free from researchers, and despite having had them refereed and overseen by editorial boards staffed by more volunteering academics. Read the rest

Mesopotamian boundary stones: the DRM of pre-history

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Sarah Jeong had me standing up and cheering with her comparison of kudurrus -- the ancient Mesopotamian boundary stones used to mark out territorial land-grants -- and the way that laws like the US DMCA protect digital rights management systems. Read the rest

Canadian civil servants grooming new minister to repeat Harper's Internet mistakes

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Mélanie Joly is the newly appointed Canadian Heritage Minister, and she's been given a briefing book by her ministerial staffers laying out the ministry's view of what's going on in the Heritage brief. The book's copyright section is a disaster. Read the rest

Pre-mutated products: where did all those "hoverboards" come from?

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Those bowtie-shaped "motorized self-balancing two-wheeled scooters" you see in the windows of strip-mall cellphone repair shops and in mall-kiosks roared out of nowhere and are now everywhere, despite being so new that we don't even know what they're called. Read the rest

Uh-oh: Cox Cable's insurer won't back them in court against BMG Music

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BMG Rights Management and Round Hill Music. has been trying to enlist Cox Cable as an accomplice in a copyright trolling scheme, demanding that the company pass on copyright infringement notices that accuse users of downloading music and order them to pay large sums of music or face punishing lawsuits. Read the rest

Party like it's 1998: UK government bans ripping CDs -- again

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In 2014, Britain strode boldly into the late 20th century, finally legalising "private copying" -- ripping CDs, taping LPs, recording TV shows, backing up your ebooks and games -- but now it's thought better of the move. Read the rest

Google steps up to defend fair use, will fund Youtubers' legal defenses

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After years of missteps, blunders and disasters in which Youtube users have been censored through spurious copyright claims or had their accounts deleted altogether, Google has announced an amazing, user-friendly new initiative though which it will fund the legal defense of Youtube creators who are censored by bad-faith copyright infringement claims. Read the rest

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