Boing Boing 

When it comes to censorship, WordPress has your back


Automattic, WordPress's parent company, has a new transparency report that shows that they've bounced 43% of their 2015 copyright censorship demands for being frivolous or invalid.

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Foo Fighters demand bullshit terms from concert photographers


If you're a commercial photographer attending a Foo Fighters gig, you get the right to run photos of their choosing exactly once, and they get all rights to everything you've shot forevermore.

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July 4: Rumblefish claims to own US Navy rendition of "America the Beautiful"

Adafruit Industries has been stripped of revenues from its Youtube channel after Rumblefish -- a notorious music-rights agency -- claimed to own the copyright on a public domain, taxpayer-funded rendition of "America the Beautiful."

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Corbis will cheerfully charge you up the wazoo for public domain images


The point of the public domain is that anyone can do anything with it, including sell it, so in a way, it makes sense that the Corbis image-library is full of high-priced Library of Congress images.

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Man who channels alien from the future bombards Tumblr GIF artists with takedown notices

Darryl Anka telepathically channels a space alien from the future named Bashar who lives on the planet Essassani; on this basis, he has claimed many copyright infringements in the creations of Tumblr's GIF artists.

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Youtube and Nintendo conspire to steal from game superfans

Youtube's stilted, one-sided dispute resolution system allows game companies like Nintendo to confiscate the earnings of gamers who produce hugely popular "Let's Play" videos.

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Rightscorp loses big on extortion racket

Rightcorp, the notorious, publicly traded copyright trolls, have warned investors that they're losing money despite a successful claim of mass extortion against alleged copyright infringers.

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DMCA abuser ordered to pay $25K to WordPress

Straight Pride UK, a homophobic organization, used a fraudulent copyright complaint to censor an article about them, but WordPress fought back.

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Bullshit copyright complaint is the perfect pretense to censor CT library art


Peter from the National Coalition Against Censorship writes, "A Connecticut library took down a painting of Mother Teresa because of a dodgy copyright claim. Was that really the issue?"

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Infamous SF "eviction" lawfirm abuses DMCA to censor video of protest

The offices of Bornstein and Bornstein are notorious for running "boot camps" advising San Francisco landlords on legal loopholes for evicting long-term tenants so they can rent to the high-flying tech sector.

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Copyfraud, uncertainty and doubt: the vanishing online public domain


In Enclosing the public domain: The restriction of public domain books in a digital environment, a paper in First Monday, researchers from the Victoria University of Wellington document the widespread proactice of putting restrictions on scanned copies of public domain books online.

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Met releases 400,000 hi-rez scans for free download, claims copyright over the public domain


Robbo sez, "The Metropolitan Museum of Art has just released almost 400,000 visual works in an online searchable database. The images are high rez (10 megapixels) and free to download. Thank you Met!"

Well, yeah, except the terms and conditions pretend that the Met can tell you how you're allowed to use public domain art (!). Lucky for the Met that such conditions are null and void, otherwise they wouldn't be able to scan and share these images in the first place. Sheesh! Remember, faithful reproductions of works in the public domain do not attract new copyrights, as a matter of well-settled US law.

Sony issues fraudulent takedown for Blender's open source movie


Alex writes, "This is a very good example of copyright abuse. The official Blender Foundation copy of Sintel on Youtube is currently blocked because Sony apparently claimed copyright over it. This is particularly distressing because Sintel is one of the precious few open-source movies in existence. Made with open-source tools, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0, with the source files from the movie free to download, Sintel represents the diametric opposite of this type of ownership. "

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How Youtube's automated copyright system lets big music screw indie creators

Nerdcore rapper Dan Bull earns a good living from his Youtube videos, but he is constantly being dragged away from the studio to fight fraudulent copyright claims from major labels, who are able to censor his work with impunity. The video for his 2010 song I'm Not Pissed has been removed ten times by automated, fraudulent claims from the likes of BMG Rights Management and PRS, who face no consequences for lying about their involvement with his work.

In a new song called Fuck Content ID, Bull slams Google's automated Content ID takedown system, documenting his woes at the hands of Big Content, and with Google, who collaborate in a system of copyfraud that neither one seems to care about.

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Bob Hope Enterprises claims the Feds' Bob Hope Christmas Special is under copyright

Rogue archivist Carl Malmud writes, "In 2009, I wrote to Boing Boing to kick off our FedFlix program. The headline was The next year, Brian Stelter wrote this up for the New York Times, writing "Dust off a disc. Maybe it's video of a Bob Hope Christmas show, or maybe it's the Apollo 11 moon landing. Insert a blank disc. Duplicate."

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Rotolight sends fraudulent takedown notice to censor unfavorable review


Den Lennie posted a video to Vimeo that compared the Rotolight Anova to a competing product, the Kino Flo Celeb, and found the Rotolight product inferior. Rotolight responded by filing a perjurious, fraudulent DMCA takedown notice with Vimeo (who, to its shame, honored it), claiming that the review violated Rotolight's trademark. This is pure copyfraud: first, because the DMCA is only available as a remedy for copyright infringement (not trademark infringement) and second, because product reviews are not trademark infringements, full stop.

Using a Copyright Infringement claim to shut down the opposition (Thanks, Dave!)

Lawsuit: "Happy Birthday" is not in copyright, and Warner owes the world hundreds of millions for improperly collected royalties


Copyright scholars have long been pretty certain that "Happy Birthday to You" is in the public domain, despite the fact that Warner/Chappell claims copyright on it and charges impressive licensing fees to use it in public performances. Those fees, however, are much lower than a copyright lawsuit would be, so everyone shrugs and pays them. Until now.

A documentary film company working on a movie about "Happy Birthday" has assembled a huge body of evidence showing that the song has been in the public domain since the 1920s, and is suing Warner to get them to return the hundreds of millions they've improperly charged in licensing since. This is gonna be great.

The full lawsuit, embedded below, goes through a detailed history of the song and any possible copyright claims around it. It covers the basic history of "Good Morning to You," but also notes that the "happy birthday" lyrics appeared by 1901 at the latest, citing a January 1901 edition of Inland Educator and Indiana School Journal which describes children singing a song called "happy birthday to you." They also point to a 1907 book that uses a similar structure for a song called "good-bye to you" which also notes that you can sing "happy birthday to you" using the same music. In 1911, the full "lyrics" to Happy Birthday to You were published, with a notation that it's "sung to the same tune as 'Good Morning.'" There's much more in the history basically showing that the eventual copyright that Warner/Chappell holds is almost entirely unrelated to the song Happy Birthday to You.

The detail in the filing is impressive, and I can't wait to see how Warner/Chappell replies. As the filing notes, there are a variety of copyright claims around the song, but all are invalid or expired, and the very, very narrow copyright that Warner/Chappell might hold is not on the song itself. In other words, Warner/Chappell is almost certainly guilty of massive copyfraud -- perhaps the most massive in history -- in claiming a copyright it clearly has no right to.

Lawsuit Filed To Prove Happy Birthday Is In The Public Domain; Demands Warner Pay Back Millions Of License Fees [Mike Masnick/Techdirt]

(Image: 53/365 - 02/22/11 - Happy Birthday, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from shardayyy's photostream)