Category: Politics

Update to Digital Millennium Copyright Act Long Overdue

Momentum is building for changes to the DMCA that will better protect creators

Content creators from all walks of life are coalescing around the need to update copyright law to protect their work against theft in digital age.  A piece in yesterday’s NY Times,  Music World Bands Together Against YouTube, Seeking Change to Lawis the latest to highlight growing calls by the creative community to update a woefully antiquated Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998.

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Will DMCA ‘safe harbor’ loophole finally get fixed?

U.S. Copyright Office announces study on impact and effectiveness of the DMCA safe harbor provisions

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s (DMCA) “safe harbor” provision has long been a source of frustration for creators.  For years it’s allowed 3rd parties who enable, and often profit from piracy, to avoid legal liability for infringement.  Momentum to tighten eligibility standards to qualify for safe harbor protection has been growing of late, both in courts and at the U.S. Copyright Office.

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Newhoff responds to Pirate Bay founder Peter Sunde

The Illusion of More’s David Newhoff takes Pirate Bay founder Peter Sunde to task

If you haven’t had the opportunity to read David Newhoff’s thoughts regarding Pirate Bay founder Peter Sunde’s recent interview published on Motherboard please take the time to do so.   It’s truly a must read. Sunde spent a brief time in prison in 2014 for his role in operating the notorious torrent site whose popularity spawned clones around the globe and gave rise to the  well-entrenched meme that piracy was somehow morally and politically justifiable.

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Copyright Au Courant – Piracy, Popcorn Time and Privacy

Lots of news in the copyright, piracy and privacy world of late.  Here’s some worth a look:

First up, this thoughtful piece by Nelson Granados on Forbes.com “How Piracy Is Still Hurting The Filmmakers And Artists You Admire.”  Granados takes direct aim at the fallacy that piracy doesn’t cause damage to Hollywood studios.

“Many think naively that studios cannot be hurt too much, because after all, you hear mostly about the movies that make hundreds of millions of dollars. But the reality for many filmmakers is that they often live on the edge, seeking financing to produce quality content, and enduring high uncertainty about whether they will be able to pay off debt and have any profit left. Given the high fixed cost of producing a quality movie, losses from piracy can be the difference between making a profit or not.”

He notes that a number of “peer-reviewed” studies quantify this damage.  Bottom line, like any industry, Hollywood depends on making a return on its investment in order to stay alive.  No matter what piracy apologists allege, that’s a basic economic fact.  Granados also touches on the particular vulnerability faced by independent filmmakers.

Most artists struggle to make ends meet as they pursue their creative work with passion and dedication. Piracy may be tipping the next Quentin Tarantino over the financial edge into bankruptcy, and we will all lose.

As I’ve often said, we (consumers) won’t be aware of what we are missing if it isn’t made.  Piracy’s damage can be insidious and, to the public, somewhat invisible, but ultimately it diminishes the quantity (and quality) of film offerings we have to choose from.

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Google’s continued do-si-do around its piracy pledge

Google continues to dodge responsibility for its role in promoting online piracy

This past week members of the House Judiciary Committee traveled to California to hold a pair of roundtable discussions on the future of copyright.  On Tuesday committee members were in Santa Clara, the heart of Silicon Valley, and on Wednesday traveled to Los Angeles to hear from a variety of stakeholders discussing everything from overhauling an out-dated U.S. Copyright Office to DMCA circumvention for tractor repairs.
Though I wasn’t at the LA event, I read with great interest a report in Variety by Ted Johnson that documented an exchange between Google’s legal director for copyright, Fred von Lohmann and Richard Gladstein, founder of Film Colony…von Lohmann’s posturing on Google’s piracy problem is nothing new, but it is worth pointing out how his statements are carefully crafted to dovetail with Google’s own (vague) propagandistic promises.

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