Research suggests more open access training for academics could help boost its uptake and support

Open access publishing, which allows people to read academic papers without a subscription, seems such a good idea. It means that anyone, anywhere in the world, can read the latest research without needing to pay. Academic institutions can spend less to keep their scholars up-to-date with work in their field. It also helps disseminate research, …

A French collecting society wants a tax on generative AI, payable to…collecting societies

Back in October last year, Walled Culture wrote about a proposed law in France that would see a tax imposed on AI companies, with the proceeds being paid to a collecting society. Now that the EU’s AI Act has been adopted, it is being invoked as another reason why just such a system should be …

How private equity has used copyright to cannibalise the past at the expense of the future

Walled Culture has been warning about the financialisation and securitisation of music for two years now. Those obscure but important developments mean that the owners of copyrights are increasingly detached from the creative production process. They regard music as just another asset, like gold, petroleum or property, to be exploited to the maximum. A Guest …

We risk losing access to the world’s academic knowledge, and copyright makes things worse

The shift from analogue to digital has had a massive impact on most aspects of life. One area where that shift has the potential for huge benefits is in the world of academic publishing. Academic papers are costly to publish and distribute on paper, but in a digital format they can be shared globally for …

Of true fans and superfans: the rise of an alternative business model to copyright

One of the commonest arguments from supporters of copyright is that creators need to be rewarded and that copyright is the only realistic way of doing that. The first statement may be true, but the second certainly isn’t. As Walled Culture the book (free digital versions available) notes, most art was created without copyright, when …

Forgotten books and how to save them

On the Neglected Books site, there is a fine meditation on rescuing forgotten writers and their works from oblivion, and why this is important. As its author Brad Bigelow explains: I have been searching for neglected books for over forty years and the one thing I can say with unshakeable confidence is that there are …

The new Hadopi? Piracy Shield blocks innocent Web sites and makes it hard for them to appeal

Italy’s newly-installed Piracy Shield system, put in place by the country’s national telecoms regulator, Autorità per le Garanzie nelle Comunicazioni (Authority for Communications Guarantees, AGCOM), is already failing in significant ways. One issue became evident in February, when the VPN provider AirVPN announced that it would no longer accept users resident in Italy because of …

How copyright makes the climate crisis worse

Many of the posts here on the Walled Culture blog examine fairly niche problems that copyright is causing. Although they are undoubtedly important, in the overall scheme of things they can hardly be called major. But sometimes copyright can have important repercussions in the wider world, as an interesting post on The Conversation makes clear. …

Texts of laws must be freely available, not locked away by copyright; in Germany, many still aren’t

It is often said that “ignorance of the law is no defence”. But the corollary of this statement is that laws must be freely available so that people can find them, read them and obey them. Secret laws, or laws that are hard to access, undermine the ability and thus the willingness of citizens to …

Italy’s new Piracy Shield has just gone into operation and is already harming human rights there

Back in October, Walled Culture wrote about the grandly-named “Piracy Shield”. This is Italy’s new Internet blocking system, which assumes people are guilty until innocent, and gives the copyright industry a disproportionate power to control what is available online, no court orders required. Piracy Shield went live in December, and has just issued its first …

Important court ruling on copyright ought to lead to a blossoming of UK open culture – but will it?

There’s a post on the Creative Commons blog with some important news about copyright (in the UK, at least): In November 2023, the Court of Appeal in THJ v Sheridan offered an important clarification of the originality requirement under UK copyright law, which clears a path for open culture to flourish in the UK. In …

Two important reasons for keeping AI-generated works in the public domain

Generative AI continues to be the hot topic in the digital world – and beyond. A previous blog post noted that this has led to people finally asking the important question whether copyright is fit for the digital world. As far as AI is concerned, there are two sides to the question. The first is …

A Swiftian solution to some of copyright’s problems

Copyright is generally understood to be for the benefit of two groups of people: creators and their audience. Given that modern copyright often acts against the interests of the general public – forbidding even the most innocuous sharing of copyright material online – copyright intermediaries such as publishers, recording companies and film studios typically place …

A lawsuit against OpenAI has mainstream media finally asking if copyright is fit for the digital world

Last year saw great excitement over a new wave of AI services based on large language models (LLMs). That enthusiasm was somewhat overshadowed by a subsequent wave of lawsuits claiming that the LLMs were guilty of copyright infringement because of the training materials they used. Just before the start of 2024, a new lawsuit was …

Mickey Mouse is public domain now, but the battle to prevent copyright term extensions is not over

The beginning of the year is a great time for the public domain, since it sees thousands of copyrighted works released from the intellectual monopoly that prevents their free creative use. Which works enter the public domain depends on the details of local copyright law, which varies around the world. But there’s a liberation that …

Generative AI will be a huge boon for the public domain – unless copyright blocks it

A year ago, I noted that many of Walled Culture’s illustrations were being produced using generative AI. During that time, AI has developed rapidly. For example, in the field of images, OpenAI has introduced DALL-E 3 in ChatGPT: When prompted with an idea, ChatGPT will automatically generate tailored, detailed prompts for DALL·E 3 that bring …

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