How copyright exceptionalism in France risks undermining the EU legal system

Back in May, Walled Culture wrote about an important case before the EU’s top court, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU). It involved the “High Authority for the dissemination of works and the protection of rights on the Internet” (Haute Autorité pour la diffusion des œuvres et la protection des droits sur …

Another reason why diamond open access is best: no economic barriers to publishing rebuttals

Walled Culture has written numerous posts about the promise and problems of open access. An important editorial in the journal Web Ecology raises an issue for open access that I’ve not seen mentioned before. It concerns the fraught issue of rebuttal articles, which offer fact-based criticism of already-published academic papers: Critical comments on published articles …

How copyright hinders the preservation of modern, digital culture

A recent Guardian interview with the British Library’s head of digital publications, Giulia Carla Rossi, reveals the problems caused by copyright for those tasked with preserving modern culture. In some respects, the British Library finds itself in a fortunate position, as Rossi explains: Because we collect under non-print legal deposit [the regulation that grants the …

Good artists copy, great artists steal – and generative AI does the marketing for both

The attacks on generative AI started out claiming that it was all about protecting the creators whose works were being “stolen” in some mysterious way by virtue of software analysing them. In some cases, that high-minded stance has already degenerated into yet another scheme to pay collecting societies even more for doing next to nothing. …

Google goes on the attack against the “weaponisation of copyright law”; that’s good – now do it routinely

A few weeks ago Walled Culture wrote about how it is possible to deploy the flawed copyright takedown system for anti-competitive purposes. In that case it was the e-commerce company Shopify that alleged its customers were being harmed by false DMCA notices. Now Google has joined in with an important lawsuit that aims to combat …

Scammers who made $23.4 million from Content ID must pay back only $3.4 million to cheated artists

In Walled Culture the book (free digital versions available), I linked to a fascinating Content ID scam that TorrentFreak has been reporting on for some years. It revolved around an extremely simple abuse of YouTube’s Content ID system. Built by Google for a cost of around $100 million, Content ID is a fingerprinting system that …

Organisations call on UK government to safeguard AI innovation from being throttled by copyright

As Walled Culture has often noted, the process of framing new copyright laws is tilted against the public in multiple ways. And on the rare occasions when a government makes some mild concession to anyone outside the copyright industry, the latter invariably rolls out its highly-effective lobbying machine to fight against such measures. It’s happening …

Money talks in the world of copyright legislation, and that’s a big problem for ordinary Internet users

Copyright has always been about money. That’s why the copyright industry fights so hard to strengthen legal protections, in order to boost its profits. However, getting detailed information about how much money is involved, and who receives it, is hard, because there are so many small pieces to the overall copyright ecosystem. That makes a …

Internet Archive: new copyright laws for generative AI would “further entrench” market leaders

The current excitement over artificial intelligence (AI), particularly generative AI, has now reached the stage where governments feel they need to do something about it in terms of regulations. The EU’s AI Act was drawn up before generative AI took off, but is now being retro-fitted with bad ideas to take account of recent developments. …

Taking open access to the next level, by giving control to researchers, instead of to academic publishers

Back in February 2022, Walled Culture wrote about diamond open access (OA), perhaps the “purest” form of open access publishing, since there are no charges for either the reader or the researcher. In that post, I mentioned an excellent 2021 report on diamond OA, published by the open access group cOAlition S. The group has …

Newspaper publishers’ obsession with link and snippet taxes is bad for society – and bad for them

Traditional newspapers have been complaining about the rise of the digital world for decades. Their discontent derives from the fact that they failed to recognise opportunities early on, leaving the field open for a new generation of born-digital companies to meet the demand for alternative ways to access the news. Rather than trying to understand …

Lawrence Lessig on copyright, generative AI and the right to train

Lawrence Lessig is the Roy L. Furman Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, and one of the biggest names in the world of digital copyright. Walled Culture’s 2021 interview with him runs through many of his key ideas and projects, although sadly he does not work directly in the field of copyright any more. …

How a flawed copyright takedown system is causing problems for online sales of perfume products

The copyright system is flawed at many levels, as hundreds of posts on this blog make clear. One particular class of problems concern takedowns. The best known of the ‘notice and takedown’ systems, that of the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), allows the copyright industry to send takedown notices when they discover infringements on …

A welcome attempt to take down Piracy Shield, Italy’s pre-emptive and unfair Net block system

The copyright industry’s war on the Internet and its users has gone through various stages (full details and links to numerous references in Walled Culture the book, free digital versions available). The first was to sue Internet users directly for sharing files. By 2007, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) had sued at least …

How copyright drives Internet fragmentation, and why it is hard to fix

The EU Copyright Directive is arguably the most important recent legislation in the area of intellectual monopolies. It is also a failure, judged purely on its own terms as an initiative to modernise and unify copyright across the European Union. Instead, it includes many backward-looking features that go against the grain of the digital world, …

European Parliament sabotages the AI Act by failing to recognise that the right to read is the right to train

Walled Culture recently wrote about an unrealistic French legislative proposal that would require the listing of all the authors of material used for training generative AI systems. Unfortunately, the European Parliament has inserted a similarly impossible idea in its text for the upcoming Artificial Intelligence (AI) Act. The DisCo blog explains that MEPs added new …

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