Ebook pledge aims to protect libraries and authors from publishers’ growing abuse of copyright

There’s a whole chapter of Walled Culture the book (free digital versions available) devoted to the serious attack on libraries and their traditional functions that is being carried out by major publishers. The latter are using digital copyright law to take advantage of the shift to ebooks by moving from one-off sales to a recurrent …

Denmark’s new school course wants to brainwash children with the tired old lie that copying is theft

One of the copyright world’s key weapons is a constant barrage of propaganda about the alleged benefits of this intellectual monopoly, and of the supposed horrors of its infringement.  This is typically conducted through massive lobbying of politicians, funded using the copyright companies’ generous profits that could have been distributed to the poorly-paid creators that …

Google’s “Web Environment Integrity” is an attack on the open Internet and user freedom

Back in July, Walled Culture wrote about a terrible proposal from the French government to force browsers to incorporate a list of banned Web sites at the software level, so that they simply do not open.  Now Google has a similarly awful plan to block certain browsers from being able to access a Web site, …

After publishers, now recording companies want to stop the Internet Archive from sharing culture

Back in March, Walled Culture wrote about the terrible ruling by US Judge John G. Koeltl that the Internet Archive’s Controlled Digital Lending programme was not a fair use. The Internet Archive has said that it will appeal against the ruling, but in the meantime it has jointly proposed with the publishers involved an agreement …

China fully embraces Western copyright, and inevitably suffers from its ills

Modern copyright was invented in the West, with England’s 1710 Statute of Anne. But in the last few decades, the US and other Western nations have pushed for other parts of the world to bring in similarly restrictive laws.  This was purely out of self-interest, to allow Western copyright companies to extract their monopoly rents …

The copyright industry’s obsession with pursuing alleged infringements borders on the pathological

As Walled Culture the book (free digital versions) details, for decades the copyright industry has lobbied consistently (and successfully) for more and harsher laws targeting alleged infringement. Against that background, it is hardly uprising that these laws are used on a massive scale every day. But some companies take this to extremes. Here, for example, …

Another reminder that what copyright destroys, unauthorised copying can save

There’s an interesting post on TorrentFreak that concerns so-called “pirate” subtitles for films. It’s absurd that anyone could consider subtitles to be piracy in any way. They are a good example of how ordinary people can add value by generously helping others enjoy films and TV programmes in languages they don’t understand. In no sense …

The copyright world’s obsession with ownership will throttle AI innovation and boost today’s tech giants

Generative AI is still one of the hot topics in technology, even if the initial, rather breathless excitement has cooled down somewhat. It clearly represents an interesting new approach to finding and creating textual, visual and audio material. Unfortunately, the copyright world’s obsession with ownership threatens to throw an 18th-century legalistic spanner in these 21st-century …

How long before all browsers are required by law to prevent users from opening allegedly infringing sites?

Mozilla’s Open Policy & Advocacy blog has news about a worrying proposal from the French government: In a well-intentioned yet dangerous move to fight online fraud, France is on the verge of forcing browsers to create a dystopian technical capability. Article 6 (para II and III) of the SREN Bill would force browser providers to …

Copyright enforcement in a nutshell: make the Internet hard work and less fun until people give up

The Internet is amazing, but it’s not perfect. There are many aspects that are unsatisfactory – its protocols are inefficient, and it is far from resilient. The InterPlanetary File System, created in 2014, aims to address some of these deficiencies. On its main site it is described as: A peer-to-peer hypermedia protocol designed to preserve …

Top EU court advisor says technical standards, like laws, should not be locked down by copyright

One of the most pernicious ideas that copyright maximalism has spread is that preventing people from freely accessing creative material is not just a good thing to do, but should be the natural state of affairs. This has made questioning whether copyright is really the best way to support artists and promote creativity hard. Against …

Long overdue, but good to see: Germany’s new copyright exception for pastiche applied for first time

Although overall the EU Copyright Directive is bad news for the digital world because of things like its need for the use of automated upload filters, it does contain a few glimmers of good sense. For example, it rectifies a failing of the previous EU legislation in this area, the 2001 Infosec Directive. The 2001 …

Talking to the wall: Portugal’s shameful approach to implementing the EU Copyright Directive

The depressing tale of how the European Union passed copyright’s worst new law, the EU Copyright Directive, occupies some 36 pages in Walled Culture the book (digital versions available free). The main legislation was finalised over four years ago, but countries are still grappling with the problem of implementing its sometimes contradictory requirements in national …

Digital business models are changing: what are artists’ thoughts, hopes and fears in this new world?

The creative world is changing rapidly under the impact of digital technologies. That makes the lack of research into how creators are reacting to and working with new technology all the more urgent. One new report that helps to address that gap in our knowledge is The Networked Shift, available as a free download from …

How to use today’s debate about AI to fix yesterday’s mistakes in copyright legislation

Copyright is starting to become a hot topic in the world of generative AI, as the usual culprits start demanding yet more protection for their intellectual monopolies. There’s an interesting meditation on this development and its implications by Dean Baker, Senior Economist at the Center for Economic Policy Research, which he co-founded in 1999. His …

Music label uses copyright law to ask Google to de-list a Wikipedia page with information it doesn’t like

In Walled Culture the book (free digital versions available) there’s a chapter about the widely-used “notice and takedown” system, and its many abuses. One indicator of how bad things are, and how they are still getting worse, is the number of requests that Google receives to de-list links from its search results. Last year, Google …

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