Like news publishers, magazine publishers want money from Google; here’s why it is happy to pay

Last week, Walled Culture noted that newspaper publishers still don’t understand what has happened in their industry. They labour under the misapprehension that the digital giants like Google and Facebook are “stealing” their editorial material. That’s not true: instead, as Cory Doctorow puts it, they are stealing their money, because of the way that online …

Even algospeak won’t save us from upload filter overblocking

Over on the EFF blog, Cory Doctorow points to an interesting article in the Washington Post about “algospeak“: “Algospeak” is becoming increasingly common across the Internet as people seek to bypass content moderation filters on social media platforms such as TikTok, YouTube, Instagram and Twitch. Algospeak refers to code words or turns of phrase users …

Applying (artificial) intelligence to the Copyright Directive’s stupid idea of upload filters

Last week the European Union’s top court, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), handed down its judgment on whether upload filters should be allowed as part of the EU Copyright Directive. The answer turned out to be a rather unclear “yes, but…“. Martin Husovec, an assistant professor of law at the London …

Two reasons the snippet tax won’t wash as a solution, and what to do instead

Walled Culture has written a number of posts about the so-called “snippet tax” – the idea that platforms like Google and Facebook should pay for the privilege of sending traffic to newspaper sites. An essay by Rasmus Kleis Nielsen and Sarah Anne Ganter, based on their book “The Power of Platforms“, articulates one reason why …

Universal Music Group boss took home £230 million last year: is that really fair?

Last year, Walled Culture reported on the highly-successful Universal Music Group (UMG) IPO on Amsterdam’s Euronext exchange, which valued the company at €45 billion (over $50 billion). The post noted that the chief executive of the UMG, Sir Lucian Grainge, might pick up a bonus of $170 million as a result. According to the Times …

Copyright industry demands Finland’s version of upload filters should be more unbalanced

Like other EU Member States, Finland is grappling with the problem of how to implement the EU Copyright Directive’s Article 17 (upload filters) in national legislation. A fascinating post by Samuli Melart in the Journal of Intellectual Property Law & Practice reveals yet another attempt by the copyright industry to make a bad law even …

Canada is about to repeat New Zealand’s folly by extending copyright term; so bring back registration

Canada looks likely to follow New Zealand’s bad example by extending its copyright term by 20 years, purely for the sake of a trade deal.  The New Zealand government’s research showed that extending copyright term in this way makes no sense, and the same is true for Canada.  As Michael Geist writes on his blog …

Ed Sheeran wins copyright lawsuit, but now films himself as he writes songs to forestall more litigation

Last month Walled Culture wrote about Ed Sheeran being sued for alleged copyright infringement – one of many such lawsuits.  Happily, he won, because the judge understood how music works, as his comments show, reported here by Music Business Worldwide: The use of the first four notes of the rising minor pentatonic scale for the …

How to save the newspaper industry (hint: not with snippet taxes)

There’s no denying that the newspaper industry is in trouble. In part, the publishing companies have themselves to blame. For too long, they have fought against the Internet, instead of embracing it. Even now, there are still misguided attempts to cream money off online players, as in the various snippet taxes around the world. Simply …

NFTs are mostly useless or worse, but here’s one important way they could help creators

As you may have noticed, the Internet is awash with hyperbolic claims about non-fungible tokens, or NFTs. From the volume of that discussion, and some of the numbers thrown around, it’s easy to assume that there must be something big going on here. There isn’t. NFTs are mostly elements in speculative bubbles that require a …

Microsoft tries to cosy up to newspaper publishers, forgets that for them, enough is never enough

A few months after the snippet tax was agreed as part of the EU Copyright Directive, Australia indicated it wanted to take the same route. The government there planned to make Internet companies pay newspapers for sending the latter extra traffic, by imposing something called the News Media Bargaining Code. In a blog post from …

The ratchet strikes again: US SMART Copyright Act is even worse than EU upload filters

The EU’s Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market is bad news for many reasons. For example, it shows how the copyright industry has succeeded in obtaining yet more legislation to impose its outdated analogue approaches on the digital Internet. It was only able to do that by conducting a dishonest campaign about what …

Publishers seem to believe their outsized sense of entitlement should trump democracy

One of the striking features of the copyright industry is its insatiability. No matter how long, broad and strong copyright becomes, the copyright world wants it to be yet longer, broader and stronger. It seems companies simply cannot conceive of any point where there is “enough” copyright in the world. A good example is in …

Recorded music is thriving everywhere: so why keep pushing for yet more bad copyright laws?

Walled Culture has noted various signs that the recorded music industry is thriving, particularly the streaming sector. That state of affairs has now been confirmed officially by the Global Music Report 2022 from the IFPI – the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry – which represents the global recording industry. Here’s the summary: In 2021, …

Why the snippet tax of the EU Copyright Directive is pointless and doomed to fail

The EU Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market contains two spectacularly bad ideas. One is the upload filter of Article 17, which will wreak havoc not just on creativity in the EU, but also on freedom of speech there, as algorithms block perfectly legal material. The other concerns the “snippet tax” of Article …

Copyright is indispensable for artists, they say; but for all artists, or just certain kinds?

One of the central “justifications” for copyright is that it is indispensable if creativity is to be viable. Without it, we are assured, artists would starve. This ignores the fact that artists created and thrived for thousands of years before the 1710 Statute of Anne. But leaving that historical detail aside, as well as the …