How copyright deprived us of a literary and pictorial mash-up of Dr. Seuss

Dr. Seuss (real name Theodor Geisel) is one of the best-known writers for children. He died in 1991, but his books remain extremely popular. Publishers Weekly has a fascinating story about him, his work and copyright. One part concerns a five-year-long legal dispute between ComicMix, a publisher with a Web site about comics, and Dr. …

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 …

Interview | Marc Rees: À la Française, de l’Hadopi par la copie privée, jusqu’aux algorithmes de l’Article 17

Marc Rees est journaliste et rédacteur en chef de Next INpact, le site français traitant de tout ce qui est numérique, y compris les commentaires sur les questions actuelles de droit d’auteur. Il se spécialise en droit des nouvelles technologies, dont communication, LCEN, surveillance, données personnelles, et droit d’auteur. Marc est connu comme l’un des …

The digital creator economy: how big is it, and who’s making how much?

One of the most dramatic differences between the traditional, analogue world of creation, and the modern, digital one, is the democratisation that has taken place in this sphere. Until recently, writers, musicians, artists and filmmakers collectively formed a relatively select group that was hard to enter as a professional. Today, anyone with an Internet connection …

Top EU court hands down judgment on upload filters that is as clear as mud

Walled Culture has just written about the great difficulty national governments are having in transposing the EU Copyright Directive into local law. That’s largely because of the badly-drafted and contradictory Article 17. It effectively calls for upload filters, which have obvious problems for freedom of expression because of the impossibility of crafting algorithms that encapsulate …

The EU Copyright Directive is so bad it’s proving really hard to transpose into decent national laws

Walled Culture has written numerous posts about the EU Copyright Directive, because it contains two extremely harmful ideas. The first is the “snippet tax“, an attempt by some press publishers to make sites like Google pay for the privilege of displaying and linking to newspaper publishers’ material – an assault on the Web’s underlying hyperlink …

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 …

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 …

Interview | Katharine Trendacosta: The US DMCA, Upload Filters, SOPA-PIPA, Fanfiction, & Platform Competition

Katharine Trendacosta is Associate Director of Policy and Activism at the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). Her areas of expertise are competition, broadband access, intellectual property, net neutrality, fair use, free speech online, and intermediary liability. She is the former managing editor of science fiction and science website io9, and spent many years writing about technology …

Warhol should have said: In the future, every artist will be sued for alleged copyright infringement

A few weeks ago, a Walled Culture blog post looked at the spate of lawsuits over alleged plagiarism in the world of music. Since the root of the problem here is copyright, which seeks to establish a monopoly over even the tiniest elements of creativity, it’s no surprise that exactly the same issue crops up …

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 concentration continues: Amazon closes its $8.5 billion acquisition of MGM

There are few more famous studios in the history of cinema than MGM. Wikipedia describes its early days: MGM was formed by Marcus Loew by combining Metro Pictures, Goldwyn Pictures, and Louis B. Mayer Pictures into a single company. It hired a number of well known actors as contract players – its slogan was “more …