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 …

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 …

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 …

Warhol understood what transformative art looked like, the US Supreme Court doesn’t

Last year Walled Culture wrote about an important copyright case before the US Supreme Court. It concerned Warhol’s images of the musician Prince, which are based on a photo taken by Lynn Goldsmith. At issue was whether this was fair use of the work. By seven to two, the Supreme Court judges ruled that it …

Generative AI in Google search is great news for the true fans model, but what about publishers?

Most of the analysis of generative AI – things like Stable Diffusion and ChatGPT – has focused on how it will affect creators. But another important aspect is the impact it will have on newspaper and magazine publishers. It flows from this recent move by Google: With new generative AI capabilities in Search, we’re now …

How to update copyright: Nigeria shows the way for Africa – and the world

Too often the posts on Walled Culture are about the latest copyright madness, or new laws making copyright even worse for the digital world. Against this background, it’s good to read that, as this blog hoped back in 2021, something positive has just happened in Nigeria that is likely to have important ramifications across the …

The EU link tax was bad enough, but Canada’s threatens to be even worse

At the heart of Walled Culture the book (available as a free ebook in various formats) is the story of the disgraceful EU Copyright Directive and how it was passed. I won’t go into the details here, except to note that Article 15, aka the snippet tax or the link tax – the idea of …

The copyright world is preparing to hobble yet another innovative technology – generative AI

Last week Walled Culture noted that there already are two lawsuits against generative AI systems that are causing such a buzz at the moment. Both those legal actions involved the visual arts, but as this blog noted back in October last year, generative AI is going to have a massive impact across all the creative …

SoundCloud’s “Fan Powered Royalties”: a halfway house towards the true fans approach

Regular readers of this blog will know that Walled Culture is a fan of the true fans concept – the idea that creators can be supported directly and effectively by the people who love their work. The true fans model has been up and running for some years now, although it hasn’t generally been framed …

Copyright is more important than privacy, says top EU court advisor

We recently wrote about the preliminary decision of Advocate General Szpunar, an advisor to the EU’s Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), concerning geoblocks. The same Advocate General (AG) has come out with another opinion, this time concerning important questions of copyright and privacy. The basic issue is whether EU Member States can …

Digital books do wear out – just like digital music, digital films and video games

There’s a great post by Brewster Kahle on the Internet Archive blog with the title “Digital Books wear out faster than Physical Books“. He makes an important point about the work involved in providing and preserving digital books: The Internet Archive processes and reprocesses the books it has digitized as new optical character recognition technologies …

Top EU court’s advisor points out that geoblocks can be easily circumvented: time to get rid of them

One of the central ideas of both Walled Culture the blog and Walled Culture the book is that copyright simply doesn’t work in the digital world. One proof of that fact can be found in the ridiculous concept of geoblocks. This is the idea that you can carve up the Internet according to geography, such …

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