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 …

Interview | Dr Andres Guadamuz: The EU Copyright Directive, Text & Data Mining, Web3, the Metaverse, & NFTs

Dr Andres Guadamuz is a Reader in Intellectual Property Law at the University of Sussex and the Editor in Chief of the Journal of World Intellectual Property. His main research areas are on artificial intelligence (AI) and copyright, open licensing, cryptocurrencies, and smart contracts. Andres has published two books, the most recent one of which …

TikTok gets into the music marketing and distribution business

Last month we wrote about an increasingly important trend of digital platforms becoming more involved in digital production. Here’s another striking example: TikTok, best known for its short-form mobile videos, featuring things like dance, jokes, stunts and tricks, has announced the launch of the SoundOn platform, “designed to empower new and undiscovered artists, helping them …

A further spate of lawsuits demonstrate how copyright is antithetical to creativity

It is established dogma in the church of copyright that the latter is an indispensable tool for promoting creativity. A couple of recent lawsuits against top musicians give the lie to that idea. Here’s one of them, reported on the Copyright Lately blog: On Tuesday, Dua Lipa was hit with a copyright complaint by Florida …

Time for the copyright world to stop attacking the Internet’s infrastructure

Despite the impossibility of stopping people making copies of digital material, the copyright industry continues to launch ever-more extreme legal actions against outside parties in a desperate attempt to do just that. For example, back in October, this blog reported on an attempt to force a CDN – content delivery network – to act as …

Donda 2 or dongle 2.0? Why Kanye West’s $200 album + Stem Player combo is a smart move

Kanye West has just carried out a fascinating copyright experiment. That probably wasn’t his intention when he released his eleventh studio album Donda 2, but the launch has nonetheless provided some interesting insights regarding the music sector. As he revealed earlier, Donda 2 is not on “Apple Amazon Spotify or YouTube“. Instead, it is only …

Interview | Jennie Rose Halperin: A Tech-Positive Future for Libraries, Controlled Digital Lending & US CASE Act

Jennie Rose Halperin, is a facilitator, digital strategist, writer, and editor, who currently serves as the Executive Director of Library Futures: a nonprofit organization that champions equitable access to knowledge. Trained as a librarian, she has worked in content, web development, and digital services of all types, including at the Harvard Law Library, Creative Commons, …

Why add to Ukraine’s problems with an unnecessary implementation of a bad EU copyright law?

It would be something of an understatement to say that Ukraine is facing serious problems currently. Against that background, this news from the IPKat blog is rather surprising: While certain EU Member States are still to transpose Directive (EU) 2019/790 (Copyright [Digital Single Market] Directive), Ukraine, a non-EU country, has decided to implement certain provisions …

DRM on paper shows why anti-circumvention laws are copyright’s biggest blunder

Most people are familiar with the Dymo label printer in some form or another. Not an exciting product perhaps, but quite a useful one. The Electronic Frontier Foundation has some bad news – Dymo is adding DRM to its label paper in the form of RFID chips: Dymo’s latest generation of desktop label printers use …

Podcast Highlights: Knocking Down Walls, Battles after SOPA, eLending, Excessive Terms & Unfit Rules

Check out this great compilation of key highlights from our Walled Culture podcast/vlog series, launched in September 2021. Our guests talk about knocking down the walls, the continuing battles after SOPA, e-Lending and libraries, and the damages of excessive terms and unfit copyright rules. Full line-up of the guests covered in the mashup below, and …

Little mermaid, long copyright, big absurdity

Many people are familiar with The Little Mermaid statue, perched on a rock by the waterside in Copenhagen, Denmark. What is less well-known is the absurd copyright maximalism it has given rise to. The latest manifestation concerns a cartoon depicting the statue as a zombie, and a photo of it with a facemask, reported here …

A bit is a bit is a bit: digital platforms begin to merge with digital producers

Last week Walled Culture wrote about Microsoft’s planned purchase of the video gaming company Activision. That’s been followed by some other news stories that may not involve such headline-grabbing acquisitions, but which do form part of the same larger trend. First, there’s the Joe Rogan kerfuffle at Spotify. Tim De Chant on Ars Technica explained …

Interview | Katherine Maher: The Monkey Selfie, Public Domain, Freedom of Panorama, the EU Copyright Directive, Remix Culture, & the 20th Century Black Hole

Katherine Maher, advocate for free and open societies, is the former CEO and Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation. Her background is in the field of information and communications technology, and she works at non-profits in the international sector, focusing on the use of technology enabling human rights and international developments. She reflects on the …

Beyond a game: Microsoft swallows up Activision, a further concentration of power in a few digital giants

This blog has written a couple times about YouTube‘s dominance in the video sector. Spotify may well create a similar leading position for itself in music streaming, while a mega-merger underway would shrink publishing‘s Big Five into the Big Four. A recent article in The Hollywood Reporter shows that a similar concentration of power is …

The top ten YouTubers collectively earned $300m in 2021: is that good or bad?

It’s always interesting to see hard figures about how much individuals earn online from their activities there. For example, Forbes published an article recently that looked at the top ten YouTubers. The income of the stars in this relatively new medium turns out to be comparable to that of those working in traditional ones like …

Thanks to copyright maximalism, video game masterpieces are likely to be lost forever

Video games are undoubtedly an art form, arguably the quintessential art form of the late 20th and early 21st centuries. They combine graphics, video, music and interactive plotlines to produce a uniquely rich and complex creation only possible thanks to the widespread availability of powerful but low-cost systems like game consoles and personal computers. Clearly, …