How the financialisation of music could lead to demands for perpetual copyright

Back in October, this blog noted the huge amounts of money pouring into music copyrights, largely driven by the global rise of online streaming. Since then, that trend has continued, most notably with Bruce Springsteen’s sale of his recordings and songwriting catalogue to Sony, for a rumoured $550 million. As we pointed out in the …

Interview | Salvador Alcántar Morán: Mexican Copyright Unfit-for-purpose in the Digital age, the Public Domain as a Human Right, and the Need for a True Multistakeholder Approach and a Global Perspective on Copyright

Salvador Alcántar Morán is a lawyer, focused on digital copyright, educational technology and digital communications. He is the co-founder of Wikimedia Mexico and of Creative Commons Mexico. He was also manager of the General Direction of Digital Communications of the Mexico City Government. He talks about how the Mexican copyright framework is not adapted to …

Public Domain Day is here again: it should be an occasion for condemnation, not celebration

Once copyright’s walls come down, creative material enters the public domain. It is free for all to use, modify and build upon. It is part of the matrix from which future creativity springs. One of the best places to explore it and its importance is the Center for the Study of the Public Domain at …

Interview | Brewster Kahle: Libraries’ Role, 3 Internet Battles, Licensing Pains, the National Emergency Library, and the Internet Archive’s Controlled Digital Lending Efforts vs. the Publishers’ Lawsuit

Brewster Kahle is founder and Digital Librarian of the Internet Archive, one of the largest libraries in the world. Next to his mission to provide universal access to all knowledge, he is a passionate advocate for public Internet access, as well as a successful entrepreneur (Thinking Machines, Wide Area Information Server and Alexa Internet) and …

The copyright industry wants everything filtered as it is uploaded; here’s why that will be a disaster

The history of copyright can be seen as one of increasing control by companies over what ordinary people can do with material created by others. For the online world, the endgame is where copyright holders get to check and approve every single file that is uploaded, with the power to block anything they regard as …

A few companies dominate the music market; meet the rising giant that could beat them all: Spotify

Back in September, a blog post noted that Universal Music Group (UMG) regarded streaming as key to its future. Investors agreed, pushing the company’s valuation to 45 billion euros (over $50 billion) when it made its IPO. If streaming is good for UMG, it will be even better for the company that re-invented the idea: …

How to add much-needed zest to copyright: treating creators fairly by leaving them in control

One theme that is appearing more frequently both here on Walled Culture, and in wider coverage of the copyright world, is the idea that creators should remain in control of their own works.  Recent posts have underlined that currently this is far from being the case: creators of all kinds are routinely expected to hand …

Interview | Lawrence Lessig: Internet Architecture, Remix Culture, Creative Commons, NFTs, Aaron Swartz and the Internet Archive

Professor Lessig is the Roy L. Furman Professor of Law and Leadership at Harvard Law School and notably a founding board member of Creative Commons. The New Yorker has called him the most important thinker on intellectual property in the Internet era. In this podcast episode, he shares his reflections on the interplay between copyright …

The film industry effectively solved the problem of unauthorised downloads; now it is “unsolving” it…

Copyright companies frequently invoke “piracy” when they demand new legislation or stronger enforcement of existing laws. Usually, they have a free hand to claim what they like about these “pirates” and their motivation – we rarely hear from the latter about why they do it. That makes a post on TorrentFreak particularly interesting. It’s a …

Interview | Evan Greer & Lia Holland: Rethinking Copyright, Fighting Creative Monopolies, and Putting an End to Enforcement Excesses

Fight for the Future’s Director, Evan Greer, and Campaigns and Communications Director, Lia Holland, are both digital rights activists who have been active in the music industry. Based on their experience they talk about the need to rethink how artists can be fairly remunerated and the disconnect between the interest of big corporate entities, claiming …

BookTok shows how fans can power sales; imagine what could be done without copyright anxiety

A little while back, the Guardian covered the rising literary power of BookTok – short videos on TikTok devoted to the pleasures and pains of reading. As well as plenty of background information about the BookTok phenomenon, it has the following perceptive comment from Kat McKenna, a marketing and brand consultant specialising in children’s and …

YouTube is “neck-and-neck with Netflix”, and bigger than the world’s entire recording industry

Everyone knows that Google (strictly speaking, the parent company, Alphabet) is a digital giant. But recent figures reveal that YouTube alone is also enormous, and in two markets: video and music. Alphabet’s third quarter results showed that YouTube ads went from $5 billion to $7.2 billion, year on year. As Robert Kyncl, YouTube’s chief business …

It’s time to end the anti-circumvention exemption circus

Copyright as we know it goes back to the Statute of Anne of 1710. A law that old is clearly going to struggle to cope with the enormous changes in technology that have taken place since then – notably the Internet. But even relatively recent copyright laws were framed in ways that have become unworkable …

Interview | Dr. Eoin O‘Dell: The copyright creation myth, a permission-based society, and EU vs US copyright law

Dr. Eoin O’Dell, Associate Professor of Law at Trinity College Dublin (Dublin University), explains some copyright fundamentals: its origins and basic premises, the creation myth, the shift to a permission-based society, and the differences between the EU and US approaches. Do you prefer watching our passionate interviewees talking about the 21st-century walls blocking access to …

Does copyright give companies the right to search your home and computer?

One reason why copyright has become so important in the digital age is that it applies to the software that many of us use routinely on our smartphones, tablets and computers. In order to run those programs, you must have a licence of some kind (unless the software is in the public domain, which rarely …

Interview | Rebecca Giblin: Reversion Rights, Out-Of-Print Books And How To Fix Copyright

ARC Future Fellow and Associate Professor within the Melbourne Law School, an expert on e-lending, and co-author of “What if we could reimagine copyright?,” Rebecca Giblin talks about the crucial but little-known area of reversion rights, how to rescue out-of-print books, and fixing some of the worst problems of copyright by making sure that creators …