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 …

The copyright world’s obsession with ownership will throttle AI innovation and boost today’s tech giants

Generative AI is still one of the hot topics in technology, even if the initial, rather breathless excitement has cooled down somewhat. It clearly represents an interesting new approach to finding and creating textual, visual and audio material. Unfortunately, the copyright world’s obsession with ownership threatens to throw an 18th-century legalistic spanner in these 21st-century …

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 …

Copyright enforcement in a nutshell: make the Internet hard work and less fun until people give up

The Internet is amazing, but it’s not perfect. There are many aspects that are unsatisfactory – its protocols are inefficient, and it is far from resilient. The InterPlanetary File System, created in 2014, aims to address some of these deficiencies. On its main site it is described as: A peer-to-peer hypermedia protocol designed to preserve …

Long overdue, but good to see: Germany’s new copyright exception for pastiche applied for first time

Although overall the EU Copyright Directive is bad news for the digital world because of things like its need for the use of automated upload filters, it does contain a few glimmers of good sense. For example, it rectifies a failing of the previous EU legislation in this area, the 2001 Infosec Directive. The 2001 …

Talking to the wall: Portugal’s shameful approach to implementing the EU Copyright Directive

The depressing tale of how the European Union passed copyright’s worst new law, the EU Copyright Directive, occupies some 36 pages in Walled Culture the book (digital versions available free). The main legislation was finalised over four years ago, but countries are still grappling with the problem of implementing its sometimes contradictory requirements in national …

How to use today’s debate about AI to fix yesterday’s mistakes in copyright legislation

Copyright is starting to become a hot topic in the world of generative AI, as the usual culprits start demanding yet more protection for their intellectual monopolies. There’s an interesting meditation on this development and its implications by Dean Baker, Senior Economist at the Center for Economic Policy Research, which he co-founded in 1999. His …

Music label uses copyright law to ask Google to de-list a Wikipedia page with information it doesn’t like

In Walled Culture the book (free digital versions available) there’s a chapter about the widely-used “notice and takedown” system, and its many abuses. One indicator of how bad things are, and how they are still getting worse, is the number of requests that Google receives to de-list links from its search results. Last year, Google …

Here’s another important reason why academics should publish in open access titles: self interest

Open access has been discussed many times here on Walled Culture. There are several strands to its story. It’s about allowing the public to access research they have paid for through tax-funded grants, without needing to take out often expensive subscriptions to academic titles. It’s about saving educational institutions money that they are currently spending …

Streaming services today sell musicians access to their own fans; SoundCloud shows a better way

Back in January, Walled Culture wrote about an interesting initiative by the German online audio distribution platform and music sharing service SoundCloud, with its Fan-Powered Royalties (FPR) approach. At the time, we noted that it was a kind of halfway house to the true fans idea this blog has promoted many times. We also pointed …

Top EU court to issue definitive ruling on whether copyright is more important than privacy

Back in November last year, Walled Culture reported on the shocking opinion by a top EU court advisor that copyright was more important than privacy. The case in question was brought by four French associations for the protection of rights and freedoms on the Internet (La Quadrature du Net, the Federation of Associative Internet Access …

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 …

A “blatant no” from a copyright holder stops vital linguistic research work in Africa

Copyright discussions typically concern texts in just a few languages, and often only in English. In part, that’s because copyright law has evolved most quickly in anglophone countries. But it means that the copyright problems faced by those speaking less well-known languages – particularly languages with limited quantities of textual material available – are completely …

Ed Sheeran has won yet another copyright infringement case – and that’s outrageous

Ed Sheeran keeps on getting hit with accusations of copyright infringement. It’s partly his own fault, as he himself admits, reported here by the Guardian: in 2017, he settled out of court after songwriters of the Matt Cardle song Amazing claimed it had been copied by Sheeran for his song Photograph. Sheeran later said he …

Germany wants to include copyright infringement as an example of “digital violence”

The hyperbolic rhetoric that is a feature of the copyright industry, which tries absurdly to characterise making an additional digital copy as “theft”, can lead to some serious legislative harm. For example, Germany is currently aiming to bring in a new law against “digital violence” – things like bullying and stalking, but also identity abuse …

Canadian musician Grimes shows how to embrace generative AI for fun and profit

Back in November last year, Walled Culture wrote about the growing panic in the copyright world as a result of generative AI programs writing music. Since then, the issue the entered the mainstream, not least with the following story, reported here by The New York Times: For Drake and the Weeknd, two of the most …

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