Australian Recording Industry Group Tries To Assert Copyright On A Picture of a Piece of Paper

from the we-like-the-law-when-it-suits-our-purposes dept

A site called Earsucker.com recently posted a couple of images of a leaked itinerary from pop artist Lady Gaga’s Australian tour, detailing her (largely uninteresting) schedule for a couple of days, prompting a friendly letter from Australian music industry group MIPI, threatening legal action if they weren’t removed. Unsurprisingly, the group claimed the images infringe some undefined copyright, as well as breach some confidentiality. Earsucker responded with some helpful legal education by pointing out that it’s based in the US, where Australian copyright law doesn’t apply (not yet, anyway), and that it can’t be held responsible for some third party’s breach of confidentiality with Lady Gaga or her management.

That’s all well and good, but it misses two important questions: first, what in these images could be protected by copyright? Second, what the hell does MIPI or its backers gain from getting this piece of content taken down on a copyright claim? It’s understandable that Lady Gaga and her management wouldn’t want this sort of info appearing online for security reasons. But what’s it got to do with MIPI (which stands for Music Industry Piracy Investigations)? This sort of episode, in which somebody uses the threat of a copyright lawsuit to get content they simply don’t like taken down, reinforces the need for real repercussions for bogus takedowns and threats. Copyright laws and legal threats shouldn’t exist as vehicles for record companies and their pals to stifle free speech, but when they can do so with no real repercussions, it’s hard to imagine they’ll actually stop.

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Comments on “Australian Recording Industry Group Tries To Assert Copyright On A Picture of a Piece of Paper”

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21 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Well...

I think they have a better claim on copyright for the lawyers letter than her schedule. Too bad for them they didn’t mark the MIPI logo as trademarked.

As for the real repercussions how about a novel application of anti-Slapp legislation and sue back on that basis. It could be enough to force discovery where you could really embarrass these goons.

JImmy says:

The way I understand copyright law, anything that you create becomes copyright the moment you create it. Nobody else has right to your work. It would be up to a court to decide if a travel itinerary were worth claiming ownership of (and we know how that court would likely decide) but the lawyers seem to have felt that they could at least use the law to get the itinerary off the net. Not a bad try.

spencermatthewp says:

Re: Re: Re:

“Thou shalt not copyright facts…”

Except the problem with your logic is these are not facts. Because concert dates are in the future, there is no guarantee they will happen. Until they happen, they are not facts. This is an itinerary, a creation. Not a set of facts.

That’s not to say that the whole thing isn’t stupid. So next time, make an argument that makes sense.

Hephaestus (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

They are facts just because they are in the future doesnt make them any less so. The sun will rise tomorrow is a fact, just because it is set in the future doesnt make it any less so. It is a fact that Lady Gaga intends to stay at “name hotel” from “This date” to “that date”. If she changes her hotel it is still a fact that she intended to stay there. Future planned events are facts.

InfoWars (user link) says:

doesn't apply (not yet, anyway)

So funny how ppl are just starting to assume that we will be screwed at some point in the not to distant future.. It’s like “Thats just the way it is” and I guess that’s just what the NWO is wanting from us.

People need to educate themselves about what’s really going and do something about it. Start some fires, call some fewls out, get mad, and don’t stand for the tyranny they are unleashing on all of us. We run this shit, not them, we together have all the power if we can just get the crusts out of our eyes..

:Lobo Santo (profile) says:

Re: doesn't apply (not yet, anyway)

Meh. People don’t revolt until everything’s revolting.
Wait… let me rephrase that.
Happy/comfortable/complacent people don’t bother to try to change things. Even so, regardless how ignorant a person is, (s)he won’t try to change something which cannot be changed.

So, in order for a REAL revolution to come about–everybody must (A) be miserable, and (B) come to the realization that they can in fact do something about it.

The trick to ‘leading’ a nation is to keep the people comfortable and far too busy with the magic tricks in your left hand to ever notice the knife in your right hand.

Wesha (profile) says:

copyrightability (just as intelligence/sentience) IS NOT A TRIGGER.

I may rather creatively crumple a piece of paper into some interesting shape that would impress millions of people, and then by all means it should be copyrightable (whether it should be COPYRIGHTED in the end is not a subject of this discussion). But if I just crumple a paper napkin and throw it away — NO WAI. There are gradations, and you CAN NOT establish a clear threshold between “can” and “can’t”.

(Sentience is the same way. You think animals are not sentient? Hell they are. Just not in the same direction as you, and, well, admittedly, not always as much as you.

“For instance, on the planet Earth, man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much – the wheel, New York, wars and so on – whilst all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man – for precisely the same reasons.” — Douglas Adams.)

Stephen VanDyke (user link) says:

Bogus takedowns are all too real

I’m geniunely grateful that Techdirt would deign to weigh in on the legal travails of our lowly music website. You all have my thanks for the attention.

I have NOT heard back from MIPI at *all* since our open-reply to their legal threat. I don’t know what it is about the music and entertainment industry, but I am annoyed at the frequency that legal departments are blatantly abused in sending bogus takedown threats to bloggers and independent websites like EarSucker.

I freely admit that I’m not a legal expert, but I know enough to toe the line and stay compliant with copyright and fair use. As a small business guy, we have to stay legal so many different ways and to get some kind of sternly-worded threat from *a whole other country*, well let me just say it looked like a softball begging to be smacked around the internet for everyone’s amusement.

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