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by Mike Masnick
Fri, Apr 17th 2015 11:44am
“It’s been allowed to be used for free for over a week now,” Max Markson, CEO of the Sydney-based Markson Sparks group, told the Daily News.But there's a big problem with this plan, and that is known as "fair use." News reporting is one of the fundamental parts of fair use. Unfortunately, the reporter from the NY Times, Frances Robles, seems to have very little knowledge about fair use and relied on a ridiculously biased expert to argue otherwise. She spoke with Frederic Haber of the Copyright Clearance Center, an organization that goes around trying to license everything and is fundamentally against fair use. And yet, Robles insisted that "copyright experts agree" that fair use somehow no longer applies:
“Now it’s going to be licensed and now you have to pay for it.”
Copyright experts agreed that although news agencies are allowed to use even copyrighted material under what is called “fair use” clauses in the law that time period has passed.Many actual copyright experts challenged Robles about this issue on Twitter, and she insists she spoke to two others besides Haber and they all agreed, though when questioned, she refused to name who those copyright experts were. And that's a problem, because all three of those copyright experts -- assuming Robles actually found three -- are wrong. There is no "time limit" element to fair use. At best someone might try to argue that after a certain period of time the piece was no longer newsworthy and thus fair use no longer applied, but that seems like a huge stretch.
“Fair usage for video exists and networks can still use it for a certain amount of time,” Markson further explained, “like with footage from the Olympics, but the fair usage fee is for people who want to use it again. And in the lead-up to the trial we expect there will be more requests for licensing.”This makes no sense. There is no such thing as a "fair usage fee." Markson doesn't seem to have any idea how fair use works, and it's unfortunate that the NY Times report that many people are basing their own reporting on isn't any better.
We conclude that each factor, particularly the nature of the copyrighted work, weighs in favor of fair use except the substantiality of the use, which we treat as neutral. Accordingly, we agree with the district court that Court TV's use was protected, and we affirm the grant of summary judgment in its favor.So it seems rather difficult to see how fair use magically disappeared, no matter what Frederic Haber or the mysterious other two "copyright experts" told Robles.
“At some point it’s not newsworthy anymore and you are using it for commercial benefit,” said Frederic Haber, a vice president and general counsel of the Copyright Clearance Center, a collective licensing organization that works on behalf of copyright holders such as The New York Times. The issue could change once the video is played in court during a trial, he said.Robles later also seems more confused about how copyright works in suggesting that because Walter Scott's family gave the NY Times the video, it wouldn't be subject to these demands for payment:
The Times has used the video with the family’s permission and not received a cease and desist letter.That sounds good but is meaningless. The Scott family doesn't have the copyright on the video. Santana does. They have no right to license it and the NY Times is clearly relying on fair use in its presentation as well.
by Mike Masnick
Fri, Apr 17th 2015 10:40am
"Those who count on quote 'Hollywood' for support need to understand that this industry is watching very carefully who's going to stand up for them when their job is at stake. Don't ask me to write a check for you when you think your job is at risk and then don't pay any attention to me when my job is at stake."Given that statement, this little tidbit from the Sony email archives is interesting. It's Chris Dodd more or less demanding that all of the member studios donate $40,000 to Rep. Bob Goodlatte's re-election campaign. As you may know, Goodlatte is the head of the Judiciary Committee in the House of Representatives, and copyright falls under that committee. Even more to the point, despite the fact that there's an "Intellectual Property Subcommittee" (headed by Rep. Darrell Issa), Goodlatte has made it clear that copyright reform remains under his own personal mandate. In this email, Dodd notes that Goodlatte is coming to LA and there's a fundraiser -- and he asks each of the member studios to see if they can put together $40,000 for Goodlatte's campaign:
Subject: Goodlatte Victory CommitteeNow, to be clear, this sort of thing happens all the time. It's more a function of how money in politics works today. It wouldn't surprise me to find out that plenty of other companies in other industries do the same sort of thing -- though, generally speaking, it would be done by the companies themselves, not at the direction of a trade organization. Still, it's a bit of insight into how the process works that I figured some of you might find rather revealing.
As you know, for a number of months we have been discussing the political event that Chairman Goodlatte has asked our industry to host in Los Angeles. The event has now been scheduled for November 22. A copy of the invitation is attached. The Goodlatte staff is currently securing a location and I will send that information as soon as it is confirmed.
The event will be in support of the Joint Committee established by the Congressman called the “Goodlatte Victory Committee.” This event is important and in the best interests of our industry.
A number of you have had an opportunity to speak directly with the Chairman in the past few months, and I know you share my view that he is a good man and we are fortunate to have him at the helm of the House Judiciary Committee for the foreseeable future.
TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE and it is now incumbent upon us to work together to make this event a success. I need each of you to commit to attending the event and I would request that each studio raise $40,000 for the Victory Committee at this event.
So, please confirm that you plan to attend on the 22nd in Los Angeles, and that you will meet the per studio target of $40,000. It is incredibly important, in my view, that this event be a success and that we have a broad representation of studio executives in attendance. I will reach out to you later this week, but look forward to hearing from you in the meantime.
by Mike Masnick
Fri, Apr 17th 2015 9:38am
wall street journal
Edward Snowden sabotaged the intelligence capabilities of the U.S. and its allies, and now we learn he may have given the Chinese regime a weapon to spread Internet censorship across the planet. The Great Firewall, the unofficial name for a suite of blocking tools, stops Chinese citizens from accessing outside information. In the past few weeks Beijing has deployed a new offensive capability, dubbed the Great Cannon.First of all, Snowden didn't "sabotage" any intelligence capabilities at all. He revealed to journalists how the NSA and its partners were abusing certain powers, likely breaking the law. That's not "sabotage." Second, the "we learn" is not based on anything the WSJ's nameless author of the opinion piece actually "learned." It's based on wild speculation by stringing some misleading and unrelated ideas together. So we're already off to an inauspicious start to the piece.
According to a report from the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab, the Great Cannon is similar to Quantum, a tool developed by the U.S. to track potential terrorists and criminals abroad. Snowden, a former system administrator for the U.S. National Security Agency, revealed the existence of Quantum for the first time in 2013 when he fled to Hong Kong and then Moscow.Loose connection #1.
Did Snowden give the Chinese the code for the Great Cannon? He denies sharing anything with foreign governments. But then he’s an admitted liar, and we don’t know what the Chinese and Russian spy services have been able to copy from what he stole. In any event he alerted them to a weakness that could be exploited.Wait, what? How is he "an admitted liar?" That seems like a stretch already, and seems like the kind of line you'd find in a conspiracy website, not the pages of the Wall Street Journal. Second, the idea that the Chinese didn't already recognize how to do online attacks via such methods until Snowden revealed it seems especially questionable. Among the other things that Snowden revealed: the NSA knows that the Chinese are among the most sophisticated in building tools for mounting online attacks. The idea that they would be totally ignorant of methods like these until Snowden's revelations came out seems difficult to believe.
A South China Morning Post report that the Great Cannon has been under development for about a year is suggestive. This means China’s hacking bureaucracy geared up to produce this new product soon after the Snowden leaks.Loose connection #2. Also, notice that the WSJ doesn't actually link to the SCMP story, so we'll do that for you. It actually doesn't say it was in development for a year. It says that it's "been in operation for about one year." I guess the timing still sorta works if you're making loose connections, but it seems like a pretty big leap to argue that's somehow evidence that Snowden gave the info to the Chinese during his brief stay in Hong Kong.
It also means that in the name of “transparency,” Snowden and his media accomplices may have empowered one of the world’s worst censors.Uh, no, it doesn't. If the WSJ's editorial board knew the first thing about technology, they'd know that it didn't require Ed Snowden to teach the Chinese how to build a giant DDoS machine.
This is another example of how the Western left fails to distinguish between the secrecy and surveillance required by democracies to preserve freedom and that used by dictators to quash it.Huh? That sentence doesn't even make sense.
by Mike Masnick
Fri, Apr 17th 2015 8:32am
And, for the first time in any trade agreement, we are asking our trading partners to secure robust balance in their copyright systems – an unprecedented move that draws directly on U.S. copyright exceptions and limitations, including fair use for important purposes such as scholarship, criticism, news commentary, teaching, and research.Nothing major. Nothing controversial. In fact, as we've pointed out, the actual text in the various leaks of the TPP show that while it is true that the USTR has, for the first time, mentioned concepts related to fair use, it has only done so in a manner that would limit how fair use could be implemented.
Dear Ambassador Froman:So, the MPAA loves fair use... but the very idea that the USTR might include fair use in a trade agreement (as it had announced years earlier, and which it is doing in very limited -- and limiting -- ways) is "controversial and divisive"? All the way to the point that the MPAA is concerned about whether it can still support the effort? That does not sound like an organization that really does support fair use at all. In fact, it sounds like an organization that actively does "oppose" fair use, contrary to the claims in its blog post. Funny how the MPAA's public statements appear to completely disagree with what it says directly to politicians, huh?
I am writing to you today regarding your Wednesday remarks at the Center for American Progress. I am concerned about your suggestion that previous free trade agreements’ copyright provisions were unbalanced and that USTR has addressed this lack of balance by including “fair use” in the TPP. Quite to the contrary, the recently ratified US-Korea FTA was supported by a broad cross-section of US industry, from tech and the internet community to the copyright community, and furthermore has been held up as a model agreement.
As I know you are aware, the inclusion of “fair use” in free trade agreements is extremely controversial and divisive. The creative community has been, and remains, a strong and consistent supporter of free trade, but the potential export of fair use via these agreements raises serious concerns within the community I represent. Over the last 24 hours, I have received calls from my member companies questioning what they perceive as a significant shift in US trade policy and, as a consequence, the value of the TPP to their industry.
It may be that people are reacting to the subsequent press releases by private groups following your remarks. I am certain these concerns have been elevated by indications from the US government that the ISP liability provisions in the TPP are going to be weakened. Nonetheless, this issue is of enough significance that I felt I must reach out to you directly prior to your departure for Singapore to register our deep concerns.
I am hopeful that I can report back to my members that that US trade policy has not changed, that USTR is committed to securing strong copyright provisions in the TPP. But, there is no question Wednesday’s speech is reverberating in the content community, and I would be remiss if I failed to raise these concerns to you personally. I would be very grateful if you would respond to these concerns at your earliest convenience. I realize you will be traveling, but this is a sense of urgency surrounding our concerns.
Christopher J. Dodd
Motion Picture Association of America
by Mike Masnick
Fri, Apr 17th 2015 6:30am
Crony capitalism is alive and well. If you need proof, look no further than the Federal Communication Commission's new Title II regulations imposed in the name of "net neutrality" under pressure from President Barack Obama, and the big businesses that benefit.Um, no. The crony capitalism was on the other side, as nearly all of the pressure against net neutrality came from the giant broadband players, Comcast, AT&T, Time Warner Cable and Verizon. There was almost no actual public support. Meanwhile, the push for Title II was driven heavily by public interest groups and the public itself. While there were some companies that got involved, most of the "big" businesses seemed to sit things out until late in the process and it was clear which way the wind was blowing. The companies that actually made a big difference were the startups (mainly in New York and San Francisco) that mobilized to talk about the harm that the FCC would do to the open internet if it didn't stop the broadband companies from messing things up. Kickstarter, Etsy, Tumblr and others played a really big role. Those companies are growing, but they're nothing like the big broadband companies.
Net neutrality proponents did a masterful job of marketing it with the help of late-night hosts and political spin, arguing that it would level the Internet playing field. The truth, however, is that it will insert Washington bureaucracy and control into the 21st century's greatest success story. The Internet, which has empowered hundreds of millions of Americans in so many aspects of life, will now be subject to the same types of regulations that governed telephone service in the 20th century.This is a massive exaggeration and is incredibly misleading. First of all, the rules are not the "same regulations," but rather they're just built off the same authority (Title II), but with clear forbearance on the parts of Title II that everyone agrees are problematic. The rules are not about treating the internet as a utility, but in preventing duopolists and monopolists from abusing their position. On top of that, if you talk to a lot of people, they actually remember when telephone service was super reliable, unlike broadband service today.
As someone who led a $87 billion company for six years, I know this: Only big companies can deal with vast, sweeping regulation like the 313 pages imposed by the FCC. This administration has had a habit of identifying a particular problem and then convincing the voters that we require enormous new swaths of government control to fix it.Almost everything in this paragraph is misleading. First of all, "leading" an "$87 billion company" -- well, here's the chart of HP's stock price during Fiorina's tenure:
Title II regulation gives the Federal Communications Commission nearly unlimited authority to micromanage how, when and where Internet companies innovate.This isn't even close to true. It only gives limited authority in how it makes sure that internet access providers handle their traffic. That's it. Not "internet companies." It's a cheap trick to conflate internet access providers and the internet companies that rely on an open internet, but that's the best Fiorina can do. And then she takes it to another level of ridiculousness:
Whereas the old Internet was "permissionless," the new Internet will require bureaucratic approval for the most mind-numbing minutiae and create huge areas of uncertainty . Major companies such as Google, Facebook, Amazon, eBay and Netflix now have a government-conferred advantage over start-ups because they can afford the lobbyists and lawyers necessary to navigate the new Title II landscape. When influence trumps innovation, big entrenched companies benefit.This isn't true. The new rules do not require anything of internet companies. They don't need lobbyists or lawyers to navigate anything. The rules are directed at internet access providers, and startups offering services on the internet do not have to deal with the rules -- only those offering internet access.
When influence trumps innovation, big entrenched companies benefit.Yes, that line is true, but if you look at the past two decades, you'd see that the companies with the most powerful influence have been AT&T, Comcast and Verizon which have some of the most powerful lobbying operations in the world, and have driven broadband policy almost entirely on their own whims for the past two decades. This has resulted in less competition, terrible service and a variety of bad policies.
One, the Internet economy will no longer benefit from the competition that has steadily driven prices down over the past two decades.What? Has Fiorina looked at internet bills lately? They have not been going down. It's true that the prices of other things on the internet have gone down, but she is once again conflating internet services with internet access. And, in fact, under the new rules it looks like there may be more competition because it will make it easier to get pole attachments. Furthermore, because of the FCC's other big ruling we may finally see some real municipal competition. And, as AT&T has made clear, when there is real competition, then its prices go down. But it has spent years actively blocking competition, using its political influence.
Two, companies will devote more of their resources to lobbying and regulatory compliance, passing the costs of these activities directly on to consumers.Again, the rules only impact internet access providers and only if they're doing bad stuff to consumers. If they treat traffic neutrally, there are no compliance issues to worry about.
by Mike Masnick
Fri, Apr 17th 2015 4:14am
If an election was held using the AVS WinVote, and it wasn’t hacked, it was only because no one tried. The vulnerabilities were so severe, and so trivial to exploit, that anyone with even a modicum of training could have succeeded. They didn’t need to be in the polling place – within a few hundred feet (e.g., in the parking lot) is easy, and within a half mile with a rudimentary antenna built using a Pringles can. Further, there are no logs or other records that would indicate if such a thing ever happened, so if an election was hacked any time in the past, we will never know.It's that bad. The headline grabbing line that many news sites have run with is the unchangeable WEP encryption key used on the machines was "abcde." Meaning it was crazy easy for people to hack into (even if you didn't know the password originally, it would not be difficult to figure that out just by monitoring the system). But that's just the start. Other massive problems, explained by Epstein:
Richard Herrington, secretary of the Fairfax City Electoral Board, said he was unconvinced that WINVote machines were risky enough to warrant decertification.Richard Herrington is both right and wrong. Yes, it's true that almost any system will have security vulnerabilities, but he's ridiculously, laughably wrong, in suggesting that these machines are likely secure enough. These machines don't require a sophisticated hacker (especially now that the VITA revealed all the necessary passwords). Basically anyone can change the votes however they want based on the information that has been revealed.
“No matter how much time, money and effort we could put into a device or a system to make it as secure as possible, there is always the possibility that someone else would put in the time, money and effort to exploit that system,” he said.
by Glyn Moody
Fri, Apr 17th 2015 1:11am
As our experience shows, retaliation against whistleblowers affects the entire UN system and goes largely unchecked at all levels, including in the Executive suites. Some UN whistleblowers have been fired or demoted; others have been subject to more subtle forms of abuse like non-renewal of contracts or sudden transfer to duty stations on the other side of the globe; many face plain, simple harassment and intimidation.The problems they have to deal with are very similar to those encountered by Snowden when he sought to use official channels to raise his concerns:
UN whistleblowers are forced to go through lengthy, and often expensive, internal appeal processes in which the burden of proof, as a practical matter, rests on the whistleblower to demonstrate retaliation (the usual standard in national systems requires the employer to justify their actions were not retaliatory).As a result, they often end up taking the same route that he did:
Put simply, the UN system of justice fails whistleblowers, and most of us have been forced to leave the UN to save our livelihoods, our health and our reputations.The letter's signatories go on to call for the UN to review whistleblower protection at the organization, and they make concrete suggestions on improving the lot of those revealing abuses, including recognizing that:
Whistleblower rights are human rights, which must be promoted and protected within the UN, as well as in affiliated specialized agencies and international organisations with immunity from national laws.And extending whistleblower protections to:
UN peacekeepers, police officers, contractors, victims and any other person who provides information about misconduct that could undermine the organisation’s mission. The key to receiving protection should be the content of the information disclosed, not the identity of the person disclosing it.Like much of the letter, that last point is applicable generally. It underlines the fact that a completely new framework for whistleblowers is required at every level, both nationally and internationally. The letter to the UN is part of an important move towards making that happen, in what could prove to be a key aspect of Snowden's long-term legacy.
Thu, Apr 16th 2015 9:11pm
Publicity rights have managed to intersect with the video game world more frequently recently. Typically, what appear to be loose general characterizations and/or homages within games have, for a variety of reasons, ruffled the feathers of the celebrity elite. One needs only look back at the disputes raised by Lindsay Lohan over a character in the Grand Theft Auto series which she, wrongly, declared to be based solely upon her. The question I always have in these cases is one of motive. Are these celebrities unhappy about the portrayal they think they see in a character, is there some competing interest, or is it all just a mindless money-grab?
In the latest case we'll cover, I'm at a loss if this isn't a money grab. The whole thing centers on the latest iteration of Mortal Kombat and one character's likeness, perhaps, to a mixed marshal arts fighter name Felice Herrig, who thinks the Cassie Cage character is based off of her likeness.
Herrig, who fights on this weekend’s UFC on FOX 15 card, was first made aware of Cassie Cage a few months ago. Back then, she found the resemblance to be a bit odd, but she didn’t have a whole lot to go on. In recent days, however, more footage and promo materials have surfaced, and Herrig doesn’t like what she sees.Her complaints, posted to her social media account, center on the Cassie Cage character notably chewing bubblegum and taking selfies. If you go hunting for side-by-side comparisons, they can be somewhat striking.
Except we need to keep a couple of things in mind here. Both women, one real and one fictional, portray combat fighters and there are only so many ways those folks are going to be portrayed. Flexing with clasped fists is a common posed shot in this world. As for chewing bubble gum and taking selfies, both of those are so common that entire industries are built around them, so that is about as unique as having blonde hair.
Is there an homage here? I don't know, maybe. If there is, it's a subtle one, and built off a real-life person who isn't exactly a household name outside of the MMA scene. But what's the point of getting upset over a maybe-possibly-kinda-sorta nod in your direction? I mean, it is an option to be flattered or to use it to promote yourself, whether the whole thing is an homage or not. What's to be upset about?
by Michael Ho
Thu, Apr 16th 2015 5:00pm
Explore some core concepts:
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