Copyright/Intellectual Property

An Argument for the Case Act

2 August 2019

CASE = Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement Act

From Medium:

I got an email from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, whose work I admire and mostly support. In the email the EFF asked its supporters to call their representatives and tell them not to support the CASE act.

Roughly, the CASE act would lay out a new way for copyright holders to seek payment when their work is infringed by establishing a small-claims-court-like board inside the US Copyright office. Damages would be limited to US$15,000 for each infringed work and a total of $30,000 per claim. The law is meant to protect infringers from much larger monetary claims and to give the infringed a way to obtain compensation without having to mount a prohibitively expensive lawsuit.

My work pays for my family’s shelter, food and education and for my ability to keep writing music. The CASE act would give me a simple, inexpensive way forward when someone in the US steals my work and refuses to engage with me to execute a license to use my copyrights.

The EFF says that the CASE act will spawn an industry of copyright trolls who will file frivolous claims in order to make money off innocent people. Does the threat of copyright trolling justify limiting my ability to obtain compensation when my work is stolen? As I hear it, the argument is that giving corporations the ability to collect damages from individual infringers who aren’t doing harm is so great an evil that we cannot craft legislation that would allow individuals to bring valid claims against corporate infringers who are doing real harm.

Let me tell you some of my experience as an artist who earns a living from their work and whose work is often infringed/appropriated/stolen by entities who include it in their commercial projects without permission or compensation and sometimes even try to pass it off as their own. My work is supposedly protected by copyright law but when such an infringement occurs I have little recourse beyond sending a stern letter or attempting to shame them on social media. I would like to explain why, from my perspective, the CASE act sounds like a good idea.

. . . .

When I say “stealing” I am not talking about the hobbyist who puts my music in their climbing video. I am not talking about the young dancer who posts a video of her routine to one of my songs. I am not talking about the gamer who posts videos of their gaming sessions with my music as soundtrack. I am not talking about the wedding photographer who has my music as the soundtrack to their photography slideshow. I am not talking about my work used in a meme. In fact, I am not talking about most of the 22,000 third-party videos on Youtube with my music in the background. I don’t see any of that as stealing, I see it as a compliment. It says to me “I love your work and I love it enough that I did my own work to it and here it is for the world to see”.

. . . .

While legally most of these uses of my songs and recordings are technically infringing, I do not view these uses of my music as problematic and I do not block upload of such videos to YouTube.

Every now and then I will stumble on a usage that I find offensive, like a homemade anti-abortion video. I’ve gone through the take-down process and written to the creator of a video asking them to remove my music. It’s offensive to my moral rights as an artist, which are unprotected in the US, but because the usage does infringe my master and synchronization rights, I can have it taken down. I haven’t been tested on this thankfully, but I would not bring suit against an individual unless they blatantly refused to remove my music.

So, what is the “stealing” that I would use the CASE act for?

– Stealing is when someone writes asking to use my work, doesn’t accept the fee my licensing agent quotes them and uses it anyway.

– Stealing is when my work is knowingly used inside another work and my work is passed off as someone else’s.

– Stealing is using my work in something, charging for it and not crediting me in the hope I won’t find out.

Financial losses aside, I find these last two kinds of thefts emotionally devastating. When I learn of a funded production that used my music as an integral part and didn’t credit me, I feel such incredible sadness. I feel bereft, like something I care deeply about was taken from me. I feel taken advantage of. My first response is often tears. An infringement, particularly one from a creative production — artists stealing from other artists — is profoundly shattering.

Link to the rest at Medium

Here’s a link to the proposed legislation (It’s not a law yet and may or may not become one in the future)

Although PG suspects some will misuse the CASE Act (just as some misuse a variety of other laws), as a general proposition, he thinks it’s a good idea.

For small-time infringers, an official document arriving from a government agency will, in many cases, prompt cessation of infringement, a little like a super takedown notice with teeth. Hopefully, the experience will also deter future copyright infringement by such individuals.

Since participation in proceedings under the CASE Act process is voluntary (a copyright owner can elect the CASE route instead of filing suit in federal court and the recipient of a notice that a CASE complaint has been filed can remove the matter to federal court), it’s not mandatory. As a practical matter, removing a matter that begins as a CASE complaint will require the hiring of an attorney by each side, however, so this may present an opportunity to settle the dispute.

As with any dispute resolution forum, crazy people will sometimes file CASE complaints against sane people who have committed no wrong. Judges and Hearing Officers generally have more experience than they would wish with crazy people, however, and PG would be surprised if summary dismissal of a CASE complaint brought by a crazy person would not be relatively easy to achieve.

Filing a prompt registration of the author’s copyright to a creative work is always a good idea (and probably does not require an attorney), but if CASE becomes a law, sending a copy of the author’s registered copyright to the book that allegedly infringes the work of another will likely be another way to resolve CASE complaints filed in bad faith.

Indeed, if a CASE complaint is filed in bad faith, the filing of a CASE counterclaim by the true author against the bad faith filer may serve as a deterrent against future bad behavior.

Is CASE likely to help an individual author whose work has been misappropriated by a large publisher,  motion picture studio, etc.?

PG suspects not. Such large organizations have ready access to counsel who will be competent in copyright litigation in federal court and will be quite likely to cause the CASE complaint to be removed to federal court.

Again, CASE isn’t a law and may never become the law. Those supporting CASE have tried and failed to get the legislation passed before. If CASE does become the law, the resulting law may be much different than the current bill PG linked to above and which provides the basis for PG’s commentary.

And finally, although PG is an attorney, he doesn’t provide legal advice in TPV blog posts. Those requiring legal advice will need to retain an attorney to provide such advice for them.

Plaintiff Had No Duty to “Scour” the Internet for Infringements – Statute of Limitations Did Not Bar Copyright Claim Made 7 Years After Infringement

23 July 2019

From InternetCases:

Plaintiff freelance photojournalist sued defendant website publisher for copyright infringement over photos plaintiff took of a luxury maximum security prison in Norway in 2010. Defendants posted the photos on its website in 2011 without permission, in connection with a widely-publicized story of a notorious mass shooter being relocated there. Plaintiff registered the copyright in his photos in 2015 and filed suit in 2018, claiming that he did not learn of the alleged infringement until 2016.

Each party filed motions for summary judgment. Plaintiff claimed that the court should enter summary judgment in his favor because he had a valid copyright to the photographs, and there was no dispute that defendant published several of them without authorization. Defendant asserted that plaintiff’s claims were time-barred by the Copyright Act’s three-year statute of limitations, because he knew, or should have known, of the infringement when interest in the photos spiked following the remand of the alleged mass murderer to the prison where the photos were taken.

. . . .

The court found there was no genuine issue as to any material fact concerning plaintiff’s ownership of the copyright in the photos. And defendant conceded it published the photos without authorization. Defendant had challenged whether plaintiff’s copyright registration covered the photos at issue. Plaintiff had not introduced the deposit materials, but had submitted a sworn statement saying the photos had been included in the registration. The court found the sworn statement to carry the issue – had the defendant filed a motion to compel or sought the deposit materials from the copyright office, it may have been able to show the photos were not included. But on these facts, it was clear to the court that the copyright registration covered the photos.

. . . .

The court denied defendant’s motion for summary judgment, finding that the copyright infringement claims were not barred by the statute of limitations. Civil actions for copyright infringement must be “commenced within three years after the claim accrued.” 17 U.S.C. § 507(b). The Second Circuit has stated that the “discovery rule” governs when the statute of limitations begins to run: an infringement claim does not ‘accrue’ until the copyright holder discovers, or with due diligence should have discovered, the infringement.

Link to the rest at InternetCases

Copyright Law Has a Small Claims Problem. the CASE Act Won’t Solve It

20 July 2019

This is a companion post to the one that appears immediately below this one in the grand march of thoughts and opinions that is The Passive Voice.

From The Authors Alliance:

The bill has a laudable goal: reducing barriers to copyright enforcement for those with limited financial resources by providing a faster and cheaper avenue to remedies. For many independent authors, creators, and users of copyrighted content, copyright litigation in federal court is not worth the candle; the high cost of litigation keeps many independent authors and creators from enforcing their copyrights. A well-designed copyright small claims process could fix this but, unfortunately, the deeply flawed CASE Act isn’t that. While failing to limit the tribunal’s scope to the types of claims and claimants that it’s best suited to and allowing recovery of excessive damages, the small claims process as set out in the CASE Act would also cause harm to many legitimate users of copyrighted works, including authors, educators, and other creators.

. . . .

The CASE Act’s small claims tribunal isn’t limited to those independent authors and creators who need it most.

The copyright holders who most need, and would most benefit, from a small claims process are those independent authors and creators who can’t afford to press their claims in federal court. Unfortunately, instead of limiting the small claims process to those independent copyright holders that really need access to this kind of forum to enforce their copyrights, the CASE Act opens the door widely, welcoming in large corporations, corporate assignees, and entities that buy up others’ copyright claims and profit from litigation.

We’ve already seen how copyright trolls and big content companies have sometimes abused the federal court system to raise questionable infringement accusations and threaten those accused with high statutory damages. By not limiting enforcement through the small claims process to individual creators, the CASE Act makes it even easier for these entities to get quick default judgments and disproportionately high damages awards. Absent enough protections for accused infringers and reasonable limits on damages, the CASE Act would invite more abusive litigation tactics by copyright trolls and opportunistic claimants while cluttering up the docket with cases that should be resolved elsewhere.

. . . .

The CASE Act’s “default judgment mill” favors sophisticated actors over independent authors and creators.

The CASE Act’s opt-out provision doesn’t provide independent authors (whether claimants or defendants) enough protection. Under the CASE Act, if someone accused of infringement fails to opt-out of the small claims process within 60 days of receiving notice of the claim, the small claims tribunal can enter a default judgment in favor of the claimant and award her damages. This judgment can then be enforced by the claimant in federal court. While this opt-out procedure is supposed to provide some protection for the accused, there’s a strong likelihood that authors, educators, and small creators without sophisticated legal knowledge or representation may not fully understand the implications and may ignore the notice – ending up on the hook for substantial damages awards without a meaningful opportunity to appeal. This quick and easy way to obtain default judgments is likely to create a “default judgment mill,”where big content companies and copyright trolls can churn out a mass of default judgments and high damages awards against unsophisticated individuals.

. . . .

The CASE Act’s statutory damages framework invites abuse.

There may be a role for a reasonably statutory small framework in a small claims tribunal when damages from infringement are difficult or impossible to prove. However, while substantially lower than the statutory damages available in federal court, the CASE Act’s statutory damages are still excessively high and are available in all cases. Under the CASE Act, claimants who timely registered their works can request up to $15,000 per work infringed, with a total limit of $30,000 per proceeding. Those who failed to timely register their works can request up to $7,500 per work infringed, with a limit of $15,000 per proceeding. As copyright law experts have pointed out, in federal court, the availability of excessive statutory damages has made it easy for unscrupulous plaintiffs to intimidate and extract settlements from individuals accused of infringement. Faced with the risk of a high statutory award, many defendants opt to settle, even when they have a valid defense. And without standards to guide those awards, copyright litigation is an unpredictable venture. With lower barriers for plaintiffs and a disproportionate statutory damages framework, the CASE Act could make these problems even worse.

As concerned scholars have noted, The CASE Act’s statutory damages framework won’t just harm defendants, though. It will also create an incentive for sophisticated or well-resourced defendants to strategically opt out of the small claims process when they think the claimant won’t be able to pursue her claim in federal court. This would undermine the CASE Act’s core objective, returning independent authors and creators to today’s unsatisfactory status quo.

. . . .

The Copyright Office probably isn’t the right place for a copyright small claims court.

A tribunal within the copyright office, designed to serve copyright claimants, and with officers selected and recommended by the Register of Copyrights may end up friendlier towards copyright claimants, and less receptive to arguments that a contested use is legitimate or qualifies as fair use. In concert with the limitations on appeal of tribunal decisions, this could create a forum inclined to issue more favorable judgments for big content companies and other copyright claimants, and in the process, harm those authors, educators, and creators defending their right to use copyrighted works.

Authors Alliance founder and law professor Pamela Samuelson points out that placing the tribunal within the Copyright Office could also run afoul of the United States Constitution. The United States Supreme Court has repeatedly stated that infringement claims belong in the federal courts. Placing some copyright infringement claims in an administrative forum may be unconstitutional under Supreme Court precedent.

Link to the rest at The Authors Alliance

Major CASE Act Copyright Legislation Passed by Senate Judiciary Committee

20 July 2019

From PetaPixel:

The CASE Act, a major piece of legislation that would introduce a small claims court for copyright infringement cases, has officially been passed by Senate Judiciary Committee, clearing the way for a full vote on the Senate floor.

This is a major step forward for the copyright legislation, which was introduced by a bi-partisan group of senators from Louisiana, North Carolina, Illinois and Hawaii. As of now, defending your copyrights means taking your case to federal court—a complicated and expensive proposition. If passed, the CASE Act would remedy this by establishing a small claims tribunal within the U.S. Copyright Office, making it much easier and cheaper to defend your copyrights in court.

The unappealable court would be staffed by three full-time “Copyright Claims Officers” appointed by the Librarian of Congress, who would be allowed to assign damages of up to $15,000 per infringed work, and up to $30,000 total.

. . . .

The Copyright Alliance issued a statement commending the Senate Judiciary Committee for taking this step, writing:

We thank the members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and especially the bill’s original co-sponsors […] for passing the CASE Act out of Committee today and for making it a legislative priority, one that will benefit hundreds of thousands of U.S. photographers, illustrators, graphic artists, songwriters, and authors, as well as a new generation of creators including bloggers and YouTubers.

We look forward to working with the Senate and other stakeholders as the CASE Act moves to the Senate floor and moves forward in the House of Representatives.

. . . .

Meredith Rose, Policy Counsel at the public interest non-profit Public Knowledge, told Billboard that the bill as it stands does not involve appropriate oversight.

“[The CASE Act] lacks meaningful opt-in consent for all parties, structural safeguards against abuse, and legal accountability through a right of appeal,” said Rose. “The bill would allow an unappealable tribunal to assign damages of up to $30,000, or nearly half the income of the average American household. A tribunal with that kind of punitive power must be accountable.”

Link to the rest at PetaPixel

PG thinks a Small Claims Copyright Court is a good idea, but should include strong provisions to prevent abuse.

A great many people don’t understand what a copyright protects and, given the existence of crazy people, PG is concerned that legitimate authors might be on the receiving end of “You stole my idea” sorts of lawsuits.

PG thinks the existence of such a law would make it even more important for authors to register their copyrights as soon as their book is finished to establish the nature and timing of their creations.

While the passage out of a Senate committee is an important step in creating such a law, it still has to pass through several other stages in the Senate and House of Representatives and be signed by the President before it becomes a law.

For those who would like more information, Wikipedia has a brief description and links to some opinion pieces, pro and con, concerning the CASE Act.

Below is the original Senate CASE Act. PG was not able to determine with a quick search what changes, if any, were made in the Senate Judiciary Committee prior to the legislation being approved there.

Senate CASE by Michael Zhang on Scribd

Amazon’s Upcoming Audible Captions Feature = Unhappy Publishers

19 July 2019

From The Verge:

Earlier this week, Audible revealed that it was working on a new feature for its audiobook app: Audible Captions, which will use machine learning to transcribe an audio recording for listeners, allowing them to read along with the narrator. While the Amazon-owned company claims it is designed as an educational feature, a number of publishers are demanding that their books be excluded, saying these captions are “unauthorized and brazen infringements of the rights of authors and publishers.”

On its face, the idea seems useful, much in the same way that I turn on subtitles for things that I’m watching on TV, but publishers have some reason to be concerned: it’s possible that fewer people will buy distinct e-book or physical books if they can simply pick up an Audible audiobook and get the text for free, too.

And Audible may not have the right to provide that text, anyhow.

In the publishing world, authors and their agents sign very specific contracts with publishers for their works: these contracts cover everything from when the manuscript needs to be delivered, how an author is paid, and what rights to the text a publisher might have, such as print or audio. As an audiobook publisher and retailer, Audible gets the rights to produce an audiobook based on a book, or to sell an audiobook that a publisher creates in its store. Publishers say that a feature that displays the text of what’s being read — itself a reproduction from the original text — isn’t one of those specific rights that publishers and authors have granted, and they don’t want their books included in Audible’s feature when it rolls out.

. . . .

Audible tells The Verge that the captions are “small amounts of machine-generated text are displayed progressively a few lines at a time while audio is playing, and listeners cannot read at their own pace or flip through pages as in a print book or eBook.” Audible wouldn’t say which books would get the feature, only that “titles that can be transcribed at a sufficiently high confidence rate” will be included. It’s planning to release the feature in early September “to roll out with the 2019 school year.”

Penguin Random House, one of the world’s five biggest publishers, told The Verge that “we have reached out to Audible to express our strong copyright concerns with their recently announced Captions program, which is not authorized by our business terms,” and that it expects the company to exclude its titles from the captions feature.

Other publishers have followed suit. Simon & Schuster (disclosure: I’m writing a book for one of its imprints, Saga Press), echos their sentiments, calling the feature “an unauthorized and brazen infringements of the rights of authors and publishers, and a clear violation of our terms of sale,” and has also told Audible to “not include in Captions any titles for which Simon & Schuster holds audio or text rights.” A Macmillan spokesperson said that “the initiative was not authorized by Macmillan, and we are currently looking into it.”

The Authors Guild also released a statement, saying that “existing ACX and Audible agreements do not grant Audible the right to create text versions of audio books,” and that the feature “appears to be outright, willful copyright infringement, and it will inevitably lead to fewer ebook sales and lower royalties for authors for both their traditionally published and self-published books.”

When asked about the feature squares up against the existing audio rights that are granted to it, an Audible spokesperson told The Verge that it does “not agree with this interpretation,” but declined to comment further on whether or not the company actually has the right to go through with it.

Link to the rest at The Verge and thanks to Jan for the tip.

This looks like one more instantiation of Big Publishing’s ancient credo, “New is bad, old is good.” Heaven forfend that books of any sort be improved without more money going to legacy publishers.

Absent a problem with the definition of “ebook” in the contracts between Amazon and the publishers, PG thinks what shows up in Amazon’s video at the end of this post is clearly distinguishable from an ebook.

PG suggests complaining publishers are attempting to extort more money from Amazon.

He predicts it won’t work.

If Amazon wants to play serious hardball, it can begin to delist audiobooks from major publishers which don’t agree to permit the new feature.

If Amazon wants to play a step-below-serious hardball, it can penalize audiobooks that don’t offer the new captioning feature in Amazon search results or tag those audiobooks with a warning to potential purchasers that the audiobooks are only available in an outmoded format or some such thing.

Back to even more serious hardball, how about declining to sell new print and ebooks released by publishers unless the accompanying audiobooks include the captioning feature?

If the publishers want to continue their snit fit, who are they going to turn to for sales, Barnes & Noble?

Photographer’s Copyright Claim Against Officer of Company over Photos on Website Moves Forward

18 July 2019
Comments Off on Photographer’s Copyright Claim Against Officer of Company over Photos on Website Moves Forward

From Internet Cases:

Plaintiff, a professional photographer, sued defendant company and an individual who was its “registered agent and … officer, director, manager, and/or other genre of principal” for copyright infringement over two photographs that appeared on the defendant company’s website. The infringement claims against the individual defendant included one for vicarious infringement.

The individual defendant moved to dismiss the vicarious infringement claim. The court denied the motion.

One “infringes vicariously by profiting from direct infringement while declining to exercise a right to stop or limit it.” Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. v. Grokster, Ltd., 545 U.S. 913, 930 (2005). “In order to establish vicarious liability, a copyright owner must demonstrate that the entity to be held so liable: (1) possessed the right and ability to supervise the infringing activity; and (2) possessed an obvious and direct financial interest in the exploited copyrighted materials.” Nelson-Salabes, Inc. v. Morningside Dev., LLC, 284 F.3d 505, 513 (4th Cir. 2002).

In this case, plaintiff alleged that the individual defendant controlled nearly all decisions of the company and was the dominant influence in the company.

. . . .

As a principal of the company, the individual defendant’s financial interests were intertwined with the company’s. Therefore, the individual defendant had a direct and obvious financial interest in the company.

Link to the rest at Internet Cases

PG suspects this is a case with a backstory that is more interesting than that described in the pleadings.

As a general proposition, one of the benefits of a corporation, limited-liability company (LLC) or limited-liability partnership (LLP) is that the business entity protects individuals who are acting in the name of the entity and within the scope of the entity’s business operations from being sued in their individual capacity for debts or obligations of the entity. Anyone with a claim against the entity must look to the assets of the entity to satisfy that claim instead of the personal assets of the officers/directors/partners/employees, etc.

If a limited-liability entity is operated as a shell with no assets from which to satisfy any sort of meaningful claim for business debts, a court may permit a claimant to sue the entity’s owners directly. This is sometimes called “piercing the corporate veil” in a legal context.

The copyright infringement claim against the individual owner/controlling person described in the OP is what caught PG’s attention.

Unlike most species of personal or business debts or other claims against a person or business, Section 504 of the United States Copyright Act provides for the potential for statutory damages which can help to avoid an argument about how much the reasonable royalties for the infringing use of the creator’s work might have been.

In a case such as that described in the OP, the fight over the appropriate amount of damages would likely be the most difficult and expensive part of the litigation if the infringer wanted to put up a fight.

Section 504 statutory damages are often between $750 and $30,000 per work, as determined by the court.

However, the damage amount can be increased up to $150,000 per work if the infringement is found to be willful (intentional). If the infringement is “innocent,” meaning the infringer did not know they were violating copyright law, the damages can be reduced to a minimum of $200 per work (if the work did not contain a proper copyright notice).

There is one important precondition for Section 504 damages, however. In order to qualify, the work that is the basis of the infringement claim must be registered with the US Copyright office (1) within three months of publication of the work, or (2) before the infringement starts.

See a more detailed but easy-to-understand description of Section 504 damages at The Copyright Alliance.

For indie authors, it’s a good idea to include copyright registration as one of the checklist items when the author releases a new book. For books, it’s a simple task that should not require an attorney.

Here’s a link to the Registration Portal for the US Copyright Office. Here’s a link to an online Form TX for non-dramatic literary works that includes detailed instructions.

In most cases, the Registration Portal is the easier and faster way of submitting Form TX or another standard copyright form. The Registration Portal will walk you through the process of selecting and filling out the appropriate form, then submitting the completed form electronically to the Copyright Office.

If an indie author has released books without registering their copyright to those books in the past, registering them after publication is still a good idea. As stated above, statutory damages can be awarded if the books were registered before infringement by a particular party began.

Also, it is important for indie authors to include a copyright notice in their books. This is inserted semi-automatically by Amazon and other online booksellers as part of the upload process.

Here’s an example of a copyright notice:

© 2019 John Doe

Here’s a link to a US Copyright Office Circular discussing copyright notices.

IMPORTANT NOTE for visitors from countries other than the US – PG’s discussion of infringement, penalties for infringement and copyright registration benefits and processes are applicable only to US copyrights and their infringement in the US.

There are two principal international copyright treaties/conventions – the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works (Berne Convention) and the Universal Copyright Convention (UCC) which can provide an author who is a national or domiciliary of a member country or works first published in a member country with protections against copyright infringement and rights to pursue infringers for damages or other remedies. The US and many other western countries are members of these conventions.

Sticking Copyright Criticism Where It Doesn’t Belong

8 July 2019
Comments Off on Sticking Copyright Criticism Where It Doesn’t Belong

From The Illusion of More:

There I was reading a perfectly interesting article by Sarah Jeong on the potential hazards of selling one’s personal data, when she took an incomprehensible—if mercifully brief—detour into the realm of copyright law.  She presents a reasonable enough case that the companies now offering to help us “broker” our private data (e.g. health information) may be counting on the fact that, “There’s no legal property right to personal data.  Once personal data is gathered, it’s out there for anyone to buy and sell. At the moment, there are no legal grounds to demand compensation for use,” Jeong writes.

Fair enough.  It is certainly true that the whole prospect of selling private data, even if it were a good idea, does implicate a relatively novel legal framework.  And while I am personally inclined to agree with Jeong that the whole notion is fraught with hazards, I am at a loss to understand where she is going with this interjection …

“In any case, we already know what happens when property rights get slapped on information, because we’ve already done it, to some degree, in copyright law. 

Giving people ownership of their creative expressions means they can buy and sell them on the open market. The risk is that an artist will wind up, like Taylor Swift, alienated from her own work because she no longer possesses the masters of some of her earlier recordings.”

Swift in late June stated publicly that she was very disappointed to learn that mega-star manager Scooter Braun will be acquiring Big Machine Label Group, which still owns her master recordings dating back to the start of her career.  Swift calls the prospect of being under contract to Braun her “worst nightmare,” and for the sake of this post, we will take her word that he is an “incessant manipulative bully” because digging into that backstory could not matter less to Jeong’s ham-fisted allusion to the supposed problem with copyright.

Even more bizarrely, Jeong happened to pick an artist who has adamantly defended both her own rights and those of much smaller artists, and who told Rolling Stone in 2014, “Important, rare things are valuable. Valuable things should be paid for. It’s my opinion that music should not be free, and my prediction is that individual artists and their labels will someday decide what an album’s price point is. I hope they don’t underestimate themselves or undervalue their art.”  So, I’m just spitballing here, but maybe Swift did not recently do an about-face on the purpose of copyright, or even abandon all prospect of working with labels, so much as she was just saying she really does not like Scooter Braun.

Turning to Jeong’s implications about the nature of copyright, it is clear that she should refrain from the topic altogether.  For one thing copyright does not “slap property rights onto information.”  Quite the contrary.  There is in fact a long history of statutory development and caselaw that makes it very clear that information is not the subject of copyright.  Expression is the subject of copyright, but the way Jeong slaps these two sentences together makes it seem as though information and expression are the same thing—especially in the context of an editorial that is all about data, which has no resemblance to expression.

. . . .

[M]y friend Neil Turkewitz observes …

“If property rights are the model, then Silicon Valley’s dismal track record on intellectual property rights is a giant red flag that simply vesting property rights is of little consequence to the extent that such property rights are essentially unenforceable — particularly for individuals. Since the dawn of the internet, notwithstanding their legal rights, creators and innovators have had to endure an avalanche of illegally available copies of their works online.”

Link to the rest at The Illusion of More

Iconic Ferrari 250 Gto Recognised as Work of Art in Bid to Protect World’s Most Valuable Classic Car

5 July 2019

From The Telegraph:

An iconic Ferrari has been recognised by an Italian court as a work of art, in an unprecedented judgment that will protect it from reproductions and imitations.

The Ferrari 250 GTO is acclaimed as the world’s most valuable classic car, with one example selling at auction last year for $48 million (£38 million).

Regarded as the Holy Grail of classic cars, just 36 of the models were made, between 1962 and 1964.

All 36 are believed to survive and each now has its own unique history.

An Italian commercial tribunal in Bologna has recognised the model not only as a classic, but as a work of art that is entirely original and must not be imitated or reproduced.

“It’s the first time in Italy that a car has been recognised as a work of art,” a Ferrari spokesperson told The  Daily Telegraph from the company’s headquarters in Maranello in northern Italy. “It’s not just its beauty that makes it special – it also has a long racing history.”

The judgment was handed down by the tribunal in Bologna after Ferrari complained that a company in the northern city of Modena was planning to produce 250 GTO replicas.

Link to the rest at The Telegraph

Moto “Club4AG” Miwa from USA [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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