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2018: Jan-March

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Offsite Article: Astroturfing...

Link Here22nd February 2018
Bell Canada caught encouraging its employees to write into a consultation supporting the introduction of internet censorship as if they were 'concerned citizens'

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Images of compromise...

Google tweaks its Image Search at the behest of Getty Images

Link Here18th February 2018
Google has tweaked its Google's image search to make it slightly more difficult to view images in full size before downloading them. Google has also added a more prominent copyright warning.

Google acted as part of a peace deal with photo library Getty Images.  In 2017, Getty Images complained to the European Commission, accusing Google of anti-competitive practices.

Google said it had removed some features from image search, including the view image button. Images can still be viewed in full size from the right click menu, at least on my Windows version of Firefox. Google also removed the search by image button, which was an easy way of finding larger copies of photographs. Perhaps the tweaks are more about restricting the finding of high resolution version of image rather than worrying about standard sized images.

Getty Images is a photo library that sells the work of photographers and illustrators to businesses, newspapers and broadcasters. It complained that Google's image search made it easy for people to find Getty Images pictures and take them, without the appropriate permission or licence.

In a statement, Getty Images said:

We are pleased to announce that after working cooperatively with Google over the past months, our concerns are being recognised and we have withdrawn our complaint.



Offsite Article: Forgive her Lord for she knows not what she does...

Link Here17th February 2018
US Judge rules that embedding a tweet can be copyright infringement

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Opposing fake copies of copyright law...

BT and EE go to Supreme Court opposing unfunded court requirements to block trademark abusing websites when there is no law to enable such blocks

Link Here31st January 2018
Two broadband providers, BT and EE, have gone to the Supreme Court in London to appeal two key aspects of an earlier ruling, which forced major UK ISPs to start blocking websites that were found to sell counterfeit goods.

Previously major ISPs could only be forced, via a court order, to block websites if they were found to facilitate internet copyright infringement. But in 2014 the High Court extended this to include sites that sell counterfeit goods and thus abuse company trademarks.

The providers initially appealed this decision, not least by stating that Cartier and Montblanc (they raised the original case) had provided no evidence that their networks were being abused to infringe Trade Marks and that the UK Trade Mark Act did not include a provision for website blocking. Not to mention the risk that such a law could be applied in an overzealous way, eg requiring the blocking of eBay because of one seller.

The ISPs also noted that trademark infringing sites weren't heavily used, and thus they felt as if it would not be proportionate for them to suffer the costs involved.

In April 2016 this case went to the Court of Appeal (London) and the ISPs lost and so the appeal to the Supreme Court.



Offsite Article: Linkmate of the month...

Link Here30th January 2018
Playboy brands Boing Boing a clickbait site with no fair use defence and so is liable to court action to ban links to unapproved 3rd party content

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Let's Stop the Censorship Machines...

A few MEPs produce YouTube video highlighting the corporate and state censorship that will be enabled by an EU proposal to require social media posts to be approved before posting by an automated censorship machine

Link Here23rd January 2018
Full story: Internet Censorship in EU...EU introduces swathes of internet censorship law

In a new campaign video, several Members of the European Parliament warn that the EU's proposed mandatory upload filters pose a threat to freedom of speech. The new filters would function as censorship machines which are "completely disproportionate," they say. The MEPs encourage the public to speak up, while they still can.

Through a series of new proposals, the European Commission is working hard to modernize EU copyright law. Among other things, it will require online services to do more to fight piracy.  

These proposals have not been without controversy. Article 13 of the proposed Copyright Directive, for example, has been widely criticized as it would require online services to monitor and filter uploaded content.

This means that online services, which deal with large volumes of user-uploaded content, must use fingerprinting or other detection mechanisms -- similar to YouTube's Content-ID system -- to block copyright infringing files.

The Commission believes that more stringent control is needed to support copyright holders. However, many legal scholars , digital activists , and members of the public worry that they will violate the rights of regular Internet users.

In the European Parliament, there is fierce opposition as well. Today, six Members of Parliament (MEPs) from across the political spectrum released a new campaign video warning their fellow colleagues and the public at large.

The MEPs warn that such upload filters would act as censorship machines, something they've made clear to the Council's working group on intellectual property, where the controversial proposal was discussed today.

Imagine if every time you opened your mouth, computers controlled by big companies would check what you were about to say, and have the power to prevent you from saying it, Greens/EFA MEP Julia Reda says.

A new legal proposal would make this a reality when it comes to expressing yourself online: Every clip and every photo would have to be pre-screened by some automated 'robocop' before it could be uploaded and seen online, ALDE MEP Marietje Schaake adds.

Stop censorship machines!

Schaake notes that she has dealt with the consequences of upload filters herself. When she uploaded a recording of a political speech to YouTube, the site took it down without explanation. Until this day, the MEP still doesn't know on what grounds it was removed.

These broad upload filters are completely disproportionate and a danger for freedom of speech, the MEPs warn. The automated systems make mistakes and can't properly detect whether something's fair use, for example.

Another problem is that the measures will be relatively costly for smaller companies ,which puts them at a competitive disadvantage. "Only the biggest platforms can afford them -- European competitors and small businesses will struggle," ECR MEP Dan Dalton says.

The plans can still be stopped, the MEPs say. They are currently scheduled for a vote in the Legal Affairs Committee at the end of March, and the video encourages members of the public to raise their voices.

Speak out ...while you can still do so unfiltered! S&D MEP Catherine Stihler says.



Putting America First...

MPAA pressurises the UK culture secretary to assist in maintaining copyright controls to ensure that the big American media industry maintains its dominance

Link Here21st January 2018
The MPA is the international wing of the Motion Picture Association of America, a trade group representing the major Hollywood studios. MPA president Stan McCoy has written an open letter to new culture secretary Matt Hancock reminding how important it is to protect the US film industry.

He needn't have bothered, the culture secretary is currently well busy suffocating the UK porn industry and handing everything over to Mindgeek, which is set to become the Facebook/Google/Amazon of the porn world.

Stan McCoy writes:

For Matt Hancock, as for any new leader, the first weeks on the job offer a unique opportunity to write the screenplay for a successful tenure.

Here are seven humble suggestions that the Culture Secretary may wish to consider as he crafts his new role...

Be a passionate ambassador for the creative industries

We are one of the country's most valuable economic and cultural assets -- worth almost 92bn, growing at twice the rate of the economy, and making a positive contribution to the UK's balance of payments. Britain's status as a center of excellence for the audiovisual sector in particular is no accident: It results from the hard work and genius of our creative workforce, complemented by the support of governments that have guided their policies toward enabling continued excellence and growth.

Support a responsible online environment

The new Secretary of State should make platform responsibility a priority. A joined-up strategy to curb proliferation of illegal, often age-inappropriate and malware-laden content online must include addressing the websites, environments and apps that host and facilitate piracy.

In addition to hurting one of Britain's most important industries, they are overwhelmingly likely to harm children and adult consumers through nasty ads, links to adult content with no age verification, scams, fraud and other unpleasantness.

Building on last year's voluntary deal with search engines, the Government should stay at the cutting edge of ensuring that everyone in the ecosystem -- including search engines, platforms and social media companies -- takes a fair share of responsibility.

Banish dodgy streaming devices from lawful commerce

Illegal streaming devices loaded with piracy apps and malware -- not to mention the occasional electrical failure -- are proliferating across the UK, to the detriment of consumers and industry.

The sector is still waiting for the Intellectual Property Office to publish the report on its Call for Views on this subject. This will be one of several opportunities, along with the promised Digital Charter, to make clear that these devices and the apps and content they supply are unacceptable, dangerous to consumers, and harmful to the creative industry.

Embrace a creative sector-friendly approach to skills

More flexibility in the Apprenticeship Levy would help, but the Government must also ensure there are no unintended consequences from its targets, and that these do not undermine existing voluntary sector-specific skills levies and other similar programmes that are putting Britons to work in film and television. Likewise, embrace the industry's efforts to educate people of all diversity profiles about career opportunities.


Of course, the elephant in every room is Brexit. It was worrying to read that almost 27,000 creative sector jobs could be under threat from a 'no deal' hard Brexit, according to analysis commissioned by London's mayor. In fact, audiences and workers on both sides will benefit from preserving two-way trade -- whether in the form of licensing audiovisual services, welcoming creative workers, or preserving the ease of cross-border collaboration in film and television production.

Pursue export growth

Britain's audiovisual sector is a dual cultural and commercial success story, and could be a leader in showing how high-value export and investment-driven industries can make the most of the opportunities of new relationships inside and outside Europe.

The Government has the opportunity to capitalise on its strong creative export sectors -- in particular by working with the industry to explore the potential of further developing non-EU markets for UK audiovisual exports, while sustaining our large and mutually beneficial trade with the EU.

Don't forget the DSM

The UK still has a vote and a responsibility to work with EU Member States to shape the EU's Digital Single Market agenda in 2018. Most important is to oppose the "buy one Member State, get the rest thrown in" approach to licensing broadcaster online services. This is a point where the UK can work constructively with other member states trying to make sure the Commission does not inadvertently undermine the system of financing productions and thus limit the content available for consumers.



Offsite Article: No Level of Copyright Enforcement Will Ever Be Enough For Big Media...

Link Here 8th January 2018
The ongoing battle between sharers and big business.

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