Facebook Sues Power.com, Challenges Would-be “Center of the World”

4 01 2009

Power.com, a Brazilian start-up company serving as a portal through which people can access all of their favorite social networking sites (including Facebook and MySpace), hosts 5 million registered users and maintains support from prominent backers. Although the site has frequently boasted its success, its future looks grim–at least as it pertains to Facebook.

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New short film asks, “Why Copyright?”

29 12 2008

50 years ago, did anyone but big rightsholders and lawmakers care about copyright? It certainly wasn’t the tremendous public issue it has become today, and a new short film from Canadian law professor Michael Geist takes a look at why copyright matters to people and what they think copyright should cover.

Geist’s film has a particularly Canadian flavor, but most of the arguments made are applicable in the US and around the world. In it, a collection of artists, thinkers, musicians, and lawyers—even the Privacy Commissioner of Canada—weigh in on copyright, anticircumvention law, and the public domain.

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Kenneth Crews on WIPO study on library exceptions to copyright law

22 12 2008

Here’s a quick interview with Kenneth Crews, who prepared the World Intellectual Property Organization’s Study on Copyright Limitations and Exceptions for Libraries and Archives for its Seventeenth Session in Geneva, November 3 to 7, 2008.

Minow:  What sparked your interest in studying library exceptions to copyright law around the world?

Crews: I was invited by the World Intellectual Property Organization to undertake this study.  I had the pleasure of sharing a program in the United Arab Emirates with an official from WIPO, and she put in the recommendation that I do the project.  I had long been interested in the issues.  They are central to much of my work for libraries and universities, and I have written about the U.S. library provision in some of my publications.  The chance to do a major worldwide study was an invitation I was quick to accept.

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Japanese group attacks Street View over privacy infringement

19 12 2008

A group of Japanese academics and lawyers is concerned about the privacy implications of Google’s Street View, and it wants the feature scrapped.

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UK talks mashups, DRM, CD ripping as it opens copyright overhaul

17 12 2008

Britain’s Intellectual Property Office wants input from users and creators on how overhauling copyright law can maintain the “balance” it has always sought even as DRM and byzantine rights-clearing schemes make mashups and CD rips illegal.

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Facebook profile used to serve legal docs in Australian case

16 12 2008

If you’re hiding from lawyers looking to serve you court papers, you might want to keep your profiles on popular social networking sites private. An Australian law firm has gotten the go-ahead to serve court papers via Facebook to a couple that can’t be reached in person or via e-mail.

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Iranian Artists Call for Tougher Copyright Protection

15 12 2008

According to the Tehran Times, the Inranian Artists forum held a conference on copyright as part of the Fajr International Music Festival.

Law expert Hassan Mirhosseini who attended the seminar claimed that that the law protecting intellectual property rights was approved by the Iranian parliament in 1970. “We have problems in execution of the law in Iran and unfortunately, the law is not protected by any sanctions. There is no official organization to prosecute the offenders and people are generally unaware of these laws,” he stated.

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UK to Extend Performer’s Rights to 70 years

15 12 2008

In a poorly thought out speech, Andy Burnham, Britain’s secretary of state for Culture, Media and Sport argued that there was a moral case for performers – who often do their best recorded work in their 20s and 30s – to benefit from it throughout their lifetime. In consequence, and against the recommendations of the Gower Report, performer’s rights would be extended from 50 years to 70 years. This move will presumably benefit Bachelor Boy Cliff Richards, the remaining Beatles and a handful of other geriatric performers, but will divide the revenue from the music industry ever thinner.
Apparently, according to Burnham, knowing that their songs would be protected for 70 years and not merely 50, will provide an incentive to recording artists.

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UK ignores logic, backs 20-year music copyright extension

12 12 2008

The UK government has changed its mind: it now supports retroactive copyright term extension for musicians, up from 50 to 70 years. The end result for the majority of aging artists? A paltry €30 per year.

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This week in review … Expanding scope of patents on GMOs puts farmers’ rights at risk, workshop says

9 12 2008

IP and Genetically Modified Organisms: A Fateful Combination, Activists Say

IP Watch, 2 December 2008

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND: With the expanding scope of patents on genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and the implementation of such crops in most countries, farmers’ rights and biodiversity are at risk, and food security has become dependent on a few transnational biotechnological companies, according to speakers at a recent workshop in Geneva. The workshop was hosted by 3D -> Trade – Human Rights – Equitable Economy during an event organised by the Institute for Trade and Agriculture Policy from 24 to 26 November on the impact of trade and investment on the right to food.

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