Furthering the information ownership debate: ALA and the World Intellectual Property Organization

14 11 2008

I found this post about the invitational Traditional Cultural Expression Conference to be a provocative twist in the information ownership debate that has arisen around OCLC’s new Policy (see “Final ‘Policy for Use and Transfer of WorldCat Records’ Posted by OCLC”).

I look forward to following the discussion of the first keynote speech, presented by Wend Wendland, who is “head of the Traditional Creativity, Cultural Expressions, and Cultural Heritage Section of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).”  While the dialogue started at the issue of international copyright, it soon


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Canadian owner of popular downloading site seeks court ruling on its legality

13 11 2008

The Canadian Press

Nov. 5

The Canadian owner of one of the Internet’s most popular sites for downloading everything from music to porn is pre-emptively asking the Supreme Court of British Columbia to rule on whether he is violating the Copyright Act.

Gary Fung, 25, of Richmond, B.C., runs the IsoHunt.com search engine for BitTorrent files, which are commonly used to download and upload virtually every type of copyrighted material, including music, movies, computer software and e-books.

The site currently links to more than 1.5 million files online, such as the latest chart-topping CDs, video games, DVDs and even movies currently in theatres.

Isohunt.com regularly cracks the Top 200 list of the web’s most popular sites, according to analysts at Alexa.com.

“It serves a need that had not been served before, especially with the emergence of BitTorrent becoming a dominant (downloading) protocol,” Fung said of the site’s popularity.

Fung has been named in a lawsuit launched in 2006 by the Motion Picture Association of America.

After receiving letters last May from the Canadian Recording Industry Association demanding he take down links to copyrighted material, Fung decided he would ask the courts to rule on whether his site breaks Canadian law.

“We filed the court documents because we were threatened by CRIA. Essentially they’re saying that all we do is infringe on their clients’ copyrights,” he said.

The letters Fung received argued his site is “responsible for causing, authorizing and contributing to a staggering amount of illegal music downloading, uploading and file sharing.”

The letters also state Fung could be responsible for copyright infringement damages of up to $20,000 per song.

But Fung insists his search-engine website doesn’t break any laws since it simply links to copyrighted material online but doesn’t host any of it. He notes that Google can also be easily used to find BitTorrent files.


Argentine Search Engines Told To Block Famous Names

12 11 2008

Out-law.com: Argentine Search Engines Told To Block Famous Names:

Search engines in Argentina have been banned from linking to stories naming up to 100 famous people including football legend Diego Maradona in a move critics have said is tantamount to censorship.

Google and Yahoo! have filtered search results relating to the names on their Argentine sites but not their international ones, the companies told internet filtering campaigning organisation the OpenNet Initiative (ONI).

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Argentine celebs try to disappear from Google, Yahoo indexes

12 11 2008

Some of Argentina’s most famous figures are coming up blank on popular search engines—by court order. Unfortunately for footballer Diego Maradona, anyone outside of Argentina can still get search results for him and all of the other celebrities.

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This week in review … Talks continue on TRIPS amendment to protect biodiversity and TK

11 11 2008

Push Continues For TRIPS Biodiversity Amendment, Geographical Indications Extension
IP Watch, 31 October 2008

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND: The push to amend the World Trade Organization agreement on intellectual property rights has not receded, as made clear this week by proponents of wider protection for geographical indications and using the patent system to safeguard biodiversity and traditional knowledge. But opponents remain steadfast. The Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Council, the TRIPS agreement’s governing body, met on 29 October, followed by a 30 October TRIPS special session, mandated to negotiate a register for geographical indications (GIs), products associated with a particular place and characteristics. Talks at the special session turned into a lengthy discussion over whether the mandated register negotiations could progress without simultaneous movement on two other intellectual property issues linked to the GI register by a majority of member states. The two issues are: the possible extension of high-level protection currently enjoyed by GIs on wines and spirits (such as Bordeaux wine) to other products (such as Parma ham), and a possible amending of the TRIPS agreement to require disclosure of origin of genetic resources in patent applications. The statements by GI and CBD proponents this week indicate that they still consider the issues key to broader success with the Doha negotiations. Amendments are necessary, argued an intervention by India on 29 October, to remedy the “inadequacy in the TRIPS agreement to combat biopiracy and misappropriation of genetic resources and TK.” The country further expressed “disappointment at the lack of progress on this issue despite overwhelming support and technical work.” Over half of WTO member states – some 80 countries – support the CBD amendment. Many of these states are developing countries, which India says makes the issue particularly pertinent as Doha is the development round of negotiations. During the session, Sri Lanka has become an official cosponsor of a 2006 document calling for a TRIPS amendment to better protect biodiversity and TK. The document calls for mandatory disclosure of origin on genetic resources or TK in the subject matter of a patent application, and also calls for evidence that the prior informed consent of communities owning those resources was obtained, and that they received equitable benefits for sharing the resources. Read the article …

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Copyright vs. Trademark vs. Royalties vs. Intellectual Property in Google Search

10 11 2008
Your life has been copyrightedYour life has been copyrighted

This is a post by Francis Deblauwe and was originally featured on the icommons website:

Copyright issues remain a source of concern all over the world. Yet, an analysis of the use of copyright-related terminology highlights the differences between countries. In a recent article, I used the free online Google Trends tool which allows tailored analysis of Google Search patterns, both chronologically and geographically. I have since switched to the more powerful and versatile analysis tool called Google Insights for Search. I analyzed the UK, the US, Germany, Belgium and France, therefore I included the translation of the terms in French, German and Dutch when applicable so as to get a more accurate picture. I faced off four terms:

  • “copyright” (droit d’auteur/Urheberrecht/auteursrecht(en));

Google execs may face judge in Italy over teen violence vid

6 11 2008

Back in 2006, Google Video Italia was used to post a cell phone video showing a bunch of teenagers harassing an individual with Down Syndrome. Rumors are now suggesting that Google execs may face charges in Italy for its appearance.

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Pirate pride in Sweden as Pirate Bay hits 22 million peers

5 11 2008

The Pirate Bay has seen explosive growth this year, it says, jumping from 12 million to 22 million active peers in only seven months.

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Warner Bros. to fight China movie piracy with 60¢ downloads

5 11 2008

Warner Bros. will begin offering some of its films for online rental in China through Beijing-based Vool. The DRMed rentals will go for as low as {content}.60, and are clearly aimed at undercutting the profits of copyright infringers.

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This week in review … TK digital library to be created in India

4 11 2008

Quality control is the key of Ayush expansion

Indian Ministry of Health and Family Welfare press release, 31 October 2008

NEW DELHI, INDIA: With the growing interest both globally and nationally in traditional medicine, the Indian government has renewed its commitment for quality control in traditional medicines. Ministry official Anita Das also emphasized the need for documentation of traditional knowledge to avoid misappropriation by foreign companies. In this regard, in the framework of a project for a TK digital library, about 200,000 manuscripts are being transcribed into digital format. Documents already released include 11 book series on Ayurveda and Siddha, 13 Siddha books translated into Tamil, three books on Homoeopathy and compilations on Yoga and Unani. The results of the TK digital library will be presented at the next plenary of WIPO. Read the article …