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* Posts by Duke

12 posts • joined 26 Mar 2010

Doctor Who Episode One: Through a glass. Darkly

Duke

Re: There's a difference

Only the "broadcast" copyright expires after 50 years. The copyright in the film and the script both last until 70 years the end of the year in which the last of the relevant people dies. For a film, the relevant people are the main director, screenplay author, dialogue author and composer. As the director of the first episode (Waris Hussein) is still alive, it will be at least another 70 years (barring any copyright reforms) before the film comes out of copyright.

After a bit of research, the best I can tell is that none of the First Doctor's episodes will escape copyright for at least another 50+ years.

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Euro Parliament kills ACTA treaty before court can look at it

Duke
WTF?

Wonderful by-line

"Intellectual property is theft, says Brussels"

What? No one said anything about intellectual property being theft. Most of those opposed to ACTA were generally in support of IP enforcement, but didn't think that ACTA was the right way of doing it (either in terms of content, the vagueness of the wording, or how it was negotiated). Strike one.

Plus, there seems to be a misunderstanding as to how the EU works; the European Parliament holds its plenary sessions in Strasbourg, not Brussels. It holds its committee meetings and so on in Brussels, and its secretariat is based in Luxembourg, but the vote was held in Strasbourg, so nothing to do with Brussels. Strike two.

"The treaty lost its copyright liability provisions some time ago..." is also complete nonsense. The copyright liability provisions are still in ACTA, see in particular articles 23 and 27, both of which impose liability (including criminal liability) in relation to copyright. Strike three. A good thing there isn't a three-strikes system for inaccurate journalism.

With regard to the title, I'm not sure what the relevance of it being rejected before the court examined it - I was under the impression that most laws were voted on by Parliaments without court approval, with challenges being made through the courts later. The court isn't in a position to determine whether or not the proposed law is a sensible law, only whether it fits within the competence of the EU.

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Mentally ill file-sharer had 'low self-esteem'

Duke

First Conviction in *Scotland*

This is only the first conviction in Scotland. In 2007 five individuals were charged by Teesside Crown Court with criminal infringement (incorrectly, as in this case) under s107(1)(e) of the CDPA. 4 pleaded guilty (as in this case) and were sentenced to community service, costs and a suspended prison sentence iirc (although it was kept quiet). The fifth got a decent lawyer (same person who represented the FileSoup people) and all charges were eventually dropped. This was pushed by the BPI and IFPI, over OiNK (and nothing to do with the Fraud trial of Alan Ellis). One of them had only uploaded a single song to the network. That counted as "affect[ing] prejudicially the owner of the copyright" because it was not challeneged.

This now means that there have been nearly as many criminal cases in the UK than civil ones over file-sharing. There were 6ish civil cases around the Barwinska case a few years back; all default judgments, and of Polydor v Brown (the only reported case). None of these was properly defended.

As for the criminal cases, it is pretty clear that, as the prosecution (or perhaps the BPI; odd that both the Scottish and Crown Prosecution Service would make the same mistake) can't even get the right offence (should be s107(2A)(b) - designed for online stuff, not counterfeiting), any defended case will fail; either on lack of evidence or failing to meet the "prejudicial effect" criteria. In cases like this, where there appears to be no defence, it is likely that none of this will be challenged.

Oh, and expect a lot more of this sort of thing once the DEA comes into force; after all, if uploading a single song to a file-sharing network counts as having a "prejudicial" effect, I'm sure being a repeated alleged subscriber-whose-account-has-been-used-for-an-infringement will be enough to cover that.

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Duke

10 years in prison for sharing a few songs?

By "get off lightly", I assume you mean that you hope she won't get the full 10 years in prison that the offence she was charged with provides?

Interestingly, she would have been better off had she been charged with real theft; that only has a maximum sentence of 7 years in prison. But, I guess it is right that she faces a worse punishment for sharing a few GB of music files...

Plus there's the little issue of her being charged with an offence aimed at counterfeit goods, rather that the offence specially designed for online file-sharing. And without a full trial, it seems there's no need for anyone to prove that she did share stuff "to such an extent as to affect prejudicially" any individual copyright owner...

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Anti-piracy lawyers' email database leaked after hack

Duke

what privacy laws?

Privacy law won't say anything as they don't exist in the UK, either on statutes or in common law. There's the Data Protection Act, which is fairly toothless, Article 8 of the ECHR (covering "protection of private life... and communication") but that would involve an action being taken against the State, so not really helpful, and then there is "breach of confidence" which might work against whoever had set up the website.

As for people not wanting their details to be there... it doesn't really matter what the people want - the details were there because ACS Law asked a Court to hand over the details and the ISPs didn't bother to fight.

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Duke

"... leaked after hack."

Just a quick question, but where was the actual "hack" involved? It seems that there was a DDoS attack (which hardly counts as hacking) and then the files were made available to everyone via the back-up version.

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Pirate Party UK sinks on maiden voyage

Duke

Contrasting with the BNP

It is worth noting that the BNP spent about 30 times more on just their European Election campaign last year than the PPUK have spent in total - plus they have been around in some form since the 60s. If you can find some other brand new party that managed to get 1300+ votes with less than £15,000 in total financing (including all costs of the Party ever - you could struggle to get a decent car for that much) in an election as significant as yesterday's, then maybe we can compare.

It is also worth noting that the candidates were scattered all across the country - unlike the other "small" parties, PPUK didn't have seats where there was particularly strong support; there is a low-level of support everywhere, but no major peaks. Still, Scottish and Welsh elections coming up (and they're closer to PR) and possible another General Election soon... now PPUK was advertised on national television, and is officially down on paper, this election may seem less and less of a failure (relative to all the other parties) in time.

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Swedish Pirate Party membership numbers sinks

Duke

Pirate Party UK - not having membership trouble

It is my, personal, understanding that PPUK certainly isn't too busy losing members to respond - if anything, it is too busy dealing with new members, running 9 election campaigns (our tenth candidate may have fallen afoul of the volcano issue) and helping to found Pirate Parties International.

I spoke to several members of the Swedish Party over the weekend (at the PPI conference in Brussels) and while they acknowledge the decrease in membership, they are not surprised or worried by it. People are not walking away from their party, merely forgetting to renew their annual membership; once PPSe and these issues start getting back into the news, I think their numbers may swell again. Conveniently for some, the tPB appeal has now been pushed back to after the upcoming Swedish General Election (it was originally planned for late 2009).

My understanding of the code that Ofcom is developing is that it is the parts described in sections 3-16 of the Digital Economy Act - the site-blocking measures are in Section 17 and can be done by any secondary legislation, with or without Ofcom. These could be put in place within a couple of months, and I don't think there is any doubt about tPB being the first target.

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Mandybill: All the Commons drama

Duke

Irony

I find it slightly ironic that someone described as being "on our side" by a certain industry figure and proponent of the Bill (who shall remain nameless) is blaming the ORG who at least attempted to stop the unpleasant parts of it from going through (whether or not their methods were appropriate). Perhaps part of the failing of the ... well, you would call it "freetard", some might call it "copyright reform", "pirate" or "pro-rights" groups and movements is that they are so fractured; failing to unite and prevent a strong opposition.

It took a couple of weeks and quite a large campaign for 38degrees to raise the £20,000 they needed for their (perhaps badly-worded) advertisement and yet the "Creative Coalition" was able to get a much shinier one knocked up in a couple of days. While it is clear that there is strong support for these ideals, until they can be united, I think we will see more days like today.

Is it surprising that this Bill went through largely unchanged? No. [Although encouraging that at least Clause 43 and the extended licensing scheme fell - something close to what you criticised Tom Watson for suggesting] That doesn't mean it wasn't disappointing. It does make a fitting end to this government, though, having a bill such as this forced through in the manner it was in the last hours of parliament.

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The Pirate Party is the shape of things to come

Duke

The Statute of Anne

The original text of the Statute of Anne is quite an interesting read (if you can work around the language used - and I thought modern laws were in confusing language...). The section about renewing for 14 years (which I am afraid I must have missed the first time through) is right at the end and reads "after the expiration of the said term of fourteen years, the sole right of printing or disposing of copies shall return to the authors thereof, if they are then living, for another term of fourteen years."

Anyway, the Statute itself is a lot more consumer-friendly than modern copyright laws. It makes it clear that it is targeted at unscrupulous publishers and booksellers (the former who seem to benefit most from the current and proposed laws), requires that a copy of all copyrighted books be sent to the various 'Copyright Libraries' - so, no matter what, the public would still have some access to the material - and even includes provisions for members of the public to complain to various senior figures if books were being priced too high, with those figures being able to make a judgment forcing a lower price.

Until about 20 years ago copyright had an implicit "commercial only" aspect to it - when created as a concept copyright was never designed for a world where information could be disconnected from its physical form.

Oh, as for the Bill not including disconnection, technically that is true as the word was replaced with "temporary account suspension", but as we've seen in France (with Hadopi), 'temporary' has no limits on it (in France it became a year) and even last week Stephen Timms MP was still talking about disconnection. Arguably, account suspension = disconnection anyway, you are still being disconnected from the Internet, even if only for a short time. Even then, there is nothing in the Bill that prevents it being used to permanently disconnect someone from the Internet (under Clause 10, 124G, (3)(d)).

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Duke

The word "Freetard"

[This post fell afoul of moderators the first time, so I'm editing it a bit and trying again - apologies if it is now posted twice.]

"Freetard" is an interesting and slightly misleading term to use. I recently attended a (mainly academic) conference on counterfeiting and piracy (http://www.counter2010.org/ - a 30-month EU-funded project looking into every aspect of counterfeiting and piracy across the EU and beyond) and one of the more interesting and, to some, surprising results that came out in many of the studies was that price *wasn't* the main motivation (or justification) behind online copyright infringement. It wasn't usually even in the top three. It didn't even have that significant an effect. The main motivation was convenience. There is much more content available through unlicensed services, in a greater variety of formats, and it is much more accessible (one study noted that of the works in the US Library of Congress published before 1972, only 14% were commercially/legally available on a domestic level).

Now, you can criticise these results as much as you like (and I regret that I don't have references for them as the results haven't been published yet - although they should be appearing over the next 6 months) but at least it suggests that there is more to this issue than simply "pirates aren't willing to pay" (even the recent OiNK case demonstrated that to be fallacious) and dismissing several million people as "freetards" is similarly unproductive as labelling them "thieves" and not conducive to a healthy and rational debate.

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Duke

10 year copyright duration

"Yes, 10 yrs on a copyright is just ridiculous"

Why?

When copyright was first created it was decided that 14 years was a sensible length. This was back when merely copying a work could take days and distributing it across a country and around the world could take weeks or months. Now content can be transmitted around the world (or even into space) near-instantly.

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