A few legal stories that might be of interest to followers of the OTW:
From publicknowledge.org: UGC is More Than Hamsters on a Piano is an essay by Michael Weinberg at publicknowledge.org, talking about the “assumption that the UGC is essentially commercially worthless – it is all first grade ballet recitals, dogs jumping up and down, or kids falling off of skateboards. The real action (and money) is around the “real” content. Since the money will only come from the professional content, the concerns of today’s professional content owners (usually having to do with filtering or kicking people off of networks) tend to dominate the discussion.” But Weinberg points out that we are not all sitting around waiting for professionals to come and entertain us, and that today’s established studios may not have “the best interests of their future competitors at heart.”
From boingboing.net: Meet the 42 lucky people who got to see the secret copyright treaty: Fans should be aware that a number of parties are trying to negotiate an international, anti-copyright treaty “that contains provisions that criminalize non-commercial file-sharing; require net-wide wiretapping for copyright infringement and border-searches of hard-drives and other devices; and disconnection from the Internet for people accused of violating copyright.” A lot of people, including publicknowledge.org, BoingBoing, the EFF, and others–are protesting the secretive nature of these negotiations.
From Rachel Maddow: Hey, Rachel Maddow follows BoingBoing: could we love her more? Rachel interviews BoingBoing’s Xeni Jardin about the Ralph Lauren photoshop disaster–but gets that the real story was the attempted DMCA intimidation of BoingBoing after the fact, when reprinting the photoshopped image to mock it was a classic case of fair use. Because Boingboing’s ISP was in Canada, they didn’t have to comply with the DMCA, and Rachel immediately gets what she calls “the deeper part of this story”, that “ISPs just immediately cave whenever they’re confronted by anything like this, and it sort of hurts the first amendment.”
Lastly, our own Rebecca Tushnet caught the story that Mattel has licensed “Barbie Girl”. For those not familiar with the case, 12 years ago, Barbie sued the Danish pop band Aqua, claiming trademark and copyright infringement. The claim was dismissed and the song was ruled as protected speech. Now, Mattel has licensed and rewritten the song to promote its new line of Barbie products. If you can’t beat ’em…?