Links roundup for 12 June 2012

Here’s a roundup of legal news stories that might be of interest to fans:

  • Some good news on the net neutrality front is that The Netherlands and Chile are the first two countries that have enacted “firm net neutrality laws” which are designed to prevent “ISPs from blocking or slowing down different types of internet traffic. It also stops ISPs from charging extra to access specific websites or services.”
  • Less happy is the case of Braindeadly, a British World of Warcraft commentator, who discovered he will no longer be able to do his commentaries because “when he signed a contract with Machinima, the video game network on YouTube, he signed for life.” His is not the first such case. “In an interview with the Daily Dot last year, Household Hacker manager Justin Matthew said YouTubers, especially the younger ones, get taken advantage more often than not when it comes to fine print in contracts…’Some YouTubers overlook the fine print because they are so happy to be signed and I think some people could have gotten a better deal if they had a manager.'”
  • Of course some people with managers still run into legal trouble as in the case of artist Richard Prince, who is fighting a legal ruling of over copyright infringement. Prince’s legal team is arguing that his work is transformative and thus fair use. “‘What the court missed unfortunately in the trial court level with Richard Prince,’ Rutledge says, was ‘the work that he has made using imagery including some from Patrick Cariou’s photographs says something different, something new.'” The case is one to watch because “[i]t’s rare for fair use lawsuits in the visual arts world to get to court at all, and that’s why everyone is watching the outcome in Cariou v. Prince.” That includes “the search engine Google, which filed its own friend of the court brief in the case. In order to help you find what you’re looking for on the Internet, Google has to copy a lot of copyrighted material — without commenting on it at all. Google’s lawyers say a narrower reading of fair use could be ‘dangerous’ to the company’s business model.”
  • For artists and crafters concerned about copyright infringement in regards to their artwork, a free booklet titled Know Your Rights is available from Interweave.com, an art and craft media company. While the company writes from the standpoint of preventing copyright infringement of its own works, it does address specific questions that craft hobbyists and resellers sometimes ask, such as the crafter’s own copyright or use of images on social media sites such as Pinterest. Registration is required to download it.

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