Here’s a roundup of stories on intellectual property issues that might be of interest to fans:
- Last month Crunchyroll.com reported that in a countrywide effort, police in Japan “arrested 30 people on suspicion of using file-sharing software” calling it “the largest simultaneous enforcement by the Japanese police against illegal uploaders ever.” Tech entrepreneur Andy Baio concluded that young voters may be key to changing the criminalization of remix culture, and dubbed the current efforts against “piracy” as a new Prohibition. Certainly industries that have a stranglehold on entertainment distribution are able to keep increasing costs to fans and the effects are not limited to the young. A pop music critic writing about the rising cost of rock fandom noted “I’d love to continue the path I’ve been following since early adolescence, when my full membership in the rock-lover’s club began. But I’m just not sure I can afford it anymore.”
- The Electronic Frontier Foundation recently filed exemption requests to the DMCA which “asked for legal protections for artists and critics who use excerpts from DVDs or downloading services to create new, remixed works.” These exemptions build on and expand exemptions that EFF won last year. “In drafting the requests, EFF had the invaluable assistance of the Samuelson Law, Technology & Public Policy Clinic at the University of California, Berkeley, and the Organization for Transformative Works.”
- A post at TorrentFreak discovered illegal downloading being done by employees at major studios such as Sony, Universal, and FOX. “We aren’t the only ones to come up with the idea of revealing the BitTorrent habits of copyright advocates. Yesterday, the Dutch blog Geenstijl exposed how someone at the local music royalty collecting agency Buma/Stemra downloaded a copy of the TV-show Entourage and video game Battlefield 3.” The company’s response suggested that their IP-addresses were spoofed, an unlikely but welcome explanation since “if it’s so easy to spoof an IP-address, then accused file-sharers can use this same defense against copyright holders.”
- To those interested in learning more about these issues some recent book reviews noted fans’ stake in the discussion. The Times Higher Education in the UK discussed Fan Fiction and Copyright: Outsider Works and Intellectual Property Protection (citing the OTW’s Rebecca Tushnet) and The Learned Fangirl reviewed Free Ride: How Digital Parasites are Destroying the Culture Business, and How the Culture Business Can Fight Back.
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