Copied pleadings show there’s no honor among antipiracy lawyers

Copied pleadings show there’s no honor among antipiracy lawyers.

Takes a thief to catch a thief


Apple loses big in DRM ruling: jailbreaks are “fair use”

Apple loses big in DRM ruling: jailbreaks are “fair use”.

This time, the Library went (comparatively) nuts, allowing widespread bypassing of the CSS encryption on DVDs, declaring iPhone jailbreaking to be “fair use,” and letting consumers crack their legally purchased e-books in order to have them read aloud by computers.

But the exemptions that did make it were carefully thought out and actually helpful this time around. That’s the good news. The bad news is that they must be re-argued every three years, and the Library has taken so long getting its most recent ruling out that that the next review happens just two years from now.

So enjoy your exemptions while you can.

Did you hear the joke about the comedian and copyright law?

Did you hear the joke about the comedian and copyright law?.

Ponder the difference between the comedian and the musician. Both create and perform works to entertain audiences, but they go about protecting that work in different ways. The notoriously litigious music industry often resorts to the legal system to protect itself from pirates and samplers. But comedians don’t. So why hasn’t the joke well gone dry?


In both cases, though, comedy flourished, and neither required official IP laws. “Conventional wisdom would have us believe that this [lack of official protection] entails a tragedy of the commons and suboptimal supply of jokes,” write the chapter’s authors. “Our research makes us pause. We see an operating market.”

Their takeaway is not that we don’t need rules, but that we should be doubly vigilant against the “careless expansion of legal protections.” Informal norms might work well enough within different communities (and the smaller the community, the easier social norms are to enforce), and changing the official rules could produce unintended changes in the type of creativity that people engage in.

IP rules are needed, but they aren’t “necessarily right for stand-up or for every creative practice.” And that’s no joke.

No, Dorothy, patents aren’t always good for you

Both benefits and drawbacks in the filing of patents

But are patents always good? Can patenting always act as the silver bullet in effectively protecting novel and useful inventions against imitation and infringement across different industries and intellectual property regimes?

Extensive research studies – including those I have published with Professor Fiona Murray at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) – have found that the answer is unfortunately, but not surprisingly, ‘no’. Patents are simply not always good and effective.

Copyright for Creativity – Not just for Europe; For Singapore too

“Humanity’s capacity to generate new ideas and knowledge is its greatest asset. It is the source of art, science, innovation and economic development.”

Adelphi Charter

The development of new technologies underpinning the knowledge economy calls for a review of the copyright aquis. Together, we need to create greater incentives to maximise creativity, innovation, education and access to culture, and secure Europe’s competitiveness.

Exclusive rights stimulate investment and the production of cultural and knowledge based goods. Simultaneously, exceptions* to those rights create a balanced system that allow for the use of creative works to support innovation, creation, competition and the public interest. Well-crafted exceptions can serve both goals: preserving rewards and incentives for creators while also encouraging innovative re-uses that benefit the public.

While exclusive rights have been adapted and harmonised to meet the challenges of the knowledge economy, copyright’s exceptions are radically out of line with the needs of the modern information society. The lack of harmonisation of exceptions hinders the circulation of knowledge based goods and services across Europe. The lack of flexibility within the current European exceptions regime also prevents us from adapting to a constantly changing technological environment.

Europe requires a balanced, flexible and harmonised system of exceptions that is in step with the 21st Century knowledge economy. The European Commission took a first step with the publication of the Green Paper, “Copyright in the Knowledge Economy.” The signatories of this declaration call upon the European Commission, the European Parliament and Member States to take this Declaration into account and engage in policy and norm-setting on copyright exceptions to:

  • Harmonise Exceptions Across Europe. Copyright regulates the flow of consumer as well as knowledge goods in the single market. For European citizens and industry alike, the harmonisation of exceptions is a necessary step in order to facilitate cross-border trade, and create equality and clarity before the law.
  • Act as a Spur to Innovation: New technologies make it possible to expand users’ access to vast quantities of relevant knowledge and content. Copyright exceptions must support the development and usage of these innovative services, improving European users’ access to content.
  • Support User Creativity and Wider Participation: The Internet has facilitated an unprecedented shift for citizens, from being passive consumers of “broadcast” culture to active creators and participants. Individual users are increasingly involved in content and knowledge creation. The European copyright framework needs to reflect this new interactivity which encourages creativity, cultural diversity and self-expression.
  • Ensure Accessibility by all Europeans: Exceptions must balance the protection of the creators’ rights with the public interest and must fully support improving access to knowledge and content for people with disabilities – most notably through the use of new technologies.
  • Support for Education and Research: Information and communication technologies offer new collaborative ways to develop and share educational and research materials. Copyright exceptions that facilitate new technology-based research and education will propel science and learning, and therefore the knowledge economy, exponentially forward.
  • Facilitate Preservation and Archiving: Digitisation of content is offering new opportunities not only to preserve but also extend the accessibility of Europe’s knowledge and cultural heritage with wide-reaching and long-term benefits for society as a whole. The copyright framework must support this.
  • Ensure Monopoly Rights are Regulated in the Online Environment: Limitations and exceptions act to counter-balance the lack of competition that is created by the granting of monopoly rights in copyright law. In order to protect creativity and innovation we must ensure that these monopoly rights are also regulated in the online environment.
  • Promote these Principles in International Discussions. The principles and objectives we endorse should not apply only to Europeans – they should be at the centre of the EU’s contributions in any discussions in multilateral and bilateral fora it participates in.

Copyright law grants an exclusive right to creators to regulate and control the use of their work. Limitations and exceptions balance the monopoly right of the creator, in the public interest. For example to promote education and learning, support a free press, deal with market failure etc.