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August 1, 2007

Expanding The Scope of Copyright Claims (updated) [9:31 am]

Who gets to decide (and profit from) digital distribution? Just as the music performers want money for radio play, now music publishers want music for digital sales of performances: Eminem suit targets Applepdf

Eminem’s music publisher filed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against Apple Computer Inc. on Monday, alleging the computer giant violated copyrights by allowing unauthorized downloads of the Detroit rapper’s songs onto iPods.

The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Detroit is the latest move by Eminem’s music publishers to aggressively protect the rights to his music.

A top California entertainment lawyer, Owen Sloane of Berger Kahn, said the Eminem lawsuit is likely a sign of more to come in the music industry as artists and those with the rights to their compositions fight for a bigger share of revenues from the burgeoning music download industry.

A “burning issue” in the music industry today is whether the rights record labels hold to sell a recording artist’s CDs include the rights to authorize music downloads, or whether further permission is needed from the music publishers who hold the copyrights to the lyrics and sheet music.

The “burning issue,” IMHO, is how much greed can the system stand before we just drop the whole thing, throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

Related: A little push-back here — Update: Tech group files complaint against sports leagues

The Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA) complained that the copyright warnings from the National Football League, Major League Baseball, NBC Universal, and other companies trample on fair-use rights that allow consumers to copy portions of copyright works for criticism, commentary, educational and other reasons. CCIA called for an FTC investigation into the copyright warnings.

The companies use copyright warnings on broadcasts, books and DVDs “not to educate consumers, but to intimidate them,” said Ed Black, CCIA’s president. “Certain warnings mislead consumers.”

Major League Baseball’s copyright warning says broadcasts “may not be reproduced or retransmitted in any form, and the accounts and descriptions of this game may not be disseminated without express written consent.”

CCIA wants “balanced” copyright enforcement, but the warnings are unfair and deceptive, Black said. “No deceptive message may be more widespread, more pervasive, more ubiquitous in our vast nation than the copyright warning which tells you that you have no rights,” he said.

The copyright warnings impede adoption of new and innovative products from the technology industry, Black added.

The CCIA press release; their initiative WWW site DefendFairUse.Org; the FTC Complaint (local copy)

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Raising the Right Issues, But … [7:53 am]

How would you figure out if Google’s actually following through? How could anyone tell? Google wary of behavioral targeting in online adspdf

Google Inc. is looking to find more links between the searches its users do in order to better target advertising, but the company is reluctant to go much further than that in tracking their behavior.

Susan Wojcicki, Google vice president of product management for advertising, said on Tuesday Google was shying away from the industry race to deliver tools for advertisers that stitch together a user’s various online actions into one profile.

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