Ulveas together

Another interesting copyright story. In 1974 ABBA won the Eurovision song contest with Waterloo. This launched an amazing career releasing 66 singles between 1974 and 1982, with nine UK No. 1 positions and 11 BPI Gold discs, putting them in the top 20 best selling bands ever.

But as we know, copyright lasts for life + 70 years and so reusing their material can only be done at a price. While researching this article, I discovered that we can perform an artist’s copyrighted material for money in a venue, and it is the venue’s responsibility to pay the collecting society. However, band names are protected by intellectual property laws.

It became clear, that ABBA had ceased to perform, and declared that they never would again and in 1988, Rod Stephen launched an ABBA tribute band, called “Bjorn Again”, which is a different name and also protected. This has also been successful. The line-up has changed, and even at times there have been two bands on separate tours.  Fascinating that such a simple copyright statement allows the appropriation of value. I think I’ll copyright “Ulveas together”.

It’s a story of great music and showmanship, abandoned and restored, but still enclosed. You can perform it, but you can’t monetise it without paying a tax. When I first conceived of this article, I was curious as to whether the Bjorn Again owners were licensing the name as a franchise, however it seems not but it would be a smart business move, and another illustration of the monopolistic tendencies created by modern creative copyright.

There seems to me to be something not quite right about the way the performers & fans are at the bottom of the heap in this particular model. …

Big Copyright strikes again

Big Copyright strikes again

This time in the European Parliament. They want upload filters and to tax ISSP’s reuse, but you can do something about it.

Last week a committee of MEPs voted 15 – 10, reported here by one of its members, Julia Reda, the sole Pirate Party MEP, in favour of the EU Copyright Directive’s disastrous Article 13. This misguided measure will introduce upload filters that would change the way that much of the Internet works, from free and creative sharing, to one where anything can be removed without warning, by computers. They also voted in favour of Article 11, which Europeanises a German & Spanish law and places a monetary liability on internet software service providers who use snippets of news articles originally published by for-profit publishers.

This article explains why the measures are wrong, and points to the campaign sites. It was amended on the 5th July after the vote to report the result, which was that the Parliament voted to re-open the discussion in plenary.

Here are the votes, interesting splits. …

Manifesto bingo, digital liberty and the internet

Manifesto bingo, digital liberty and the internet

I have had a look  at the manifestos and see what they have to say on the internet and Digital Liberty. I have been very influenced by the EDRi voting exchange and summarise the issues of Digital Liberty as e-citizenship, equality before the law, privacy and copyright reform, to which for this election we must add internet governance and industrial & innovation policy. I have created a table summarising the positions of the Tories, Labour, LibDems and Greens. Possibly I should have analysed the SNP manifesto since much of this is Westmister reserved powers. I was hoping to write something easy and quick to read. I don’t think I have succeeded. My super summary is in the figure immediately below, and here is the table I built to help me write this article. (I lost the excel file, so this will have to do!)  My main source was the ORG pages but I have been reading the Labour Manifesto also. I feel that the opposition parties have suffered from the surprise; they probably expected more time to develop their promises. All three opposition parties 2015 manifestos covered these issues in more depth.  …

The Digital Economy Act (again)

The Digital Economy Act (again)

The Digital Economy Act 2010 showed the long term goal of the entertainment industry, they want to criminalise file sharing. At the time, individual acts of copyright infringement were civil acts and the copyright owners had to pursue them through the courts, one at a time. This is expensive, slow, uncertain and most importantly expensive, compared with the cover price of a CD or DVD. The DE Act did that, it also sought to automate the justice system and in order to do that it weakened innocent until proven guilty, by prescribing defences and also placed a charge on going to court to argue not guilty. It really was a shit piece of legislation. However, the Law stated that the costs of surveillance and discovery had to be shared by the copyright owners and the internet service providers. The Courts struck down this part of the Law, (see here … for more)  …

Labour & Digital

Labour & Digital

Trefor Davies of trefor.net commissioned and published an article by me on the state of the politics of digital and its likely impact on the General Election. In the article I classify the issues around citizenship and economics. Obviously the manifesto has not been published and so prediction of its content is not easy. Regular readers will know that I am a supporter of both the Open Rights Group and Privacy International. I have also served on NESSI, the EU’s internet/I.T. R&D project incubator.  I am hopeful on the issues of citizenship, unsure on copyright and intellectual property laws and expect a good offer on digital government. …

On the economics of copyright

On the economics of copyright

When looking at the furore surrounding Julia Reda’s report to the European Parliament’s JURI committee, I am coming to the conclusion that those of us who argue for a fairer, more pro-consumer copyright settlement have won the economic arguments. The massive focus on the tiny change in duration reinforces this. All arguments I have had recently with proponents of the current settlement have rapidly moved from public good arguments to the issue of equity in investment, and the moral failure to compensate creators for their speculative investment.  …

New Copyright Laws

New Copyright Laws

The EU is considering a new Copyright law, its scrutiny committee is JURI (Legal Affairs) and the JURI Rapporteur is the sole remaining Pirate Party MEP, Julia Reda. She has posted her report, on her website here, and commented on a blog article here. She has also posted it to a collaboration site. This immediate debate has shown little support for Reda, which may suggest she has it right, or that her priorities are the troll friendly jurisdictions. …

Watching Game of Thrones (again)

Watching Game of Thrones (again)

Yup, I am! Artistically, now I know what happens, I can concentrate on relevant harbingers since we know what they are. There’s quite a few, I was obviously concentrating on the wrong plot points the first time through.  If I was really concerned, I could probably organise my life better; I deleted my older copies of the show from my skybox and so short of buying the box set, £32 for S1-3 I am stuck waiting for them to show repeats and so I took the opportunity over Xmas. Great show but the opportunity to whinge about Sky & HBO’s monetisation strategies is too great. …

I need 27 suppliers? Watching film in the UK

I need 27 suppliers? Watching film in the UK

A UK movies fan has to subscribe to 27 services to get a full catalog of current(ish) releases. On the 27th Sept, Torrentfeak comments on an MPAA funded report on film distribution in the USA.  It highlights the oddity that the most used service (Netflix) has the weakest catalogue. Later in the year, the researcher, KPMG LLP published a report on the UK market, and locally hosted here … which Torrentfreak commented on here…. The headline was that a film fan wanting the best catalogue would need to subscribe to 27 services, which seems a bit excessive.  …