Monday, November 24, 2014

Resale Rights Fight Not Over Yet

Hope everyone had a happy Halloween.


Not quite scary as much as shocking, news broke yesterday that the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals will be rehearing the resale rights arguments, en banc (which means that it’s quite possible that all of the 9th Circuit judges will hear the arguments).

What the heck does that mean? Here’s Nicholas O’Donnell,

Ordinarily, an appeal to the full circuit court follows an adverse decision from a three-judge panel. Typically, the dissatisfied party asks the entire court, which can be several or dozens of judges, to consider the matter as a whole. Here, the Court itself took notice an initiated the en banc question before a panel decided it.

O’Donnell has a good overview here. More via Reuters.


Artists Parody the Rehnquist Court

The Rehnquist Court.

The Rehnquist Court.

New York-based theater ensemble Elevator Repair Service (ERS) returns to Los Angeles’ REDCAT next week with Arguendo, an absurdist look at a 1991 U.S. Supreme Court case, Barnes v. Glen Theatre. The case tested the limits of the First Amendment, questioning whether state laws prohibiting complete nudity in public—in particular, dancing nude at an Indiana strip club—violated the right to freedom of expression.

Via ERS,

Arguendo is a staging of Barnes v. Glen Theatre’s entire oral argument, verbatim, set against Ben Rubin’s OBIE-award winning projection design of animated text. The argument is interspersed with bits of real interviews with the justices, the lawyers and an exotic dancer who traveled all the way from the Déja Vu Club in Saginaw, Michigan to listen to the argument at The Supreme Court.

More info via 24700.


Warhol Foundation Sues Former Bodyguard

They’re accusing the former bodyguard of stealing a 1964 painting of Elizabeth Taylor. 


Getty Images Ramping Down Enforcement Tactics

Licensing giant Getty Images says it is ramping down its enforcement policies and turn infringers into customers.


Court Rules on University E-Reserves Copyright Case


Art teachers and professors, pay attention! Academic publishers on Friday notched a win in the ongoing legal debate about digital access to copyrighted works, as the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a broad ruling on how to determine fair use.

Rather than strike a decisive blow either for or against fair use, the legal concept that places some limits on the rights of copyright holders, the appeals court instead issued a stern warning against quick-fix, one-size-fits-all solutions to legal disputes — specifically, the idea that copying less than a chapter or 10 percent of a book automatically protects an institution from a lawsuit.

The case is Cambridge University Press et. al. v. Patton.

Via Inside Higher Ed, Copyright Librarian, and Kevin Smith of Duke University Libraries.


Louis Menand on Copyright and Why We Can Survive Without “Motown”


The copyright argument is not really a philosophical battle, but rather a battle between interest groups. This, Louis Menand argues, is really what drives us to blog about and argue over piracy, appropriation, court opinions, and anything and everything copyright. I have to agree.

In this week’s New Yorker, Menand, a Harvard professor, gives a great primer on copyright law. He then focuses on the two main philosophical rationales for copyright protection (Anglo-American and European), and with a surprising twist, explains how the European conception of copyright is in fact much stricter than the Anglo-American version. This is going to come as a huge surprise to many, especially those that love to trash the U.S. and American law.

What’s the main difference between the two? Moral rights, Menand adds, stemming from a French and German desire to assert their cultural superiority while simultaneously fending off the crass commercialization and commodification of culture.

On this point Menand quotes Peter Baldwin, professor of history at UCLA (whose book, The Copyright Wars, Menand is supposed to be reviewing), “Copyright’s evolution is often told as a story of American cultural hegemony,” he says. “In fact, the opposite is more plausible.”

Call it moral rights or call it European, copyright is a battle of interest groups (I think Clancco’s interests are quite evident). Copyright isn’t killing creativity any more than it’s keeping me from blogging, making art, viewing art, tweeting, teaching, or reading the New Yorker. Is it keeping you?

Menand emphasizes this by adding that we, as a species, can probably survive without Motown (whose copyrights William Patry laments are in limbo due to overly strict American copyright laws).

But people aren’t going to stop writing and reading novels, or making and listening to music. The analog-era industries will find—they are already in the process of finding—a sounder business model. For the rest of us, less is at risk. The species can survive without cheaper copies of Mickey Mouse cartoons and “Finnegans Wake.” It is hard to write these words, but the species can probably survive without Motown.

If we can survive without Motown, we can certainly survive without most appropriation art.


Iggy Pop on Piracy and Why the Working Class Steals

Image courtesy of Gothmeister Imaging, via Wikipedia.

Image courtesy of Gothmeister Imaging, via Wikipedia.

Rock and punk icon Iggy Pop gave a lecture the other night, and this is what he had to say about illegal downloading,

“We are exchanging the corporate rip-off for the public one. Aided by power nerds. Kind of computer Putins. They just wanna get rich and powerful. And now the biggest bands are charging insane ticket prices or giving away music before it can flop, in an effort to stay huge. And there’s something in this huge thing that kind of sucks.”

Yeah, it kind of does suck.


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