A while back I drew attention to a rather excellent piece by Technollama entitled “Do Monkeys Dream of Electric Copyright?“, which, right when the saga of Naruto the aspiring simian photographer was just kicking off, analysed the various issues the human photographer, David Slater, would have when trying to claim copyright from a selfie which Naruto the crested black macaque monkey took with his camera back in 2011. The piece made some interesting analogies between Infopaq and computer-generated work, and how Slater could still perhaps claim copyright, despite the intervention of the monkey. Later, in 2015, PETA filed a lawsuit, Naruto v Slater, in the name of the monkey,claiming copyright for Naruto. After much speculation by academics and amused onlookers US District Judge William Orrick ruled this week, on Wednesday 6th January 2016, that the monkey sadly cannot own the intellectual property rights to the photos which were taken. So let us take a quick look back at the saga of Naruto the simian selfie-star, and the most recent developments. Continue reading Aspiring Simian Photographer Loses Copyright Case
Happy New Year ladies, gentlemen, all in between, and none of the above! As always a new year brings new resolutions to be broken, new goals to be abandoned, and, of course, new hoaxes to be unmasked like a particularly tiresome episode of Scooby-Doo. Once again, and while 2015 is still knee-high to a grasshopper, our latest digital hoax and viral spread of legal misrepresentation comes to us from the realm of The Facebook. Much as with our last round of myth-busting, “Digital Panic! No, Facebook Is Not Spying on You Through Their Messenger App“, this time my, and no doubt your, Facebook news feed is a blaze with well-intentioned warnings about the depths to which Facebook has descended in its quest to steal Copyright, identities, souls and more than likely candy from babies. As much as this makes fascinating, if somewhat depressing reading, and as much as it pains me to take on the role of spoilsport in this micro-drama of the Erin Brockovich-esque user who first uncovered and took a stand against Facebook’s perceived changes in its Terms of Service, I must sadly inform you that this is once again nothing more than a not-particularly-elaborate-but-worryingly-effective hoax.
As some of you might remember, a few months back I wrote about imminent reforms to UK copyright law exceptions, including finally allowing users to create backup copies and ‘personal copies for private use’ of their digital media (such as burning a CD onto your computer, or transferring music to your MP3 player or phone…. yes, up ’til now this wasn’t actually allowed), and all-importantly introducing a parody exception to copyright law in the UK. In March the UK Intellectual property Office (IPO) also issues a guidance paper on copyright exceptions, which can be viewed here. However, these changes were significantly delayed from their original implementation goal of June, as the Parliament continued to debate the exact scope, wording and effects of these changes. Continue reading Reforms to UK Copyright Exceptions FINALLY Come Into Effect
UPDATE 05/01/12: For those of you searching for information about the “Copyright Meme” hoax of January 2015, I have written a new post dealing more specifically with that incident, but also drawing heavily from the warnings and advice I give here regarding having a healthy level of skepticism when it comes to Facebook status updates, and how to actually protect your digital self, see “Digital Panic 2.0! Facebook Are Still Not Going To Steal Your Copyright / Identity / Soul!”
Just because the fourth instance of people reacting to the changes regarding the Facebook app and Facebook messenger app has come to my attention, I think I should make this clear; Articles and posts saying that Facebook can now spy on you and take pictures of you are sensationalist nonsense. There are a lot of people deleting the Facebook messenger app, and exhorting their comrades to do likewise in a fit of data-security-conscious zeal…. Perhaps missplaced zeal though, as to people like me, the “changes” in these app permissions don’t seem all that new or nearly as evil as they have been portrayed. If you already use the normal Facebook app, or even use Facebook at all, the permissions you are giving for the messenger app are really nothing new. If you’re truly worried about data protection and misuse of data, don’t use Facebook. My first piece of advice is that you read the Snopes.com page on this latest situation – “Facebook Messenger“. Indeed, any time you read something online which you think sounds a bit over the top, you should most definitely check Snopes to get a better idea of how well researched these ideas are. Continue reading Digital Panic! No, Facebook is Not Spying on You Through Their Messenger App
I just read this very interesting piece by one of my favourite IT Law experts, Andres Guadamuz, aka “Technollama“, about the recent confusion regarding copyright for monkey-selfies. Really there are few people as well able to discuss such a ridiculous but technically interesting legal question as Technollama. The piece makes some very interesting analogies between Infopaq and computer-generated work. Well worth your time, especially should you find your photographic equipment commandeered by artistically inclined primates at some point in the near future.
Read it at:
“Do Monkeys Dream of Electric Copyright” Technollama
This will be another post based on work I did during my time at the University of Edinburgh last year – this time covering the weird and wonderful topic of “augmented reality”. While it may sound like a rather sci-fi idea, augmented reality is posed to become more and more a part of our everyday life, especially in our interactions as consumers. I’d like to thank the excellently titled “Professor of Computational Legal Theory” Professor Burkhard Schafer for his fascinating, and at times bizarre, course on AI, Risk and the Law, in which we discussed sex robots, virtual reality courtrooms, penguins living on landmines and many other “you-had-to-be-there-to-understand-why-it’s-relevant” topics, and for giving me the chance to research this emerging and most likely problematic area of law.
Continue reading An Introduction to Augmented Reality and the Law
That’s right ladies and gentlemen! You may now take that cumbersome CD collection you have to carry around everywhere with you and rip the music onto your computer or portable media playing device for your own personal use! I have a feeling these newfangled “Em-Pee-Three-Players” are really going to take off now that the UK has decided to implement reforms to the Copyright Law in this area… What’s that you say? You’ve been ripping CDs onto your computer and playing them of MP3s and phones for years? Well then, you sir or madam have (technically) been a filthy copyright infringer, and will remain so until June of this year.
Continue reading You Can Now Rip CDs And Parody Copyrighted Material! UK Public Confused As To Why This Is News!
John Walker, of Rock, Paper, Shotgun, recently wrote a very interesting (not to mention comprehensive) article entitled “Why Games Should Enter the Public Domain” on the place of Public Domain in the video game industry. His argument is particularly interesting in that he goes even further than the standard pro-public domain and pro-creative commons attitudes of many gamers and consumers of digital media. He argues for a radical restructuring of how intellectual property rights are handled in this area, with a suggested strong reduction of the length and strength of intellectual property protection for creators. Furthermore, Walker does not simply write this from the standpoint of an ‘everything-should-be-free’, unrealistic consumer, but rather also as a man who has benefited economically from his own video game journalism. One of the key points to take away from Walker’s argument is that the lengthy protection currently afforded to most works in this industry do not in fact end up benefiting the “creators” themselves (a tricky group to pin down at the best of times, as the core development team can span from solo undertakings to the hundreds), but rather the large publishing and media giants who retain the rights to such games. Continue reading Rock, Paper, Public Domain