Copyright

iTunes is Illegal: Why Copyright Laws Need a Drastic Overhaul

The simple truth is that ‘big content’ lobbies are wrong in claiming that they are the sole voice of artists and the creative industries. Big corporations have unfortunately appropriated Intellectual Property laws as a kneejerk reaction to seeing their profits threatened time after time by innovators outside the industry (think Napster, Pirate Bay) – whose interests lie beyond financial gain – rather than helping artists and creators, as they are originally intended to serve.

Friday, 7 August, 2015 - 19:45

Pirate Party and Others Respond to Copyright Consultation

Thursday, 6 August, 2015 - 09:00

Our Government has always been one step behind when trying to legislate for technology. Since the Computer Misuse Act 1990 we've had very broad definitions of what can constitute a punishment under the law. Now the Intellectual Property Office is continuing this bad trend while blurring the lines between the different kinds of copyright breach. A consultation has been launched that threatens to increase existing criminal penalties for online file sharing from a maximum of 2 years, to a maximum of 10 years' imprisonment.

Opening the door to radical reform

Loz Kaye's picture

One of the defining issues that kicked off the Pirate movement was copyright. It was possibly the most defining issue, though post Snowden things look very different now. The web depends on sharing, transmitting, copying. And it was radical that this should be a political issue, not just an obsession for law geeks.

So obviously, it was seen of something of a triumph that Julia Reda  MEP was given the task of being Copyright Rapporteur. I'm sure we were all aware of the political danger. Anything too radical would have been ripped apart, not advocating for our views would be a significant failure. It's also true that being in the Green group is where we can get most influence now, they will also hold us back.  

Pirate Party Delivers on Copyright

Monday, 19 January, 2015 - 10:15

EU copyright rules simply aren't suited to cope with the increase of cross-border cultural exchange facilitated by the Internet, an upcoming European Parliament own-initiative report evaluating 2001's copyright directive finds. The draft released today by Julia Reda, MEP for the German Pirate Party, lays out an ambitious reform agenda for the overhaul of EU copyright announced in the Commission's work programme.

Pirate Party MEP Julia Reda said:

#VotePirate To Support Artists. Yes, Really

Loz Kaye's picture

The first skirmishes of General Election 2015 are being fought. Rather predictably, they have focused on the big parties' spending plans. With a breathtaking lack of self awareness Labour accused the Tories of producing a 'dodgy dossier' about their budget ideas. One of the spats that many people noticed was the Labour press office's rapid rebuttal of the idea that a Miliband government would reverse arts cuts. So, the election campaign has already seen a fight as to who can be the nastiest party to the UK's creative sector.

Satire and copyright - A start, but not nearly enough

Tuesday, 30 September, 2014 - 19:15

Limited changes to UK copyright law will come into on the the 1st of October. The change will for the first time allow the parody of copyright works.  At present anyone who uses clips of films, TV shows or songs without consent for parody (and almost anything else) risks being sued by the rightsholder.

This change will allow the use of material in copyright as long as it is fair, funny and does not compete with the original version.

Free speech victory as Wonga backs down on parody copyright claim

Payday lender Wonga has backed down on its attempt to remove a parody advert criticising them from Twitter after thousands of users (and the Pirate Party UK) defied the company by reposting the picture.

Wonga said:

"We accept that we were a little heavy-handed last week when we issued a Twitter Takedown notice for @BrandySnap's image, and having seen the full ‘Streisand Effect’ ourselves, we won’t be pursuing the notice"

The Streisand effect occurs when an attempt to remove or cover up information leads to it gaining significantly more attention than it would have done otherwise.

Wonga was on shaky legal ground by using a copyright claim under the United States Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) to ask Twitter to remove the image, although Twitter complied at first. Parody and criticism are protected as "fair use" under US copyright law.

Wonga censors Twitter critics - where's our right to parody?

Payday lender Wonga has forced Twitter to take down a user's parody advert by making a copyright claim. User @Brandy_Snap created the parody based on satirical arist William Hogarth's 1732 painting of a spendthrift held in a debtor's prison. @Brandy_Snap's parody superimposes the face of Earl, Wonga's "marketing character", on top of Hogarth's unfortunate debtor. It adds the words: "Fed up of final demands, whining relatives and debtors' prison?" and reproduces the Wonga logo with the added strapline: "Your soul is ours."

Twitter removed @Brandy_Snap's image from their tweet after Wonga's copyright complaint to Twitter which claims:

Earl's face has been doctored onto a painting in the tweet found at the URL above. Unauthorised use of all or a substantial part of a copyright work is an infringing act. The "wonga.com" trade mark device (blue stylised speech bubble with the words "wonga.com" in white) has been reproduced without consent. Unauthorised use of all or a substantial part of a copyright work (which the copyright owner asserts in addition to its trade mark rights) is an infringing act.

The United States Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) gives copyright holders the power to ask online publishers and web hosting providers such as Twitter to remove what they consider to be infringing material. In return, publishers are protected from legal action as long as they comply promptly with takedown requests.

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