- EU - European Parliament Rejects Software Patents +/-
(internetnews) The European Parliament voted overwhelming, 648-14 with 18 abstentions, against a proposed software patent directive. The Computer-Implemented Inventions (CII) patents directive, if passed, would have given software patent owners unified protections across the European Union (EU). The EU floated the proposal to the parliamentary body in May 2004 to bring patent laws in line with patent law in the U.S. see also Software patents - BSA figures do not add up by Ingrid Marson. (ZDNet UK) and Patent absurdity (Guardian)
- Copyright and the law - Rip. Mix. Burn +/-
(Economist) Copyright was originally intended to encourage publication by granting publishers a temporary monopoly on works so they could earn a return on their investment. But the internet and new digital technologies have made the publication and distribution of works much easier and cheaper. Publishers should therefore need fewer, not more, property rights to protect their investment. Technology has tipped the balance in favour of the public domain. A first, useful step would be a drastic reduction of copyright back to its original terms - 14 years, renewable once.
- EU - Music copyright: Commission proposes reform on Internet licensing +/-
(RAPID) The European Commission has published an in-depth study on how copyright for musical works is licensed for use on the Internet. It concludes that the main obstacle to the growth of legitimate online content services in the EU is the difficulty securing attractive content for online exploitation. In particular, the present structures for cross-border collective management of music copyright - which were developed for the analogue environment - prevent music from fulfilling its unique potential as a driver for online content services. The Commission proposes options to remedy this situation as only music has the real potential to kick-start online content services in Europe in line with the Lisbon agenda.
- Global raids target piracy gangs +/-
(BBC) Suspected internet pirates in 11 countries have been raided in a global operation against illegal distributors of movies, games and software. Led by the FBI, the search and seizure operation netted copyrighted material worth $50m and led to seven arrests. Eight servers used to distribute the pirated goods to net users and file-sharing networks were shut down.
- SE - Swedes curb rampant downloading +/-
(BBC) Sweden has outlawed the downloading of copyrighted movies, games and music in an attempt to curb rampant piracy. Prior to the law coming into force, Sweden was the only European nation that let people download copyrighted material for personal use.
- UK - Man convicted for chipping Xbox +/-
(BBC) A man has become the first person in the UK to be convicted for modifying a video games console. The Cambridge graduate was sentenced at Caerphilly Magistrates Court to 140 hours of community service. The man had been selling modified Xbox consoles which he fitted with a big hard drive containing 80 games. The conviction is the first of its kind in the UK, where the modification of video games consoles has been an illegal practice since October 2003, when the UK enacted the EU Copyright Directive. Under that directive, it is illegal to circumvent copy protection systems.
- UK - Online music royalties challenged +/-
(BBC) The 'unreasonable' royalties composers and music publishers demand for digital downloads is being challenged. The British Phonographic Industry (BPI) - which represents more than 300 UK record labels - has joined seven online services to bring the action. They have taken the Mechanical Copyright Protection Society (MCPS) and the Performing Right Society (PRS) to a copyright tribunal.
- US - Two Defeats - and a Silver Lining +/-
(Free Expression Policy Project) The Supreme Court delivered two defeats to media democracy and free expression yesterday, but at least one decision had a silver lining. The first - and more highly publicized - case, MGM v. Grokster - involved the popular peer-to-peer (or 'P2P') technologies that are used en masse to share copyright-protected music. The entertainment industry sued Grokster and StreamCast (makers of the Morpheus software), arguing that their technologies are mostly used for copyright infringement and therefore should be outlawed. The theory was that the makers of the technology are 'contributory' copyright infringers. see also Ruling won't slow file swapping, experts say. The cast of the ongoing peer-to-peer drama (CNET News.com).