Court Of Human Rights: Convictions For File-Sharing Violate Human Rights

The European Court of Human Rights has declared that the copyright monopoly stands in direct conflict with fundamental Human Rights, as defined in the European Union and elsewhere. This means that as of today, nobody sharing culture in the EU may be convicted just for breaking the copyright monopoly law; the bar for convicting was raised considerably. This can be expected to have far-reaching implications, not just judicially, but in confirming that the copyright monopoly stands at odds with human rights.

Freedom of speech (and other human rights, like education?) vs. copyright, never happy bedfellows.

In any case, not opening slather, but tightening up the requirements. Makes $25 for a complaint look small.

James Boyle: Public by Sufferance Alone: The Worst of 2012

In upholding the law, the Golan majority explicitly endorsed the position that the public has no rights to the public domain. None. Under U.S. law as declared by the Court in this case, copyright is now officially “asymmetric.” While those who have copyrights enjoy vested, legally protected rights, “[a]nyone has free access to the public domain, but no one, after the copyright term has expired, acquires ownership rights in the once-protected works.” The majority could not seem to imagine that the public had rights other than “ownership” over a free, collective culture. In a dissenting opinion, Justices Breyer and Alito asked “Does the [Constitution] empower Congress to enact a statute that withdraws works from the public domain, brings about higher prices and costs, and in doing so seriously restricts dissemination, particularly to those who need it for scholarly, educational, or cultural purposes – all without providing any additional incentive for the production of new material?” Their answer was “No.”

Since no body owns the public domain, except all of us, and property rights, even in the intangible, are an obsession, taking those rights from us all and giving them to a single owner, is righteous.

Way to make us hate you copyright.

2012: The year Irish newspapers tried to destroy the web – McGarr Solicitors – Dublin Solicitors Ireland

This year the Irish newspaper industry asserted, first tentatively and then without any equivocation, that links -just bare links like this one- belonged to them. They said that they had the right to be paid to be linked to. They said they had the right to set the rates for those links, as they had set rates in the past for other forms of licensing of their intellectual property. And then they started a campaign to lobby for unauthorised linking to be outlawed.

These assertions were not merely academic positions. The Newspaper Industry (all these newspapers) had its agent write out demanding money. They wrote to Women???s Aid, (amongst others) who became our clients when they received letters, emails and phone calls asserting that they needed to buy a licence because they had linked to articles in newspapers carrying positive stories about their fundraising efforts.
These are the prices for linking they were supplied with:

1 ??? 5 ???300.00
6 ??? 10 ???500.00
11 ??? 15 ???700.00
16 ??? 25 ???950.00
26 ??? 50 ???1,350.00
50 + Negotiable

TPP traps – we need to know the costs as well as the gains

In 2005 the Australia-United States Free Trade Agreement (AUSFTA) was signed. Some agricultural tariffs were reduced immediately. Sugar wasn’t. Australian beef won’t enjoy duty free access to the US market until 2023.

Australia accepted that trade – US market access in exchange for US copyright demands.

A report from the Australian Productivity Commission – the Government’s independent research and advisory body – indicated that Australia suffered a net loss under AUSFTA as a whole because of accepting the US copyright demands.

So why has our political leadership not talked about the costs of accepting the US copyright demands?

Why wouldn’t you look at the total cost/benefit analysis? Because you want the political benefit at any cost. Just like the Government did with the Hobbit, and may do over the dissatisfaction Chorus has expressed at the Commerce Commission copper/UBA price determinations.

F2C2012: Eben Moglen keynote – "Innovation under Austerity"

The Information Society Directorate of the European Commission issued a report 18 months ago, in which they said that they could scan 1/6th of all the books in European libraries for the cost of 100 km of roadway. That meant, and it is still true, that for the cost of 600 km of road, in an economy that builds thousands of kilometers of roadway every year, every book in all European libraries could be available to the entire human race, it should be done. [shout of “Copyright” from audience] Remember that most of those books are in the public domain, before you shout copyright at me. Remember that the bulk of what constitutes human learning was not made recently, before you shout the copyright at me. We should move to a world in which all knowledge previously available before this lifetime is universally available. If we don’t, we will stunt the innovation which permits further growth. That’s a social requirement. The copyright bargain is not immutable. It is merely convenient. We do not have to commit suicide culturally or intellectually in order to maintain a bargain which does not even relevantly apply to almost all of important human knowledge in most fields. Plato is not owned by anybody.

So here we are, asking ourselves what the educational systems of the 21st century will be like, and how they will socially distribute knowledge across the human race. I have a question for you. How many of the Einsteins who ever lived were allowed to learn physics? A couple. How many of the Shakespeares who ever lived, lived and died without learning to read and write? Almost all of them. With 7 billion people in the world right now, 3 billion of them are children; how many Einsteins do you want to throw away today? The universalization of access to education, to knowledge, is the single-most important force available for increasing innovation and human welfare on the planet. Nobody should be afraid to advocate for it because somebody might shout “copyright”.

via www.softwarefreedom.org

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Jailbreaking now legal under DMCA for smartphones, but not tablets

No more unlocking

In 2006 and 2010, the Librarian of Congress had permitted users to unlock their phones to take them to a new carrier. Now that’s coming to an end. While the new rules do contain a provision allowing phone unlocking, it comes with a crippling caveat: the phone must have been “originally acquired from the operator of a wireless telecommunications network or retailer no later than ninety days after the effective date of this exemption.”

In other words, phones you already have, as well as those purchased between now and next January, can be unlocked. But phones purchased after January 2013 can only be unlocked with the carrier’s permission.

The reasons for the distinction include that none can be made about what is a tablet.