Feeds

The Open Rights Group gets rights wrong again

Defender of parody is becoming a self-parody

Security for virtualized datacentres

Opinion When Open Rights Group executive director Jim Killock opens his mouth, his foot soon disappears inside. The UK's leading digital rights advocate has just demonstrated still more difficulty understanding the "rights" the group campaigns about.

At a Citizen 2012 data conference in London yesterday, where he was introduced as "the infamous Jim Killock", Citizen Jim listed the many injustices of the UK's copyright law.

"The Olympic logo is copyright. The Olympic mascots are copyright. Therefore, reusing them is a breach of copyright and of course parodies using them get pulled down," claimed Killock.

In fact, the Olympic logo is a trademark, not a copyright, as the IPO lucidly explains. It's a different property right, with completely different rules. The Olympic logo is actually one of the more famous trademark stories in recent years, with the Chinese government asserting its ownership of it – a fascinating case for IP law geeks (See here and here).

Killock was discussing a proposal to weaken copyright-holders claims over derivatives made as parodies. After a public consultation in 2010 the IPO concluded there was no reason to change the parody exemption. But the Hargreaves Review, the so-called 'Google Review', bounced it back onto the agenda, and the Open Rights Group then discovered it as a campaign issue. Killock cited another example of why the law needed to be changed. It was the tale of a spoof on the Jay-Z song Empire State of Mind called Newport State of Mind, posted to YouTube in 2010.

"Newport State of Mind was pulled on copyright grounds – it was infringing – so that was that, and it got deleted."

The audience was left thinking a shadow had fallen across the interwebs – and possible a New Dark Age was about to begin. Copyright activists often evoke an imminent dystopian fantasy world – it appears to provide the 'crisis' which their politics require. What Killock didn't tell them was that Newport State of Mind was back on YouTube a few days later, where it's been enjoyed ever since. (You don't need the copyright-holder's permission to do a cover version, or use a composition backing track, remember.)

Killock wasn't corrected.

Citizen Jim also argued that in order to be strengthened, UK copyright law should be "liberalised", in other words, it should do less. This logic may sound Orwellian, but it's actually using a very obscure Olde English derivation. For example, you may have heard the phrase, "You'll have to move: your house is being liberalised to make way for a bypass," or "I'm sorry sir, but your car is a total write-off: it was liberalised by joyriders, who have remixed it with a wall."

Last year Killock told Parliament that the UK copyright laws had deterred Netflix from launching in the UK. He did so 10 days after Netflix announced it was launching in the UK.

Sadly, since then, Jim's public appearances are now quite rare - so we must treasure every one. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
The 'fun-nification' of computer education – good idea?
Compulsory code schools, luvvies love it, but what about Maths and Physics?
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
'Cowardly, venomous trolls' threatened with TWO-YEAR sentences for menacing posts
UK government: 'Taking a stand against a baying cyber-mob'
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.