Articles about Copyright Law

Eiffel Tower at night with lightshow <a href="">Brian Kinney</a> / <a href=""></a>

Mozilla breathes petition-of-fire at EU copyright laws

The Mozilla Foundation has decided the time is right to scorch the European Union's copyright law, which it says “undermines innovation and creativity on the internet.” Mozilla's beef includes a lamentation of the EU's lack of a universal fair use law, which it says means “In some parts of the EU, making a meme is technically …
Simon Sharwood, 26 Aug 2016
EU egg timer, photo via Shutterstock

An ethical Google won't break the internet, leaked EU report finds

Making Google a good corporate citizen and pay creators fairly won’t break the internet, a leaked impact study on copyright suggests. The 200 page impact assessment (IA), leaked to Statewatch, addresses the thorny issue of content sharing platforms such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. “Some online service providers refuse …
Andrew Orlowski, 25 Aug 2016
Robots with Cursors from Shutterstock

Oracle Java copyright war latest: Why Google's luck is about to run out

Analysis Oracle says one of the foundations of Google's legal victory in the Java API copyright trial has exploded – and that means a retrial is needed. Oracle was trying its luck in court yesterday, demanding a retrial – although regardless of its success in forcing a third trial, the outcome of the second trial is on course to be …
Andrew Orlowski, 18 Aug 2016

How's this for irony? US Navy hit with $600m software piracy claim

A German software developer has accused the United States Navy of illegally copying $596m worth of its product. Bitmanagement Software GmbH claims that the Navy has copied "hundreds of thousands" of copies of its 3D modeling and tracking software BS Contact Geo without paying. They have filed suit [PDF] in the US Court of …
Shaun Nichols, 20 Jul 2016
Street musician busks for coins. Photo by Shutterstock

Spotify, YouTube pay musicians with ever-shrinking buttons

Digital music is a loss leader for tech giants, driving traffic to other parts of the plantation as they harvest personal data. But it’s creators who are carrying the loss. “Leaked” Spotify numbers suggest its maintaining an audience lead over Apple in the digital streaming business - but only by giving the music away for …
Andrew Orlowski, 12 Jul 2016
Prison rolls out 10 years' chokey for industrial scale copyright pirates

Digital Economy Bill As it promised in the Queen’s Speech – and as first revealed here – legislation will extend the maximum penalty for industrial scale online copyright infringement from two to 10 years. This is in the hope that criminal copyright cases are actually brought under copyright law. Because the maximum sentence is currently only two …
Andrew Orlowski, 06 Jul 2016

Wealthy youngsters more likely to be freetards than anyone else – study

The well-groomed throng of bourgeois protesters that shunned the weekly Waitrose shop and headed for London’s Parliament Square on Saturday had something in common other than a common desire to remain in the EU. The demographic that closely mirrors keen Remain voters is more likely to download content illegally than any other UK …
Andrew Orlowski, 05 Jul 2016
Bookshelf in the British Library basement

E-books the same as printed ones, says top Euro court egghead

In a seemingly commonsense but important decision, the top advisor of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has decided that electronic books (e‑books) are legally equivalent to their printed versions when it comes to lending them through libraries. In an opinion released [PDF] Thursday, Advocate General Maciej Szpunar said e‑ …
Kieren McCarthy, 16 Jun 2016

Why Oracle will win its Java copyright case – and why you'll be glad when it does

Comment Oracle will ultimately prevail in its Java copyright lawsuit against Google. And if you're a free software developer or supporter, you should be cheering them all the way to the wire. Blogger John Gruber last week observed that virtually no one is rooting for Big Red. This is really quite astonishing. That's because Google has …
Andrew Orlowski, 02 Jun 2016
Kraftwerk concert 2012

Kraftwerk versus a cheesy copycat: How did the copycat win?

Analysis Have you noticed that with copyright, the people who complain loudest and longest about how unfair it all is often the least talented? Grumbly bass players. Science fiction "novelists". Otherwise-unemployable "academics". It's a union of the bitter and grudgeful, with a distinct talent deficit. It doesn't take much to …
Andrew Orlowski, 01 Jun 2016
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, aged 81, of the United Kingdom. Photo taken during a visit in NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. Greenbelt, Maryland, USA

Queen's Speech: Ministers, release the spaceplanes!*

Promises on broadband make up the mainstay of a new Digital Bill, first revealed at The Register back in January and formally revealed in the Queen’s Speech today. It’s one of 21 new legislative proposals. The speech reiterated plans to create the right for every household to access high speed broadband. The plans for a …
Team Register, 18 May 2016

Queen’s Speech: Digital Bill to tackle radicalisation, pirates

Exclusive A new Digital Bill due to be announced in the Queen’s Speech tomorrow will contain a new 10-year maximum sentencing guideline for online copyright infringement, The Register has learned. Plans for a portmanteau bill were first revealed here back in January. The Bill gathers together a range of unrelated provisions on spectrum …
Andrew Orlowski, 17 May 2016
Julia Reda MEP, Pirate Party. Pic: Joachim S. Müller

The Lonely Pirate MEP's Holocaust copyright stunt backfires

Comment A tasteless attempt to recruit Holocaust victim Anne Frank to the case of weakening European copyright protection has backfired on the EU's only Pirate Party MP, Julia Reda. On WIPO’s World IP Day last week, copyfighter Reda tweeted that she was “trying to read Anne Frank’s Diary” but couldn’t because of copyright terms. …
Andrew Orlowski, 04 May 2016

Getty on Google: It’s all about traffic, duh

Photo giant Getty Images has had enough – it has filed an antitrust complaint in Europe against Google. And the reasoning behind the action is more subtle than readers might think. Getty Images' VP Jonathan Lockwood explained why. Getty’s action isn’t a copyright dispute, he points out. It isn’t about piracy, rights, or right- …
Andrew Orlowski, 28 Apr 2016
Man on laptop has ethical dilemma (represted by angel and demon on either shoulder). Photo by Shutterstock

The case for ethical ad-blocking

When is ad-blocking ethical? How about when the adtech industry is behaving so unethically it destroys people’s livelihoods? Musician and music rights campaigner David Lowery last year made the incendiary suggestion that musicians should encourage their fans to block the advertising running on music-streaming sites – even …
Andrew Orlowski, 27 Apr 2016
'Broken Copyright'

Jaron Lanier: Big Tech is worse than Big Oil

Intellectual property isn't just vital to human dignity. It might be the only thing that can save your kids having a job, thanks to today's robber barons, like Google. So says virtual-reality pioneer and musician Jaron Lanier, who's come out swinging harder than ever at the Silicon Valley. Big Tech is seriously worse than Big …
Andrew Orlowski, 22 Apr 2016
Monty Python foot UHDTV

Taking an artsy selfie in Stockholm? You might need to pay royalities

The Supreme Court of Sweden has ruled the local Wikimedia chapter must have explicit consent from artists, some of whom may choose to be anonymous, as part of its project to take photographs showcasing the country's public street art. Sweden-based artist copyright organisation the Bildkonst Upphovsrätt i Sverige filed a …
Darren Pauli, 07 Apr 2016

Wakey wakey, app developers. Mobile ad blocking will kill you all

Two weeks ago we disclosed that CK Hutchison Holdings’s network-level ad blocking can not only block ads on websites, but it is capable of blocking ads served to mobile apps, too. The move is hugely significant. If Hutch sets a precedent (operators are keen to introduce similar technology) with in-app ad blocking, and it is …
Andrew Orlowski, 01 Mar 2016

ADpocalypse NOW: Three raises the stakes

Analysis It’s WAR. CK Hutchison’s Three network will become the first UK mobile operator to block ads, threatening to undermine the $100bn mobile ad business, and app developers and publishers who depend on them. Three confirmed to us that apps will be starved of ads once the blocking is turned on. Although Three is the smallest of …
Andrew Orlowski, 19 Feb 2016

Database rights are no 'impediment' to Europe's data-driven economy

Opinion The existence of database rights does not hold back EU businesses from developing innovative new uses for data, despite what a recent report backed by two European Parliament committees says. Examples from the sporting world show that database rights can in fact support innovation in uses of data and, in contrast, highlight …
Good riddance to bad Java

Google brews a fresh pot of Oracle's OpenJDK Java for future Android

Google is lining up OpenJDK – an open-source implementation of the Java platform – for future Android builds. Up until now, the mobile operating system has used a Java class library derived from the Apache Harmony project. Harmony was developed from 2005 by the Apache Software Foundation as a free implementation of Java, with …
Chris Williams, 30 Dec 2015

Samba man 'Tridge' accidentally helps to sink request for Oz voteware source code

Dr Andrew Tridgell, creator of the Samba file server and the rsync algorithm, appears to have inadvertently helped to sink a freedom of information (FOI) request for access to the source code of software used to count votes in Australian elections. Tridgell was called as a witness by Hobart lawyer Michael Cordover, who sought …
Simon Sharwood, 13 Dec 2015
European commission photo via Shutterstock

No, the EU is not going to make hyperlinks illegal

You may have read that the European Commission intends to prevent hyperlinks to copyrighted material. The good news is that this isn’t true. The bad news is that there is a real proposal to change copyright law that could change how we use hyperlinks – the bedrock of the World Wide Web. How does the humble hyperlink fit into …
Andres Guadamuz, 16 Nov 2015

Kidnapped IT bod Peter Moore: My journey to Iraq began in Guyana

The eXpat Files Regular readers of The Reg will know Peter Moore as the UK techie who was kidnapped by an Iraqi militia in 2007, before spending over two-and-a-half years as a hostage. But Iraq was just one in a succession of foreign postings during Peter's career. He gave us the rundown on his travels before Iraq, and it's not hard to see …
Joe Fay, 16 Oct 2015
Extended GPIO B+ raspberry pi

Is streaming pirate video legal? Europe's highest court will take a look

Fresh from tearing up the safe harbor framework, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) will take a look at the complex issue of online video streaming. A Dutch court has asked the ECJ to review a number of questions over the legality of streaming content in a case in which an anti-piracy group is suing an online store for its …
Kieren McCarthy, 13 Oct 2015

Why the 'Dancing Baby' copyright case is just hi-tech victim shaming

Analysis Silicon Valley's great triumph has been persuading people to give up their rights, and be happy to do so. And tech oligarchs aren't worried about fighting dirty to make it happen: victim shaming is now part of the arsenal. Modern technology – and in particular the miracle of the internet – has allowed billions of people to …
Andrew Orlowski, 17 Sep 2015

DMCA takedown bots must respect 'fair use' of copyright – US appeals court

The concept of "fair use" of copyrighted images and music has been given a big boost in a decision this week by the California Appeals Court (Ninth Circuit). The court ruled that music and film companies need to take into account whether their material is being used legally before issuing DMCA takedown notices. In doing so, …
Kieren McCarthy, 14 Sep 2015

Tech, telcos, and digital crusties gang up against the EU's Digital Single Market

It’s normal to hear copyright industry lobbyists complain about the European Commission’s hasty reform agenda – but not people who the commission might have presumed would be its supporters. Out-of-touch Brussels Eurocrats were blasted by tech industry groups, telcos, and even a digital rights group for, they said, trying to …
Andrew Orlowski, 09 Sep 2015

No more jaw-jaw, as PRS sues SoundCloud over music streaming

Analysis UK performing rights society the PRS* has told its 111,000 members that it is now reluctantly suing SoundCloud after five years of fruitless negotiations, for refusing to properly compensate its members after streaming their works. “Unfortunately, [SoundCloud] continues to deny it needs a PRS licence for its existing service …
Andrew Orlowski, 01 Sep 2015

Should all Europeans be able to watch Estonian football? Consultation launched

Europe’s Digital Commissioner wants to know what you think about copyright rules for satellite broadcasters and cable companies. On Monday, digi veep Andrus Ansip launched a public consultation on his favourite topic – geoblocking. The consultation asks whether 22-year-old EU rules that define where and how satellite …
Jennifer Baker, 25 Aug 2015

You CAN'T jail online pirates for 10 years, legal eagles tell UK govt

The UK government plan to jail online copyright pirates for up to 10 years has been attacked by legal boffins in a public consultation that ended yesterday. The British and Irish Law, Education and Technology Association (BILETA), said the idea was “unacceptable, infeasible and unaffordable”. The public consultation invited …
Jennifer Baker, 18 Aug 2015

Oracle waves fist, claims even new Android devices infringe its Java copyrights

Oracle's lawsuit against Google over Java copyrights probably won't be back in a courtroom again until next year, but in the meantime, Oracle has asked the court to let it expand the scope of its complaint to include events that have occurred since it was first filed in 2010. What's more, it has once again asked the court to …
Neil McAllister, 07 Aug 2015
'Broken Copyright'

Open source Copyright Hub unveiled with '90+ projects' in the pipeline

The web has grown up without letting people own and control their own stuff, but a British-backed initiative might change all that, offering a glimpse of how the internet can work in the future. Their work will all be open sourced early next year. Britain's much-anticipated Copyright Hub was given ministerial blessing when it …
Andrew Orlowski, 31 Jul 2015
management regulation2

US State of Georgia sues 'terrorist' for publishing its own laws ... on the internet

The State of Georgia in the US is suing the owner of the website for publishing the State of Georgia's own laws online. According to the lawsuit [PDF] filed this week, Carl Malamud has "engaged in an 18 year long crusade to control the accessibility of U.S. government documents by becoming the United States …
Kieren McCarthy, 25 Jul 2015
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs restored on Blu-ray

Antitrust this! EU Commish goes after HOLLYWOOD’s big guns

After an 18-month investigation, the European Commission on Thursday decided to file antitrust charges against US movie studios 20th Century Fox, Warner Brothers, Sony Pictures, Paramount, NBCUniversal, and Sky TV. Competition head honcho, Margrethe Vestager, has sent a so-called Statement of Objections to Sky and Co, usually …
Jennifer Baker, 24 Jul 2015 makes total pig's ear of attempt to legalise home CD ripping

The UK's inability to introduce a private copying copyright exception legally and fairly means home taping, ripping CDs and so on will remain technically illegal in the UK. The obstacle to sorting out British law in this regard is the government's insistence that it can fix the quirk without offering any sort of compensation …
Andrew Orlowski, 21 Jul 2015
Julia Reda MEP, Pirate Party. Pic: Joachim S. Müller

Loneliest Pirate's EU copyright report secures MEPs' approval

The European Parliament adopted the “Reda report” on copyright yesterday. Pirate Party MEP Julia Reda’s report on the functioning of the current Infosoc Directive is widely seen as a bellwether for the coming copyright legislation overhaul. Digi Commissioner Gunther H-dot Oettinger is due to present his proposals before the …
Jennifer Baker, 10 Jul 2015
'Broken Copyright'

MEPs gear up to vote on Europe's copyright 'black spot' report

On Thursday, MEPs will make their opinions on copyright in Europe known – by voting on Pirate Party MEP Julia Reda’s review of the information society directive, aka the foundations of Europe's copyright rules in the internet age. You'll be forgiven for thinking that this vote will directly change the EU's rules on copyright. …
Jennifer Baker, 08 Jul 2015
Panic button

Wikipedia jumps aboard the bogus 'freedom of panorama' bandwagon

Wikipedia has launched another anti-copyright campaign – but it's one that experts say is bogus and misleading. Thousands of pages on the site are now plastered with an appeal to "Save the Freedom of Panorama", a crusade minted by copyright activist and Europe's only Pirate Party MEP, Julia Reda. But Wikipedia users should …
Andrew Orlowski, 02 Jul 2015

Pirate MEP pranks Telegraph with holiday snap scaremongering

Teenaged* German MEP Julia Reda, who believes that “your life is illegal” because of copyright laws, has successfully conned a gullible newspaper into reporting that sharing your own photos will soon be illegal too. The Telegraph’s skiing expert ran a story suggesting that British holidaymakers “may face legal action” for …
Andrew Orlowski, 25 Jun 2015

Australia gets its Internet filter after Senate vote

Australia is to get its not-an-Internet-filter, with the government and the opposition joining forces to pass the bill in the Senate. “This bill will make a contribution” to copyright remedies, Labor's Jacinta Collins told the Senate, calling it a “modest” proposal bill. Saying that deterrence is only a partial solution, …
Stephen Witt, How Music Got Free book cover

How Music Got Free and Creatocracy

Page File Twenty years ago we thought the music industry would disappear and something fairer would take its place, as sure as eggs was eggs. We were right about the first part – but I doubt anyone predicted the new Man would be worse than the old Man. How did we get a system that's actually less ethical than an industry that was …
Andrew Orlowski, 22 Jun 2015 loses crucial battle in home-taping war with musicians

The British music industry has dealt a significant legal blow to the UK government – after the law was tweaked to allow Brits to copy audio CDs without another penny going to musicians and labels. Blighty's record industry, unhappy with these changes, today successfully applied [PDF] for a judicial review, meaning a judge will …
Andrew Orlowski, 19 Jun 2015
Splash! by Nino Barbieri licensed under CC 3.0 Unported

EU MEPs accept lonely Pirate's copyright report – and water it down

The European Parliament’s legal committee on Tuesday approved a non-legislative and non-binding report by Pirate Party MEP Julia Reda by a majority of 23-2 - albeit with several substantial amendments. Reda's report examines the EU’s current copyright law, the so-called Infosec Directive from 2001. A new draft directive is …
Jennifer Baker, 16 Jun 2015
The rather phallic tracks of the balloons seen on

EU Digital Single Market plan: We will compromise fast, and compromise early

The European Commission has finally unveiled its big Digital Single Market Strategy (DSM). Despite leak after leak over recent weeks, Digi Commissioners Andrus “The Robot” Ansip and Gunther H-dot Oettinger took to the podium together (for the first time) with due pomp and ceremony on Wednesday. But what they presented was a …
Jennifer Baker, 06 May 2015
Woman puts hand in camera lens. Pic: Steve Purkiss

Security bods gagged using DMCA on eve of wireless key vuln reveal

Updated Researchers at IOActive have been slapped with a DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) gagging order a day before they planned to release information about security vulnerabilities in the kit of an as-yet unidentified vendor*. A redacted version of the legal notice – posted on Google+ – has reignited the long standing debate …
John Leyden, 05 May 2015
Alan Rusbridger as Judas

FT and Guardian eagerly grab Google's 30 pieces of silver

Money can’t buy you love, they say, but Google hopes it can mollify Europe’s newspaper publishers. Faced with antitrust action in Europe, the Chocolate Factory is pouring €150m directly into the pockets of European newspaper publishers to use on “digital projects”, the FT reports. The cash will fund “joint work on product …
Andrew Orlowski, 28 Apr 2015
Cow skull

TV networks peck at sun-bleached skeleton of Aereo, come away with $950,000

The skeletal remains of ill-fated TV streaming startup Aereo will pay out $950,000 in a copyright infringement settlement, putting to rest a lawsuit filed by US broadcasters that has already sent it into bankruptcy. For a couple of years, Aereo operated an online video service that captured live television broadcasts, recorded …
Shaun Nichols, 22 Apr 2015

The content business wants Netflix out of Australia

Debate about copyright and virtual private networks (VPNs) has reached such a pitch in Australia that at least one voice wants a policy that, taken literally, would have the effect of closing down Netflix in this country. I don't mean “stopping Australians from accessing Netflix US via VPNs”, I mean “bye-bye Netflix, go home to …

As H-dot Oettinger drafts Europe's new copyright laws – who's he been talking to?

The European Commissioner overseeing the drafting of Europe’s new copyright law appears so far to mainly be listening to content creators as the process goes on. Digi Commissioner Günther H-dot Oettinger held three recent “stakeholder” meetings to gather opinions as he draws up the legislation. Despite requests from El Reg, …
Jennifer Baker, 25 Mar 2015