Zohar Efroni's blog

Creative Commons, Common Sense, and Nonsense

Over the last 3-4 years many people have been speculating about how U.S. courts would interpret the Creative Commons (CC) licenses in litigation concerning their legal operation and effect. There are several reported cases in Europe, but to my knowledge, none so far in the U.S. Due to the popularity of the CC licenses, it was only a question of time before someone would try to enforce (or challenge) them in court. In the first occasion it actually happened, the claim took a quite unanticipated turn. Read more about Creative Commons, Common Sense, and Nonsense

Copyright and education

William Patry has an interesting post today about imbalanced educational campaigns directed to children concerning copyright violations. I suppose that one of the toughest challenges to those who try to produce more "balanced" campaigns for kids, telling them that they must “respect” copyright, is that we, grownups and educators, are not always sure about it ourselves. Read more about Copyright and education

Circumvention - a matter of geography

Most of the world seems to know by now how New Jersey teenager George Hotz cracked last week the Apple iPhone protection lock which tethers users to the mobile services of AT&T. Thanks to Jennifer Granick and her team, what he did is probably covered by a 2006 rulemaking exemption promulgated by the Copyright Office. According to the specific exemption concerning cell phones, circumvention liability under section 1201(a)(1)(A) of the Copyright Act, to the extent it might apply to Hotz's circumvention, does not attach. It is less clear, however, whether telling everyone how to do that by posting instructions on his blog would not violate 1201(b)(1), prohibiting “trafficking” in tools that help others to circumvent TMPs. Promulgated exemptions do not apply to trafficking liability even if the actual circumvention is covered, as odd as it may sound. Read more about Circumvention - a matter of geography

Section 102(b) and negative categories of copyright subject matter

Section 102 of the Copyright Act has been receiving quite some attention in legal commentary recently. Professor Pamela Samuelson authored an article challenging the influential Nimmer treatise’s interpretation of subsection 102(b) and Nimmer’s restrictive reading of Baker v. Selden. (William Patry has commented in his blog on Samuelson’s article.) In a recent paper, Professor Dan Burk is discussing the application of section 102(b) to copyrightability of methods. Read more about Section 102(b) and negative categories of copyright subject matter

Effective TPMs the Finnish way

A district court in Finland ruled yesterday that the Content Scrambling System (CSS) - the standard technological protection measure for movies distributed on DVDs - is “ineffective.” That means that the CSS is not covered by the Finnish anticircumvention laws. According to the story posted here by Mikko Välimäki, defendants’ attorney, it all started as a joke by some guys posting on their website instructions how to crack the CSS, then going to the police telling that they probably have just violated copyright law. To their surprise, they were taken seriously and the case reached court litigation. Read more about Effective TPMs the Finnish way

Take Down Stay Down

After a successful trial MySpace has announced its novel “Take Down Stay Down” campaign. The idea is that upon reception of notice about unauthorized upload of copyrighted material, MySpace will not only remove the allegedly infringing file, but also take digital fingerprint of the accused content. It will then stored the information - which is essentially like shorthand numbers uniquely representing the file – in a database, making sure that the content will not be reposted on MySpace services. Read more about Take Down Stay Down

Digging the grave for next-generation DVD TPMs?

That a string of digits-and-letters receives the honor to be composed into a song is, I think, a noteworthy development. Sure, copyright law is about fostering creativity, but in this case it happened in a rather odd sense. People sing the code to make it clear (even to the most shortsighted court) that there is a free speech issue here. Anyway, the people at Digg.com say they will fight till the end. "If we lose, then what the hell, at least we died trying," said Kevin Rose, the company founder. The NYT article from yesterday covering the story featured co-NR CIS Fellow Prof. Chris Sprigman. Read more about Digging the grave for next-generation DVD TPMs?

“Special 301” Report for 2007 is out

Here is the link. It’s an interesting reading, though not utterly astonishing with respect the usual suspects it names. No less than 43 trade partners of the U.S. are classified under the “special categories” (i.e., in the Priority Watch List, the Watch List and/or under the so-called “Section 306 Monitoring status”). At the lead of the Priority Watch List are China and Russia. The report devotes a special section describing China’s IPR violations by-province. Read more about “Special 301” Report for 2007 is out


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