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First off today, details about the controversial and secretive anti-counterfeiting treaty ACTA have been leaked and and advocates of copyright reform are not pleased. According to the leaks, the treaty, which is being discussed today in South Korea, would require ISPs to take action against those who are accused of copyright infringements, including disconnecting them from the Web. It would also enforce a U.S. and EU-style notice and takedown system for those who host Web content as well as add DMCA-style anti circumvention clauses.
Canadians, who have neither an anti-circumvention clause nor a notice and takedown system are especially upset at the possibility of a “Made in the U.S.” copyright reform being signed in secrecy. However, there is also almost universal outrage about the expanding role of ISPs in copyright enforcement that the treaty as only a small handful of nations have such provisions now and they are relatively new.
The treaty is being discussed today in South Korea and the leaked version, if accurate, is just a draft and it is unclear what the final treaty will look like, though it does seem that there is broad support for the current version.
Denmark man Henrik Andersen has “turned himself in” to the Danish antipiracy outfit Antipiratgruppen, admitting to having violated copyright law on over 100 movies and 10 seasons of various TV shows. However, Andersen is not a file sharer and, in fact, purchased all of the movies legally. What he is admitting to is having broken the DRM on the DVDs to get them into his media center.
Andersen said he filed the confession because he doesn’t want to be a criminal and wants to draw attention to the catch-22 in Danish law that makes personal copying legal but makes breaking DRM, such as the copy protection on DVDs, illegal in all cases. He has given Antipiratgruppen until December 1 to respond though it seems unlikely that they will as they have, in the past, acknowledged the issue and expressed hopes that it will work out shortly.
Finally today, Radiohead’s Ed O’Brien has stirred some controversy by agreeing with other artists and many members of the British government that file sharers should have their bandwidth throttled. Though he agreed that disconnecting file sharers would simply drive the activity underground, he didn’t seem to think throttling would have the same effect and joined Lily Allen, among others, who think that this compromise is the best way to go.
Radiohead became a popular band with copyright reformers after they used a “Pay What You Want” business model for their latest release, “In Rainbows”, and have been seen as one of the more forward-thinking bands in the industry. This is seen by many as a huge about face, though O’Brien does say that this is not about the “fat cats” like them, but about smaller, up and coming artists who are struggling to find a footing on the Web.
That’s it for the three count today. We will be back tomorrow with three more copyright links. If you have a link that you want to suggest a link for the column or have any proposals to make it better. Feel free to leave a comment or send me an email. I hope to hear from you.
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