3 Count: Losing a Friend

This is daily column on Plagiarism Today where the site brings you three of the days biggest, most important copyright and plagiarism news links. If you want to offer your feedback on the column, use the contact form or just follow me on Twitter at @plagiarismtoday.

1: No harm, no foul?

The new Wolverine movie was released into theaters this week and it has been a smash hit, bring in $73 million, this despite a pirated copy of it being released and broadly distributed just a month before.

This has sparked a debate about whether the piracy helped, hurt or had no effect on the movie. Though most seem to agree that the movie was going to be a financial success no matter what, many are wondering if the take would have been less or more had the piracy not occurred.

Sadly, we’ll probably never know the answer to that question, though it seems nearly everyone has a theory on the topic.

2: Fight to legalise iPhone jailbreaking set for Friday

Next up today, Apple is facing off with the EFF again, but this time in a very different “court”. The Copyright Office is holding hearings on exemptions to the DMCA anti-circumvention rules and a show down is expected between Apple and the EFF over jailbreaking the iPhone this Friday.

The USCO is set to rule later this year whether there should be an exemption in the DMCA for “jailbreaking” phones, or altering them to operate lawfully on another carrier, and this hearing could be a critical element in that decision.

3: Barbara A. Ringer dies at 83; force behind copyright law

Finally today, we have a sad story to report. Copyright activist and former Register of Copyrights at the U.S. Copyright Office Barbara Ringer died April 9 of complications with dementia. She was 83.

Ringer was a force for copyright reform in the 60s and 70s and was the primary author of the Copyright Act of 1978, which extended the copyright term from 28 years to life plus 50 years for works of personal authorship (it has since been extended again to life plus 70), protected copyright interest in in works, including on devices not yet created (thus ensuring copyright would remain in effect on the Web) and also created the broad fair use exemptions that are relatively unique to U.S. law.

She was the first and, to date, only female Register of Copyrights (becoming it after suing for discrimination in the early seventies) and actually came out of retirement in the early nineties to serve as acting register. She also received thePresident’s Award for Distinguished Federal Civilian Service, the highest honor that can be award to a federal worker.

Any of us who either protect our content on the Web or enjoy the benefits of fair use owe Ringer a debt of gratitude. Many believe that, without her, we would still be operating under the only copyright law, which was written in 1909.

Suggestions

That’s it for the three count today, we’ll 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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