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.
First off today, Apple is in a spot of controversy after it denied an application for the iPhone/iPod Touch app store that would have allowed users to take control over their Transmission install remotely and stop, start and queue up downloads. It is important to note that the app did not actually download anything over bittorrent, just control an installation of Transmission on their home or office computer.
According to the rejection, Apple denied the app because “this category of applications is often used for the purpose of infringing third party rights.” This despite the fact that Apple has allowed an RSS application that allows remote queuing for several bittorrent clients, including Transmission.
It is worth noting that bittorrent, though often used to download copyright infringing material, is not by itself an infringement and there are many legal torrents available, including public domain movies, Linux ISOs and more.
Next up the first reviews of Mininova’s new bittorrent filtering system are in and it appears that the system is actually fairly effective. Many of the most popular, and infringing, torrents have been pulled down and uploading them again is not working, Instead, torrents suspected of containing banned material are submitted for an extra review and are not posted to the site.
Some users have found a way around this by sharing links to working torrents rather than the actual files. This works because the torrent removal system works based on a hash system, one that looks at the content of the file itself, rather than the metadata of it. This system could be defeated, theoretically, by simply changing the content of the torrent, perhaps by adding a small, unrelated file, but it would only work until the new torrent was blacklisted as well.
It remains to be seen how long Mininova will use this system, if it will placate copyright holders or how users will tolerate it over the long run.
Finally today, the Canadian House of Commons is in a bind regarding videos of its proceedings. Unlike with the U.S., where all works created by the government are in the public domain, House of Commons videos are protected by Crown Copyright, the licensing of which is often strictly controlled.
This has led lawyers for the House of Commons to file many takedown notices against clips of their proceedings posted on YouTube. Fortunately, the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs (SCPHA) has recognized that the law has to change in the digital age but the debate rages on as to exactly how as many MPs are concerned about use of the video to distort or lie about what took place during the proceedings.
The committee ultimately adopted a very liberal approach that allows for non-commercial and accurate reporting of the proceedings using the videos. However, it may still put some parodies and commentary uses of the videos outside of the bounds of the license, thus possibly resulting in a takedown demand.
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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