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First off today, a panel discussion at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco turned somewhat ugly as Arthur Sulzberger, junior chairman of the New York Times Company and Eric Hippeau, CEO of the Huffington Post found themselves at odds on the issue of the future of journalism. Even though Sulzberger said that he’s fine with what Google does, index their content to send traffic, he said the Huffington Post has infringed on their copyright “on too many occasions” and accused the site of reverberating what the mainstream media had reported on.
Hippeau disagreed with those statements, saying that there was a great deal of original content on the Huffington Post and that the site employed some 60 editors.
The exchange was part of a larger panel discussion about the future of journalism on the Web and also included Melissa Mayer, the VP of search at Google, and Robert Thomson, the managing editor of the Wall Street Journal.
Next up today, National Public Radio (NPR) is accusing the Maine political group Stand for Marriage Maine accusing it of copyright infringement. The group, which opposes gay and lesbian marriage, used a clip from a 2004 NPR story about the inclusion of gay and lesbian relationships in sex education classes in Massachusetts in an advertisement for its cause.
NPR sent the group a cease and desist letter on Tuesday, but the group has refused to stop using the clip citing fair use. However, NPR has said that the use of the audio, which according to them was “a very central piece of the ad” went beyond what could be considered fair use.
There is no word yet as to what, if any, further action NPR may take against the organization.
Finally today, Phonographic Performance Ltd (PPL) a group that, like ASCAP in the U.S., collects royalties on the part of performers for public performances of their work (e.g. in stores, bars, etc.) suffered a setback from Britain’s Copyright Royalty Board, which rejected their tiered licensing system. The old system set rates based upon the relative size of the business, ranging from £100 ($165)to £500 ($827) per year based on the number of square meters in size the establishment is. The new one charges smaller business slightly more, £109.75 ($182), but is much cheaper for larger businesses, which now only pay £150.91 ($250) for a business up to up to 550 square meters, with further increments of £13.72 ($23) per 50 square meters beyond that.
The British Beer and Pub Association and the British Hospitality Association, the organizations which brought the suit, estimate that their industries will save £5 million ($8.3 million) a year with the new rates and also claim that they are owed £15 million ($24.8 million) to £20 million ($33.1 million) in refunds.
The organizations also received 50% of their legal expenses.
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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