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First off today, we return to the ACTA treaty, the negotiations for which are underway in South Korea today, and the draft legislation, provided by the U.S. and Japan, that deals with criminal cases.
According to the leaked draft, the ACTA treaty would extend criminal penalties to those who not only infringe copyright for commercial use, such as counterfeiters, but also to those who pirate content for “cases involving significant willful copyright and trademark infringement” even if there is no financial motivation whatsoever. The treaty also calls for the criminalization of “camming” movies.
This, once again, has many concerned as it could be a large expansion of criminal enforcement of copyright matters, especially in countries such as Canada where it has been extremely limited.
This is all part of the criminal provisions, which is being discussed today, following negotiations of the Internet chapter, which were discussed yesterday.
Next up today, the MPAA has send a 35-page letter to the FCC asking them to recommend that Congress adopt a “3 strikes” or “graduated response” system that would see alleged pirates either be disconnected or severely throttled after two warning letters.
Though it has long been suspected that the MPAA would support such a system, this is their first public statement as such.
The MPAA also said that it favors filtering methods to prevent copyright infringing material from being transmitted. Public advocacy groups, such as Public Knowledge, strongly oppose both regimes calling them an undue violation of consumer rights.
This is all part of the FCC fulfilling its requirement under the stimulus act to file recommendations for how to best spend the some $7 billion set aside for advancing broadband in the U.S.
Finally today, a quick dose of Copyright Fail for everyone. There’s been a lot of talk about Bluebeat, an online music site that has been selling Beatles music for 25 cents per track. Though Bluebeat has maintained it is legal, the claims have always seemed dubious as the Beatles are not available for download anywhere, even iTunes.
Predictably enough, EMI, the label which owns the rights to the Beatles recordings, has sued Bluebeat for copyright infringement but Bluebeat has hit back claiming that the songs they are sellling are not the same songs but are, rather, independent creations created through a technical process it calls “psycho-acoustic simulation.” If you have any idea what that means, EMI, I’m sure, would love to get a phone call from you.
According to Bluebeat, this means that their recordings are protected under the same provisions that allow bands to make covers of songs, since they are not identical works. In a related story, every single file sharing defendant has just changed their defense to include the “psycho-acoustic simulation” argument, claiming to have been distributing clever covers of the works involved.
Needless to say, I don’t think this argument is long for the earth, and Ben Sheffner does a great job explaining why, but I have to give them an A for originality.
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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