3 Count: Sweeping Reform

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1: Leaked UK government Plan to Create “Pirate Finder General” with Power to Appoint Militias, Create Laws

First off today, Cory Doctorow is reporting on a leak he received from a previously reliable source within the UK government about upcoming proposed changes to the UK’s Digital Economy Bill that is currently before Parliament.

According to Doctorow and his source, the changes would create sweeping reforms to the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act (1988) that would give the Secretary of State some radical new powers in copyright matters including the ability to create new remedies for online infringements (three strikes rules, etc.), to confer rights to copyright holders for the purpose of enforcement, which would give some powers, currently only held by judiciaries in the country, to rightsholders directly, and to “impose such duties, powers or functions on any person as may be specified in connection with facilitating online infringement”.

These sweeping reforms, if true, would mark some of the most extreme changes to copyright legislation in the world, if not the most extreme.

Obviously we will have to wait for the actual proposal to confirm its contents, but this already has many worried. More to come on this in the future.

2: KFPA backs Web Filtering System

Next up today, the Korean Film Producers Association (KFPA) and the Digital Content Network Association have announced their intentions to target P2P sites in South Korea with legal action if they fail to install filtering software created to keep infringing content off of their services.

According to the two agencies, some 78 P2P sites have installed the software, accounting for roughly 90% of the sites in the country.

They have said that they will consider, “the failure to install the software will be taken as an offense against consumers and copyright holders” and will seek legal remedies.

Some have hypothesized that this harsh tone comes as the sites who have installed this software have seen serious drops in business due to the removal of infringing works while those who have not have grown. Prompting them to take action against the hold outs.

3: European Publishers Give Google Book Deal Cautious Welcome

Finally today, authors in Europe have given the new Google Book Search a warmer reception than its predecessor but have said that they need more time before they can make a full comment on the issue.

The original settlement, which was designed to resolve a case between Google and the Authors Guild and various publishers, gave Google sweeping rights to scan, display and even sell copies of out-of-print but in-copyright works provided a portion of revenues went to the author and publisher. The original settlement was scuttled following anti-trust concerns from the U.S. Department of Justice, but the new one follows the same approach, but offers authors more control over their work and greater consideration for international authors, who will not have their books scanned unless their nation is a plaintiff in the suit and their work is in the English language.

European authors have responded with tentative approval of these changes and considerations, but expect to have a more robust response in the future.


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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