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First off today, there’s been a lot going on in Washington DC regarding copyright. Most recently, Vice President Joe Biden hosted a roundtable with content industry executives as well as FBI, Homeland Security and Victoria Espinal, the new copyright czar, to address piracy concerns
The goal of the discussion, according to officials, was to “Discuss ways to combat piracy in this rapidly changing technological age.” However, the event has drawn criticism from many as no media companies nor consumer interest group representatives were there, despite the even being billed as as one that brought together “all stakeholders” on enforcing copyright.
The event comes as Congress approved some $30 million in additional funding to fight piracy, which will be used for grants, additional FBI agents and more prosecution. No doubt, it has been a big week for content industries in Washington DC.
Next up today, storm clouds are gathering in New Zealand as the country braces for another copyright faceoff. The new administration there has laid out its proposal for Section 92a and, though the stance is much more relaxed than the previous, it will almost certainly draw controversy.
The previous government proposed a bill that could have disconnected alleged file sharers after just one accusation. However, that bill was defeated after an uproar caused the proposal to be abandoned.
However, the new proposal seems destined for a very similar fight. It incorporates a more traditional “three strikes” approach where alleged file sharers will receive warnings before disconnection is possible. There will also be a copyright tribunal system and a counternotice system so that those accused can have recourse. In severe cases of infringement, copyright holders would be able to seek up to $15,000 in damages from the copyright tribunal.
It seems almost certain that, despite its more tame approach, the new proposal will draw a large amount of controversy, just as similar legislation has in France.
Finally today, two days ago we looked at a new WIPO treaty what will allow the import and export of books readable by the visually impaired, often created, as in the U.S., through exemptions in copyright law but barred from being taken out of the country.
At the time we reported the wide array of corporations who were against the proposed treaty, including the Chamber of Commerce, but it appears the U.S. itself has softened its stance on the issue and is at least open to the idea. Previously the U.S. had been against any such action, largely based upon the fear that it might increase piracy, but the U.S. delegation recently said that “We recognize that some in the international copyright community believe that any international consensus on substantive limitations and exceptions to copyright law would weaken international copyright law. The United States does not share this point to view.”
The statement was part of a larger statement on the issue where they expressed a desire to work with other nations on this issue and seemed to be open to a variety of option.
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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