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First off today, we have more updated on the Digital Economy Bill (or Digital Britain legislation as it is often referred to). It appears that there has been a push recently to weaken one of the bill’s more controversial elements, which would have given Ministers the opportunity to make changes to copyright law without parliamentary oversight.
A new amendment to the bill would not revoke that power completely, but would now only be able to amend the law by statute if the risk of infringement was “significant” and, even then, parliamentary scrutiny would be able to take place.
The section was designed to provide swift action to deal with legal issues raised by new technologies but companies such as Google and Facebook had raised objections over notion saying it could hamper innovation.
Next up today, the newly formed French anti-online piracy police unit Hadopi, got something of a black eye when they unveiled their new logo only to find out a few hours later that it was infringing copyright itself.
It turned out the logo used a typeface named “bonjour”, which was designed by graphic designer Jean-Francois Porchez, who sold it solely to France Telecom.
The French government admitted the mistake, as has the design agency that created the logo, and has “tweaked” the logo. However, Porchez is reportedly still considering a lawsuit and is working with the government to find a solution.
Finally today, a hat tip goes to @davidsanger for alerting me to this interesting piece in Law.com, analyzing the DMCA issues in the Shepherd Fairey case.
The DMCA, in section 1202, forbids the removal of copyright management information or CMI. What Fairey did, taking a photograph from the AP and turning it into the now-famous Obama “Hope” poster, did indeed remove CMI from the image, including metadata hidden inside and any watermarks that might have been on it. However, it is unclear if this section applies to analog works or even to these kinds of modification.
The courts are incredibly divided on this issue with rulings all over the map on how to apply this section of the law. The article provides a great analysis of some of the more prominent cases and looks at the logic behind them.
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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