3 Count: Geo Blockade

3 Count: Geo Blockade Image

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1: The ‘Australia Tax’ is Real, Geo-Blocking to Stop

First off today, Chris Duckett at ZDNet reports that, in Australia, the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Infrastructure and Communications has released its report on IT pricing and has concluded that there is no reason why many copyrighted works cost an average of 50% more in the country than elsewhere.

The committee accuses some copyright holders of using geo-blocking, the process of restricting access to copyrighted works to certain countries, to artificially inflate prices in Australia and is recommending that the government amend the copyright act to allow the circumvention of geo-blocking as a means to get better prices on legitimate works.

The committee also recommended amending the trademark act to allow the importation of legitimate goods from other nations and, as a last resort, a possible banning of geo-blocking in general. It also suggested creating a “right of resale” for digital works and sought clearer fair use provisions to increase competition.

2: Copyright Complaint Fuels Privatization Debate

Next up today, ABC News (Australia) is reporting that the Queensland Nurses Union (QNU) is battling with the Director-General of Health over a brochure that the QNU released that featured an image of the design of a new hospital.

QNU released the brochure as part of an ongoing debate about the privatization of hospitals in the region, something that the Director-General is pushing for but the QNU opposes.

According to the QNU, the copyright complaint is a bid to shut down the debate over privatization and has nothing to do with the alleged infringement. In the meantime, the office of the Director-General has asked the QNU to stop using the image and to apologize for its use.

3: Dentist Who Used Copyright to Silence Her Patients is on the Run

Finally today, Joe Mullin at Ars Technica reports that dentist Dr. Stacy Makhnevich can not be found and has not defended a copyright lawsuit against her, even leaving her lawyers to withdraw from the case.

The case started in 2010 when a man named Robert Lee went to Dr. Makhnevich with severe pain. Dr. Makhnevich had Lee sign a contract, provided by a company known as Medical Justice, that gave Dr. Makhnevich copyright over any reviews or comments he posted about her online. Lee later posted negative reviews of Dr. Makhnevich causing her to file DMCA takedown notices to get them removed as well as sending threatening letters to him directly.

Lee fought back and Medical Justice has declined to defend the contract and Dr. Makhnevich appears to have disappeared, having closed her business and not offered any response. Barring any response from Dr. Makhnevich soon, the case will likely result in a default judgement against her.

Suggestions

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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Tune in every Wednesday evening at 5 PM ET for the live recording of the Copyright 2.0 Show or wait and get the edited version Friday right here on Plagiarism Today.

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