Julian Sanchez on SOPA

Juilan Sanchez writes on How SOPA Will be (Ab)Used. He says: “Why do critics of SOPA worry that the bill will threaten legitimate speech and innovation? Because its supporters have spent three decades providing overwhelming justification for that fear at every opportunity.”

UMG Doubles Down

In its response to Megaupload’s lawsuit, UMG makes the startling claim that it has authority to seek removal of YouTube videos in which it has no copyright interest: “The UMG-YouTube agreement grants UMG rights to effect the removal of user-posted videos through YouTube’s Content Management System (“CMS”), based on a number of contractually specified criteria that are not limited to the infringements of copyrights owned or controlled by UMG.”

The Broadcast Treaty

Public Knowledge reports on The Broadcast Treaty, Copyfraud & Tech Neutrality:

Imagine if you wanted to license a use of part of a book, and to do so you needed the permission, not only of the author, but of the store you bought the book from. This would be unfair to authors as well as you. This is what some broadcasters want in the broadcast treaty–not just a narrow protection against the wholesale retransmission of their signals (which broadcasters in the U.S. already have), but a claim on the downstream uses of content they have broadcast.




The BREIN Foundation, a Dutch organization that describes itself as “a unique bundling of forces of the entire entertainment industry in the fight against Intellectual Property theft,” is accused of unlawfully using copyrighted music in an anti-piracy campaign video.

Doctorow on The Pirates of YouTube

Cory Doctorow has a great column on corporate use of Google’s ContentID to claim ownership of public domain works.

SOPA: An Alternative?

News of an interesting proposal that avoids some of the risks of SOPA: copyright owners would have to petition the International Trade Commission to issue a “cease and desist order” and targeted sites would have an opportunity to be heard by the ITC before the order issues.

News from Switzerland

 A recent study finds that one-third of Swiss citizens over the age of fifteen download music without paying for it; the study also shows that the majority of internet users in Switzerland are unable to distinguish legal options for obtaining content from illegal options. However, the study finds that disposable income spent on content has remained fairly constant: while consumers do not buy as many CDs as they once did, they spend money on concerts, movies, and merchandise. Bottom line: unlawful downloading does not affect cultural production in Switzerland.

Owning Yoga

Millionaire yoga entrepreneur Bikram Choudhury, innovator of the popular hot yoga practice, is suing an upstart studio called Yoga To The People for copyright infringement. Choudhury has a history of litigious protection of his signature practice, a policy that animated YTTP founder Greg Gumucio to break with his mentor and establish his own studio. Choudhury offers teacher trainings contingent upon his students securing his permission to open their own studios. At the heart of the dispute is Choudhury’s claim that YTTP has duplicated his protected sequence of twenty-six poses and accompanying instructions. Gumucio argues that his own sequence of poses is distinct from Bikram’s. Yoga practitioners also observe that many of the poses have existed within yoga for hundreds of years.

Megaupload Censored

The folks at TorrentFreak report that Universal Music has issued DMCA takedown notices to remove from YouTube a video posted by Megaupload in which Universal has no copyright interest. Alas, misuse of takedown notices is all too common.

DRM & ebooks

“Amazon acquired an early lead in the ebook field (by selling below cost in the early days, and subsidizing the Kindle hardware price to consumers), and customers are locked into the platform by their existing purchases.”

Charlie Stross explains the perverse results of DRM in the publishing industry.