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MasterCard Now Teams with RIAA and MPAA

POSTED ON December 27th  - POSTED IN news, Opinion

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This is one of those stories that really, really makes me want to get up on my soapbox.  This type of thing has been going on too often and too long.  The United States Government is simply letting it and, more often than not, condoning it.

According to this article at MYCE, MasterCard is in favor of the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA).  That is not surprising.  While I understand that MasterCard has the right to deny service to anyone for any reason, I wonder if they know that consumers can choose which credit card companies to use?
I am sorry but a court of law and only a court of law should be used to rule on copyright infringement.  Given the state of intellectual property law in our country, it unfortunately seems that even the courts do not grasp the new media order.
The reason the the MPAA and the RIAA need to form “partnerships” is because they have been less than successful with the “sue em all” method.  They spent 16 million in 2008 to be awarded 391,000 dollars.  Another source adds up several years worth of legal fees and recovery to conclude that they are getting about 2 dollars for every 98 spent.
The logic of these two organizations defies logic.  Here are just a few of their brilliant ideas;
To let private entities act as law enforcement is just wrong.  The recent rash of take downs at Thanksgiving is an example of Homeland Security rashly acting without any due process.  What do you think is going to happen when corporations start to form “partnerships” and decide who get service or not?  What are you going to do when these racketeering organizations “partner” with your ISP?
There are many legal download sites.  There is a whole movement of fan supported films that are legal and “pay what you wish”.  Trust me, the RIAA and the MPAA are not going to check and see whether your activity is legal or not.  They would just ask you to be disconnected and it would be up to you to vindicate yourself.
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Creative Commons License Respected in Belgium Court

POSTED ON November 9th  - POSTED IN music, news, Opinion
A vector-based version of CC_SomeRightsReserve...
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I caught this one off of my TechDirt feed.  It seems that a band had licensed a work under a Creative Commons License. While there are several types of Creative Commons Licenses, they are all pretty much self descriptive.    More specifically, in this court case, it was  a non-commercial, non-derivative, attribution type of license.  So it is okay to use such a piece, unaltered, non-commercially and attribution must be given.  According to the TechDirt Article and and article it references at Technollama, a movie theater not only used it in a commercial but gave no attribution and altered it slightly!

The band opted not to accept a settlement and sued for copyright infringement.  The Belgium Court agreed, from Technollama;

The court acknowledged the licensing under the CC license and the fact that the theater did not respect any of the license features:

  • no attribution was made
  • the music was slightly modified for the ad
  • the advertisement, even for a theater was a commercial use prohibited by the license.

The actual documents are available but they are in French. From what I see, the theater violated every term of the license. The band was awarded 4500€, 1500 Euros for each attribution of the license not respected.

I find this to be most interesting in terms of appropriate intellectual property rights. First, it shows that, at least in Belgium, the courts have respected the CC license.  There was a violation of how the artists wished their material distributed, the theater, although claiming good will and ignorance, violated the license.

Second, the case was directly between the right holder and the violator (and, unlike the RIAA cases the accused knew they were being sued).  I don’t know how much or how little the settlement actually adds up to.  Doing a quick Google search, I am told it is just over 6,250 US Dollars.

I reckon the RIAA would think that figure low.  I also have to wonder how many “infringed” RIAA artists have seen that much money in a settlement?

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