Friday, June 29, 2012

Latest IP News


IP review (25th – 29th June)

If you’re having a super full week ahead and need to freshen up quickly your knowledge on current copyright and digital piracy cases, here’s your chance to catch up with the latest IP highlights.

We have collected some pretty interesting worldwide news, although last week’s focus was definitely on the UK.

The week started by bringing again to media’s attention the case of British student Richard O’Dwyer who faces extradition in the US and up to 10 years in jail for alleged copyright offences. Wikipedia’s founder, Jimmy Wales, launched a campaign to stop the extradition and received a huge public support, more than 26,000 people signing the petition in less than 24 hours. Labour MP Tom Watson spoke out against the extradition as well, while the case was intensely debated in the media and on social networks. As we wrote on our blog, Richard O’Dwyer clearly facilitated copyright infringement via his website which linked to places to watch TV online, but in a very similar way to Google, YouTube and other blue chip businesses identified by our SnifferDog. The difference is obviously that a 24 year old student doesn’t have the same legal resources to defend himself... Therefore, we’re looking forward to seeing the results of this campaign.

But last week wasn’t just about Richard O’Dwyer, but also about the copyright code published for consultation by Ofcom - the UK regulatory body for the communications industry. Ofcom’s draft guidance, required as part of the Digital Economy Act legislation has attracted a lot of negative reactions, especially with regard to the “three-strike” rule for alleged copyright infringement and the file-sharing appeal system, considered more or less a ‘joke’. Focusing too much on the end user and applying a “guilty until proven innocent” policy, the code became quickly (in)famous in the public sphere and requires a revision of many important sections. As a result, we have decided ourselves to formally respond to it and send out our comments to Ofcom. You can read here more about the key points we have raised.

Taking a look at what happened outside the UK, one of the most notable events was definitely the World Intellectual Property Convention where delegates signed the Beijing Treaty on Protecting Audiovisual Performances.  According to the treaty, artists can approve or ban anyone from reproducing a particular performance, either a film or a theatre play. This represents a major positive change for Beijing that aims to become “an international copyright capital” after many years of criticism on the matter.

In Canada, the Copyright Bill C-11 is one step closer to entry into force, after being passed by the Senate Banking Committee on June 26th. Also, The Federal Court of Canada has issued an important decision in a case involving copyright and posting content online, dismissing claims of copyright infringement for linking and posting paragraphs from an article.

As part of the new controversial Japanese copyright law, the entertainment industry asked ISPs to spy on all user activity and check every uploaded file. On another hand, in protest to the new law, the collective Anonymous hacked some Japanese government websites.

Finally, ACTA seems less likely to be implemented in Australia, as a recent parliamentary report recommends that the country not ratify the treaty until the Federal Government can properly assess the agreement’s economic and social costs and benefits.

*Thank you for reading our review and we hope you’ll join the daily IP conversation @KLipcorp.