Monday, March 16, 2015

Very blurred lines

The decision went against Pharrell Williams and a California court upheld the claim from Marvin Gayes family that Blurred Lines was essentially a copy of Got To Give It Up. Boom - cheque for £4.8 million please.

Close call perhaps but they do sound pretty similar.

Meantime Popcorn Time, a slick user interface for delivering torrent material to a screen, grows like a weed - and with apologies to Jeremy Clarkson, we don't really need BBC2 to schedule Where Eagles Dare to replace Top Gear because we can watch it anytime on any device on Popcorn Time.












Is that really possible ? Well the Chromecast introduced in mid 2013 has sold about 10 million devices to add to the 10 million Roku devices, 20 million Apple TV's and Amazon Fire - and pretty much all of them will run popcorn time. If growth continues like this the vast majority of TV sets will be internet enabled either through a widget / device or built in directly.

According to Wikipedia

Popcorn Time was developed "in a couple of weeks" by a group from Buenos Aires, Argentina who elected "PochoclĂ­n" (derived from pochoclo = popcorn in Buenos Aires parlance) as their mascot. They believed that piracy was a "service problem" created by "an industry that portrays innovation as a threat to their antique recipe to collect value," and also argued that streaming providers were being given too many restrictions and forced to provide inconsistent service between countries, noting that streaming providers in their native Argentina "seem to believe that There's Something About Mary is a recent movie. That movie would be old enough to vote here."

Popcorn time argue that since they do not host the content they have no legal liability. This is probably a bit thin but the judgments in the Svensson and Bestwater cases do offer some support for that line of argument

IP Kat writes

"Overall, it would seem that what the CJEU suggested in Svensson and reinforced in BestWater is that the way the internet currently works cannot be altered for copyright-related reasons, and that in any case it is up to the rightsholders to monitor use (and misuse) of their works. It cannot be the responsibility of "linkers" and "framers" to make sure that third-party copyright is not infringed, nor are those the subjects that should considered as infringing."

In the meantime rights holders and broadcasters are relaxed about piracy levels even though constant 24/7 piracy would appear to remove any liability from further framing and linking based on the view above.

So very strangely it looks like Pharrell is guilty of breaking copyright law and Popcorn time, as it is merely linking, is not.

So what about the consumer - how do they know if they are a "new public" ? Common sense would suggest that if they can reach content in a few clicks and there is no suggestion of removal activity / illegality then the content is probably OK ? YouTube has a pretty easy removal policy so if a piece of content is on YouTube then it is probably OK to use it ?

Clear as mud then ?