Copyright: Death by Digitisation?

POSTED BY Rick Shera
09 February 2012

posted in l@w.geek.nz | Intellectual Property | Copyright

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Just a quick post triggered by two court cases from opposite sides of the world.

In the first, Optus in Australia succeeded at first instance in batting away a claim that its TVNow product infringes copyright in the National Rugby League/Australian Football League's programmes, which they have exclusively licensed to Telstra, a competing telco/media company.

Optus' TVNow product enables people to watch these programmes via the internet, in some cases only a couple of minutes after they are broadcast free to air under the Telstra arrangement.

The court held (with one exception to be considered later) that this fit within Australia's time shifting exception and was therefore not a copyright infringement.

In the second case a court in the US has refused to grant EMI an injunction to prevent ReDigi providing a service which allows people to resell their digital music. ReDigi's argument is that this is simply an example of the first sale doctrine which has always allowed people to sell books and CDs without infringing the copyright in the content written on that paper or plastic. It is reported that the Judge in the case considers the issue is so important and novel that it needs to go to trial rather than shutting down ReDigi and effectively deciding the outcome without proper argument. (An interesting comparison with Megaupload and other cases where Judges have been prepared to grant injunctions or warrants to shut down web services on the basis of allegation alone).

If both Optus and ReDigi succeed in their arguments, it really does get me to wondering how copyright can survive, certainly in its current form.*

If I can buy any secondhand digital file I want and I can access whatever I want from competing suppliers within a very short space of time, in both cases without having to pay the original tillerman, it's going to be a game changer.

Although maybe it's not a game changer for copyright itself but just for the tillermen.

 

* I'm awaiting my copy of Bill Patry's How to Fix Copyright so maybe I'll get the answer there.

POSTED BY Rick Shera
09 February 2012

posted in l@w.geek.nzIntellectual PropertyCopyright

VIEWED 3812 TIMES

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