CopySouth Conference in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, coming up!

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Third CopySouth Workshop

International Conference on Copyright Issues

The CopySouth Research Group is holding a conference in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil at the end of June.

The CSRG is the source of the wonderful Copy/South Dossier and the Alternative Primer on National and International Copyright Law, which we've written about here before.  Here's their announcement about the conference...

The CopySouth Research Group (CSRG) invites you to attend and join in the debates at its three day international conference on copyright to be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil at the end of June.

GAO Report Debunks Claims that Piracy is a Major Threat to U.S. Economy

Victor Cohen (portrait)

Our legal intern Victor Cohen noticed a curious juxtaposition recently:


At the same as the copyright industry was saying unauthorized copying is more of a threat than ever to economic health, the U.S. government was saying... it's not. Or at least, that there's no convincing evidence it is. Thanks to Victor for writing up this analysis, and, along the way, for calling out the GAO on their confusion of counterfeiting and unauthorized copying — a frequent problem with the U.S. government and one we've noted before.



A couple of months ago, a collection of seven entertainment industry groups including the RIAA, the MPAA, and the Screen Actor's Guild submitted a filing in response to the Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator's request for comments on its upcoming "Joint Strategic Plan" to carry out its enforcement duties. Their main concern is that digital piracy "undermines our economy, steals our jobs and threatens our national interest." [1] As a remedy, the industry puts forward a breathtakingly draconian wishlist of enforcement measures, including:

  • ISP-level monitoring and filtering of files or traffic, website blocking and redirection, bandwidth throttling, and monitoring software installed on individual users' computers to check for copyright infringement. [2]

  • Bypassing the Digital Millennium Copyright Act's notice-and-takedown procedure by allowing copyright owners to create databases of works or digital files and force ISPs — in order to qualify for the DMCA § 512 safe harbor — to automatically take down any matching content uploaded to their network and to prevent matching content from being uploaded or linked to at all. [3]

  • Making the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security follow the industry's schedule by coordinating piracy interdiction efforts with new releases of blockbuster movies. [4]

In order to argue for such a staggering array of privacy invasions, network neutrality violations, ISP-burdening expansions of the DMCA, and reallocations of federal agents away from preventing more life-threatening crimes, the industry groups that made this filing must have a solid mountain of evidence that piracy poses a major threat to the American economy and the very existence of the entertainment industry, right?

Internet Archive launches new service for the print-disabled: free access to over 1 million books, including current titles.

Internet Archive logo

The Internet Archive launched a new service yesterday, bringing free access to more than 1 million books in the specially designed format to support those who are blind, dyslexic or are otherwise print-impaired.

This is great news just in terms of giving so many people easier access to books, but it's also interesting as an application of a little-known provision of U.S. copyright law — the Chafee Amendment of 1996, which states:

" is not an infringement of copyright for an authorized entity to reproduce or to distribute copies or phonorecords of a previously published, nondramatic literary work if such copies or phonorecords are reproduced or distributed in specialized formats exclusively for use by blind or other persons with disabilities."

The new service demonstrates the principle behind the Chafee Amendment: that copyright is a conditional monopoly, not a property right, and that when we decide the monopoly is hampering an important public purpose, we can change it. The Chafee Amendment is an open acknowledgement that monopoly-based distribution was not serving the needs of the blind, the visually impaired, or dyslexic people very well, and that fixing that situation is simply a policy decision. It reminds us that copyright itself is a policy decision, and that if it is not serving the public well, we can change the policy.

The Internet Archive's press release is below:

More than doubling the number of books available to print disabled people of all ages, today the Internet Archive launched a new service that brings free access to more than 1 million books — from classic 19th century fiction and current novels to technical guides and research materials — now available in the specially designed format to support those who are blind, dyslexic or are otherwise visually impaired.

“Every person deserves the opportunity to enhance their lives through access to the books that teach, entertain and inspire,” said Brewster Kahle, founder and Digital Librarian of the Internet Archive. “Bringing access to huge libraries of books to the blind and print disabled is truly one of benefits of the digital revolution.”

Kahle also announced that the Internet Archive will be investing in the growth of its virtual bookshelf by funding the digitization of the first 10,000 books donated. Individuals and organizations are welcome to donate their favorite book or a collection of books. Books in all languages welcome. To donate books visit:

Dr. Marc Maurer, President of the National Federation of the Blind, said: “Blind people must have access to repositories of digital information if we are to reach our goal of becoming full and equal participants in society. Access to the books that have been scanned by the Internet Archive in a format accessible to the blind will be another step toward that goal. We are excited about continuing to work with Internet Archive to make access to more books a reality.”

The 1 million+ books in the Internet Archive’s library for print disabled, are scanned from hard copy books then digitized into DAISY — a specialized format used by blind or other persons with disabilities, for easy navigation. Files are downloaded to devices that translate the text and read the books aloud for the user to enjoy. To access books visit:


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