EFF "Hall of Shame" Highlights Copyright Used as Censorship

EFF Hall of Shame   censorship

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has just unveiled their Takedown Hall of Shame, which highlights examples of copyright law being used to suppress political commentary and creative expression. Many of the examples involve abuses of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA), whose takedown provisions encourage Internet hosting companies to remove content on the mere assertion of infringement by a copyright holder.

The EFF's list focuses on corporate takedown notices, but it's important to understand that it's not only corporations that suppress speech via copyright law. The copyright monopoly system encourages people to do it to each other too; we've collected some examples of that.

So what's the solution?

The real solution is radical reform of copyright law (there are plenty of alternatives). But even without that, there's still an easy solution: fix the DMCA to have a penalty for delivering improper takedown notices. Say, a penalty of five years off the copyright term of the covered work, for each wrong notice sent about that work. Content monopolists would start being a lot more careful if they had something to lose when they get a takedown notice wrong.

At the Association of Moving Image Archivists Conference, Nov. 5-7

AMIA Conference 2009   panel

UPDATE: slides from the presentation are now available: problem-of-open-media.pdf or problem-of-open-media.odp (OpenDocument Presentation format).

Any copyright reformers in St. Louis? I'll be attending the annual conference of the Association of Moving Image Archivists (AMIA) in St. Louis from Nov. 5th-7th, as will QuestionCopyright.org board members Jeff Ubois and Brewster Kahle.

On Saturday, Nov. 7th, from 10:45-11:45am, I'll be on a panel entitled The Problem of Open Media, organized by Jack Brighton of Illinois Public Media, with Rick Prelinger (Prelinger Library & Archives), Suzanne M. Fischer (the Henry Ford), and Peter Kaufman (Intelligent Television).

It might be clarifying to call the panel "The Problem of Closed Media" or "The Problem of Monopolized Content"... but then, perhaps that's exactly the sort of discussion to save for the panel! It should be a good session. Here's the description:

Criminalizing the normal normalizes the criminal.

Copyright Holders Might Prefer Piracy   panel

There's a very interesting article over at TechRadar about how draconian copyright infringement penalties actually give copyright monopoly holders a motivation to encourage infringement:

In a somewhat cynical table-turning exercise, a German anti-piracy body seems to be encouraging illegal downloading of music and other media in an effort to strong-arm money out of lawbreakers.

DigiRights Solutions (DRS) from Darmstadt has circulated a presentation to potential clients explaining how they might make more money by pursuing illegal filesharers than from regular, legal sales. ...


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