Copyright Governance Danish Style: Is This “Hygge” in Action?

Used with permission

My wife and I recently visited Denmark, a country we had only briefly stopped in years ago in order to take our (then) very young daughter to the Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen. But of course there is so much more to Denmark than Tivoli, or Lego, or Danish pastries, or all of the other clichés that we become used to. While no country is without some problems, Denmark comes across to a visitor as a laid-back, clean, tolerant and efficient country. It consistently ranks as No. 1 or 2 on Transparency International’s anti-corruption index (New Zealand being its main competitor) and honesty is valued. Danes pay some of the highest rate of tax in the world, but seem to feel that they get their money’s worth. In fact, one of the main attributes of “Danishness” is its reputation for happiness. In surveys Denmark is repeatedly found to be one of the world’s happiest countries and the Danes among the world’s happiest people. Various theories have been advanced for this outcome, including relative income equality, a well- structured social safety net (thus a reduction in anxiety levels), a high degree of mutual trust and an innate sense of well-being incorporated in the Danish term “hygge” (pronounced hyügeh, as I learned after initially mangling the word to the incomprehension of my Danish friends). Continue reading “Copyright Governance Danish Style: Is This “Hygge” in Action?”

Canada’s General Election: The Copyright Angle

Modified from shutterstock.com

“The writ has dropped”. I am not sure where that arcane term comes from but in Canada it means that the electoral campaign to decide which party and leader will form the next government has begun. This will not be news to my Canadian readers but may be to those outside Canada, given the paucity of coverage in the foreign media on things Canadian–except perhaps for Bianca Andreescu’s victory over Serena Williams at the US Open. Continue reading “Canada’s General Election: The Copyright Angle”

Mural, Mural on the Wall: Were They Commissioned, One and All?

(c) Michelle Loughery, 2007. By permission of the artist.

Maybe you remember the story of the Canadian muralist Michelle Loughery who painted many of the wall murals that adorn the walls of buildings in Merritt, BC, the self-proclaimed “country music capital of Canada”? If you missed it (ICYMI, as they say these days), here is the link to “Mural, Mural on the Wall—Who’s the Owner of Them All?” It is the story of Michelle Loughery, community activist and artist who, with the assistance of local youth, painted most of the murals about a decade ago in cooperation with a local NGO called the “Merritt Walk of Stars Society”. That Society has since been wound up but has been succeeded by another organization, the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame (CCMHF). It’s a complicated story but it involves who owns the copyright to the murals, at least some of which are clearly marked with Loughery’s © notification. (see photo above). Continue reading “Mural, Mural on the Wall: Were They Commissioned, One and All?”

Section 230 is Dangerous–Keep it Out of Trade Negotiations

source: shutterstock.com

Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act (CDA), a US statute passed in the infancy of the internet, just can’t stay out of the news. Section 230 is the clause inserted into the CDA that, as interpreted by the US courts over the years, has allowed internet intermediaries to avoid liability for content posted by users that is made available on their platforms. (It also allows those platforms to remove content considered to be “obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable, whether or not such content is constitutionally protected”, but the focus of the tech community has been on avoiding any liability for doing nothing to restrict offensive user content rather than on its ability to take action against such content). It is highly controversial from many aspects, and can truly be described as a multi-edged sword, a measure that has come under attack primarily in the US, but also elsewhere, for a number of disparate reasons. Continue reading “Section 230 is Dangerous–Keep it Out of Trade Negotiations”

Tightening the Screws on Pirate Websites through Dynamic Website Blocking Injunctions

source: shutterstock.com

A pirate site is blocked through a court order yet like a chameleon it changes its colour (and IP address or URL) and is back up again tomorrow under a different guise. This is the reality that rights-holders have to face repeatedly in dealing with slippery pirate operators. But relief is coming. Continue reading “Tightening the Screws on Pirate Websites through Dynamic Website Blocking Injunctions”

Cloudflare the Enabler: It Needs To Make Some Hard Choices

source: http://www.shutterstock.com

Cloudflare, the Silicon Valley based company that provides online protection for websites against cyber-attacks (among other services) has been in the news–yet again–because they finally fired 8Chan as a client, removing the protective wrapping that had allowed the website so closely associated with hate speech and racist rants to exist on the internet. 8Chan has become the vehicle of choice for the mentally deranged and disaffected social misfits who have perpetrated a number of killings, including the mass murders at a mosque in Christchurch New Zealand and the shooting of mainly Mexican shoppers at a Walmart in El Paso, TX. But this blog is not about 8Chan (which is a topic unto itself), but rather about Cloudflare, its enabler. Continue reading “Cloudflare the Enabler: It Needs To Make Some Hard Choices”

Google is Monetizing Human Tragedy: Why Aren’t They Held Accountable?

source: shutterstock.com

My wife and I had just been visiting our daughter in her new home when we turned on the car radio. It was an interview on CBC with Andy Parker, whose daughter Alison had been murdered, live on TV, by a deranged former employee, back in 2015. The killer recorded and later uploaded video of Alison Parker’s death to the internet, in addition to the live broadcast of the tragedy. The radio story was about the trials of a father who was being trolled by hate-mongers and conspiracy theorists, and about his ongoing efforts to get the videos of his daughter’s murder taken down by YouTube. My heart went out to him. I understood what was driving him, what helps him get up each morning. It is to give some meaning to his daughter’s death by trying to make the world a slightly better place. And one of those things, in addition to better gun control, is to try to bring Google, owner of YouTube, to account for its actions, or rather, its non-action. Continue reading “Google is Monetizing Human Tragedy: Why Aren’t They Held Accountable?”