short copy - this week on the internet

This week on the Internet: contribute to the European Commission’s copyright review, celebrate Public Domain Day, learn how the academics are boycotting the NSA and check out the RSA conference

  • Copyright

Last month, Short Copy informed you about the European Commission’s copyright review project launched in December. Now, it is time for you to make your contribution and help reform copyright in your country and all over Europe, by submitting your suggestions:

  • check out the Commission’s official web page and follow their instructions;
  • visit Amelia Andersdotter’s  blog and use the guided answers model she provides;
  • answer this comprehensive questionnaire;
  • if none of the above has managed to encourage you to submit your suggestions, perhaps this more eye-catching web page and online questionnaire will do the trick.

As Kant would perhaps say, it is an imperative duty for all of us to contribute to this review, since our very creativity stands to bebe affected by the future changes in copyright legislation. Hurry, you only have time until the 5th of February 2014.

In other news, the 1st of January was international Public Domain Day, which celebrates the entrance of new works of art into the public domain. However, this doesn’t apply to the U.S.. There, no new works will enter public domain until 2019, due to the copyright extension enforced via the 1978 Copyright Act. Moreover, as far as copyright issues in the U.S. go, the year began with a public domain-related controversy concerning Sherlock Holmes. A judge from Chicago ruled in favor of Leslie Klinger, a writer currently preparing a volume of short stories titled In the Company of Sherlock Holmes. The ruling states that the character is now part of the public domain and, as such,

[pull_quote_center]anyone who wants to write new material about the characters no longer needs to seek permission or pay license fees to the Doyle estate. That is, as long as you don’t include any elements introduced in the last 10 Sherlock Holmes stories released in the U.S. after 1922.[/pull_quote_center]

However, the decision is expected to be appealed, so we’re bound to hear more about this in the coming weeks.

For those of you who want to dive deeper into the intricacies of intellectual property licensing, a new research handbook was recently published. And don’t forget to watch the latest The Simpsons‘ episode, in which Homer becomes a digital pirate hunted down by the feds.

  • Surveillance

The Sentence We Fear. Illustration taken from
The Sentence We Fear. Illustration taken from

As new documents about NSA‘s secret activities continue to surface, it becomes clearer and clearer how the agency actually poses a threat to the U.S.’s national security. While a former NSA insider wants to brief president Obama on what is wrong with the agency’s activity, Senator Dianne Feinstein has admitted, three months later, that the bill she released was only seemingly reforming the existing surveillance programs. In fact, it protected them. Indeed, just like Wired wrote earlier this week, it seems that the NSA did everything in their power to almost kill the Internet. Luckily, we have the Pirate Party on our side with its inspired humor: several members of the Party’s youth division tried to spy on the Swedish NSA from a van parked outside its headquarters. Unfortunately, their action was short lived.

A few weeks ago, the NSA made$10 million deal with the RSA, a famous crypto security provider, in order to make its weakened crypto the default standard. In a sign of protest,  more than 250 academics and researchers who had been scheduled to attend the RSA conference on security have cancelled their attendance. Read their statement, Academics Against Mass Surveillance, here.

 Until next week, a little food for thought: are we really the authors of our own demise?