short copy - this week on the internet

Top stories from the Internet this week: we’re loosing Net Neutrality, Snowden was denied clemency by US officials, Mickey Mouse may never enter public domain, RIAA and BPI are infringing copyright.

  • Net Neutrality

In a recent post, one of Copy-me’s contributors, Cristian Bulumac, explained why we need Net Neutrality. Follow up on his piece by reading Wired’s worrisome article about the end of Net Neutrality. Also, check out the recently released mockumentary The Internet Must Go.

  • Snowden vs NSA

The Guardian published an extensive reportage on NSA leaks, through which the publication’s editors aim to highlight what these revelations mean for ordinary people like us.

snowden nsa
Illustration by Digital Journal

Snowden’s situation has worsened, as US officials deny him clemency. While the US government might hope the actions they take against Snowden and other whistleblowers may discourage future leaks, national security and human rights expert Jesselyn Radack, from the General Accountability Project (GAP), a leading US whistleblower protection and advocacy organization, thinks otherwise:

[…]the unintended consequence is [that] more and more whistleblowers are coming through the doors of the Government Accountability Project (GAP),” 

On the other hand, US official Stewart Baker who previously worked for NSA, has used 9/11 events to justify the agency’s surveillance, implying that the NSA could have helped avoid the tragedy.

  •  Copyright

A new European Directive will enable online music service providers to acquire the necessary licenses easier and will make it possible for consumers to have access to copyright-protected material throughout Europe. The text still needs to be adopted by the European Parliament. The vote will take place in February 2014. This new provision seems to be part of a wave of reforms in copyright law. In Australia, where copyright law doesn’t take fair use into consideration, the legal text is also under revision. An Australian advocacy NGO has launched a new website, Creationistas, providing useful information on existing copyright laws and proposed reforms—particularly fair use—anchored around some entertaining explanatory videos. Here’s one of their campaign videos:

A similar initiative was launched earlier this year in Germany: Right2Remix.

mickey mouse
Illustration taken from The Animation Anomaly

Nevertheless, we may hope for a more flexible copyright law, but sometimes it seems this may never happen. Recently, UK has extended the copyright for recorded sounds from 50 to 70 years, preventing classic recordings from the 60’s to enter the public domain. Furthermore, things are even worse in the case of Mickey Mouse who may never see the light of the public domain.

TorrentFreak presents another discovery they made this week: the websites of the music industry groups RIAA and BPI have removed the copyright notices from popular web software, violating the open source licenses these scripts are distributed under. Their infringement shows just how easy it is to infringe copyrights.

Things get even more interesting with the help of PiracyData.org. It is a recently launched website, which uses data available on the Internet and draws upon TorrentFreak’s weekly top of the most pirated movies to determine whether or not there are legal alternatives for viewing this movies. The results are anything but surprising: “when film distribution fails, piracy wins.” Listen to an interview with the initiators of the project, in which they discuss about it in more detail.

Illustration by: Alex Lungu (derived from: Doug Cavendish)