Singer and song writer Drake has been sued for copyright infringement by a jewelery designer over an owl motif necklace. However, the singer has been using an owl logo very similar to that exhibited by the necklace and is claiming the necklace design is based on an ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic and therefore the design is in the public domain. The jeweler registered the design with the U.S. Copyright Office and it will be interesting to see how this plays out. If a court finds that the design has sufficient orginality then the court may award damages for infringement. The owl is an ancient Western symbol of wisdom often associated the the Greek Goddess Athena and the city of Athens.
It’s no secret that the copyright lobby exerts an undue influence in shaping Internet policy. But the mechanisms by which that happens—which can include not just the legislative bodies of dozens of countries, but also backroom, off the record dealings—can be confusing and opaque, even to people following it closely. In a new book out this month, A Copyright Masquerade, veteran journalist Dr. Monica Horten goes deep into those details to detail how the entertainment industries gain political sway, and how policymakers respond to the industry’s advances. Read more of the review from the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
The speech that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. gave 50 years ago today that ushered a renewed civil rights movement is still [unfortunately] under copyright – the fact that it is under copyright protection means that one of the greatest speeches in American history cannot be widely shared and disseminated. Read more here from Reason TV. Make sure and watch the audio of the speech which also features Texas State alum, President Lyndon Banes Johnson, meeting with Dr. King in the White House.
The music producer/musician who wrote Harlem Shake, a song that became an Internet sensation and participatory video phenomenon across U.S. colleges, including here at Texas State, claims to have made no money from the deal- at least directly. The Brooklyn based producer who goes by the name of Baauer failed to clear two of the samples used in the song but cleared up claims of copyright infringement as of April. The most interesting aspect of this story is what it confirms – yes, its hard to make money in the music business but – he can’t complain too much since he is booked full time now for gigs – so in away he did make some money from the song. Check out the great infographic as well and read more here from The Atlantic.
Also, revisit an earlier post from the Roundup on how a musician from the 19th Century still did well despite everyone playing his song for “free”.
Check out the great Fair Use inforgraphic developed by the Association of Research Libraries here.
A piece from the Atlantic Monthly discusses why you are more likely to find books available from the 1880’s than the 1980′s due to copyright restrictions – essentially creating a hole in our collective cultural memory. Read more here.
As reported by The Guardian the Hollywood Lobby, one of the strongest in Washington, is lobbying for passage of a copyright treaty that would in effect limit access to reading materials including educational resources to the blind. Read more here. What is happening here is that the motion picture industry is trying to do an end run around domestic law by getting something passed on the international level that will then bind the United States and require domestic law to conform to the international standard.