Internet a Necessary Lifeline in Christchurch

Our thoughts are with Cantabrians amidst the chaos, devastation, and upheaval of this life-changing disaster, where the Internet (through Twitter) is replacing the radio. Christchurch art historian, curator and writer Cheryl Bernstein writes about her experience of the earthquake(s):

For a couple of days, our legs were rubbery, our knees wobbling. The floor rose to meet us. We weren’t sure at times if the shakes were real or imagined. After some of the real aftershocks, ones in which the house banged and rattled and mortar rained down the roof, my hands were trembling so much it was difficult to hold my mobile phone, which didn’t leave my hand or my pocket for five days straight. When we lost coverage for an hour or so on the first day when the emergency batteries ran down in the cellphone towers, I knew to expect it—and that it would be temporary—through what I’d read on Twitter. Twitter was an immediate source of necessary information, reassurance, companionship. Critically, my phone felt like a lifeline to the outside world, to places where the lawn wasn’t covered in bricks and entire shop-fronts hadn’t fallen into the street and the river hadn’t changed its course and cracks so big a man could stand waist deep in them hadn’t appeared in the roadway. A line to the old real life.

Youth Parliament Release Report On File Sharing

In late June the Creative Freedom Foundation spoke at Youth Parliament on the topic of “Inquiry into whether copyright infringement is hurting New Zealand music; how can artists use new media to get their music sold rather than stolen”. Two government spokespeople from the Ministry of Economic Development and the Ministry of Culture and Heritage as well as CFF’s Bronwyn Holloway-Smith were questioned in person on the topic.

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Moral and Digital Rights for Artists

Marking the 10th Anniversary of both Australia’s DMCA equivalent The Digital Agenda Act 2000, and The Moral Rights Act 2000, this ABC discussion on moral rights and digital rights for artists is well worth a read or listen.

“Artists in particular are tetchy about their creations. Understandably they don’t want the meaning of their works twisted or distorted. And of course they don’t want others to reproduce their work without permission. But with everything being online these days, what tangible rights do artists have? Should they just go with the digital flow, or should they use all the legal weapons available to them?”

The discussion between interviewer Damien Carrick, Professor Matthew Rimmer of ANU Law School, and Brent Salter, legal academic at Macquarie University Law School covers issues ranging from Michael Palin and Monty Python’s response to various copyright situations, the YouTube vs Viacom dispute (recently won by YouTube), and several interesting case studies of moral rights disputes in Australian theatre.

Professor at the ANU Law School

Film Industry Fails To Meet Demand Again

Colin Jackson writes on his blog that “There’s a great New Zealand film called “Boy” – it’s a coming of age tale with a uniquely New Zealand flavour to it. It’s been in the cinemas here for three months, and it’s gone down very well. I’m probably not telling you anything you didn’t know, because the film has been well-promoted. I think I saw that it was now the highest-grossing New Zealand movie ever. Well done to Taika Waititi and every one else involved.

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Johanna Blakely: Lessons from fashion’s free culture

Presented at this year’s TED conference, this talk by Johanna Blakely on lessons that other creative industries can learn from fashion’s lack of copyright protection is well worth the watch. From the YouTube post: “Copyright law’s grip on film, music and software barely touches the fashion industry … and fashion benefits in both innovation and sales, says Johanna Blakley. At TEDxUSC 2010, she talks about what all creative industries can learn from fashion’s free culture.”

The PDF of her talk can be found on her project website: Ready to Share. “The Ready to Share project explores the fashion industry’s enthusiastic embrace of sampling, appropriation and borrowed inspiration, core components of every creative process.”

Food for thought…

Copyright Amendment Bill Submissions Due This Week

Select Committee submissions on the Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment Bill — the former s92A — are due this Thursday 17 June. The bill can be read here and information on how to make a submission is here.

Of course, we will be making a submission based on feedback we’ve been getting from members. Let us know if you’ve got something to add by contacting us, or commenting on this post.

Poll Shows 87% Of Kiwis Want Parody Protection In Copyright Law

Stuff.co.nz has a story about the popular YouTube parodies involving Hitler: “One of YouTube’s most beloved parodies is facing extinction, with countless Adolf Hitler Downfall clips vanishing from the popular video site in recent days. Constantin Film, which has judged many of the comic clips an infringement of its copyright.  Online rights advocates say that fair use provisions in many countries such as the US were created to allow some copyrighted material to be used for purposes such as satire or parody.” Among copyright experts there’s little doubt that if this went to court the Fair Use defense would win but the United State’s DMCA allows preemptive removal of content regardless of whether it’s considered free speech.

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