Sunday, March 27, 2016

Copyright Matters

Should we have a named and registered copyright agent for our blog? One hopes not, because we moderate Comments, and that is the only way a third party could potentially upload copyright infringing material.

However, there are Blogspot blogs that do give the appearance of infringing copyrights. If in doubt, this article by the law firm FisherBroyles has some excellent advice in the segment "Have a Website? Got a Copyright Agent? If not, You May Have a Problem!" (scrolling down the page a bit). 

This week, the law firm of Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP posted an analysis of what the Ninth Circuit ruling in the "Dancing Baby" case might mean for all copyright owners. That means, this affects authors, too.  We now have to "consider fair use" before sending a Takedown Notice when we see our works apparently being published and distributed without our consent and without payment to us.

The problem for authors is that a good proportion of what appears to be copyright infringement is designed to entice folks to click on links that often lead to malware-infested sites. According to the USPTO, we are not required to give our credit card information to a site we suspect is a pirate site, and we are not required to download potentially dangerous files in order to substantiate our good faith belief that our work is being illegally exploited. However, the Lenz "dancing baby" case is not helpful, and this author believes that that was exactly what Google funded EFF wanted.

I've shared this before, but here are some tips on navigating illegal download sites.

All the best,

Rowena Cherry

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