Sunday, February 09, 2020


If you wish to read about testicles, this is not the venue. At least, not this day. Nor do I intend to discuss a staple of the vegan diet.

This is about copyright-related news that does not make sense.

Yesterday, on a very prestigious forum for authors, in a thread about ebook piracy, one correspondent opined, "It's just downloading..."

In fact, it is the downloading that creates multiple, perfect, illegal copies.

Meanwhile, on one of the most-watched financial channels, a panel was discussing Artificial Intelligence, and the scraping of social media sites for privately-taken and also commercially-taken photographs for commercial exploitation and facial recognition technology.

The one aspect that the anchor and panelists never mentioned at all was the massive copyright infringement.
Anyone who takes a photograph owns the copyright to that photograph. If you post a selfie, you do not automatically grant Clearview AI or anyone else a license to sell your face to the fuzz.

Sputnik news has the scoop:

Even that very informative article glosses over a very important term: "publicly available".

There is a difference between something being available to view, and available to copy and re-publish and distribute.

Another nutty misunderstanding that is prevalent among pirates is of "public domain".

Just because someone uploaded an illegal copy of a novel to a website does not mean that that novel is lawfully in the public domain.  Not if the author is still alive, or deceased within the last 70 years.

Likewise, those who are curious about their ancestors and long lost relatives do not necessarily intend to donate to a government DNA database. If Heritage/Ancestry/ 23&Me keeps pestering you to give permission for your DNA to be used for "research", do not agree. They've probably already sold your DNA is a job lot and are trying to clean up their bases.

If you gave a spit, you'd better keep a diary, and have an alibi for every hour of every day and night!

Allegedly, Amazon is getting in on the use of  faked or fake people to avoid having to pay royalties to real people.  If one is famous --or merely attractive and popular-- and they have multiple views of your face and tracks of your voice, there's no limit to the liberties "they" can take.

Chris Castle writes:

Also Amazon-related, there was one rare victory this last week against the inexorable incursions of Amazon and AI on authors' rights was that of the Association of American Publishers against Audible Captions.

Copyrighting anything including one's photographs is not as expensive as one might imagine. Wiki How explains the steps: has the fee schedule in effect from 2014, (and one can copyright a batch of photographs for one fee.)

Act quickly. Copyright registration costs are likely to rise by more than 20% this coming Spring 2020. Except for batches of photographs. No increase is proposed for that.

Finally, the Copyright is asking (again) for action to encourage Oregon Senator #JustOne Ron Wyden to stop his opposition to anything that might improve copyright protections for authors, musicians and other creators.

One of his felon-friendly* rationales for blocking the #CASEAct is that mere downloaders ought not to face any disincentive for "stealing" or "sharing" copyrighted content that the creators rely on to pay their bills #MySkillsPayBills.

Apparently, @RonWyden would also like to change Fair Use from a defense for defendants to a negative proposition --i.e. that the infringement was not fair use-- to be proven by the plaintiffs.

That's just nuts!

All the best,

Rowena Cherry 

*PS....copyright infringement is not a felony. 

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