Targeted Online Advertising: The Savior of the Web or Fundamental Threat to Privacy? An ITIF Debate

Posted in Advertising by coda on December 18, 2009

See the video here.

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E-Health and Privacy

Posted in Health Informatics, privacy by coda on December 18, 2009

A video that appeals to me

Read this presentation.

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Performers Rights

Posted in copyright, Teaching by coda on December 18, 2009

I have recently noticed a number of clips from the X Factor appearing on some SNS sites, and thought about Performers Rights and why we see very cases appearing before the courts. There was the well-publicised You Tube blocking of videos and the dispute involving You Tube and Viacom.

This topic will feature in my new course next year. Here are some useful links to relevant readings:

1. Introduction

2. Caselaw

Performing Right Society, Limited v. Mitchell and Booker (Palais de Danse), Limited  [1924] 1 KB 762

King’s Bench Division KBD Mccardie J. 1924 Jan. 28, 29; Feb. 6.

Experience Hendrix LLC v Purple Haze Records Ltd & Another [2005] EWHC 249 (Ch)

Rickless v United Artists Corp [1988] Q.B. 40 (‘Peter Sellers case’)

RCA v Pollard [1983] Ch. 135.

EC Rental and Lending Rights Directive and the EC Information Society Directive 2001/29

Copyright and Related Rights Regulations 1996 (SI 1996/2967)

Copyright Designs Patents Act 1988 Section 182CA of the CDPA (inserted by the Copyright and Related Rights Regulations 2003, which implements the Information Society Directive 2001/29.

General Links:

Performing Rights Society



RIAA site

EU Information Society web page

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Jurisdiction: Ainsworth v. Lucasfilm [2009] EWCA Civ. 1328

Posted in copyright by coda on December 18, 2009

The Court of Appeal has handed an important judgment in Ainsworth v. Lucasfilm [2009] EWCA Civ. 1328. The Court of Appeal refused to assume jurisdiction in respect of a dispute relating to the breach of US copyright law.

Key Facts: [para 4-10 Jacob LJ]

These are set out by the Judge at [26-84]. Most of the detail no longer matters so we confine ourselves to the essentials.

In the course of making the first Star Wars film a number of works were created. They include some paintings and drawings by a Mr McQuarrie showing scenes including stormtroopers in their helmets and armour and a clay model of a stormtrooper helmet made by a Mr Pemberton. Mr Ainsworth was asked to produce a final version in plastic based on the model and McQuarrie works and did so, incorporating his own improvements. In doing so he used what can fairly be called “sculpting” techniques. We say a little more about the detail of what happened when we come to Mr Ainsworth’s cross-claim. So far as UK law is concerned it is accepted that the two-dimensional works produced (e.g. the scene paintings) are copyright works. Whether the models for the helmet are in themselves copyright works depends on whether they are “sculptures” within the meaning of s.4 of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. Mr Ainsworth has admittedly made and sold copies of the helmet and armour. The appeal has concentrated on the stormtrooper helmet, there being no separate point about the armour or helmets made for other characters. He accepts that he has reproduced the paintings but says he has a defence to an infringement claim under ss.51 or 52 of the 1988 Act.

As far as the position under US law is concerned, it is now accepted that US law regards what Mr Ainsworth did as an infringement of various US copyrights. Lucasfilm claims that the English court should itself enforce US copyright law against Mr Ainsworth.

Lucasfilm has obtained a default judgment for trade mark and copyright infringement in California against him in the sum of US$20m. That sum sounds strange to English ears given that he only sold about $US14,500 worth. No less than $10m of the $20m is “compensatory damages” by US law. Lucasfilm claims that the English court should recognise and enforce the judgment to the extent of the $10m. “compensatory” element. Perhaps not wanting to seem oppressive, it only seeks to enforce its US judgment to that extent that if it cannot succeed on its claim to enforce its US copyrights directly in the English courts.

Mr Ainsworth claims that if the work he did in producing the helmet amounts to the creation of a work of sculpture, he is the owner of the copyright in it.

Although there are a mass of other works relied upon by Lucasfilm (e.g. as to the design of parts of the armour) this case turns on the helmets – as was effectively agreed by the parties. If Mr Ainsworth has infringed copyrights relating to these he loses, if not, not. It is not necessary to go into the detail of other works relied on or referred to in the evidence.

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US games company sues British blogger for defamation in Australia

Posted in Defamation, Uncategorized by coda on December 16, 2009

The Guardian has a report:

In an internet defamation case that lawyers say could set an “extraordinary precedent”, an American games company is suing a British blogger in the Australian courts.

Evony, an online games company registered in the US state of Delaware, is suing Coventry-based blogger Bruce Everiss for libel over a series of allegations made on his website. In a bizarre twist, however, Evony has decided not to pursue its case in Britain or America, but 10,000 miles away.

Also, see what Bruce Everiss has to say here.

  • Bruce EverissI’m Bruce Everiss, a veteran games industry marketer. Find out more.

Reports on this suit can be found here and here.

Karim v Newsquest Media Group Ltd [2009] EWHC 3205 (QB) (27 October 2009)

Physicians and Web 2 0 from Manhattan Research

Posted in Uncategorized by coda on December 16, 2009
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Digital Citizenship and Child Safety

Posted in child protection, child safety, internet safety by coda on December 16, 2009

The Pew Research Center has produced two reports that focus on the behaviour and values of teenagers in the digital age. Sexting is the first subject covered:

As texting has become a centerpiece in teen social life, parents, educators and advocates have grown increasingly concerned about the role of cell phones in the sexual lives of teens and young adults. A new survey from the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project found that 4% of cell-owning teens ages 12-17 say they have sent sexually suggestive nude or nearly nude images or videos of themselves to someone else via text messaging, a practice also known as “sexting”; 15% say they have received such images of someone they know via text message.

The second looks at the way teenagers interact with mobile phone technology:

Teenagers have previously lagged behind adults in their ownership of cell phones, but several years of survey data collected by the Pew Internet & American Life Project show that those ages 12-17 are closing the gap in cell phone ownership. The Project first began surveying teenagers about their mobile phones in its 2004 Teens and Parents project when a survey showed that 45% of teens had a cell phone. Since that time, mobile phone use has climbed steadily among teens ages 12 to 17 – to 63% in fall of 2006 to 71% in early 2008.

In comparison, 77% of all adults (and 88% of parents) had a cell phone or other mobile device at a similar point in 2008. Cell phone ownership among adults has since risen to 85%, based on the results of our most recent tracking survey of adults conducted in April 2009. The Project is currently conducting a survey of teens and their parents and will be releasing the new figures in early 2010.

We went back to our databanks in light of the intriguing findings about adult mobile phone use in two of our recent reports, and to help lay the ground work for our current project on youth and mobile phones. This memo is the result of our data mining.

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The New Information Ecology

Posted in Uncategorized by coda on December 16, 2009
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How to survive in the new media ecology

Posted in Uncategorized by coda on December 16, 2009
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Copyright Law Exceptions for the Digital Age

Posted in Uncategorized by coda on December 15, 2009

Many will recall the publication of the Gower’s Recommendations on exceptions to the copyright legislation.

There is now a move to build on these recommendations by engaging in a public consultation aimed at redressing the balance between users expectations and right holder’s interests. An interesting development, given the recent BBC report of law firms targeting illegal file sharers.
See here.

Consultation document can be found here.

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