Sunday, April 27, 2008

New Bill of Rights for Songwriters and Composers

To remind the public, members of the music industry and U.S. legislators of the central role and rights of those who conceive and create music, ASCAP (the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers) today officially launched a 'Bill of Rights for Songwriters and Composers.'

This awareness-building initiative centers around 10 core principles, including "We have the right to be compensated for the use of our creative works, and share in the revenues that they generate" and "We have the right to license our works and control the ways in which they are used." (See full text of the Bill below and at

These rights, all of which are already inherent in the act of music creation and protected by U.S. copyright law, are increasingly under threat as competing interests argue over the future of the business of music -- and as growing numbers of individuals bypass payment altogether to illegally share music online.

"Given the many issues surrounding the music industry today, it can be all too easy to overlook the source of it all -- individual songwriters, lyricists and composers," said ASCAP President and Chairman and Academy Award-winning lyricist, Marilyn Bergman. "That is why ASCAP has launched this Bill of Rights for Songwriters and Composers. Our goal is to remind lawmakers, the general public and music creators themselves of the rights that are inherent in their art. We simply cannot allow the original source of all music to be lost in the shuffle."

Developed by ASCAP to support and empower all those who create music, the 'Bill of Rights for Songwriters and Composers' debuted during ASCAP "I Create Music" Week at the 25th Annual Pop Music Awards held on April 9 and was also introduced to attendees of the third annual ASCAP "I Create Music" EXPO (April 10-12). In just a few days, more than 500 signatures were collected including: Lionel Richie, Stacy "Fergie" Ferguson, Justin Timberlake, Desmond Child, Jackson Browne, Steve Miller, Marilyn Bergman, Alan Bergman, Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller, Chamillionaire, Keri Hilson, Johnta Austin and John Rzeznik.

These 500-plus signatures served as the kick-off to a grassroots campaign that, over the next few months, will collect signatures and support from both established and aspiring songwriters, lyricists and composers from all genres of musical compositions. Those who wish to add their support to the Bill can sign it electronically at

As part of this initiative, ASCAP also wrote a perspective piece on the relevance and importance of music copyright protection, titled "Music Copyright in the Digital Age: A Position Paper" which may be viewed and downloaded from

"The signatures that we collect on this Bill of Rights for Songwriters and Composers will be shared with key legislators in Washington, as well as numerous other leaders both inside and outside the music industry," said ASCAP CEO John A. LoFrumento. "Now is the time to ensure that everyone who has a stake in determining the future of music, both as an art and as an industry, recognizes the importance of protecting creators' rights."

The full text of the 'Bill' follows below:

A Bill of Rights for Songwriters & Composers

Created by ASCAP, the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers

Just as citizens of a nation must be educated about their rights to ensure that they are protected and upheld, so too must those who compose words and music know the rights that support their own acts of creation. Without these rights, which directly emanate from the U.S. Constitution, many who dream of focusing their talents and energies on music creation would be economically unable to do so -- an outcome that would diminish artistic expression today and for future generations.

At this time, when so many forces are seeking to diminish copyright protections and devalue artistic expression, this Bill of Rights for Songwriters and Composers looks to clarify the entitlements that every music creator enjoys.

1. We have the right to be compensated for the use of our creative works, and share in the revenues that they generate.

2. We have the right to license our works and control the ways in which they are used.

3. We have the right to withhold permission for uses of our works on artistic, economic or philosophical grounds.

4. We have the right to protect our creative works to the fullest extent of the law from all forms of piracy, theft and unauthorized use, which deprive us of our right to earn a living based on our creativity.

5. We have the right to choose when and where our creative works may be used for free.

6. We have the right to develop, document and distribute our works through new media channels -- while retaining the right to a share in all associated profits.

7. We have the right to choose the organizations we want to represent us and to join our voices together to protect our rights and negotiate for the value of our music.

8. We have the right to earn compensation from all types of "performances," including direct, live renditions as well as indirect recordings, broadcasts, digital streams and more.

9. We have the right to decline participation in business models that require us to relinquish all or part of our creative rights -- or which do not respect our right to be compensated for our work.

10. We have the right to advocate for strong laws protecting our creative works, and demand that our government vigorously uphold and protect our rights.


Publishers Take Action Against Georgia State University Copyright Infringement

A group of publishers filed suit in federal court to stop widespread copyright infringement at Georgia State University (GSU). The complaint, filed by Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press and SAGE Publications and supported by the Association of American Publishers (AAP), charges that GSU officials are violating the law by systematically enabling professors to provide students with digital copies of copyrighted course readings published by the plaintiffs and numerous other publishers without those publishers' authorization. The lawsuit seeks injunctive relief to bring an end to such practices, but does not seek monetary damages.

The lawsuit asserts "pervasive, flagrant, and ongoing" unauthorized distribution of copyrighted materials, despite attempts to reach an amicable and mutually acceptable solution without the need for litigation. GSU distributes the unauthorized materials through its electronic course reserves service, its Blackboard/WebCT Vista electronic course management system, and its departmental web pages and hyperlinked online syllabi available on websites and computer servers controlled by GSU. U.S. copyright law applies to digital course offerings as it does to paper offerings, and does not distinguish between different methods of distribution.

While many U.S. colleges and universities work with university presses and other publishers to ensure their uses of published materials are in accordance with U.S. copyright law, the lawsuit states that GSU has flatly rebuffed efforts to reach similar agreements.

"University presses are integral to the academic environment, providing scholarly publications that fit the needs of students and professors and serving as a launch pad from which academic ideas influence debate in the public sphere," said Niko Pfund, Vice-President of Oxford University Press. "Without copyright protections, it would be impossible for us to meet these needs and provide this service."

"Publishers must protect their interests and those of their authors when they believe that this spirit of cooperation--and the law itself--is being willfully and blatantly violated," said Pfund. "We take this action in sorrow, not in anger, as we consider universities, librarians, scholars, and presses to exist in the same, mutually supportive ecosystem, and believe librarians especially to be among our most important publishing partners."

"Of all places, we would expect universities to respect laws protecting intellectual property and to instill their students with such respect," said Frank Smith of Cambridge University Press. "One of the key values underpinning teaching and research in colleges and universities is the responsibility to credit academic work to its creator; and any attempt to take credit for work that is not your own is widely viewed as unacceptable. We think the majority of faculty would recognize that the same principles apply in respecting copyright law and the work of fellow authors and that these principles apply in the digital world, just as in the print world."

"Respect for copyright law is integral to the higher education process," said Patricia Schroeder, AAP President and CEO. "It provides the basis for publishing operations of university presses and scholarly societies, and makes possible the contributions of innumerable other authors and publishers to the educational process. Georgia State University's disregard for basic copyright protections undermines this very premise."

"AAP members and the publishing industry recognize the advantages of making course content available electronically for students, and offer licensing and permissions processes designed to allow such uses on a cost-effective basis," continued Schroeder. "We are simply asking Georgia State University to take the necessary measures to respect the law."

A copy of the complaint may be found on AAP's website,

Government moves to strengthen copyright protection in the digital environment

The Government has released preliminary proposals for strengthening copyright protection in the digital environment to further consult the public before firming up legislative proposals.

Speaking at the meeting of the Legislative Council Panel on Commerce and Industry today, the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Mr Frederick Ma reiterated the Government's commitment to ensuring the efficacy of the copyright protection regime amid advances in technology.

"In formulating the preliminary proposals, the Government has taken into account the results of a public consultation exercise in 2007. The Government is mindful of the need to balance competing interests, including the need to provide an environment conducive to the sustainable development of creative industries in Hong Kong, protection of personal data privacy, and the development of Hong Kong as an Internet service hub," Mr Ma said.

"The preliminary proposals will form the basis of our next round of engagement with stakeholders and the public for building consensus on the way forward. Subject to the outcome of further public consultation, we intend to firm up the legislative package in late 2008 or early 2009."

The Government's preliminary proposals include:

* Introducing a right of communication covering all modes of electronic transmission for copyright works, with related criminal sanctions against the breach of this right in specific circumstances. It is believed that such a right could facilitate copyright owners in exploiting their works in the digital environment and help provide an environment conducive to the development of digital content and advanced technology in digital transmission. On the other hand, as regards what criminal sanctions should be brought in against the breach of this right, the Government is mindful that a blanket criminalisation of all unauthorised communication might cast the net too wide and entail far-reaching unwanted implications. It is proposed that criminal sanctions should be introduced against acts of making/initiating unauthorised communication to the public in defined circumstances ( i.e. where communication is made for the purpose or in the course of business, or otherwise where the communication is made by "streaming"the copyright work to the recipients and the communication is made to such an extent as to affect prejudicially the copyright owner ).

* Introducing a copyright exemption for temporary reproduction of copyright works by online service providers ( OSPs ), which is technically required for ( or enables ) the transmission process to function efficiently. This exemption will cover the "caching" activities undertaken by OSPs, which help save bandwidth and are indispensable for efficient transmission of information on the Internet.

* Facilitating the drawing up of a voluntary code of practice for OSPs in combating Internet infringements. Compliance with the code of practice or otherwise will be prescribed in law as a factor that the court shall take into account when determining whether an OSP has authorised infringing activities committed on its service platform.

* Prescribing in law additional factors to assist the court in considering the award of additional damages, in recognition of the fact that the process of proving the extent of actual loss, particularly in the digital environment, is often fraught with difficulties.

Apart from the preliminary proposals, the Government also stated its position on other key issues raised in the consultation document hitherto presented to the public. In its paper to the panel, the Government explained why it did not favour ( a ) introducing an alternative infringer identity disclosure mechanism which may compromise the protection of personal data privacy but is not subject to scrutiny by the court and ( b ) introducing new criminal liability pertaining to unauthorised downloading and peer-to-peer file-sharing activities.

Furthermore, in launching the next round of public engagement, the Government proposed to take the opportunity to consult the public on the possible introduction of a media shifting exception, which would provide greater flexibility and convenience for the private use of copyright works to general users.

"The Government welcomes views from stakeholders and members of the public on the preliminary proposals. We hope that following full and informed discussions, we could build a broad consensus within the community that helps us strike a reasonable balance between competing interests," Mr Ma said.

The preliminary proposals can be found on the website of the Commerce, Industry and Tourism Branch ( CITB ) of the Commerce and Economic Development Bureau, Views should be sent to CITB on or before August 31, 2008, by email:, by fax: 2869 4420, or by post to Level 29, One Pacific Place, 88 Queensway, Hong Kong, for attention of Division 3, Commerce, Industry and Tourism Branch.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The FAIR USE Act: The Unraveling of Innovation and Trade

The latest version of H.R. 1201, the ill-named "Freedom and Innovation Revitalizing U.S. Entrepreneurship" (FAIR USE) Act, is Rep. Rick Boucher's (D-VA) latest attempt to unravel the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), while taking the Supreme Court's unanimous Grokster decision and recent U.S. trade treaties down with it in a single piece of legislation.

According to a study released today from the Institute for Policy Innovation (IPI), written by Lee A. Hollaar, Boucher's bill has little to do with "freedom," "innovation," "revitalizing entrepreneurship," or even "fair use."

According to Hollaar, H.R. 1201 would:

-- Protect those who take from others -- by blocking statutory damages for those found contributing to piracy, actively inducing others to pirate, or benefiting from piracy under their control. And shielding those who create piracy-inducing software leaves only consumers to pay for their actions.

-- Ignore the Supreme Court's Grokster decision, in which the Court unanimously recognized inducement as a form of secondary copyright infringement. By leaving out this precedent, H.R 1201 would grant yet another free ride to those contributing to or inducing copyright infringement.

-- Compromise U.S. trade treaties, such as CAFTA, by making permanent several anti-circumvention exemptions in violation of the treaties' carefully crafted intellectual property protections beneficial to electronic commerce. Loss of such vital protections would harm U.S. innovators and entrepreneurs.

The risk is obvious: H.R. 1201 is a misleading bill which attempts to stealthily repeal provisions outlined not just in the DMCA, but also established by Supreme Court decision and international trade treaties.

"H.R. 1201 should not be the mechanism for putting the United States in violation of its trade agreements," said Hollaar.

"Changes to the DMCA, and other copyright provisions, should be made carefully so as not to cause future problems just to give backers of the bill a free ride from liability for their help with copyright infringement," concluded Hollaar.

The Institute for Policy Innovation is a national, non-profit public policy organization based in Dallas, TX.

For information regarding IPI's 3rd annual World Intellectual Property Day event, visit our website at

Online Identity Thieves Beware!

Identity thieves are going to face slimmer pickings, with the launch of the new Shop Shield online identity theft protection service, going into beta testing in the next few weeks.

According to its proponents, Shop Shield is a new and better way to protect personal identity information. It replaces actual data with useless, untraceable information, when making a purchase online or registering at a web site. According to Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Steve Bachenheimer, Shop Shield creates substitute billing information for each individual transaction, as well as unique login identities complete with a temporary email address that are useless to anyone who gains unauthorized access to them.

"Personal information can never be stolen because it wasn't divulged in the first place," Bachenheimer said. "The real information never leaves the Shop Shield databases."

Identity theft has reached epidemic levels in recent years, and it is expected to get much worse. According to accepted industry figures, an American becomes a victim every two seconds. More than 120 million people across the country have had their personal information compromised in 2007, a six fold increase over 2005. Financial losses from phishing have also increased dramatically from $137 million in 2004 to $2.8 billion in 2006.

Online threats include outright identity theft, credit card fraud, email scams, phishing, spoofing and spam. While hackers can occasionally gain access to merchant databases, insiders working for the merchants, who steal or lose entire databases and may even sell them to third parties, pose a more insidious threat. It is estimated that more than 85% of all identity theft is attributable to such "inside jobs."

"It doesn't matter how effectively one protects against hackers, or how sophisticated the encryption techniques are, when sending information over the Internet," Bachenheimer said. "If it's an inside job, none of that helps a bit."

In addition to utilizing the latest security and encryption technology, Kemesa provides the ultimate in database protection by fragmenting each Shop Shield user's information into undecipherable bits, encrypting the bits and then dividing the encrypted bits among several databases making it completely unusable in the unlikely event the system was ever hacked.

Shop Shield has already passed a rigorous security evaluation including the Payment Card Industry's PCI standard, and is ready for public use. The Shop Shield beta test is intended to evaluate such issues as user-friendliness, and to identify bugs or compatibility issues.

"We want to make sure we've created the best possible product to protect consumers from identity theft and fraud, while shopping online or registering at a web site," Bachenheimer said.

The beta test is open to the public, and Bachenheimer intends to get all the feedback possible. The testing period is scheduled to end in a few months. Participants are encouraged to participate in the free test, and can register at

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Copyright Amendment Act a "missed opportunity"

InternetNZ (The Internet Society of New Zealand) says the changes passed today to the Copyright Act have both benefits and detriments for Internet users and providers, and is disappointed Parliament has missed an opportunity to bring its Copyright law fully into the modern age.

Executive Director Keith Davidson says the Copyright (New Technologies) Amendment Act, which passed its third reading today is a flawed law that fails to fully grasp the nature of those "New Technologies", such as the Internet and digital media.

"In particular the adoption of the discredited US-style notice and takedown regime for ISPs dealing with alleged customer copyright infringement is hugely disappointing. Also noted is the failure to enshrine a right for consumers to format-shift all their digital media so they can listen or view it on the device of their choice."

There are some improvements to the law, made by this Act. We welcome the exemption from liability for ISPs in relation to their technical functions such as making copies in transit, and also welcome the protection from liability for material they host but are unaware of.

The legalising of format shifting of audio files (such as from a purchased CD to an iPod) is a very modest step in the right direction. It is a great pity though they have allowed producers to opt out of format shifting, and have not extended format shifting to other media such as video. We believe that if a consumer has legally purchased a licence to the rights to a copyrighted work, they should be able to store it any format they like, so long as it remains for their personal use.

InternetNZ proposed a notice and notice regime for dealing with copyright infringement for websites. This is a sensible approach adopted by countries such as Japan and Canada. Instead the Government has taken on board a notice and takedown system akin to the United States system, which has been widely criticised as open to abuse.

"The notice and notice regime would avoid many of the issues that have arisen in the United States, as ISPs would not be forced to remove disputed content to avoid liability" says Davidson.

Copyright Infringement Suit Against Georgia State

In today's universities, it is increasingly rare for students to buy assigned books at the campus bookstore or purchase coursepacks at the local copyshop. Instead, professors often distribute assigned course readings electronically through digital course management, e-reserves, or similar systems. While many universities seek legally required permissions, others do not and simply distribute substantial excerpts from books and journals without permission or compensation. This has become a significant problem for university presses, who depend upon the income due them to continue to publish the specialized scholarly books required to educate students and to advance university research.

Against this backdrop, three scholarly publishers, Cambridge University Press, Oxford University Press, and Sage Publications, have recently filed suit against Georgia State University officials, citing a pattern of illegal distribution of copyrighted book and journal content through digital course management and similar systems controlled by Georgia State. The Association of American University Presses supports the difficult decision made by Cambridge and Oxford, both AAUP members, to take this action - particularly in light of its broad concerns for the critical role that university presses, which are non-profits, play in the world of university instruction and scholarly communications.

The basic legal issue in the suit, namely whether permissions are required for course materials, was forcefully addressed in Basic Books v. Kinko's Graphics Corp. (1991), which held that the coursepacks sold by Kinko's required the payment of permissions fees to publishers, and that the reproduction of a single chapter was "quantitatively [and] qualitatively substantial" under the Copyright Act. While AAUP respects the doctrine of fair use, which permits spontaneous and limited uses of copyrighted material for instruction, it is clear that universities need to seek permission for more regular and substantial uses of excerpts in coursepacks and other assigned reading. That the delivery method for coursepacks is digital rather than print-on-paper does not change the nature of the use or the content, and such uses are governed by the same legal principles established in earlier cases.

University presses are non-profits that operate on very thin margins, and their primary audience is the university community. Indeed, although university presses comprise only a small segment of the market, they supply a very significant proportion of the books and journal articles taught and read in universities, particularly in graduate and upper-level undergraduate courses. For example, a private study of the electronic reserves system at the University of California, San Diego, revealed that while university presses represented only 11 percent of the publishers in the system, they had published 35 percent of the posted materials.

University presses also serve a critical role for universities by providing faculty with a platform to publish their research, a role central to scholarship and the tenure system. Scholarly books and journals cost money to publish, and if university presses are to continue to play this valuable role, they need to be compensated for the use of their materials on campus. In sum, the university community is a complex, integrated system and, while it may seem superficially attractive to distribute published work to students free of charge, scholarly publishing in its current richness cannot survive if universities condone this path.

Many universities have understood these realities and have promulgated strong institutional policies on the digital use of copyrighted materials. Over the last two years, publishers have had productive discussions with several universities including Cornell, Syracuse, Marquette and Hofstra, all of whom have recently adopted sound copyright policies about the use of digital course materials. Several mechanisms currently exist for universities to obtain clearance for the use of these materials, whether through individual publishers or the Copyright Clearance Center. While many universities have adopted a centralized approach and treated electronic course materials as they do paper, Georgia State has flatly rebuffed repeated attempts by publishers to work toward an acceptable university policy and has continued to foster a system of widespread copyright abuse.

The decision to file a suit is never easy, and always a last resort. It is particularly painful for non-profit publishers to sue a university, even if in this situation it was unavoidable. "It feels like suing a member of the family" said AAUP Executive Director Peter Givler. "Unfortunately, the alleged infringement is like stealing from a member of the family."

The 127 members of the Association of American University Presses publish over 10,000 books and 700 journals annually in subjects ranging across the full spectrum of academic disciplines. Formally established in 1937, AAUP is dedicated to the support of creative and effective scholarly communications. Through its programs and information resources, AAUP helps its members fulfill their common commitments to scholarship, the academy, and society. Visit the AAUP Web site, , to learn more about the Association and its members.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

$1 Million Reward to Qualified Reports of Internet Piracy

The Business Software Alliance (BSA) is expanding its $1 million rewards program to include those that report the sale of illegal software over the Internet, such as in the case of auctions of unlicensed software. In conjunction with the expansion of the BSA Rewards Program to further intensify efforts to crack down on illegal software use, BSA is also announcing its first quarter reward payout information. BSA announced that a total of $58,000 in reward money has been paid during the first quarter of 2008 to 14 individuals who provided credible reports of software piracy to the organization.

Despite the popularity of the rewards program, people also report piracy for other reasons, according to BSA. Neil MacBride, BSA's Vice President of Anti-Piracy and General Counsel stated "While the reward provides an incentive, many people might be surprised to learn that nearly 50 percent of individuals reporting piracy to BSA do not opt in to the reward program." Research conducted by the organization has revealed that there is a strong ethical driver at work when people report software piracy. "The existence of the rewards program drives strong awareness on behalf of the general public, but we find that many of our reports of software piracy come from those who recognize and respect the importance of intellectual property regarding business software."

Of those that received rewards this year, 93 percent reported the illegal software use in their current or former workplaces via BSA's online reporting form,, with the remaining submitting a report via BSA's toll free hotline at 1-888-NO PIRACY.

BSA first launched its rewards program in 2005 to encourage individuals with detailed information about software piracy to come forward and confidentially submit the infringement(s). In 2007, BSA increased its rewards incentive from $200,000 to $1 million. BSA will continue to offer this $1 million incentive throughout 2008.

BSA has now decided to extend the $1 million reward offering beyond those individuals who report software piracy in the workplace. Now, the program will include individuals who provide information about those who participate in the selling of unlicensed software over the Internet.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

How to Prevent Fraud and ID Theft

With the latest advancements in today's technology, it's no surprise that fraud and identity theft continue to thrive. Identity theft is the most common concern among consumers contacting the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) with 32 percent of all complaints, nearly 260,000 in 2007.

In 2007, consumers reported fraud losses totaling more than $1.2 billion to the FTC, and according to USA Today, personal ID theft tripled in the U.S. last year as well. The FTC reports that the average amount paid by fraud victims was $2,507 in '07.

Here are some tips from American Consumer Credit Counseling to keep you from becoming a victim of Fraud or Identity Theft:

1. Keep your confidential and financial information private. It is unusual for a bank or credit company to request your account information, seeing as they already have it.

2. Keep an inventory of everything in your wallet. Don't keep your Social Security card or any card with your Social Security number, such as an insurance card, in your wallet.

3. Monitor your bank and credit card transactions closely for unauthorized use. Thieves usually start off with something small to test the waters. If you don't catch the small things, you can be sure to have some nasty charges appearing on your bill in the near future.

4. When you use an ATM look for suspicious devices and don't let anyone stand nearby. Always take your card and receipt, and memorize your PIN instead of keeping it in your wallet.

5. Keeping your computer up to date with the latest anti-spyware and anti-virus scan software and firewall protection is crucial in order to protect your computer from hackers. Never open an email or attachment unless you are sure of who sent it and what it contains. Never click on pop-ups and configure your web browser to automatically block them.

6. Never provide credit card information online, unless you are making purchases from a trusted site. Trustworthy sites will direct you to a secure URL starting with https:// anytime you are asked to provide confidential information. Never send your usernames and passwords by email, or save them on your hard drive.

7. Turn your computer off, or place it on standby when you are not using it. This will prevent someone from accessing your personal information.

© 2008 American Consumer Credit Counseling


SIIA Issues Rewards to Seven Software Piracy Whistle-Blowers

The Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA), the principal trade association for the software and digital information industry, has paid $22,500 to seven sources who reported software piracy to SIIA. The rewards, which were all paid in March, ranged from $500 to $10,000.

Since 2003, the SIIA Anti-Piracy Rewards Program has given out the most, and the largest, anti-piracy awards of any organization. The rewards, which range from $500 for a settlement of $10,000 to $1 million for cases with settlement amounts over $20 million, are given to eligible individuals who report verifiable instances of corporate software piracy. In 2007, SIIA issued 26 rewards to individuals who reported incidents of corporate end-user software piracy.

Individuals interested in learning more about the Reward Program or submitting a piracy report can do so through SIIA's hotline at 800.388.7478 or SIIA's online Piracy Report Form at

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Showtime Rips Off ACLU, Parody or Plagiarism?

Is using some one else's remarkable image a form of flattery, or is it just plain theft? You be the judge.

Almost 3 years ago, Los Angeles Branding and Advertising Agency, Benenson Janson, ran a series of ads for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in major Publications encouraging all people to stand up for the freedoms that are so important to all of us… not just by displaying the flag, but rather by being part of the process that helps defend the rights that keep us all free.

The things our flag really stands for.

The images in those ads underlined the difference between talking the talk and actually taking a stand and doing something. One of those images shows a close-up of a young woman with her tongue out, displaying an American flag, a beautiful and powerful statement.

That was then.

This is now.

A new campaign, launched just last week, displays the exact same visual concept… this time attached to comic Tracey Ullman's head, used in a campaign by Showtime to promote her new political satire show, “State of the Union.”

All without any clearance, permission from or recognition of the ACLU or BENENSON JANSON.

Probably when you are as big as Showtime, you can do just about anything you like to make a buck.

And… when you think about it… isn't that the real problem with the State of Our Union today?

Related Links
ACLU’s online store, selling prints of original image.
Benenson Janson’s Website

Friday, April 4, 2008

New York Man Admits Involvement In Online Piracy Ring

Kevin J. O'Connor, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that DANIEL JAEGER, also known as "Microeguy," 25, of Wappinger, New York, waived his right to indictment and pleaded guilty today before United States Magistrate Judge Donna F. Martinez in Hartford to one count of conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement. This matter stems from a multinational software piracy investigation known as "Operation Higher Education."

In pleading guilty, JAEGER admitted that, for more than two years, he was a participant in the "warez scene," an underground online community consisting of individuals and organized groups who engage in the large scale reproduction, modification and distribution of copyrighted software over the internet.

Specifically, shortly after joining the warez scene in the fall of 2001, JAEGER built, connected to the Internet, and maintained an FTP warez server known as "DataStream" ( "DS" ), which stored and distributed pirated software and other digital media. Over the course of his participation in the conspiracy, JAEGER was aware that his co-conspirators uploaded pirated copyrighted works to DS, and another FTP warez site identified as Arakis ( "AKS" ), with the knowledge and intent that, through these sites, those copyrighted works would be further accessed, reproduced, and distributed by additional co-conspirators.

As of September 5, 2003, the DS warez site alone contained approximately 1,000 titles of pirated software and other digital media. In addition to the activities set forth above, JAEGER also downloaded many pirated copies of copyrighted works from the DS site and other warez sites. A substantial number of these software titles were computer and video games.

JAEGER is scheduled to be sentenced on June 16, 2008, by Chief United States District Judge Robert N. Chatigny in Hartford, at which time JAEGER faces a maximum term of imprisonment of five years and a fine of up to $250,000.

Judge Dismisses Copyright Infringement Complaint Against iParadigms

A Virginia judge has issued a summary judgment regarding his dismissal of a copyright infringement lawsuit filed by four high school students against iParadigms over the use of the students' written works in the Turnitin plagiarism detection service.

The judge stated that iParadigms' use of archived student works to assess originality of newly-submitted papers constitutes a fair use under US copyright law and is therefore not copyright infringement. In addition, he states that such use "provides a substantial public benefit through the network of institutions using Turnitin."

iParadigms' CEO John Barrie said, "The Turnitin service was created because of the pressing educational need from institutions to help students learn to produce original written work -- especially in our 'cut and paste' digital world. The judge has validated that our service is able to do so without infringing the copyrights of students' work."

U.S. District Judge Claude M. Hilton said that, "though iParadigms makes a profit in providing this service to educational institutions, its use of student works adds 'a further purpose or different character' to the works." Such "transformative" works do not violate fair use. Further, because student works become part of the database against which other students' work is compared, Turnitin helps protect the papers from being exploited by others who might profitably claim them as their own work.

Turnitin is used worldwide by tens of millions of faculty and students to check student work for originality, to engage students in the peer review of other students' work, to empower faculty to grade papers online in a fraction of the time it would normally take using pen and paper, and to propagate best practices. Turnitin harnesses the Internet to improve education and save faculty time.

Turnitin receives over 70,000 student papers per day, its usage is doubling every 12 months, and more than 95% of clients renew each year. Turnitin has become part of how education works.


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