Welcome to the latest Open Rights Group supporter update. In this edition:
- Sound Copyright - - Neil Gaiman event - - Supporter drive - - p2p Consulation - - Volunteer meeting - - Press - - Events - - Mini Links - - Thanks -
- Copyright extension would not aid artists, citizens or the economy
- Piracy v Obscurity - an evening with Neil Gaiman
- Guv consultation on illicit p2p
- Volunteers meeting
The UK Intellectual Property Office wanted comments on the EC proposal to extend copyright term protection on sound recordings. Our report dissects the flimsy proposal and accompanying impact assessment to reveal minimal benefits for social welfare and inclusion. And, shock horror, the predicted benefits would accrue only to the biggest record labels, not to artists or record-buyers. The proposal ignores the growing evidence base in favour of reducing terms and, according to Europe's most prominent copyright thinker, misleads both policy-makers and citizens. For much more on this issue see the Sound Copyright site.
We're excited to announce a special event with Neil Gaiman, best-selling author and ORG patron. On Friday 24 October, Neil will talk about what it means to be one of the tribe of readers, and why most people discover their favourite authors for free. Entry is free to new supporters of ORG who join between now and the event. Existing ORG supporters will be charged a discount rate of £5 and the general public will be asked the full price of £10. More details and tickets over on Eventbrite.
Its been a solid month for our supporter drive, with sustainable donations pushing up above the 900 fivers per month mark, which is good but still not enough so please help us reach the 1,500 target by browbeating your buddies into becoming supporters. The incentives of an Asus Eec PC for top referrer are still available, as is the offer of a mystery gift for supporters who either join at or raise their donation to ten pounds a month. Next month we'll be giving away more books and (fingers crossed) releasing a supporter-powered promotional video.
The war on illicit p2p continues, but how many civilian casualties will it claim? Guv wants a code of practice designed by ISPs and rightsholders in collaboration with OfCom that will oblige ISPs to take action against subscribers to their network who infringe copyright over p2p. Is this is a workable approach? What remedies should be available to rightholders? The deadline is 30 October 2008 but we need your comments *now* to produce a coherent and evidentially solid report. Please use our interactive comments tool to tell us what you think.
Last night's August volunteer meetup was a little subdued but welcoming enough for a couple of first-timers. See the minutes for more detail and various tasks that need taking on. Our next volunteer meeting is scheduled for 9 October: please sign up on the wiki if you'll be coming along.
Every week, we spend time talking to the media and connecting them with experts or giving an alternate point of view on current issues. Please see the press archive for more details.
- The Register / Kablenet - 'Electoral Commission criticises London e-counting' Our concerns over a lack of transparency and security in London's recent Mayoral poll have now been fully vindicated by this Electoral Commission report. The elections watchdog expressed "significant concerns about the use of electronic counting for elections in the UK" and called for proper analysis of the "costs and benefits of both electronic and manual options for counting ballot papers before the next GLA elections in 2012."
- BBC - 'Game sharers face legal crackdown' A test case judgement ordered £16,000 of damages for seeding a filesharing network with a video game. Lawyers acting for the firm gleefully predicted there will be many more similar cases. Although this open court process is preferable to private justice administered behind closed doors, the extreme weight of the fine seems disproportionate. See below for more commentary on this case.
- Reuters - 'Is file-sharing morally wrong?'<>/li> Peter Griffiths, inspired by the filesharing decision (see above and below), riffs on the boom in swapping music, films or TV programmes. He notes that copyright infringement is not the same as theft because the owner is not deprived of their property and uses ORG as authority for the claim that this crackdown will drive filesharing underground and make it even harder for rights holders to earn a crust.
The very best way to stay updated on ORG-esque events is with our Upcoming group. Here's some some particularly exciting events happening in the next month or so:
- 'Privacy and Security in the Database State' The Manchester branch of the BCS, in conjunction with Manchester NO2ID, are organising a public meeting on 23 September in Manchester. Becky has been asked to speak alongside Phil Booth of No2id.
- 'mySociety Manchester meetup' "Informally covering the range of remotely mySociety antics, and anything else we fancy". Wednesday 17 September.
- 'Manchester 2600 Computer Security Meeting' On the first Friday of every month, aimed at everybody with an interest in computer security, telephony, hacking, phone phreaking, cryptography, internet security/privacy issues and related subjects. Friday 5 September.
- In 2007, lawyers for German games distributor Zuxxex wrote to 500 UK filesharers, demanding a £600 settlement for copyright infringement.
- Some claimed not to have downloaded the game knowingly but the lawyers argued users are responsible for their system's security.
- After the judgment was announced against the filesharer, games right holders announced more letters for 25,000 further infringers.
- A plucky lawyer has now offered to defend for free as many pirates as possible.
Belated thanks to Gavin for joining the ORG staff and JonRob for being a terrifical intern. Thanks to Sheila, Harry, Adam, Lemon, Sam, Glyn, Chris and all the other regulars. Thanks to James for his design work, to Patrick for the holiday guide. Much thanks to the Board and Advisory Council. And last of all, thanks to Becky, who just don't stop!