Category: legal

Fair Use: Using copyrighted material legally

American University’s Center for Social Media recently released a tremendously helpful resource that helps to clear some misconceptions about the concept of fair use of copyrighted materials. There are a lot of people out there that think fair use is any use where they aren’t paid… not true! There are a lot of ways a video producer can rely on fair use, and this Code of Best Practices soes a great job of spelling it out. Check it out here.

How does your iPod’s illegal tracks stack up against the average teenager?

The Times of London reports a study regarding the amount of illegal tracks on the typical iPod:

Teenagers and students have an average of more than 800 illegally copied songs each on their digital music players, the largest academic survey of young people’s music ownership has found.

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The average digital music player carries 1,770 songs, meaning that 48 per cent of the collection is copied illegally. The proportion of illegally downloaded tracks rises to 61 per cent among 14 to 17-year-olds. In addition, 14 per cent of CDs (one in seven) in a young person’s collection are copied.

So, how does your iPod stack up? A quick poll here is definitively “under” but we’re a squeaky clean kind of operation…

Podcasts and music: law and licensing issues

Form time to time I like to sprinkle in a bit of the law here on the blog (which is only a slight hat tip to my other life as an honest-to-goodness lawyer). I only do it when we need to, and only when I stumble upon good stuff like this great resource… last summer’s Podcast & new Media Expo panel on music licensing. One of the panelists is Colette Vogele, an expert on IP law in this area (and author of the Podcasting Legal Guide… an indispensable resource).

It covers the four different types of licenses and a primer on copyright law. Check it out here.

Olympic podcasts? Don’t look for an athlete-produced one.

The International Olympic Committee has just made NBC and other rights holders (who give them lots and lots of money) very happy. Athletes are banned from podcasting from the Olympics according to Podcasting News. Their take on the IOC guidelines:

[A]udio podcasting, video podcasting, photoblogging and vlogging are banned for Olympic athletes, media representatives, officials and staff. Anyone violating the guidelines may be banned from the Olympics and sued for damages.

Too bad. Wouldn’t it have been cool to get an insider look at some of the track athletes’ prep? Swimmers’ parties after the final lap’s been swum? This all goes back to my original theory that the Olympics have gone downhill since Lake Placid 1980… but then again, I didn’t exactly get an Eric Heiden podcast or a US Hockey video podcast then either…

Speech recognition meets the law

I am always interested in seeing technology poke its head into legal applications… check out this video where a young attorney figured out how to integrate voice recgonition software with templates for often-used forms he uses in his law practice. Wish I had that ten years ago!

RIAA: Rip your CD? Thief!

The Washington Post reports:

In legal documents in its federal case against Jeffrey Howell, a Scottsdale, Ariz., man who kept a collection of about 2,000 music recordings on his personal computer, the industry maintains that it is illegal for someone who has legally purchased a CD to transfer that music into his computer.

So, is Apple aiding and abetting this theft with iTunes? Will Fake Steve Jobs be led off in cuffs, ranting and raving about person responsibility? All I have to say is that this Scottsdale guy was probably picked out of a huuuuuge list of people who rip their CDs for personal use. Talk about winning a reverse sucky lottery…

UPDATE: Turns out dude was using these files in Kazaa, a popular file sharing program. Moral… RIAA not as evil as we thought, Washington Post, much worse reporting than we thought.

Lawmakers rattling sabres over copyright enforcement bill

Looks like Congress is making noise over copyright issues again. I’m in the middle of a project on the impact of copyright laws on podcasting and new media… while we asuredly want to protect artists and the good stuff they produce, I get a little nervous when record labels and other entities flex their muscles on the Hill to protect their economic interests… it tends to make things trickier for podcasters and independent content producers. We shall see…

Friday tip: NYU students easily bought

Memo to candidates in need of a few thousand extra votes… buy the iPod Touch in bulk and distribute at NYU. An NYU journalism class polled 3000 NYU students and discovered our long-fought for principles of democracy cashes out at about $299. So… candidates, what do you think? Suuuure it would be totally illegal, and suuuuure it might not actually be true for every NYU student, but it’s got to be better than schlepping to another meet and greet or debate. Kick back and keep one of those iPods for yourself!