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Yesterday, as is reported by the 1709 Blog, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) announced that “Music, Movie, TV and Broadband Leaders Team to Curb Online Content Theft“. The press release not only obtrusively evidences the change in wording from “piracy” to “content theft” (see “Too Sexy for Being an Insult: Framing Piracy“), but also advertised two remarkable initiatives: the introduction of a common framework for so-called “Copyright Alerts” and the foundation of a “Center for Copyright Information“. Taken together, these initiatives constitute the most comprehensive attempt of private regulation in the field of copyright since the (failed) attempt of establishing all-encompassing Digital Rights Management (DRM) systems at the end of the 1990s and the early 2000s (see also “DRM in the Music Industry: Revival or Retreat?“).

Screenshot of the Center for Copyright Information HomepageAccording to the RIAA, the “Copyright Alerts System” will address (alleged) online copyright infringement

with a series of early alerts — up to six — in electronic form, notifying the subscriber that his or her account may have been misused for online content theft of film, TV shows or music. It will also put in place a system of “mitigation measures” intended to stop online content theft on those accounts that appear persistently to fail to respond to repeated Copyright Alerts. Read the rest of this entry »

In their book “Information Feudalism” (2002), Peter Drahos and John Braithwaite argue that the “danger of intellectual property lies in the threat to liberty” (p. 3). Also Jamie Boyle, in his open access book “The Public Domain” (2008, PDF) warns against the potential of strong copyrights to interfere with some of the most basic human rights such as free speech. Only rarely, however, these dangers become so clearly visible as in the current controversy around a Greenpeace campaign video.

It all started with a very successful Superbowl commercial by VW, featuring a child as Darth Vader and being enormously successful on YouTube with over 40 million viewers so far:

Inspired by this commercial, Greenpeace created a parody featuring several kids playing other famous Star Wars characters and attacking VW for its CO2 policies on the campaign website When today I wanted to see the video embedded at the site, I however only encountered the message delivered by YouTube that the video was not available due to copyright infringement (see screenshot below). Read the rest of this entry »

The Book

Governance across borders: transnational fields and transversal themes. Leonhard Dobusch, Philip Mader and Sigrid Quack (eds.), 2013, epubli publishers.
June 2023

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