One of the most significant areas of growth in respect of intellectual property protection is in the field of digital communications. According to WIPO' s figures announced in March, digital communications account for 7.1% of total applications. Optics has seen an increase of 8.5% in registrations and audio visual technology an increase in applications of 3.8%.
Open Public Data providing Oil to the Digital Machine?
Neelie Kroes, Vice President of the European Commission responsible for the Digital Agenda, has suggested that public data should be made available free of charge and thus act as the oil of the digital age. The Vice President's comments included 'Opening it up is not just good for transparency, it also stimulates great web content, and provides the fuel for a future economy.'
She envisaged that providing material from libraries, archives and museums will assist with stimulating web content. Neelie Kroes recognised the need to enhance the protection of the individual and their Intellectual Property rights, but also to take steps to open up the Internet with giving greater opportunity and transparency.
If her proposals ever became law, this could be a cause of concern for various institutions hoping to monetise their archives, but a great opportunity for those wanting access to great content with little or no expense.
Wiki Founder predicts Death of Hollywood
Wikipedia Founder, Jimmy Wales, speaking at the recent Geneva based Global Internet Conference organised by the Internet Society, made two predictions about the role and development of the Internet.
Wales foresaw increased worldwide connectivity and suggested we imagine a world where everyone had access to knowledge. However, his most poignant remarks were reserved for the current film industry and arguably could apply to television as well.
Jimmy Wales commented '...No one will notice when Hollywood dies'. He compared the demise of current studio model akin to the death of the hardbound encyclopaedia. He predicted that the film industry would evolve into collaborative video making communities. He continued by saying 'Communities will produce Hollywood-and-better quality films collaboratively and these will become more popular than Hollywood and it will destroy their model. Mass collaboration, mass creativity, will change everything'. Something to ponder upon over a canape and glass of champagne at this year's Cannes Film Festival.
UN to review Internet Governance in 2013
The UN International Telecommunications Union Secretary General, Hamadoun Toure, announced that Internet Governance would be considered at the 2013 World Telecom Policy Forum. This would form part of reviewing the International Telecommunications Regulations (ITR) which was described by Malcolm Johnson, Director of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), as the 'only global treaty addressing international telecommunications‚' The ITU has 193 members and 178 are bound to the Treaty's basic principles. The focus for the Treaty review would be Internet misuse, price transparency, and anti spam and countering fraud.
Book Publishing Copyright is at a Crossroads
Anne Bergman-Tahon, the director of the Federation of European Publishers, has expressed concern about the protection of copyright especially in relation to the Internet. Speaking ahead of the Charles Clarke lecture in April, Copyright at the Crossroads, she remarked 'The most visible and most discussed issue surrounding copyright is of course how Intellectual Property rights should be respected on the Internet'.
She outlined how the Federation of European Publishers is in discussion with legislators to create a fair market place on the Internet. Anne Bergman-Tahon expressed hope that improvements in EU regulation would clamp down on websites who are making money from book sales, but not accounting to the publisher or author alike. She also flagged the ARROW (Accessible Registries of Rights Information and Orphan Works) which is a database that includes identifying rights holders of books, and eventually their digitisation and availability on the Internet. She said, 'Without copyright, many valuable books would not be written, publishers would no longer invest, and the public at large would be deprived of high value content.'
YouTube: You Pay for Copyright Infringement
The US Appellate Court in the case of Viacom International, Inc et al v YouTube Inc. have given a preliminary decision that YouTube, owned by Google, could be liable for copyright infringements in relation to online material appearing on their Website. The issue seems to revolve around the extent of YouTube's knowledge about infringement of material. Their conduct could be such so as not to afford them protection pursuant to the so called 'safe harbour' clauses of the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act which limits the liability of online service providers.
A Viacom spokesperson said in response to the decision 'We are pleased with the decision by the US Court of Appeals. The Court delivered a definitive, common sense message - intentionally ignoring theft is not protected by law.'
It would appear that each breach has to be considered upon its own merit and that general awareness of a possible breach is not sufficient and that knowledge was required. The issue is whether the internet service provider has the right and ability to control infringing activity to require 'item- specific' knowledge.
Intellectual Property is about the New
The Director General of the Intellectual Property Office (WIPO ), Francis Gurry, said on World Intellectual Property Day, that society must embrace invention and innovation.
He said, ’World Intellectual Property Day, is an opportunity to celebrate the contribution that intellectual property makes to innovation and cultural creation – and the immense good that these two social phenomena bring to the world... But we have to get the balances right, and that is why it is so important to talk about Intellectual Property.
On this World Intellectual Property Day, I would encourage young people in particular to join in the discussion, because Intellectual Property is, by definition, about change, about the new. It is about achieving the transformations that we want to achieve in society.’
Gurry also highlighted that the most complex area for intellectual property is the Internet, which is becoming, apart from its complexity, also controversial. This is especially the case when one reviews matters across jurisdictions and the need for effective international enforcement of Intellectual Property rights and dispute resolution.