Eminem v John Key back in court

Well, it’s a recording company suit and a National party drone, but it goes to show how slowly the wheels of the justice system turn.

Lawyers for American rapper Eminem and the National Party were back in court today, over the copyright of music featured in the party’s TV advertisements during its 2014 election campaign.

Eight Mile Style LLC and Martin Affiliated LLC, Detroit-based publishers of Eminem’s copyrights, accused the party of using backing music to the rapper’s song Lose Yourself, from his 8 Mile album.

Greg Arthur who appeared for the party, told Justice Brendan Brown in the High Court at Wellington he wanted to split trial into two parts – one for liability and one for damages.

Mr Arthur said the two issues were “clearly divided” and a split trial would save the time spent in trial.

He said the liability trial would take about two weeks, possibly more, but calculating damages “wasn’t straightforward” so liability should be established first.

Garry Williams representing Eight Mile Style LLC and Martin Affiliated LLC, disagreed, saying his clients wanted a single trial.

He said the assessment of damages wasn’t complex and it could be dealt with in a single trial.

“They are issues that arise in copyright cases all the time,” he said.

Justice Brown held off his decision and gave the parties the opportunity to come up with a resolution by March 23.

Read more »

Paypal blocking payments to VPN and SmartDNS services but you can use it to buy other ‘bad’ stuff

Paypal has announced that they are stopping processing payments for users of VPN and SmartDNS services ostensibly because they say it is enabling copyright infringement, such as geo-blockades, which are violating its terms of service.

PayPal is widely known for their aggressive stance towards BitTorrent sites, Usenet providers and file-hosting services, but VPN, proxy and SmartDNS providers might now suffer the same fate too.

This week PayPal stopped accepting payments for a company that provides VPN and SmartDNS tools, stating that these may facilitate copyright infringement.

So-called “unblocker” tools can be used to bypass geo-filtering blockades which Netflix and other video platforms have in place.

According to the message PayPal sent to UnoTelly and possibly others, these services are against the company’s policies because they help users to bypass copyright restrictions.

“Under the PayPal Acceptable Use Policy, PayPal may not be used to send or receive payments for items that infringe or violate any copyright, trademark, right of publicity or privacy, or any other proprietary right under the laws of any jurisdiction,” PayPal’s email reads.

“This includes transactions for any device or technological measure that descrambles a scrambled work, decrypts an encrypted work or otherwise avoids, bypasses, removes, deactivates or impairs a technological measure without the authority of the copyright owner.”    Read more »

Fatty German Sausage export halted until at least October

Kim Dotcom

Kim Dotcom

Kim Dotcom continues to waste court time with pointless appeals.

His appeal for the extradition decision will now be heard in August this year.

The appeal against the decision to extradite Kim Dotcom and his fellow Megaupload co-accused Mathias Ortmann, Bram van der Kolk and Finn Batato will be heard in August.

In December, Judge Nevin Dawson ruled there was a case to answer in the copyright violation, money laundering and racketeering charges brought by the US government against the Megaupload founders.   Read more »

Get ready for the next media-driven TTPA storm in a teacup: copyright cost

Apparently, the copyright changes will cost every man, woman and child about a $1 a month – roughly.  Or, if you add it all up, $55m a year.

Not that you’d notice mind you.

New Zealand consumers could face higher costs than first predicted as a result of copyright changes in the Trans Pacific Partnership, newly released documents show.

The 12-country trade deal, which is expected to be signed off by leaders in Auckland next month, is estimated to have net economic benefits for New Zealand of up to $2.7 billion per year from 2030.

The biggest costs will come from concessions on copyright. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) says the cost to consumers and businesses of extending the copyright term from 50 years to 70 years will eventually rise to around $55 million a year.

However, Treasury advice released to the Labour Party under the Official Information Act showed there was uncertainty about this estimate.

Oh look, a Labour Party-driven, Media-boosted  beat-up.

So, what this means is that the movie you want to buy that’s already 50 years old, or the book you want to buy from an author who’s already been dead for 50 years, will now attract a copyright charge for an additional 20 years.   Read more »

Copyright comes off Mein Kampf – German sales go through the roof

Hitler’s anti-Semitic manifesto Mein Kampf will be on sale in Germany on January 8, for the first time since World War II.

In accordance with European law, a copyright expires 70 years after the death of the author, whereupon the published writings are officially in the public domain.

A team of six scholars from the Institute of Contemporary History in Munich led by Christian Hartmann will release 4,000 copies of the now 1,984 page book, which will include 3,700 critical annotations by the historians to demystify Hitler’s propaganda.

In the face of controversy over their decision to publish a new version of the book, with critics saying you can’t “annotate the devil”, the academics arguedthat the world is better off with their version in the mix.

“We are like a bomb disposal unit, rendering relics from the Nazi-era useless,” the author told ZDF, a German TV station.

“It’s 90 years since the book was written, so it has lost its power to influence people,” Hartmann commented further on the Heute current affairs show.

“Specific topics covered in it are forgotten in history,” Hartmann said. “We now have a critical reference to the book, which will work internationally.”

I understand the book and its author have left a huge gash in the nation’s psyche, but I’ve never really supported the idea of banning the book.  You might as well ban shoes because Hitler wore them.    Read more »

Why Dotcom’s appeal is forlorn

Yeah Kim, those cuffs are for you

Yeah Kim, those cuffs are for you

Kim Dotcom and his lawyers were full of bravado yesterday, claiming they will appeal. They can and have.

But I think if they, and it would be helpful if the media did as well, read the judgment there is one damning paragraph from Judge Nevin Dawson that they should take heed of.

[698] This eligibility Court has received an extraordinarily large volume of material to consider, and the hearing took over 9 weeks before completion. The parties were informed by this Court that all matters relevant to this eligibility hearing would be heard at the hearing and decisions would issue accordingly. At the end of the hearing, all parties confirmed to this Court that none of them had any further issues they wished to raise.

[699] Given the very large volume of material presented during the hearing it is not possible to issue decisions that would be less than encyclopaedic in length in order to cover every minor point alluded to in the hearing. There is no need to do this. Much of the material presented to this Court has not been relevant to an eligibility hearing and a number of the submissions were unsupported by appropriately sworn evidence. They do not come near to undermining the applicant’s case or point to a breach of the duty of candour and good faith. If some aspects of the parties submissions or evidence has not been referred to in this judgment that is because it was not relevant to the decision given.

That is legal speak for saying that screeds of what the defence produced to support their application was irrelevant and unsupported by facts. Horse-shit in other words.   Read more »

And so the media-induced ‘panic’ about TPP starts

Guess what?  Under TPP, Customs can stop products they think violate copyrights or trademarks.

Customs will be given new powers to hold goods at the border that they suspect breach copyright or trade marks under the Trans Pacific Partnership.

And those who find themselves on trade mark infringement charges could pay more, with New Zealand courts to be given new discretion to award additional damages.

Those penalties would come on top of the compensatory damages already provided for under New Zealand law for trade mark infringement.

TPP will also require a new ‘patent linkage’ system to be established, where a pharmaceutical patent holder would be notified if a generic version of their product is submitted to Medsafe for regulatory approval.

New details on the TPP were released by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Mfat) today in the form of fact sheets, including one on intellectual property.

Customs will need to be given new powers that would allow it to act on its own initiative to temporarily detain material suspected of breaching copyright and trade marks.

The Government has also agreed to extend existing laws on technological protection measures (TPMs). Read more »

A question of Ethics.

Scoop is concerned with Ethics. In particular an ethical paywall.
It turns out an ethical paywall is about consumers having a conscience and being prepared to pay for what was previously free content. It is about paying for original content if it is used professionally by purchasing a license to use the content.


A noticeboard

This is quite interesting as the vast majority of Scoop is press releases which are original content written not by Scoop but by other organisations. In those cases Scoop is essentially the noticeboard on which other people’s content is posted. In that situation professional organisations are paying a license to view the noticeboard and other organisations content which Scoop is now claiming copyright on.


It is a very interesting business model indeed that claims copyright on other people’s work. Even Kim Dotcom, when charging for access to other peoples content on Mega, never claimed that he had copyright on the work that he provided access to.

Is it ethical to claim copyright over other organisations’ original content?


Read more »

Copyright versus Parallel Importing

Why would Sky or TVNZ be in control of where you are allowed to go on the Internet?  If you want to pay to access a streaming service in another country to get content that TVNZ (say) have local broadcasting rights to, why should you be stopped?

And if there is a company that helps you do this a little easier, are they assisting your parallel import or assisting you to breaching copyright?

Four New Zealand media companies recently joined forces to flex their collective muscles against Call Plus-owned media companies Orcon, Slingshot and Bypass Network services.

The ”Big Four” claim the companies are breaching copyright and operating outside the law by providing customers access to otherwise blocked international TV and movie services.

The companies have threatened legal action by way of ”cease and desist” letters sent to the alleged copyright infringers, who at this stage appear to be standing firm on the legality of their unblocking services. Read more »

No more delays for Dotcom says judge



Tick, tock, time’s nearly up for Kim Dotcom after a judge turned down his request to delay his extradition proceedings until October.

NBR reports:

Kim Dotcom and his co-accused have lost a bid to delay their extradition hearing to October this year.

The US government wants Mr Dotcom and co-accused Finn Batato, Mathias Ortmann and Bram van der Kolk to go the US to face copyright infringement charges for their roles in file-sharing site Mega Upload.   Read more »