Corporate Copyright Scofflaws 0005 – The UK News Media – Including Rupert Murdoch

The largest copyright pirates are the large corporations, particularly in the content distribution business. Yes, those companies who scream the loudest that their customers are ‘pirating’ movies, songs, books, etc. In this series, we are going to look at cases where these companies have engaged in large scare copyright infringement.

In all cases I will be working with published information. It is possible that this information may not be up to date, or may not accurately reflect the current status of the copyright infringement. If I am supplied documentary evidence which shows a different status, I will publish an update. In cases where a lawsuit ensued, and the settlement was sealed, I will not update the published information, unless I am provided with:

1) A copy of the settlement
2) Permission to publish the settlement

While I realize this may cause problems for one or more of the parties involved, I believe in only publishing things I can reference.

Note that the above text will appear in every article, if you’ve read it once, feel free to skip down to the divider.

*****

We’ve all heard Rupert Murdoch screaming about how Google is stealing his money. He was quoted in the Guardian as saying, ‘I’ll Stop Google Taking Our News For Nothing.’

You would expect such a champion of copyright to treat everyone’s creations with the same respect he claims he wants for the creations of his employees at the various news organizations that he owns. But this is not the case.

Rupert, along with other owners of news organizations, did a lot of lobbying to get changes made to the Digital Economy Act 2010, and boy did they get a sweetheart deal. Remember when ‘The Independent‘ was accused of taking a photo from Flickr and using it without the owner’s permission? They did eventually pay up, but only their actions touched off a firestorm all over the net. If it wasn’t for last minute changes to the Digital Economy Act 2010, The Independent would have been able to do this to anyone, anytime, and the photographers would have had little recourse.

Seriously. The Digital Economy Act 2010 section on photographic works was a huge giveaway to the newspapers. It caused a huge fissure in the photographic community, with the British Association of Picture Libraries and Agencies attempting to claim it represented all photographers, and the vast majority of photographers saying that it didn’t. Copyright Action for Photographers and Photograph Users has a series of articles on the fight against this part of the Act.

The problem clause was eventually removed, however there is the question of how it got introduced into the Act in the first place, and the answer is lobbying. Rupert and his pals wanted a free ride, and they almost got it.

The good thing is that now photographers in the United Kingdom know who the enemy is – and their name ends in LLC.

Wayne Borean

Wednesday April 14, 2010

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