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Ars Examines Outlandish "Lost To Piracy" Claims and Figures 380

Nom du Keyboard writes "For years the figures of $200 billion and 750,000 jobs lost to intellectual property piracy have been bandied about, usually as a cudgel to demand ever more overbearing copyright laws with the intent of diminishing of both Fair Use and the Public Domain. Now ARS Technica takes a look into origin and validity these figures and finds far less than the proponents of them might wish."
The Almighty Buck

Game Devs Using One-Time Bonuses to Fight Used Game Sales 229

ShackNews reports on an emerging trend which sees game publishers offer one-time bonus codes to unlock extra content for certain titles. Rock Band 2, for example, comes with a code which will allow free 20-song download, but is only usable once. NBA Live '09 has functionality to update team rosters on a daily basis, but will only do so for the original owner. "'This information and data is very valuable and it wasn't free for us,' an EA representative explained on Operation Sports. 'T-Mobile is paying for it this year for all users who buy the game new. This is a very expensive tool to use, and if you don't buy it new, then you'll have to pay for this. It isn't greed at all.'"

Copyright Board Lawyer Responds On Pandora's End 174

mattnyc99 writes "A month ago we talked about the impending death of streaming music site Pandora thanks to a very backwards fight over royalties. PopMech follows up with an article that, besides noting how insane it is that Pandora has to pay record labels for the bad songs that users skip, also gets the (three-member) Copyright Royalty Board to try and defend itself about why the government is determining royalty rates for the music industry. Quoting: 'It was uninvited,' says Richard Strasser, senior attorney for the Copyright Royalty Board. 'I don't think anybody was jumping up and down with joy in the government that they have this responsibility, but the former systems just weren't working out.'" No one seems to be trying to defend or explain why Internet radio is being hit so much harder than satellite or broadcast.

Congress May Kill NIH Open Access Research Rules 105

Savuka writes "A policy that mandates public, open access to all National Institutes of Health research is in danger. The House of Representatives is considering legislation that would change the open access policy to make it more publisher-friendly, under the false pretense of protecting copyrights. The Ars author paints the new legislation as somewhat reflective of a turf battle in Congress: 'The Intellectual Property Subcommittee clearly felt that it had been ignored during the original passage of the bill that compelled the NIH's open access policy...' The article concludes: 'Currently, the disruptions wrought by the Internet and expectations of open access are too new for a viable alternative to traditional publishing to have emerged. But it doesn't appear that the NIH policy is making a significant contribution to that disruption, and the benefits of the policy appear likely to be significant. If Congress rolls back that policy in response to disagreements with other countries over film piracy, then it could really be throwing the baby out with the bathwater.'"
The Courts

J. K. Rowling Wins $6,750 In Infringement Case 521

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "J. K. Rowling didn't make enough money on Harry Potter, so she had to make sure that the 'Harry Potter Lexicon' was shut down. After a trial in Manhattan in Warner Bros. v. RDR Books, she won, getting the judge to agree with her (and her friends at Warner Bros. Entertainment) that the 'Lexicon' did not qualify for fair use protection. In a 68-page decision (PDF) the judge concluded that the Lexicon did a little too much 'verbatim copying,' competed with Ms. Rowling's planned encyclopedia, and might compete with her exploitation of songs and poems from the Harry Potter books, although she never made any such claim in presenting her evidence. The judge awarded her $6,750 and granted her an injunction that would prevent the 'Lexicon' from seeing the light of day." Groklaw has an exhaustive discussion of the judgement.

Copyright Expert Uninvited From Canada Policy Forum 100

earthforce_1 writes "The vested interests of restrictive copyright are stacking the deck in Canada. The Public Policy Forum Symposium on intellectual property reform has bowed to pressure from certain interests and dis-invited noted copyright scholar Howard Knopf. The forum's stated mandate is ' strive for excellence in government — to serve as a neutral, independent forum for open dialogue on public policy, and to encourage reform in public sector management.' For some reason, the US Ambassador to Canada and the former head of the Canadian Motion Picture Industry Association have been invited — apparently they are perceived to have a more neutral view of what Canadian copyright laws should be? More information at Howard Knopf's blog."
The Courts

SCO Legally Assaults PJ of Groklaw 340

Litigious Bastards writes "SCO has just filed court papers saying that they were unable to subpoena PJ of Groklaw. While they apparently sent their crack team of process servers out looking for random people named Pamela Jones, it would appear that they were unable to locate the bright yellow envelope labeled 'Email PJ' on the Groklaw website to ask for directions to serve her in person. They're once again accusing her of working for IBM or Novell, and Groklaw is now hosting over 20 documents PJ claims were planted in the media in an effort to discredit her. As she says, 'And so the stupidest lawsuit in the history of the world just got stupider. And a whole lot meaner.'"

We're living in a golden age. All you need is gold. -- D.W. Robertson.