Major content owners have been deceiving the public when it comes to the accuracy of statements about copyright [at least this time its not the content itself!!], states a complaint lodged yeserday with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission by The Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA), a lobby group representing Microsoft, Google and Yahoo! among others.
The complaint argues that content owners have been abusing their market dominance by using copyright warnings “not to educate their consumers, but to intimidate them.” It alleges that named parties have been pursuing “a nationwide pattern of unfair and deceptive trade practices by misrepresenting consumer rights under copyright law, In some cases, copyright holders threaten criminal and civil penalties against consumers who choose to exercise Constitutionally guaranteed rights.”
The group singles out Major League Baseball, the National Football League, NBC/Universal, DreamWorks, Harcourt Inc. and Penguin Group as the prime offenders. In its coverage, the Wall Street Journal notes “The conflict illustrates the shifting concept of fair use in the digital age. “Fair use” of intellectual property revolves around the question of how much, if any, of movies, books, music and other creations can be used without permission of the owners. As Internet platforms have made it easier to redistribute chunks of content without asking for approval, copyright owners have become more protective about enforcing their rights.”
Examples of ‘misleading’ copyright warnings, usually pre-roll on DVDs and online video:
— NFL telecast: “. . . . Any other use of this telecast or any pictures,
descriptions or accounts of the game without the NFL’s consent is
— MLB telecast: “. . . the accounts and descriptions of this game may not
be disseminated, without express written consent.”
— Harcourt Inc. book: “No part of this publication may be reproduced or
transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including
photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system,
without permission in writing. . . .”
The CCIA has also launched ‘Defend Fair Use’, a campaign which aims to make “big content come clean”.