25 August 2015

Today in IP Insanity

The city of Inglewood, California attempted to use copyright to prevent people from posting videos of their city council meetings.

Thankfully, thee judge called bullsh%$ on the town's arguments:
Joseph Teixeira doesn't like Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts, so he makes Youtube videos featuring City Council meeting footage.

The Mayor and Council decided to silence their critic by paying to register the videos of their city meetings with the US Copyright Office, then spending $50,000 in taxpayer money to retain a lawyer to sue Teixeira for copyright infringement.

The court was unimpressed with Inglewood's leaders: it ruled that the council meetings weren't copyrightable; that councils can't make money from public records; and that the videos -- in the event that they used anything copyrighted -- were fair use. Now they face the possibility that Teixeira will recover fees for his pro bono counsel -- more tax dollars flushed away in an illegal bid to prevent a critic from speaking.

Then there's the Streisand Effect: in bringing this action, the City of Inglewood increased traffic to Teixeira's videos by five hundred percent.
(emphasis original)

It's nice that the judge slapped them down firmly.

Increasingly, IP is used to censor criticism and to privatize the public space, and it is a bad thing.


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