Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Yet another danger of the current state of copyright...

Techcrunch reports on the launch of Attributor, a startup company that monitors copyright infringement on the web. The timing is interesting: just now there is a mild uproar in some blog circles in the Netherlands about Cozzmozz. Where Attributor only monitors, and leaves it to the copyrightholders to decide whether and which action to take, this company takes it a significant step further: they also takes legal action on behalf of the authors (in exchange for a nice cut of course).

This blog quoted a short article in full. Dutch copyright law allows for a kind of 'fair use', which is vaguely formulated though, making this a borderline case. The full article was quoted, a no-no, but it was so short it would have been difficult to leave out something in the context of the argument made against the stance of the interview. This took place a while ago. Then out of the blue, several days ago Cozzmozz threatened to sue but offered a deal, first 240 then 160 euro instead of 600, which the blogger in case chose to pay. Though offers of support were flooding in, as an ME patient, her energy is limited and she decided that she could not afford a long story.

The real danger here is that when copyright holders transfer their rights to outifits, which exploit them in exchange for a cut, the grey area between the legal and the moral right disappears. Would the freelance journalist who wrote the article have chosen to sue this blogger herself?

What's legally right may not differ from what's morally right. Yet another reason to clear up copyright laws.

(edited 6/12, 20.20 - made the difference between attributor and cozzmozz clearer).


rich said...

Hi Driek,

I work for Attributor and wanted to clear up one aspect of your post. We allow our customers to send a DMCA Takedown notice through our service, but we do not take any legal action on their behalf - nor do we take any "cut" of any judgment they may gain should they find unauthorized use.

Our customers pay a monthly fee based on the amount of content they want to monitor.

Unfortunately, I don't speak Dutch but am happy to engage with key folks to explain our service, especially the concept of link attribution which we hope will result in more content being made available.


Driek said...

Hi Rich,

Thanks for your comment. I have changed the post to reflect the difference in service between the two companies. I have no trouble with services like attributor, as they leave the final decision to the copyrightholder.

rich said...

Thanks Driek - I appreciate it. We will always leave the decision to act . . . or not to the owner or creator of the original content.