3 Count: The Envelope Please

This is daily column on Plagiarism Today where the site brings you three of the days biggest, most important copyright and plagiarism news links. If you want to offer your feedback on the column, use the contact form or just follow me on Twitter at @plagiarismtoday.

1: Taylor Wessing Global Intellectual Property Index 2009

The law firm Taylor Wessing has released its 2009 Global Intellectual Property Index, which it says “provides an assessment of the best and worst jurisdictions to obtain, exploit, enforce and attack particular types of IP”. The results were not very surprising this year with the United Kingdom taking the top spot, followed by Germany (which moved up one spot) and the United States (which Germany bumped down).

At the bottom of the 24-country list was Brazil, India and China, with China being the worst.

What is most interesting is that most of the countries on the list improved their “rating” since the first study last year, but the United States dropped 11 points, largely due to a “slip” in the patent index. down to 751. Still, that puts it well above China who, despite a 43 point improvement still only had a score of 491. The U.S. is also number one in the copyright index of the study.

2: RealNetworks accuses MPAA of antitrust violations

Next up, the fight between Real and the MPAA has gotten even dirtier as Real has now filed an antitrust complaint against the MPAA. As most probably already know the MPAA sued Real over its RealDVD product, which allowed users to rip DVDs and store them to their hard drives.

According to Real, the MPAA, which is made up of several different studios, conspired to boycott Real after the launch of the RealDVD project, which is currently not available for sale due to a restraining order. The company believes that the MPAA’s members engaed in a “horizontal conspiracy” to blacklist RealNetworks and other Real properties.

Whether this will pan out or not remains to be seen, but others have tried antitrust allegations as part of copyright lawsuits and, typically, have failed. Still, if Real is able to prove a conspiracy, that could change.

3: A Book Author Wonders How to Fight Piracy

Finally today, author Peter Wayner has posted an article on the New York Times site about book piracy and the problems it creates. He feels, as the author of technical textbooks, that the widespread piracy of textbooks has had an overwhelmingly negative impact and cautions that technical books are the “canary” warning other genres since they are typically pirated first.

One interesting point he makes, in a direct attempt to answer Cory Doctorow, is that obscurity is not his enemy. Once his books were pirated, his sales did not go up in any meaningful way. Whether this is unique to him or a broad trend will need more study but it seems to reason that, while piracy may help some authors, for those that write technical books, who are usually obscure even when their books are purchased, it might not.

He also points out that, even as other types of book publishing have seen growth, the tech publishing industry shrank by 8% last year. What exactly this means for books as it relates to piracy remains to be seen.


That’s it for the three count today, we’ll be back tomorrow with three more copyright links. If you have a link that you want to suggest a link for the column or have any proposals to make it better. Feel free to leave a comment or send me an email. I hope to hear from you.

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