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First off today, Reuters is reporting that the European Parliament has rejected ratification of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) by a vote of 478 to 39 with 165 abstentions. The trade agreement, which was an attempt to harmonize copyright and trademark enforcement across signatories, was roundly criticized in the EU and was the subject of mass protests against it. The treaty was signed by the European Commission but, without ratification, will not likely become law. However, the European Court of Justice is expected to rule on the treaty and may find that it is compatible with current EU law, meaning that no Parliament vote is necessary. However, in the wake of the protests, the European Commission has stopped all attempts at ratification, meaning the treaty is, most likely, completely dead in the EU.
Next up today, Cyrus Farivar at Ars Technica writes that the United States is currently negotiating what is seen as the next big copyright trade agreement, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which is an attempt to set standards for copyright enforcement across many countries along the Pacific Rim. However, the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) has said that they are working in language to protect copyright exemptions, namely requiring all countries that sign it to respect a three-rule test that was codified first in other international treaties. The test calls for exemptions to copyright law that protect uses of copyrighted works similar to what the U.S. considers fair use and includes exemptions for criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research according to the USTR. However, details of the exemptions were not revealed as the treaty is being negotiated in secret, which has led to a great deal of criticism how the treaty is being handled.
Finally today, Rosa Golijan at MSNBC reports that Arizona attorney Charles Carreon has dropped his lawsuit against webcomic artist Matt Inman, fundraising site Indiegogo and two charities, the American Cancer Society and the National Wildlife Fund. In June, Carreon sent Inman a threatening letter on behalf of the comedy site FunnyJunk alleging that Inman had made defamatory statements against the site during an earlier public disagreement over FunnyJunk’s copyright practices (which led to many of Inman’s comics appearing on the site). Carreon demanded Inman remove the statements and pay $20,000 in damages. Inman instead declined but offered to raise the money via an online fundraiser, which used Indiegogo, and then donate the money to the charities above. Inman also offered to provide proof of the money via a photograph, which would be mailed along with an unflattering drawing of FunnyJunk’s mother trying to seduce a bear. Carreon took offense to this and, personally, sued all involved. However, the backlash against Carreon and FunnyJunk drove the fundraiser to be a wild success, raising over 11x the amount requested, and leading to a great deal of ridicule of Carreon. Carreon, withdrew the lawsuit without prejudice, meaning that he can refile at any time, but has claimed victory in the matter saying he just wanted to ensure the money went to the promised charities, despite earlier claims to the contrary. Inman, who has received legal help from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, may still countersue for legal costs.
That’s it for the three count today. We will 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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