How 'Frozen' fandom changed Disney's stance on copyright infringement Disney is one of the biggest companies in the world. Currently ranked number 66 on the Fortune 500, to say that the Mouse House is rich and powerful is an understatement. An even bigger understatement would be to say that part of the reason they remain such a force to be reckoned with is the control they retain over all their properties, which now includes Star Wars, a franchise guaranteed to make them even more of a merchandise machine. From films, to toys, to parks, Walt Disney's original vision has come to fruition so completely it’s hard to imagine even he knew what was possible. And one of the chief ways Disney has kept that original vision intact is by building a reputation for being very, very litigious. Disney’s protectiveness over their copyright has become the stuff of legend. Today, Disney continues to routinely get involved in legal battles over copyright infringement. Disney is only smart to maintain the stranglehold they have on their intellectual property.
Lucas loses Star Wars copyright case at Supreme Court A prop designer who made the original Stormtrooper helmets for Star Wars has won his copyright battle with director George Lucas over his right to sell replicas. The five-year saga, which ended in the highest court in the land, has stakes of galactic proportions. For a man who has spent half a decade and almost £700,000 fighting the full force of a movie mogul's legal team, Andrew Ainsworth has refused to be weighed down. He has had bailiffs at his door demanding $20m (£12m) and has defended the onslaught in the High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court - not to mention the US. But like the iconic characters he helped create as a 27-year-old art school graduate - and which still surround him in the same modest workshop 35 years later - he has become battle hardened. "You've got to decide right at the start, can you afford the downside?" "And you've got to be able to live with it and be under no disillusions that if it all goes wrong, you're scuppered, you're bankrupt... 'Pandora's box'
Investigatory Powers Bill: what's in it, and what does it mean? Internet service providers will have to store the details of every website people visited for 12 months if the new draft Investigatory Powers Bill is passed, the government has confirmed. The measure was announced by Home Secretary Theresa May in the House of Commons and is included in a raft of new powers intended to reform the way MI5, MI6, GCHQ, and others use surveillance powers. May said that "communication records up to 12 months" will have to be stored by internet and communications service providers. This means the individual webpage -- "just the front page of the websites," in May's words -- will be kept. She distinguished between domains visited and "content" -- including individual pages, searches and other information -- which will not be stored. In a lengthy statement to parliament, May reiterated that the powers were intended to allow security services to protect the public, and particularly children, against threats including terrorism, organised crime and sexual predators.
UN privacy chief Joseph Cannataci: Snoopers' charter 'worse than scary' The UK government's proposed surveillance legislation is "worse than scary", the United Nations privacy chief has said. Joseph Cannataci, the UN's special rapporteur on privacy, attacked the government's draft Investigatory Powers Bill, saying he had never seen evidence that mass surveillance works. He also accused MPs of leading an "absolute offensive" and an "orchestrated" media campaign to distort the debate and take hold of new powers. The comments came during a live streamed keynote presentation at the Internet Governance Forum in Brazil, where leading experts from around the world have gathered to discuss the future of the internet and web policy. In a wide-ranging presentation and discussion panel Cannataci -- who has previously said the UK's digital surveillance is similar to George Orwell's 1984 -- discussed the state of surveillance and privacy around the world. "What we're talking about here is the context, and the context is completely different.
Batman and Copyright | Mad Art Lab Want your very own Batmobile? Don’t we all. But you won’t be buying one from Gotham Garage any time soon. The 9th circuit court of appeals recently ruled that their replica Batmobiles where in violation of Time Warner’s copyright. Mark Towle of Gotham Garage and his lawyers argued that cars, cartoon or otherwise, were not covered by the Batman copyright. As an artist who sells geeky jewelry at Cons, stories like this beg the question: what is copyright infringement and what isn’t? Before I go any further I need a disclaimer. I am not a lawyer, but I play one on the googles. Next some background. There are 3 legal reasons someone may reproduce copyrighted material: 1. There is also one illegal reason an artist may use copyrighted material. 4. Gotham Garage was caught by the fourth reason, as they were selling replica Batmobiles for $90,000 a piece. So what is Fair Use? This is how much fan art that is sold at Cons sneaks into fair use territory.
Did TalkTalk breach the Data Protection Act? | Rik Ferguson | Opinion On Wednesday, online criminals decided to attack the UK broadband provider TalkTalk. This wasn’t an attack aimed at interrupting its ability to do business or provide its services, this was an attack the goal of which seemed to be accessing the personal data of its millions of customers. Unfortunately, it was successful. TalkTalk have so far revealed little about the precise nature of the attack. In all likelihood this is a product of the fact that the forensic investigation is ongoing, and by its very nature complex to conclude. The facts as we understand them today are these. TalkTalk was attacked on 21 October, although they have described the attack as “significant and sustained”, perhaps indicating that the initial criminal access may have begun considerably earlier. TalkTalk’s website was taken offline “as soon as they noticed unusual activity”. There is a very strong case to be made that such a large volume of extremely sensitive data should have been more effectively protected.
New rules to better protect children from inappropriate video game content From today, it is a criminal offence to sell video games with a “12” rating to those younger than that age, in the latest move by government to ensure children are protected from unsuitable material. The new rules are part of a transformation in the way in which video games are regulated. A new system simplifying the ratings system comes into effect today after Parliament passed the Video Recordings (Labelling) Regulations 2012. Video games will now be classified by a single authority and anyone convicted of selling restricted games to under-age children could face hefty fines or a prison sentence. Culture Minister Ed Vaizey said: “The UK has one of the most dynamic and innovative video games industries in the world, and the games they produce not only entertain millions, but can also educate and foster creativity. All games will now be age-rated by the Video Standards Council (VSC) under the Pan-European Games Information (PEGI) system. 2.
There is no shortcut to protect children from violent video games | Nathan Ditum | Opinion At last! Another reason for everyone to get over-excited about video games. Thanks, headteachers’ group from Cheshire that sent a brick-subtle letter to parents threatening the involvement of the police and social services if their children are allowed access to violent video games. This is terrific work. Actually the letter isn’t entirely misguided, especially if you consider that nearly all of the schools that make up the Nantwich Education Partnership are primary schools, a truly vulnerable age group, and that the letter also deals with social media. But the problem remains that the letter talks about the dangers of games and the internet as though it’s describing some faraway land of digital monsters and sexual predators. And that’s frustrating because, although it’s damagingly heavy-handed and sounds in places like a dog barking at fireworks, the letter has a point. And let’s contrast these 18-rated games with a big, friendly 3-rated title, Fifa 15.
China's wall of silence over missing Hong Kong booksellers Mr Zhang, whose residency is in the former British colony, is thought to have been held as part of a vicious backlash from Beijing aimed at the firm’s trade in thinly-sourced books which are critical of Chinese leaders. Chinese police also swooped on two of Mr Zhang’s associates at Mighty Current while they were staying in the mainland last October; general manager Liu Por and the company’s founder Lin Rongli, who were both seized in Shenzhen. At around the same time, Guo Minhai, who owns the controlling stake in the firm, also vanished. The disappearance last week of a fifth man, Lee Bo, who has British citizenship, intensified speculation that Chinese agents had been operating outside the mainland in its campaign against the booksellers. A demonstrator wears a mask depicting Lee Bo, during a protest over the disappearance of booksellers in Hong Kong His wife, Choi Ka-ping, had initially told Chinese media that she was “afraid” when her husband disappeared on December 30th.
Private messages at work can be read by employers, says court Image copyright Thinkstock Employers can read workers' private messages sent via chat software and webmail accounts during working hours, judges have ruled. The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) said a firm that read a worker's Yahoo Messenger chats sent while he was at work was within its rights. Judges said he had breached the company's rules and that his employer had a right to check on his activities. Such policies must also protect workers against unfettered snooping, they said. The judges, sitting in the ECHR in Strasbourg, handed down their decision on Tuesday. The impact on domestic courts differs. The worker, an engineer in Romania, had hoped the court would rule that his employer had breached his right to confidential correspondence when it accessed his messages and subsequently sacked him in 2007. His employer had discovered that he was using Yahoo Messenger for personal contacts, as well as professional ones. Image copyright Getty Images Yahoo Messenger 'Blanket ban'
Website accessibility and the Equality Act 2010 | SEQ Legal Discrimination against people with disabilities is prohibited by law, but website owners often don't realise how the law affects websites. A 2005 study found that as many as 97% of European public service websites failed to provide a minimum level of accessibility. There are few reasons to think that commercial websites are more accessible than governmental websites. The Equality Act 2010 Since 2 December 1996 (when the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 came into force) website owners have been obliged to ensure that their websites are accessible to users with disabilities. A person ... concerned with the provision of a service to the public or a section of the public (for payment or not) must not discriminate against a person requiring the service by not providing the person with the service. Accordingly, neglecting to provide a service to a disabled person that is normally provided to other persons is unlawful discrimination. Applying the law: an example Reasonable adjustments