Winds of change are blowing in the international Copyright panorama

Rebeca Nieto
IP Expert at Latin America IPR SME Helpdesk

Francis Gurry, WIPO’s Director General, pointed out in a recent interview the challenges posed by new scientific and technological developments for IP administration, policy and governance.

In this sense, it is nothing new that Intellectual Property Law, as any other field of law, lags behind technological, market and social realities. For this reason, it is in the hands of law-makers, authorities and industry to take all the necessary steps to adjust current regulations to the existing scientific and technological development.

However, if we actually look at the European and Latin American national and regional legislation panorama, we can notice that most of them require an update and adjustment in their copyright regulation to match the new digital reality.

In this regard, the major challenges to be addressed are the digitalization and distribution of content over Internet, the improvement of access to online content and cross boarder access, the current and future development of the “Internet of the Things”, appropriate protection of creators and fair payment for the online use of their works, among others.

Nonetheless, the digital revolution not only involves difficulties, but also opportunities. As regards copyright, creators such as Imogen Heap, are becoming aware of the business prospects that new technologies like Blockchain can bring to them. Imogen Heap, through her Mycelia project, has been the first author that has distributed her song, Tiny Human, by means of a smart contract using block chain.

Given the current context, it is not surprising that the negotiating and adopting a new Copyright legislation is not a piece of cake.

In Europe, for instance, the proposal of the Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market, has received nearly 1,000 amendments. Even so, the approval of said Directive is getting closer. On the 10th of October, the Juri Committee is expected to vote on the content of the new EU Copyright Directive.

The key issues at debate are:

  • The creation of ancillary rights for press publishers (art.11).
  • The obligation for online service providers to monitor and prevent copyright infringements by users (art. 13).
  • The mandatory exceptions related to teaching activities, text and data mining and preservation of cultural heritage (art. 3-5).
  • Fair remuneration in contracts for authors and performers (art.14-16).

It must be note that In Europe, a Community Directive of 2001 is in charge of regulating the Digital Market.

In Latin America, most national and regional copyright legislations (such as the Decision 351 of the Andean Community) also require an update to match the requirements of the digital era. It should be borne in mind that the majority of them were approved long before the irruption of the information and communication revolution.

Nonetheless, these region are taking action as reflected in the last Regional Meeting for Directors of the Copyright Offices of Latin America held in Colombia. The participating countries (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru, Dominican Republic, Uruguay and Venezuela) addressed current global issues. “Rights management in the digital environment: initiatives to make the management and ownership of digital rights more efficient” and “Orange Economy, Challenges and Opportunities in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, Intellectual Property Rights and Entrepreneurship” are one of the topics that were addressed during the Meeting.

Even though many Latin American countries have introduced modifications in their national Copyright laws over the last years, such as for Colombia, Ecuador or Brazil, as a rule of thumb, it can be said that digital challenges have not yet been fully addressed in this region.

Expect legislative changes in the near future. To be up to date about Latin America’s latest copyright and IP developments, do not forget to visit our news section or subscribe to our newsletter.

In addition, if you are planning to internationalize your creative business to Latin America, please read our Factsheet Copyright in a nutshell and our Factsheet Protecting your creations in the Andean Community, or contact our Helpline for further information.

From vlogger to freebooter – the difference a URL can make

Adriana Hernández Gallegos
Project Manager at Instituto Tecnológico de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey – ITESM

In November 2015, the number of videos that were published in Facebook pages exceeded the number of audiovisual works registered in Youtube, making Facebook the most popular platform for sharing videos. Facebook has worked hard in recent months to improve video-watching features and functions, and adjusting its algorithm to give preference to those videos that allow more interaction. Facebook has now become the giant of video-sharing in the internet.

The quantity of video posts uploaded on Facebook is impressive, but recently, many video creators are rightly complaining about the dubious origin of the videos shared on this site and the lack of copyright enforcement strategies by Facebook. And what does this have to do with you? Many of us have probably watched a video on Facebook that was uploaded without the authorization of the video creator. Actually, according to a recent report from Ogilvy and Tubular Labs, “out of the 1000 most popular Facebook videos of 2015, 725 were re-uploads by people who didn’t own the video.”

This action of downloading copyrighted content from a media hosting site and re-uploading it without the creator’s authorization is called “freebooting”, a term created by Brady Haran, during his “Hello Internet” podcast. Before the term existed the practice of re-uploading content without authorization was called “infringement”, but as Haran said, it was considered a very soft word for this practice.

Right now many people and companies continue to freeboot, impacting the economy of Youtube channels and creators. But how is this happening exactly? Remember those ads showing when you start watching a video on Youtube? Well this is part of the revenue sharing strategy from Youtube, in which the site shares a percentage of money given by companies for advertisement to the creator of the video where the ads are being shown. Believe it or not, there are people that make a living in Youtube, but they need a large number of views to make a real income from their videos. If someone posts and shares a freebooted video, the views from the freebooted video are not counted toward the number of views that are profitable to the creators. In other words, each time a freebooted video is watched, the creator of such video loses the opportunity to make a profit.

Youtube video bloggers (Vloggers) around the world have started the conversations about how this dishonest practice affects their industry, pointing in particular the lack of protection they have in some social networks and sites. Specifically, Facebook has become one of the most criticized sites by the vloggers, given that the massive number of Facebook users represents the vlogger’s main opportunity loss.

Hank Green, American entrepreneur, blogger, and vlogger, famous for his YouTube channel “Vlog Brothers”, published a blog post where he accused Facebook of cheating, lying, and downright stealing video content. Facebook responded to this accusation arguing that they are committed to help people and organizations protect their intellectual property rights, but the company has not made any substantial changes to their video management platform to prevent freebooting.

What can you do to prevent it?

If you want to promote an artist, a creator, or a vlogger; you need to provide the URL to the source material allowing users to directly access to the original media site. You can also help by reporting those videos that are being freebooted on social media and other sources. These solutions are free and take only a few clicks. It comes back to the average user to make the internet a better place.