Intellectual property rights and their protection
A free email alerter of the latest news items and associated URLs.
IPR and electronic information
IPR is a key issue for content owners in the electronic information age. There are many levels to the on-going discussions:
- what are the current legal situations in different countries and how do they relate to multimedia?
- do we need new laws to protect content in the information society?
- what technical tricks can be used to help protect IPR?
- can we bypass some of the problems with new business models? (See also the topic section on Business models and the market on this site).
IPR resources online
The International Chamber of Commerce runs an online service to "demystify the subject of intellectual property and to examine the issues surrounding it", explain what intellectual property is, why it is important, and how it works. The pages expand on how intellectual property rights affect society and anticipate a number of questions which readers are likely to ask. The site aims to provide responses to questions such as:
- Is the intellectual property system fair for both producers and users of intellectual property?
- Do intellectual property rights help or hinder the protection of the environment?
- What role does intellectual property protection play on the Internet?
Oxford IPR Centre
The Oxford Intellectual Property Research Centre, "facilitates and conducts advanced research into all aspects of Intellectual Property, particularly the role of intellectual property in the light of the new technologies". Research is relevant in industries ranging from film to pharmaceuticals.
EU IPR helpdesk
The EU's INNOVATION runs an Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) helpdesk with three main tasks:
- to publicise the importance of protecting and exploiting Europe's IPR assets, with particular emphasis on developments arising from EU-funded RTD projects;
- to assist projects in locating and licensing technologies;
- to support and assist in registering, protecting and exploiting inventions.
A website which includes news and resources on IPR issues is available, as is an electronic service that alerts "subscribers" when the web site has been updated.
URL: IPR-Helpdesk http://www.ipr-helpdesk.org/
UK IP portal
The UK IP Portal web site is a UK Government-backed resource on Intellectual Property, covering: copyright, designs, patents and trade marks. Sections on the site are divided into: intellectual property explained; resources and links; latest IP news. The developers are keen to get comments from users concerning the site.
Single patent for Europe
The European Commission's IPR Helpdesk issued the following communication concerning a single patent for Europe, which we publish verbatim.
"Establishing a European area of research and innovation is a key objective to ensure economic growth and accompanying employment within the Union. At the recent European Council meeting in Lisbon the conclusions highlighted one aspect of this objective that of securing a Community patent for Europe.
"The idea of a single patent for Europe is not new. The Treaty of Rome in 1958 provided the economic and political framework under which to bring forward the idea of a European Patent. As a result the six countries of the European Economic Community (EEC) drew up the first European patent project in 1960. This first attempt failed, but in 1968 three countries, France, Germany and the Netherlands, revived the idea of the European patent by dividing the initiative into two parts. First there was to be a convention open to all countries which defined a common grant procedure and secondly a convention defining the Community patent which was to be effective throughout all EEC Member States."
"The current European patent system is governed by the Munich Convention. This system established a common patent procedure that covers up to 19 European countries. The very first European patent was filed in 1977 and since then close to one million European patents have been filed. The idea behind the original Community patent, which at this time does not exist, was that it would be granted following a common procedure similar to the current European patent."
"The need for patent reform was highlighted during consultations on the Green Paper on Innovation (see URL below) and on the Community patent (see URL below) . It has now become a key issue for the R&D community in Europe. Enterprises, research centres, universities which want to secure their inventions through patents have to cope with a patent system in Europe that is seen as complex and expensive. This is particularly striking for companies operating in the US where the patent system is much less expensive and where a single patent automatically covers the whole market. This situation appears more and more inconsistent with a single European market and a single European currency."
"The Lisbon conclusions announcing the intention to have a Community patent by the end of 2001, which is simple and inexpensive to obtain, will surely benefit Europe's innovation community and SME's in particular."
More information regarding this and all other aspects of Intellectual Property Rights in Europe are available from the IPR-Helpdesk website or by sending an e-mail to the address below.
URL: Lisbon European Council meeting conclusions http://europa.eu.int/council/off/conclu/mar2000/index.htm
URL: Green Paper on Innovation http://europa.eu.int/en/record/green/gp9512/ind_inn.htm
URL: Community patent http://europa.eu.int/comm/internal_market/en/intprop/indprop/index.htm
Media, information society and data protection
The European Commission's Media, Information Society and Data Protection web site features a link to the proposal for a Directive on copyrights and related rights in the information society which incorporates changes sought by the European Parliament. The pages also feature links to a number of related directives.
Global Business Dialogue for Electronic Commerce and IPR
The GBDe is a world-wide private sector initiative to facilitate development of e-commerce by proposing solutions to remove barriers to it. The European steering group is headed by Thomas Middelhoff, CEO of Bertelsmann AG. The organisation has issued a group policy paper on Intellectual Property Protection.
URL: policy paper http://www.fujitsu.co.jp/hypertext/Events/gbde-ipr/
URL: GBDe web site http://www.gbd.org/
Online courses IPR
The Pew Learning and Technology Program based in the US has published, "Who Owns Online Courses and Course Materials? Intellectual Property Policies for a New Learning Environment", along with links covering intellectual property issues in the field of online learning.
WIPO and copyright
The copyright treaties agreed by the members of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) are available on the web, alongside a wide variety of related resources. Previous draft versions are available from the US Copyright Office site, the site also includes a great deal of information on Copyright issues. Comments on the treaties and a wide range of related papers are available from the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) copyright site, which also publishes a free email newsletter providing news and views on the latest developments in copyright law.
URL: copyright treaties http://www.wipo.org/eng/newindex/index.htm
URL: previous drafts http://lcweb.loc.gov/copyright/wipo/wipo.html
URL: US Copyright Office http://lcweb.loc.gov/copyright/
URL: EFF http://www.eff.org/
European Copyright User Platform (ECUP)
The European Copyright User Platform (ECUP) published a number of position papers concerning the WIPO treaties . Further sources, particularly focussed on copyright and user concerns are also available from the ECUP web site. ECUP provided a "focal point" for the ECUP+ Concerted Action, supported by the European Bureau of Library and Documentation Association (EBLIDA) and funded by the Libraries Programme of the European Commission (DG XIII/E-4) during FP4.
URL: WIPO position papers http://www.kaapeli.fi/~eblida/ecup/other_reports/
URL: ECUP http://www.kaapeli.fi/~eblida/ecup/index.html
The Digital Future Coalition
The Digital Future Coalition is committed to "preserving the time-tested balance between the rights of owners of intellectual property and the traditional use privileges of the public". The DFC is a group of over 40 US educational, scholarly, library and consumer groups, and a number commercial trade associations, representing both the owners and users of intellectual property. The site includes commentary and resources related to its stated aim of "advocating a fair and balanced approach to implementing the World Intellectual Property Organization Treaties".
Copyright and digital copyright protection technology
"Electronic Copyright Management Systems" is a report (dated July 1996) which gives the results of a short term study by the UK government sponsored Electronic Libraries Programme (eLib), into Electronic Copyright Management Systems (ECMS) and related technologies.
eXtensible rights Markup Language
Microsoft and Xerox have created a new company called ContentGuard which aims to offer "a comprehensive software system to protect and manage e-books, documents, music, software and other valuable content that is distributed over the web".
ContentGuard's digital rights management (DRM) technology was originally developed at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center. Microsoft Reader, the company's software product for displaying books on screen, was the first product to incorporate the ContentGuard technology. ContentGuard plans to work to establish one of its core technologies, XrML (eXtensible rights Markup Language) as a standard for digital rights management on the Internet.
See also the products page on El.pub at: base09.htm#Security
Digital watermarking is an extension of steganography - the art of hiding information in ways that prevent the detection of hidden messages. Steganography and cryptography are related - cryptography scrambles a message so it cannot be understood; steganography hides the message so it cannot be seen. Cryptography is covered in greater detail on the Security and cryptography topic page of this site.
A site containing a great deal of information about copyright protection and particularly focussed on digital watermarks is published by the Fraunhofer Institute for Computer Graphics. The group also market a digital watermarking system called SysCoP. The commercial entity marketing the SysCoP system in the US also runs a page detailing many of the copyright technologies.
URL: Fraunhofer Institute http://www.iis.fhg.de/amm/techinf/ipmp/water.html
URL: SysCoP http://syscop.igd.fhg.de/
A further site provides resources and links classifying watermarking techniques according to media type, including: audio, image, text, video.
URL: http://cosimo.die.unifi.it/ ~piva/Watermarking/watermark.html
Steganography - additional readings, software and resources
Steganography literally means "covered writing" and is the art of hiding the very existence of a message. The possible cover carriers are innocent looking carriers (images, audio, video, text, or some other digitally representative code) which will hold the hidden information. A message is the information hidden and may be plaintext, ciphertext, images, or anything that can be embedded into a bit stream. Steganalysis is the art of discovering and rendering useless such covert messages.
The information hiding homepage of digital watermarking & steganography of f.a.p.peticolas
Technical papers and links
Digital video watermarking
Five computer and consumer electronics companies: Hitachi, IBM, NEC, Pioneer Electronic and Sony are planning to unify their approaches for creating invisible electronic watermarks for digital movies and video. Working as the Galaxy group, the aim will be to provide electronic watermarking technology that permits the copyright owner to specify whether content can be copied freely, can only be copied once or cannot be copied at all.
The Watermark Review Panel (WaRP), which was formed at the December 1998 meeting of the CSS Licensees, will define and execute the final evaluations of the remaining proposals for video watermarking. (CSS is a licensed technology known as digital "content-scrambling system" to encrypt and play back movies).
URL: Hitachi http://www.hitachi.co.jp/index-e.html
URL: IBM http://www.ibm.com
URL: NEC http://www.nec-global.com
URL: Pioneer http://www.pioneer.co.jp
URL: Sony http://www.sony.co.jp/SonyDrive.shtml
Yamaha perhaps best known as a manufacturer of musical instruments developed software capable of adding a "watermark" to MIDI files. Called MidStamp, the software embeds watermark information into an existing MIDI file which cannot be removed by users, thereby protecting copyright information. After the inclusion of MidStamp, the file remains 100% compatible with industry standard SMF format ensuring that the file can be played on any MIDI Sequence player application.
Yamaha has been using the MidStamp in MIDI files it has been selling since September 1998 at its Internet on-line store. The Yamaha site includes useful tutorials on MIDI technology, resources on Internet audio, in addition to information on MidStamp.
URL: on-line store http://www.yamaha.co.uk/shop/
URL: Yamaha http://www.yamaha.co.jp/english/index.html
Digital Object Identifier (DOI) project
Publishers will engage in substantial commercial activity over electronic networks - to facilitate this publications which are bought, sold or accessed must be identified according to an internationally accepted standard system. Such a system will enable multiple applications such as the development of electronic copyright management systems, ordering and fulfillment, tracking, billing and payment schemes, bibliographic control and enforcement systems.
The Digital Object Identifier (DOI) project aids in achieving these objectives, for further information visit the DOI web site and the International Publishers Association pages.
URL: DOI http://www.doi.org
URL: IPA http://www.ipa-uie.org/
The W3C Digital Signature Working Group ("DSig") is working on a standard format for making digitally-signed machine-readable assertions about a particular information resource. More generally, it is the goal of the DSig project to provide a mechanism to make the statement: "signer believes statement about information resource".
The document describing the method for using PICS (Platform for Internet Content Selection) labels, with extensions, to meet this goal is available on the web. For further information on PICS see the Social aspects (includes electronic communities and privacy) topic page on this site.
Plagiarism on the Net, tamed?
Plagiarism.org offers a service to teachers in higher education to control plagiarism of Internet-based resources by students. Developed at the University of Berkeley, the developers claim that their solution "can be implemented in seconds and it is has been proven to work during the past four years in real classrooms with hundreds of students at UC Berkeley and abroad".
The purpose of the service is to ensure that papers, essays, and manuscripts, which are submitted as a requirement for a university or college course, are not plagiarised, preventing the recirculation / recycling of papers on the Internet. Further information from the web site.
"Trust management" is the title of the Summer 1997 issue of the W3C's, World Wide Web Journal. This issue contains many articles of both a technical and non-technical nature which collectively aim to refocus the debate over securing electronic commerce, going beyond cryptography by discussing "trust management", a new approach to protecting open, decentralised systems like the Web. Trust management demands more than technological solutions, requiring:
- careful administration,
- the deployment of new cryptographic protocols,
- an infrastructure for public key distribution.
Copyright and digitising information
A white paper published on the Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA) web site explains how the CLA proposes to licence digitisation in Higher Education and contains an outline of the proposed licensing scheme and the business model(s) adopted.
URL: CLA http://www.cla.co.uk/
Digital Rights Management (DRM)
"A complete guide to DRM for beginners", provides a good introduction to the topic of DRM explaining in simple terms the benefits and potential negative impacts of its implementation. It also introduces how blockcahin technology may be key to the future of DRM. Thanks to Athony Clarke for providing this link.
Trademark versus copyright
The following link was identified by Alex a student while researching for copyright and trademark reference guides and was sent on by his after school tutor, Terry Kelly, thanks...
It provides a useful overview of the the differences between trademark and copyright law which are subtler than they might first appear. Understanding the difference between the two, and what they can protect, is a crucial part of protecting your company’s intellectual property.
Avvo was founded in Seattle, Washington by tech-savvy lawyer Mark Britton to make legal easier and help people find a lawyer.
IPR proceedings online
The proceedings from the European Commission sponsored Patinnova '99 event, held in Greece in October 1999, are available on the web. The event focussed on patents and was attended by experts on intellectual property rights.
Journal of Electronic Publishing
The December 1999 issue (Volume 5, Issue 2) of the Journal of Electronic Publishing, published by the University of Michigan Press, includes: "Authors' Rights" which analyses how authors have fared under copyright law in the past and how they might fare in the future. The backlist of the Journals from the past two years, with links to the articles published in them, are also accessible from the site.
Wilson Gunn, UK patent an trade mark attorneys, run a site which provides information and resources concerning IPR, patents and trademarking. Although the site is UK-based it includes some interesting views on security and other policy matters. Examples of documents available for download in rtf format include: "The European Design Directive" and "Single EU Patent".
Digital Dilemma: Intellectual Property in the Information Age
A US-based report entitled: "The Digital Dilemma: Intellectual Property in the Information Age", discusses the impact that electronic information effects business models, copyright and publication.
Copyrightlaws.com is an informative web site devoted to international copyright law, digital property, media, and other intellectual property issues.
- Xavier Morales, a licensed US trademark attorney runs a website that provides good general advice and there is a very useful links page on plagiarism prevention and copyright and trademark infringement. Of particular relevance to the United States the resources are broadly applicable worldwide.
Thanks to Bailey of the Goodwin Community Teen Center and her Tutor, Gina Alvarez for providing this link from their research into plagiarism.
- The April 2000 edition of the Copyright law of the United States of America is available for download.
- The December 1999 issue of D-Lib Magazine includes an article entitled: "Digital Dilemma: Intellectual Property: Synopsis and Views on the Study by the National Academies' Committee on Intellectual Property Rights and the Emerging Information Infrastructure"
- WWW Multimedia Law includes news, articles, resources and links to copyright and IPR protection products.
- Multimedia & Entertainment Laws Online News (MELON) provides news, links, and a calendar of events.
- "Copyright in cyberspace" is a resource page which considers how, with the development of digital technologies, copyright law affects teaching, researchers, librarians, and school administrators. It contains general information about copyright law, with links to further resources, based on questions such as: What are the implications of copyright law for distance learning? For Digital Library development?
- Moral rights - for a good write up of moral rights, the ability of authors to control the eventual fate of their works, see the Harvard Law School site.
- "Electronic publishing: protecting authors' rights" is a brief article (US-based) in which the author surveyed 600 e-zines and 425 print magazines with web sites, in an effort to determine how each group of publications were addressing the issue of electronic rights. More than 100 e-zines and 90 print publications responded. The results of the survey brought to light four areas in which writers need to take precautions to safeguard their rights: contracts, terminology, electronic archiving, and personal website publishing.
- Cross Industry Working Team is a coalition of around 45 leading US technology companies who are: "committed to defining the architecture and key technical requirements for a powerful, sustainable national information infrastructure (NII)". The working teams publish periodic high-level white papers and reports on the NII, one: "Managing Access to Digital Information: An Approach Based on Digital Objects and Stated Operations" suggests possible mechanisms for copyright management based on the principle of "digital objects".
URL: Cross Industry Working Team http://www.xiwt.org/
- Two important sites with a lot of information on copyright (both with a North American bias) are the Copyright web site, and the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) web site
- The Report of the working group on Intellectual Property Rights (US) entitled: "IPR and the National Information Infrastructure" can be downloaded in a variety of formats.
- Intellectual Property magazine is published on the web.
- The US Copyright Office of the Library of Congress maintains a number of resources relating to copyright, particularly concerning electronic publishing. It also runs NewsNet, a free electronic mailing list that sends a periodic e-letter to those involved in the field of copyright. NewsNet alerts subscribers to hearings, deadlines for comments, new and proposed regulations, new publications, and other copyright-related subjects of interest.
URL: LISTSERV@RS8.loc.gov, to subscribe, send a message with: SUBSCRIBE USCOPYRIGHT in the body.
IMPRIMATUR - Intellectual Multimedia Property Rights Model and Terminology for Universal Reference (ESPRIT project)
Summary - The aim of the project was to devise and recommend processes to protect and trade all types of intellectual property. It is coordinated by the UK Authors' Licensing and Collecting Society. The consortium represents the interests of the Creative, Information User, IT and Telecommunications industries in Europe, the USA and Japan. The project has two tracks - a consensus building process and a technology process.
The links to vendor pages listed in the product information section provides external links to further information commercial implementations of copyright, cryptography and e-commerce technologies.
Managing music rights on the Internet
Examples of interesting developments in commercial music rights management include the cooperative agreement in the US between ASCAP, (a music performing rights organization), and Online Monitoring Services (an intellectual property monitoring service on the Internet). The partnership plans to offer a software technology called EZ-Seeker to license and and track use of music on the Internet.
URL: Online Monitoring Services http://www.omservices.com
URL: ASCAP http://www.ascap.com/
Such systems will beome necessary as the number of companies selling downloadable music, using the popular MP3 (MPEG1 Layer 3) standard, on the Internet increases.
MP3 is an ISO standard that allows consumers to download songs from the Internet, store them on their hard drive, and listen to high-quality recordings directly from their computers. MP3 has become the "technology of choice" for many early adopters in the market for electronically distributed music.
It is believed within the music business that the growth in popularity of MP3, has the potential to radically change future pricing structures, as well as the way consumers evaluate and receive music. What is increasingly uncertain, however, is the implementation and control of copyrights. See also the Business models and the market topic page on this site for other examples of how "traditional" business models are being challenged.
US Digital Licensing Center
BMI, the US music copyright organisation that represents the public performance rights of more than 3 million musical works, has announced the BMI Digital Licensing Center (DLC): "the first totally digital music copyright licensing system for Internet sites". The DLC is the latest development in the BMI's effort to build a flexible, scaleable marketplace for copyrighted content in cyberspace.
The digital rights system is aimed at making it easier for small Internet site owners and managers to gain access to the performing rights to BMI's repertoire, while allowing BMI to license many thousands of Internet sites more cost effectively. The DLC is styled as an: "end-to-end 'click-through' system that allows Internet sites to complete copyright licensing agreements on demand with BMI 24 hours a day, 7 days a week".
Secure Digital Music Initiative (SDMI)
InterTrust Technologies has announced its support for the Recording Industry Association of America's (RIAA's) Secure Digital Music Initiative (SDMI). SDMI is a forum of leading music and technology companies working to develop industry standards for the secure digital distribution of music over the Internet. The SDMI effort is seen by many as a bridge between companies in the music market ranging from manufacturers of MP3 players to the major record labels. Unfortunately, as yet, we have been unable to unearth a web site for SDMI.
IBM and five major record companies are conducting a market trial of a system that distributes: "CD-quality albums securely over the Internet, while protecting publishers' legal rights".
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Last up-dated: 26 March 2021
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