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After succumbing to the social and internet buzz around Netflix’s new series House of Cards, I finally sat down to watch an episode. What followed was a five-episode marathon that convinced me Netflix has won this round of the cable vs. internet content distribution battle. After struggling to maintain subscribers due to lack of new content (attributed largely in part to costs set by the cable industry), Netflix took a gamble based on the habits of the next generation of viewers. And the viewers won.
Today’s example of copyright coming into contact with 3D printing is a 3D printed phone dock made to look like Game of Throne’s Iron Throne. The facts are fairly straightforward: Designer Fernando Sosa modeled the dock on the Iron Throne featured in HBO’s Game of Thrones series. HBO sent him a takedown notice, claiming a copyright on the throne. Sosa took the throne down.
On its face, this appears to be a textbook application of the DMCA takedown process in action. However, it also highlights something of a missed opportunity for HBO.
I’ve been sorting through the various filings at the FCC in the Phone Network to IP transition docket. I single out the 7-page filing by Comcast as the filing that scares the absolute bejeebers out of me.
Why? Because everyone else – no matter what their financial interest or political alignment – paid lip service to the idea that we ought to have at least some kind of regulation. Whether it’s a general nod to a “minimal and light touch regulatory regime” or a specific shopping list, the vast majority of commenters recognized that when you have something as big, complicated and utterly essential to people’s lives as the phone system, you need some kind of basic backstop for people to feel comfortable and to address problems that will invariably come up.
While New York Fashion Week marches on, let’s take a moment to look at where the future of the fashion industry should and shouldn’t go.
Should: Into the world of 3D printing.
Shouldn’t: Into the world of harsher copyright protection.
Over the weekend, the 3D printing group Shapeways kicked off Fashion Week with the unveiling of a collaboratively designed 3D printed gown. The metallic creation, modeled by Dita Von Teese and designed by Francis Bitoni and Michael Schmidt (of Lady Gaga’s famous bubble dress), exhibited printing technology that suggests a fashion forward future of extraordinary creativity from within the industry.
That is, if Congress doesn’t pass a law applying copyright protection to clothing designs.
This past week, we’ve had quite the discussion around Cecilia Kang’s WashPo piece describing a plan by the FCC to create a national WiFi network by making the right decisions on the “TV whitespaces” (TVWS), the unused, high-quality frequencies between broadcast TV stations. As Kang describes, the FCC’s opening of sufficient spectrum for TVWS could lead to “super WiFi networks (emphasis added) around the nation so powerful and broad in reach that consumers could use them to make calls or surf the internet without paying a cell phone bill every month.”
This past Friday, we filed comments in the Special 301 process, the Office of the United States Trade Representative’s (USTR) annual exercise of naming countries that do not adequately protect intellectual property interests of Americans. We believe that this process has turned into an exercise of pressuring countries to pass copyright laws that provide maximum benefits to rights holders, preventing many social, economic, and political benefits that flow from sensible limits on copyright owner rights.
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