March 8, 2013

More on copyright, Canadian edition

Using small amounts of text as a part of a commentary is a long-standing exception to U.S. copyright law. The particulars of each instance are always subject to court review. The copyright holder doesn’t surrender rights by allowing these excerpts.
A few years ago, the Associated Press created a real problem for itself when it contracted with a company to charge $12.50 for using five words of text. The company eventually sued AP for bungling the contract.
Now it’s Canada’s turn, National Post, specifically. Michael Geist noted that merely selecting text to use a quote for another piece triggers a new content licensing scheme.
For example, let’s look at a story about the priciest house on Prince Edward Island. It’s a nice place on the north shore for $12M CAD.

If select a paragraph of text that I’d like to include in my review, I am presented with this pop-up .

Following through the options, I learn two things. It’s going to cost me up to $100 to quote 100 words and 50ยข for each additional word.
Next, I find that I cannot comply. When I selected the text, the pop-up prevented me from copying the words that I need to paste into this box to calculate how much I must finally pay.
Oh, the company that National Post is using to stand on guard for thee, iCopyright, is the same company that the AP used and was sued by. 

One of an occasional series.
A bunch of years ago, I worked for a software company. It was hard work for long hours. At one point, senior management made the pronouncement that the development team needed to focus more on a particular aspect of the product. The QA manager and I agreed that we’d be Focused More-ons.