June 15, 2009

Paying big bucks for using embedded radio players

Filed under: General,Online by Orangemaster @ 11:11 am

Dutch copyright collection agency Buma/Stemra, lovingly abbreviated to B/S, is seriously thinking of charging 780 euro a year for the use of embedded radio players on websites, the same price usually paid by commercial webradios to broadcast. Commercial webradios represent only 20% of the webradios in the Netherlands— I know because I own a webradio station and also know that the other 80% are all non-profit hobbyists and usually pay what I pay, which is some 371.28 euro including Value Added Tax (19%). The B/S website still says 312 euro. Tsk, tsk.

Many websites who are not members of B/S have been paying for the use of embedded radio players under copyright law since 2002. B/S claims that under their rules, they are not punishable, but are punishable under copyright law and will be fined retroactively. It really pays to play fair and be innovative once again in this country.

The courts have not yet given B/S the legal green light to start collecting money for embedded player use, so for B/S to do so without legal permission— which is what is being insinuated apparently— is illegal. It’s going to get nasty.

Don’t get me wrong: the Dutch are used to paying for everything and even want to do so like I do, but not when they have no idea who or what they are paying for. It remains vague, incomprehensible and frustrating.

(Link: blog.iusmentis.com, Image: Oh La La)

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November 14, 2007

Copyright “trolls” Cozzmoss catch two infringers

Filed under: General by Branko Collin @ 2:07 am

Copyright trolls are the copyright equivalent of patent trolls, but not as common. However, they operate on the same principal: they buy “intellectual property” and use it to legally extort money from the na├»ve. The Verbal Jam blog reports (Dutch) about a Dutch company called Cozzmoss that has recently managed to extract hundreds of euros from non-commercial bloggers. Their website (Dutch) might look clunky, but their approach is anything but. First, they let authors sign over their copyrights to them, which makes legal action that much easier (no squabbling over who you represent). Then, they only appear to attack people with limited knowledge of the law, and third, they seem to limit their claims for damages to relatively small amounts, amounts that do not exceed the money you would lose if you would let it come to a lawsuit.

Dutch copyright law does not allow the infringed upon party to recoup insanely high statutory damages, but the cost of going to court is still substantial, whether you win or lose, which is why parties usually settle out of court, and this is the sort of reaction that Cozzmoss seems to hope for. People with shallow pockets who won’t contest your claims will settle relatively meekly.

Except of course that bloggers blog: Jolie.nl has a long list of bloggers that have written about Cozzmoss during the past fortnight, and only few of them show any understanding for what the others call “vultures” and “bounty hunters,” both perfect analogies if you ask me.

One of the bloggers that got caught in the trap is Cinner (nomen est omen?), who republished an interview with professor Bram Buunk on her website. In the interview, the social-psychology professor belittles people like her who have chronic fatigue syndrome as not really being ill. Another blog called Ango copies newspaper articles with permission from the local paper, but they found out the hard way that the paper doesn’t own all the articles it publishes. Strictly speaking, Ango is in the clear because it was acting in good faith – they too chose to take the 500 euro hit from Cozzmoss instead of risking a court case that might have cost thousands.

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