Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Europeana online again

Many people were curious about the project of digitalization of (hard-copied) works. In fact with 10 million hits an hour, on 20 November 2008, the servers were not capable of providing a fast crawl over the website

Europeana is the online digitalization project funded by the European Union. The project is involved in digitaliza
tion of all kinds works of art: text, images, videos and sounds.

But why is this interesting?

Firstly, since all over the world orphan works legislation pops up. And many of those legislative initiative have two things in common:
  • the copyright holder are not easily be found, and
  • there has to have been a diligent research.
Of course one can debate about what a diligent research is. But I will not at this point, but at the core of most (provisional) legislation one has to proof, whether for getting a public license, or as a defense before a court, if a diligent research took place.

What many people claim in the upcoming (provisional) U.S. Act is that the law automatically orphans the work of creators and one has to register to get copyright protection (2). And that private registry initiatives (that do not exist yet) are to be set up in order to protect copyrighted works.

This is by the way not really true, since many international copyright treaties will prevent that from going to a registry system, especially article 5(2) Berne Convention
(3). As well that only works whereby the copyright holder is not easy to be found and so copyright holder have to become active in preventing their work to become orphans, private initiatives will probably solve this problem.

Secondly, it is interesting to see that a problem arisen from the internet is now tackled by that same medium. As David Sanger mentioned on the SAA Orphan Works Blog(4):
Even the major websites often strip metadata for performance reasons. Whatever the cause, once removed from its context and stripped of identifying data even a properly licensed, well attributed image becomes extremely difficult to trace.(5)
The initiatives mentioned by the Lisa Shaftel of the Graphic Artists Guild is to prevent works from being orphaned, could be helpfull:
  • register your works with the US Copyright Office.
  • be sure to put you name and date of creation somewhere on all your works legibly.
  • keep copies of your copyright registrations with hard copy prints of the works.
  • tell your heir(s)- the person or people you will name in your will or living trust- about your works and show them where your paper files are.
  • write a will or living trust.(6)
Initiatives like Europeana, or in general the digitalization of all kinds of works, are most likely resulting in less orphaned works. When the aforementioned diligent search does not involve databases like these, it is most unlikely that it is considered to be diligent before a copyright board or before court.

So initiatives like these have to be supported in order to prevent the problem we are facing, and eventually the problem that a digital environment created is being transferred into a progressive solution in that same environment. Since even the hardcopied world is being covered by the databases.

I see many connections with Google Book Search Project

Thirdly, Interesting is also the goal of the MILE-project:
MILE (Metadata Image Library Exploitation) aims to promote European cultural heritage and make digital art more accessible by improving metadata.(8)
I see many connections with Google Image Labeller project (the web 2.0 version of meta-data-adding): please contribute and do this game at least once :).

(2), listen to
(5) David Sanger, Metadata and attribution,
(6) Lisa Shaftel, National Advocacy Committee Chairperson,
Project your artistic works from becoming orphans, (version: August 16, 2005), last viewed: 24 December 2008.
(8) MILE Project,

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Blogs will get more interactive

I just stumbled upon the following interactive way of linking items of blogs: Apture

Thanks to RSS I get in touch with many more items to make this blog work! You should give it a try too. Press E to open the Apture when logged in on your own blog.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Orphan Works - Master Thesis

Supported by a lawyer and lecturer of my university I decided to write my final master thesis about Orphan Works in a digital environment:
An orphan work is a copyrighted work where it is difficult or impossible to contact the copyright holder.(1)
But, now is the second question: what aspects do I want to highlight? Do I want to compare judicial systems (if any)? Or do I want to present the current status-quo of the legislative procedure in the EU? What is wished for, what are the principles for going into debate about the solution?

Here some preliminairy preview, based on online research of three hours.


Section 77 subsection (1) of the Copyright act (2):

Owners Who Cannot be Located
77. (1) Where, on application to the Board by a person who wishes to obtain a licence to use
(a) a published work,
(b) a fixation of a performer's performance,
(c) a published sound recording, or
(d) a fixation of a communication signal

in which copyright subsists, the Board is satisfied that the applicant has made reasonable efforts to locate the owner of the copyright and that the owner cannot be located, the Board may issue to the applicant a licence to do an act mentioned in section 3, 15, 18 or 21, as the case may be.

Meaning that the Copyright Board may give a license to allow the use of the orphaned work. But only if the board is satisfied with the efforts made by the applicant. They also point out that some applicants can simply use works, since it falls under the concept of fair use in American law or exception of quotation under the more EU related laws:
This two-sentence description of a highway is not a substantial part of the 136-page long book in which it is found. Using those two sentences does not expropriate the essence or flavour of the work. Consequently, no licence is required and the application is dismissed.(3)


There will be/ is legislation in America, based on the Shawn Bentley Orphan Works Act, S. 2913.

Main thing - and this is based on some YouTube-videos (4)- all works will have to be registered to profit from the protection by law. Many Users have noted that this is will lead to the use of UGC by corporations. A nice follow-up let's say to the Web 2.0 applications. Remember the Virgin Mobile issue on : "hey that's me! no joke. i think i'm being insulted...can you tell me where this was taken. " Maybe we will see more of this kind of usage when corporations "crowd source" the internet for creative works...

When you did not register, well then you will not have any commercial intentions with your work, but we do!!!!
(3) Copyright Board Canada, 2007-UO/TI-22 at
(4) therealweeklynews, CORPORATE THEFT - THE ORPHAN WORKS BILL, at
(5) Cartoon, used with fair use exception of visual quotation from:
(6) Photo: (c) 2008, some rights reserved, by Michael Mistretta at Creative Commons License

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Master thesis - doubts

It has been a while since I uploaded my last presentations. In the mean while I have give a few presentations based upon the downloadable presentations of 30th of October 2008.

And now I have been searching for a new Master Thesis Theme.
Since I first wanted to research if there was a right to free and accessible internet. But after some research I found out that just one year ago a Dutch student already researched it and mainly discussed the issues I wanted to put into my Master thesis(1).

So I will research what other themes I would like to research for my Master thesis. It will probably have to do with "fair use", "internet", "human rights" and/or "creativity".

I was thinking about:
  • how can the "fair use" doctrine contribute to the right on information?
  • how can "fair use" by applied in a digital network (comparative research American doctrine and the EU law based written exceptions)?
  • what can one do with "orphan works" and how do international treaties deal with this?
  • Via the Copyright acts, is the right to access to internet protected?
  • Issues on Traditional knowledge: what are the current issues, what are the difficulties to overcome?
I will keep you up to date about future developments in my "hunt" for the most interesting Master Thesis theme.
(1) for the ones interested:, or more specifically: (only available in dutch).
(2) (c) 2007, photo from author unknown - in case you think you know or are the author, please send me a notice that includes: your full name, proof of authorship and ownership and I'll give you full credits on this blog.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Presentations on IP Law at ELSA ICM Nuremberg

Just a small reminder for you: if you use these presentations, please notify me about responses of people. You can comment on this article.

Workshop AA + S&C and IFP: click here!
Workshop STEP and IFP: click here!

Enjoy and give Credits according to the license!

Daniël Sterenborg

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Open Design --> Open License Patent

A follow-up to the previous post:

I was shocked by the fact that more and more 'artistic works' got a creative commons license. Especially CC-licensed sounds and now even Creative Commons Design licenses. But I have taken a closer look at the Open Design movement, more specifically
"Imagine being able to buy the digital blueprints to any object, being able to take it to a skilled professional and have it produced directly. Imagine instant access to quality design ideas and the means to manufacture products on demand. Imagine completely removing the middleman."(1)

So, actually designers allow people to re-create, re-use and share a copy of the design blueprint. In the you can see that they sell blueprints, though afterwards you are free to spread the blueprints and use them as you want, as long as you respect the license and act within the legal license borders. Cool!

So I can download how I can build a chair from cart board, or easily create a rockit garden seat or even a 'street sofa'(2). The blueprint is to be downloaded for just a few pounds, and one can found what the estimated costs of creation will be.
So what people have already done with photos, making it available! In combination with what the patent system does, carefully describing how the (design) patent works with in exchange for a temporare monopoly, this can result in something interesting.

Collaborative patents often results in successfull and qualitive products, e.g. common practise is that joint R&D departments are set up in order to innovate and come to better products.

I expect that more people, individual creators, maybe small creative companies that they will not patent their inventions, though that they will use open source designs and patents in order to really innovate. What do you think about it: patents are refined, building upon each others innovations, that could really set the start of a new innovation stadium.

We'll see what the next CC Open License stage will be. Will innovative companies join this collaborative and open license for 'quasi-patents'(3)? Hopefully they move their not so innovative patents to the open license area and take the credit for it and they can focus and secure on their real innovations.

(3) D.J.R. Sterenborg, "Patentrecht macht dein Leben teuer", via p. 9 and 10

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Open Source/ Commons in multimedia

Lately I encountered more and new Open Source Developments. And I am quite happy about this, though I do see some difficulties as well.

That one can publish photos, texts and presentations under an open license is obvious. That one want to share free website templates (1) I can (kind of) grasp. Though via Legaltorrent (2) one can download many different things, many times under the creative commons licenses.

Open Source Games(3)?

As far as it comes to games I kind of understand the cooperative part. Many (good) games are available online as free/ share ware or nowadays under a public license published. Everyone can join, contribute, share to e.g. TuxKart. Most of the games are made public under GPL or at least a very open license, no attribution is required.

Open Source Films

"The 100 Second Film Festival is “a collection of short videos presented to an audience in person or through the medium of cable television or the Internet” with the only requirements being that the films are 100 seconds long and are released under a CC BY-NC-SA license. This allows the film festivals - the screenings are decentralized - to pool past submissions as well as new ones for their lineup. Whoever is curating a specific festival can put together the lineup in any fashion they see fit, although ideally, each screening will contain at least a few works produced by the local audience where the screening is held.

This year’s call for entries was just announced, with the deadline to submit a short extended to Dec 15th, 2008."

SOURCE: Cameron Parkins,, last viewed: 29th september 2008

Open Source Music?

Creative Commons licensed music is just great. I download and I know that I am totally allowed to do this, and I know that I can legally use, and maybe even remix and re-use the music for a powerpoint/ Simpress presentation.

One of the most succesfull musician publishing under the CC-licences is "Genreal Fuzz" with its fifth release “Soulful Filling”, it has released 5 albums already under the CC-licence. Note that Creative Commons is only existing for 5,5 years now. The most re-mixed musician is "Brad Sucks", on his site he also offers all of his sources for free.

This can't work!

Additional to this CC-licensed music possibility, there an initiative of which I think: THIS CAN'T WORK! is a collaborative database of Creative Commons licensed sounds. Sounds, you may think? Yes, simply noises: police cars, barking dog, scratch on a glass table, rain, dub, etc.

But how does one attribute when you use such a work?

I mean, try to attribute when you have mixed 20 sounds in a sampling mixer. If sounds, and that could be the sound of a falling paper cup, are editted, mixed, remixed how can you still recognize and distinguish them. So far as I know sampling is "legally" tolerated because of this reason.

Imagine that you are at a live remixed party, does the dj name attribute all sample providers? Does the dj wrote our every single sound and published the names of the original authors on his homepage? How does this work?

Open Design

Another Initiative I'll leave the questions to you: Open Design: Industrial Design under CC (4)!

Please give comments how YOU think CC works out for industrial design!

(1) or Youthphotos, Open Source Templates:
Youtube videos like Lawrence Lessigs are on Creative Commons licenses:
(3) Free culture game:

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

(Re-)create the internet use

Since I am inspired and always on the hunt for new initiatives, and now I have realised that sometimes I have thought about some new potential initiative or issue, made presentations and see others get inspired by it and I re-inspire myself by that as well.

Creative Commons

I have very big interest in Creative Commons, founded by Lawrence Lessig. I have seen many potential variations and use of works of art published: literature, music, samples, and even games and film-samples. Because I have tried to use the creative commons community in all of my work I am well aware that there are a lot of people who share the same principle: share, and not in a way that communism does, but in a creative and attributive way.

I will keep on fighting for the use of creative commons licensed materials as well that I will promote to share as well, it is just a fair thing to do, since you'll get exposure anyway if you share. Maybe this interest could result in a master thesis, will start writing in January 2009. At next Thursday I'll have a meeting with a good friend of mine who is interested in this concept from a legal point of view and he asked me to brief him :-) .

I thank, Dr. Cathrina Maracke, Director of CREATIVE COMMONS INTERNATIONAL for the letter of recommendation I got for my succesful job application.

Human Rights - Search Engines/ Internet

Another example is the presentation I have done in Thessaloniki, Greece (1). The Lecture I have given, Lessig-style, was about two different sides on the freedom of expression: the constitutor and the receptor. How people mainly in the Europe and America use the internet on a daily base, in daily life and how we get our (anti-) information... Via the internet!

I concluded with a statement:"This presentation could contribute to a worlds right on free or easy available internet access. Barriers shall not be there and not prevent people from writing, expressing, telling about their worlds, experiences and therefore contribute to a vibrant intercultural internet culture"

A few weeks ago I experienced that there is a new American Nationwide initiative about exactly this. It is called The Introduction of the Project (2) was done by a panel of some prominent individuals and representatives of some major organisations.

Key words:
1. Access
2. Choice
3. Openness

4. Innovation

Speaker at the Launch:
  • Josh Silver, Free Press
  • Brad Burnham, Union Square Ventures
  • Robin Chase, Meadow Networks, Zipcar
  • Jonathan Adelstein, FCC commissioner
  • Michael Winship, WGA-East
  • Jonathan Zittrain, Berkman Center for Internet & Society
  • Tim Wu, Columbia Law School
  • Vint Cerf, Google (this title is not new (3))
  • Larry Lessig, Stanford Law School
  • David All, TechRepublican.comVan Jones, Green For All

Mission of GOOGLE organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful.

So in general
I am very big fan of this whole concept of promoting the internet use, the creativity, the lawfully re-creation & attribution. It is actually the basis, that one will be acknowledged for what one does: Everyone, including e.g. photographer, I want my work to be known in the world, on the internet, via google and maybe even the constitution (4) can create such an exposure.
(1) D.J.R. Sterenborg, Search Engines & Human Rights, a closer connection to a better world, available for download at:, published April 2007, under the Creative Commons licence: BY-NC-ND and please SA - Attribution: state my name and homepage clear, Non-Commercial Use, Derivative Works are not permitted and please Share under the same license Alike.
(2) Launch:
(3) Vincent Cerf, RFC 3271, published April 2002.
(4) Like I have mentioned: internet is important and I might do some Master thesis research to support the thought that "a free or easy available internet access" is a constitutional human right.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Web 2.0 generate Kids Creativity

Web 2.0 is a term describing changing trends in the use of internet technology and web design that aim to enhance Creativity, information sharing, collaboration and functionality of the web.(1)

And it is great, it generates creativity! It is also unpreditable! We will not know what the Web 2.0 will bring, and exactly that is so exciting. Unpredictability (anti-information) is something that we can call creativity, something that we need according to the theory of anti-information.

But do not forget
"Creativity: we get educated out of it!"

It is Something that we have as children, though the entire educational system, anywhere in the world will teach you how to shut up and prepare yourself for an academic career. Sir Ken Robinson has given marvelous lectures about this, which I truely Recommend: click on photo or here.

I claim that the Web 2.0 with all its User Generated Content, end-users possibilities to upload something to 'their' page, is a perfect tool to regain that creativity at a very young age. I mean kids today do watch YouTube-Videos, they might have access to open source software like GIMP, a Flickr account, their own blog, website, use RSS-Feeds, MySpace, Facebook, etc..

All of what they can find online is open to them, they easily know how to download, to share with others (email, msn, skype, blogs, rss-feeds, online recommendation pages), to adept it and find a platform to publish it again. They are creating their own world, recommendation and they have the possibilities to find out what they like. They can become fans of films, music, poetry, news sites...

They discover, create and share!

And I know many people are critical about Google, but google acknowledge this as well:
Doodle: Kids competition

See, all what google does is to provide tools and stimulate creativity and through the Teacher Academy influence the creativity with the digital world that children can create.

This posts theme does not sufficiently explain my vision on Google nor its tools. As well as that I did not mention anything about the current copyright system in the web 2.0 digital world. This might be something that I'll discuss later.

(1) (as viewed on 9th September 2008)

Friday, September 5, 2008

Trademark Protection unregistered TMs

Today, or actually tonight I was approached at a little party I attended in Brussels about the issue of (trademark) protection of unregistered trademarks.

The issue was about that JADE, European Confederation of Junior Enterprises, has members in 15 countries in Europe. JADEs members encounter a quality check before they can call themselves a "Junior Enterprise". So a "Junior Enterprise" will do as much as possible to be granted with this status, since that means a lot to potential client and thus to them. It is like a quality trademark for clients.

The Executive board, or more specifically the Vice President of JADE International, Florent Barel, asked me some questions if they can prevent someone using the term "Junior Enterprises" although they did not came through the quality check or not even related to JADE at all...

My answer was that here you have the typical "grey" and disputable area of intellectual property law.

Known is that if you have a strong and well-known brand within your area of operation (which is a definition issue) one can get trademark protection if one can proof that the brand is used and known continuously and seriously to the public. So, does a trademark registration really give you some benefits? Or can you just leave the registration and trust on the strong brand name?

First: a "fake-Junior Enterprise" offers similar products or services, it COULD infringe the trademark. Yes, it could! Law can also be flexible and unclear, you might take a risk if you do not register.

Second: Consider that if one applies for a Trademark in all the 15 countries JADE is established, you'll spend quite some money on annual fees in each different country, possible (in court) protection, research and hunting for potential infringers.

Third: What benefits, except for evidence and proof does one has for registration of a trademark, considering all the costs possibly related to each bureaucratic national system?

I will be in contact with JADE in the upcoming weeks about what their real questions are, I will keep you informed!

Disclaimer, these are non-legal advices and I will not accept any claims based on this information. I am just a law student and starting blogger who is wondering about certain practical issues in the area of IP Law protection.

Content Blog?

Dear Readers,

The first post is about the intentions I have with this blog.

I might tell something about how I walked my imaginary dog today and that it started to fight with the neighbours cat. Though it is more appropriate for me to talk about something more academic.

So, I intend to write about aspects that concerns me: IT, Intellectual Property related, sometimes with a human rights hint, maybe making some current news related articles will be blogged here too. We'll see!

It might be that through writing out some issues here that I might come up with some nice Master thesis subjects. Since that I am still at the university some questions will be directly from one of my Master courses that I'll follow next semester at the Erasmus University Rotterdam:
  • Minor: Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Law
  • Law & Informatics
  • Computer Law in an international perspective
  • Law & Technology
  • Advanced Public International law
  • Law of the EU: the internal Market

I hope that you'll subscribe to my blog and give me feedback once in a while about some content I wrote. The content will be made available under the Creative Commons Attribution-Non Derivative licence. Be sure to refer to my blog and homepage: .