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Freedom of Expression

Did Spotify's new privacy policy leave you worried? They heard you - and are clarifying the language. 

Article by Jacob Kastrenake​ for The Verge 

Spotify is overhauling its privacy policy today with plainer language that should be readable to the average human — not just lawyers. The streaming service found itself amid a furor last month after its users complained about what they saw as Spotify overstepping its bounds and requesting more information on them than necessary. For the most part, Spotify wasn't really asking for that much, but it made the mistake of writing its privacy policy in legalese, leading to a lot of confusion; many other major services, like Instagram, have already learned that having incomprehensible service policies can lead exactly this kind of problem.

OpenMedia together with other digital rights groups stood up for free speech and transparency against Twitter's Politwoops ban.

Article by Sam Byford for The Verge

Rights groups including the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Access, Free Press, and Human Rights Watch have joined in opposition to Twitter's recent crackdown on Politwoops, a network of sites that archived deleted tweets from politicians worldwide. In an open letter, the coalition says Twitter's ban "holds grave consequences for free expression and transparency around the world."

Copyright law can have such chilling and punitive effects on free expression that it acts as a form of censorship. Even our memes are being censored! 

Article by Kevin Collier for The Daily Dot

Well, this is awkward. 

TPP's copyright provisions will diminish the value of a rich public domain and enact regulations that will dismantle our online freedoms. Speak out now at

Article by David Post for the Washington Post

The extent to which our international obligations interact with — and may sometimes override — domestic law is a pretty fascinating one, and is, for any number of pretty obvious reasons, increasingly in the news. Here’s a rather small footnote to the very large controversy over the Trans-Pacific Partnership treaty, involving a narrow (but actually quite important) bit of U.S. copyright law, that nicely illustrates how complicated these questions can be — a synecdoche, as it were.

Copyright trolls taking it all the way to the Vatican.

Article by TechDirt

The previous pope, Benedict XVI a few years ago made some waves by suggesting that intellectual property had gone too far, saying:

On the part of rich countries there is excessive zeal for protecting knowledge through an unduly rigid assertion of the right to intellectual property...

The current Pope may now be at the center of a copyright dispute as well. Apparently, Pope Francis is heading to the US in a few weeks. And, as a part of this, apparently someone asked Philadelphia pop artist Perry Milou to create an "official" portrait of the Pope for his tour. And he did:

As a story at Buzzfeed notes, that portrait is on nearly everything related to the Pope's official visit to Philadelphia. It's on the website of the group organizing the visit:

Without provisions where works automatically enter the public domain after a reasonable time limit, the vast majority of recorded 20th century culture is lost as “orphan works,” and will likely be entirely inaccessible to creators.

Article by Maira Sutton for EFF

Fun fact: A crayfish species named after Snowden! 

Article by David Pescovitz for NBC News

A new crayfish species from Indonesia has been named after former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden. 

The crayfish, as far as scientists know, doesn't have advanced computer skills, and hasn't exposed any government surveillance programs. Instead, it is regularly exported from its home in the West Papau region of Indonesia to Europe, East Asia and North America as a colorful pet, usually under the name "orange tip" or "green orange tip."

In one giant leap towards curbing online censorship, tech giants like Google and Facebook are demanding that those who abuse the DMCA takedown request system feel the consequences

Article by Ernesto for Torrent Freak

The CCIA, which represents global tech firms including Google, Facebook and Microsoft, has published an extensive research paper on the future of copyright in the digital landscape. One of the main suggestions is to extent current copyright law, so that senders of wrongful DMCA takedown notices face serious legal consequences.

Who hasn't taken a photo of a tasty-looking meal and shared it? I'm afraid, those days might be over in Germany, here comes the copyright. 

Article by TechDirt

Over the years, Techdirt has had a couple of stories about misguided chefs who think that people taking photos of their food are "stealing" something -- their culinary soul, perhaps. According to an article in the newspaper Die Welt, it seems that this is not just a matter of opinion in Germany, but established law (original in German):

The #TPP is going to hurt Japanese creators and hand power over to Big Media companies around the world. Does that sound like a fair deal to you? Speak out against the TPP's Internet censorship plan at

The following is a guest post from Martin Frid, Policy Expert at the Consumers Union of Japan.

Japan's entry into the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will see a wide range of changes sweeping the economy and the community, in areas as diverse as food safety/food security, country of origin labeling rules, and copyright. As a staff member of Consumers Union of Japan, I am concerned about all of these issues—but I'm writing here about the copyright changes, which unlike in many other TPP countries have sparked national attention.