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MPAA investigating existing legal avenues for anti-piracy measures

12/12, 1:15am

Leaked information reveals potential legal tactics and meetings with Google execs

A disturbing new email leak sent to Sony Pictures CEO Michael Lynton in 2012 has revealed a secret meeting between officials from the Department of Homeland Security and representatives from Google that was focused on methods by which the various groups could hobble or block sites known for hosting pirated materials. Meetings also occurred between the MPAA and an unnamed national law-firm across 2013 to discuss methods to force ISPs to block sites hosting or aggregating pirated content.

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MPAA chief Chris Dodd: SOPA, PIPA gone, not coming back

10/03, 9:20pm

Comments also made about Google search, 'four strikes' rules

Chairman of the Motion Picture Association of America and former Senator Christopher Dodd told Wired in an interview that the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP Act (PIPA) are not going to return to to the congressional floor. Dodd claimed that "that legislation is gone. It’s over. It’s not coming back" after an appearance at the San Francisco-based Commonwealth Club on Tuesday night.

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MPAA head speaks about Steve Jobs, SOPA replacement

04/05, 8:15pm

Industries "need to come to an understanding"

Motion Picture Association of America chief executive Christopher Dodd is reportedly maintaining hope that the trade organization will be able to successfully promote a replacement to the SOPA legislation, which was effectively shot down amid resistance from tech companies. In an interview with Hollywood Reporter, the former senator also suggested that Steve Jobs would side with the MPAA in its fight against piracy.

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Nielsen: Samsung ad forgotten by most Super Bowl viewers

02/08, 12:35pm

Samsung Galaxy Note ad out of top 10 for most

Samsung's Super Bowl ad for the Galaxy Note may have been one of the costliest mistakes in advertising in recent memory, based on new Nielsen data from the event. The Android phone's commercial appeared neither in the top 10 most-remembered ads of the football game nor the top 10 most-liked among Nielsen's nearly 12,000-person panel. Instead, the only technology picks went to E*Trade and to GoDaddy, whose flip-flop on SOPA still left it with the ninth most memorable spot.

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Groups ask Congress to "step back" from IP law proceedings

02/06, 9:30pm

Lawmakers asked to take "fresh perspective"

A long list of companies and organizations, including the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Open Congress, have sent an open letter urging congressional lawmakers to take an entirely new approach to intellectual property law. The authors suggest concerns raised over SOPA and PIPA legislation are "too fundamental and too numerous" to be resolved through "hasty revisions" to the existing bills.

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RIAA opposes anti-piracy OPEN Act

02/01, 8:55pm

Trade group claims legislation will worsen problem

The Recording Industry Association of America has come out swinging in opposition to an anti-piracy bill that has been proposed in the wake of the much-derided Stop Online Piracy Act and Protect IP Act. The new proposal, referred to as the Open Act (PDF), relies on the International Trade Commission to investigate copyright infringement claims.

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SOPA backers caught off-guard, make 'incremental' compromise

01/25, 6:05pm

MPAA only now edging towards balance

A new exposé of some of the actions behind the scenes of SOPA's rejection has shown the fundamental disconnect between the MPAA and differing points of view as well as signs that there may be progress, if slow, on an alternative. MPAA president and former Democratic senator Chris Dodd explained to The Hollywood Reporter that he had been "assured" there would be no major opposition from the White House and was caught unawares when the administration suggested it would veto either SOPA or its Senate equivalent PIPA if they passed a vote. MPAA members had started to "pick up signals" of resistance at the start of January, but they sincerely thought they had made concessions and felt "bitterly betrayed" as a result.

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Megaupload wants servers back, briefly gets clone

01/20, 10:30pm

Megaupload returns fire after shutdown

Megaupload reacted vigorously to shutdowns and arrests with action of its own. In conversation with Reuters, defending attorney Ira Rothken said Megaupload was "looking at its legal options" to bring its site back online. The lawyer objected to FBI and media industry claims that Megaupload was a criminal conspiracy and said that simply having a file upload service wasn't grounds for the raids this week.

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ESA backtracks, drops SOPA support after momentum turns

01/20, 8:00pm

ESA drops SOPA support only after too late

The Entertainment Software Association engaged in what many saw as bandwagoneering Friday after it dropped its previous support for the Stop Online Piracy Act. Now that the bill had been indefinitely postponed following large-scale protests, the game advocacy group switched to arguing for a law that "balances both creative and technology interests." It claimed to have wanted an even approach "from the beginning."

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European Commission VP attacks SOPA

01/20, 5:05pm

Neelie Kroes Twits against SOPA bill

The latest to speak out against the controversial SOPA and PIPA bills is European Union Commissioner for the Digital Agenda, Neelie Kroes. "Glad tide is turning on SOPA: don't need bad legislation when should be safeguarding benefits of open net," she wrote in a Twitter message. The legislation, if passed, would give the US Justice Department to shut down sites simply suspected of sharing pirated content.

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PIPA, SOPA bills postponed after protests

01/20, 10:50am

PIPA put on hold after stiff opposition

Both Congress and the Senate have delayed votes on their joint controversial Senate majority leader Harry Reid has stated that he decided to at least delay the vote on the controversial Protect IP Act (PIPA). He explained it as a reaction to "recent events," a euphemism for the widescale protests that turned numerous Senators against the bill.

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Megaupload end pushes Anonymous to hit DOJ, MPAA, Universal

01/19, 5:50pm

Anonymous carpet bombs Megaupload opponents

(Update: FBI too) The forced closure of Megaupload and accompanying arrests may have backfired on proponents after Anonymous launched one of its largest attacks ever in retaliation. Multiple statements from the hacking collective confirmed they were responsible for successful denial of service attacks against the websites of the Department of Justice, MPAA, RIAA, and likely arrest instigator Universal Music. All of the sites were partly or completely unresponsive as of early Thursday evening.

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SOPA protests make US Senate website buckle

01/18, 4:05pm

US Senate faces tech troubles due to SOPA protest

It appears the work of many sites is working, as the US Senate contact site is facing technical difficulties, likely due to the large incoming amount of e-mails regarding the controversial SOPA bill. Many sites, including Google and Wikipedia, posted some form of protest against SOPA on Wednesday in order to raise public awareness regarding the issue and urge them to do something about it.

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SOPA bill revisions to resume in February

01/17, 5:40pm

SOPA activity resumes next month

Republican Congressman and Judiciary Committee chair Lamar Smith stated Tuesday that the Stop Online Piracy Act would resume the drafting process in February. Despite hopes from opponents that a shelving meant it was stopped, the contentious bill would be back to the markup phase. Pre-election retreats were the immediate reason for the pause, Smith said.

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Google to use its homepage to protest SOPA

01/17, 2:45pm

Google will protest SOPA with link on homepage

In its effort to protest the controversial SOPA bill, Google will host a link to an explanation of its opposition on its popular home page. The link will go live on Wednesday, according to CNET, and thus join Wikipedia, Reddit and other tech firms in showing their disagreement for SOPA and the Protect IP Act (PIPA), both of which were spurred on by movie studios and music labels.

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Obama administration says it would block SOPA as-is

01/14, 4:00pm

Obama White House says SOPA DNS changes won't work

The Obama administration in a direct response on Saturday hinted it would veto any version of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), and by extension the Protect IP Act (PIPA), that included domain name blocking. The White House statement said that any proposal had to be narrowly focused on clearly criminal activity and "must not tamper" with the DNS system that translates web domains to IP addresses. Officials wanted "sound legisltation," but saw a bill like SOPA as compromising Internet security efforts like DNSSEC without solving the real problem.

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SOPA, PIPA proponents drop DNS blocking provision

01/13, 9:40pm

SOPA to no longer censor outside sites

Key Stop Online Privacy Act (SOPA) promoter Representative Lamar Smith stated Friday that he wanted to remove the domain name blocking provision from the proposed bill. He wanted the Congressional Judiciary Committee to "further examine the issues" surrounding the measure, according to CNET. A corresponding move was already underway with the Senate equivalent of the bill, Protect IP (PIPA), from Senator Patrick Leahy.

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Key Protect IP backer shies away after discovering risks

01/13, 4:45am

US Senator back tracks on Protect IP provision

A key Protect IP backer has started to back away from bill, introduced by the Senate last year. According to the Wall Street Journal, Sen. Patrick Leahy, a Vermont Democrat, has said that the believed a new provision in the bill would require “more study.” The provision would give the US attorney general the ability to seek court orders forcing ISPs to block an infringing website’s domain names or URL.

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US album sales up for first time since 2004, spurn SOPA

01/04, 11:05pm

US music sees digital finally overcome analog drop

US album sales have grown for the first time in seven years, Nielsen Soundscan reported Wednesday. A three percent increase to 458 million albums in 2011 was helped by digital sales from iTunes and other sources jumping by 20 percent, to 103 million, overcoming a six percent drop in CD sales to 225 million. Single songs themselves grew faster, up nine percent to 1.27 billion songs.

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Nintendo, Sony back off of SOPA support

12/30, 12:10pm

Nintendo and Sony rethink unpopular SOPA bill

A quiet update to the list of Stop Online Piract Act supporters (PDF) has shown that Nintendo and Sony have backed away from the proposed bill. Both were originally endorsing the bill as of November but quietly removed themselves from the list sometime in the past month. Neither has acknowledged the change in attitude.

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GoDaddy shifts again, opposes SOPA to keep customers

12/29, 6:35pm

GoDaddy makes clear it loses customers over SOPA

GoDaddy sent a statement to the media in an attempt to step the loss of customers by hardening its reversal on SOPA. Where before it just stopped endorsing the contentious anti-piracy act, it now "opposes" the bill. The bill "has not fulfilled its basic requirement" of getting both technology companies and the community onside, it said.

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GoDaddy shoots back, claims Namecheap didn't ask

12/26, 5:20pm

GoDaddy says limited info standard procedure

GoDaddy has responded to accusations that it was stalling on domain transfers from those leaving over SOPA. It argued to TechCrunch that accuser Namecheap had never contacted GoDaddy itself to ask about lifting any limits. GoDaddy and "many other registrars" limit the transfers to prevent abuse of WHOIS, or domain information requests such as the owner's contact information.

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Namecheap accuses GoDaddy of stalling anti-SOPA defections

12/26, 2:15pm

Namecheap says GoDaddy breaking ICANN rules

Domain registrar Namecheap accused GoDaddy on Monday of blocking attempts to move domains away after protest defections over GoDaddy's initial support for the Stop Online Piracy Act. The company claimed that GoDaddy was sending incomplete domain information, making it difficult to switch. It was allegedly violating ICANN rules, which Namecheap took as a sign that the mass domain switches were having a genuine effect.

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GoDaddy backs away from SOPA after mass exodus

12/23, 2:40pm

GoDaddy rethinks SOPA stance after users quit

GoDaddy in a statement backed off of its support of the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act. The web domain registrar maintained that fighting piracy was important but decided that the backlash against it meant the company had to adjust its attitude. GoDaddy would only support SOPA if the broader Internet field did, and its very business was based on the concept of free speech many believe SOPA violates.

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SOPA vote postponed at last minute

12/20, 7:50pm

Debate to continue early next year

The House Judiciary Committee has reportedly delayed action on the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), which has been met with increasing opposition from the public and tech industry. California's Representative Darrel Issa, a vocal opponent of the bill, published a Twitter post noting that SOPA proceedings had been postponed due to the "House schedule."

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Senate set to vote on Protect IP anti-piracy bill in January

12/19, 9:05pm

Senator Harry Reid pushes for quick vote

The US Senate is reportedly set to vote on the Protect IP Act on January 24, making it one of the first pieces of legislation to be put to a vote when the senators return from their holiday vacation. The controversial anti-piracy bill was said to be fast-tracked by Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat from Nevada.

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SOPA vote unexpectedly delayed

12/16, 5:40pm

Bill had been expected to be pushed to House floor

In a surprise move, the House Judiciary Committee suddenly adjourned today without voting to send the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) to the full House floor. The bill had been expected to make it out of the committee today. The adjournment came after committee chairman Rep. Lamar Smith, who is also the bill's chief sponsor, agreed that further exploration was warranted of a provision that lets the Attorney General demand DNS (domain name service) changes.

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Universal tries to block TWiT show for mentioning MegaUpload

12/14, 11:05pm

Universal misuses DMCA to silence MegaUpload talk

Universal drew fire Wednesday after it appeared to be misusing the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to silence news of MegaUpload. The movie and TV studio had YouTube pull down an episode of TWiT's Tech News Today on Monday for including two clips of MegaUpload's celebrity-laden song endorsing its file transfer service. Show co-host Tom Merritt had the show back up after a dispute, but Universal issued a DMCA request on Tuesday and will manage to keep it down for at least 10 days following a counter-dispute from Merritt through YouTube.

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Megaupload will sue Universal Music, join anti-SOPA fight

12/12, 12:45pm

Megaupload to join fight against SOPA bill, more

Following the blockage of a YouTube video on Friday at the request of the RIAA and IFPI, cloud-storage service company Megaupload has stated it will sue Universal Music for prompting what it sees as a wrongful takedown. Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom requested YouTube reinstate the music video, dubbed Mega Song, while Universal asked to pull it again. The video in question was a promotional one for Megaupload and included P Diddy, Will.i.am, Alicia Keys, Kanye West, Snoop Dogg, Macy Gray, Chris Brown, The Game, and Mary J Blige. TorrentFreak learned.

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Proposed OPEN Act would avoid SOPA's censorship terms

12/08, 8:00pm

Bipartisan OPEN Act would target finance, not bans

A bipartisan bill (PDF) drafted by Democrat Senator Ron Wyden and Republican Congressman Darrell Issa could provide a potentially much less controversial alternative to the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). The Online Protection and Enforcement of Digital Trade Act, or OPEN, would use the ITC to investigate claims that sites are primarily for pirates. It could then make a cease-and-desist order and only then bring in the Department of Justice for an injunction, such as cutting off ad revenue and those processing income.

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MPAA claims SOPA will be softened, vague on details

12/01, 7:00pm

Opponents unlikely to be assuaged

The Motion Picture Association of America is reportedly preparing to make changes to the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), which continues to face criticism from a wide range of companies involved in the tech industry. Despite the promise to soften the legislation—described as overreaching by many opponents—the backers have remained mum regarding specific details of the changes.

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DOJ cracks down, seizes 131 domain names

11/25, 3:30pm

DOJ, ICE seize 131 domains thanks to SOPA bill

The Department of Justice, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, have swung into a major anti-piracy campaign after they seized 131 domain names, TorrentFreak learned. The sites are believed to sell, host and/or share pirated content, but the seizures can be appealed. The seizures were part of an official Operation In Out Sites crackdown, the largest such operation to date.

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EU: ISPs can't censor Internet on media industry's behalf

11/24, 3:00pm

EU prevents SOPA-style law targeting ISPs

The European Union's Court of Justice ruled in a Belgian dispute Thursday that Internet providers couldn't be forced to block sites on the media industry's behalf. Officials determined that Belgium's court and local music royalty agency SABAM would be violating EU law if they made Belgian ISP Scarlet install devices to block subscribers from seeing and downloading what are believed to be pirated songs. Any system would violate the "fundamental rights" of users to private data and to send or receive information.

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Software companies turning against SOPA anti-piracy bill

11/22, 9:15pm

Latest industry group to oppose bill

The Business Software Alliance has added itself to the growing list of organizations that oppose the Stop Online Piracy Act. The group, which represents several large players such as Microsoft and Apple, initially supported the proposed legislation, however it has changed its stance due to concerns over certain elements that are expected to be troublesome for legitimate companies rather than copyright violators.

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Tumblr campaign leads to 87,834 calls to stop SOPA bill

11/18, 4:50pm

Tumblr launches anti-SOPA campaign with calls

Tumblr has joined the fight against the SOPA bill that would give the US the right to close the domains of any site that is thought to illegally host file sharing. The company announced it generated 87,834 phone calls to US Congressional representatives in an concentrated attempt to prevent the bill from becoming law. The Stop Online Piracy Act is before the House Judiciary Committee.

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EU passes resolution that might block US web seizures

11/17, 5:05pm

European Parliament joins fight against SOPA

The European Parliament has become the latest to oppose the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), according to TorrentFreak. The Parliament adopted a resolution that effectively criticizes domain name seizures of "infringing" file sharing websites because they endanger "the integrity of the global Internet and freedom of communication." US authorities have began seizing domain names for websites that are found to encourage copyright infringement.

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