Google principle target of move to 'level playing field' for content producers
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, EU Commissioner of Digital Economy & Society Gunther Oettinger discussed the possibility of taxing internet companies like Google for displaying material to which they don't own the copyright. Despite two failed attempts in Germany and Spain, content producers believe search and news aggregators like Google profit off the content without licensing.
Vimeo starts accepting 4K-resolution video from Pro subscribers
Vimeo is allowing Vimeo Pro users to upload 4K-resolution videos to the service. GigaOM reports that subscribers of the $200-per-year service can transfer the high-resolution video files to its video-on-demand platform, putting the videos up for sale and download by customers. While downloads are available, Vimeo is not allowing 4K streams to operate yet, with CTO Andrew Pile admitting the lack of device support for the format.
Neij caught entering country from Laos, transfered to Bangkok to await extradition
The law has finally caught up with all of the founders of The Pirate Bay, as authorities in Thailand arrested co-founder Fredrik Neij on November 3 as he attempted to enter the country. Neij is the final founder of the piracy gateway to be caught, after fleeing Sweden following a 2009 conviction for aiding copyright infringement.
Judge dismisses appeal over High Court ruling, assets won't be made public
In the legal battle between file-sharing entrepreneur Kim Dotcom and Hollywood movie studios, a judge has dismissed an appeal that could have saved the Megaupload founder from detailing his current financial assets. The dismissal upholds a July decision, forcing Dotcom to turn over an affidavit for his worldwide assets to the Hollywood studios suing him for copyright infringement in a civil suit.
Google asks Supreme Court to weigh in over Java API use in Android
The battle between Google and Oracle could be heating up again in the near future, as the search giant has petitioned the US Supreme Court to review the case for a final ruling. Previously, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal District overturned a lower court ruling that found Google didn't infringe upon Oracle copyright by using pieces of open-source Java APIs in Android without a license.
Grooveshark disagrees with decision as it's based on 'an early iteration' of the service
After record labels were granted a summary judgment from a US District Court judge in New York in September, streaming music service Grooveshark says it's gearing up for an appeal to the the case. The reason for the appeal sounds somewhat defiant, as Grooveshark states it doesn't agree with the decision since it was based on "an early iteration of Grooveshark."
Nearly 6,000 songs uploaded by employees under company instruction, without licenses
Another blow was dealt to Grooveshark today, as a New York judge found that its parent company infringed upon copyright by uploading 5,977 songs. Identified by its parent company Escape Media Group, Grooveshark employees -- including founders Samuel Tarantino and Joshua Greenberg -- were found to have participated in illegal uploads, some under instruction by the company.
Enforcement group wants to install 'piracy wheel clamp' through ISPs in the future
It appears that the piracy enforcement group Rightscorp has been looking into a new strategy when it comes to repeat infringers of its clients' intellectual property. In an earnings conference call last week, the company revealed a different direction that it was considering for the future, one that includes working with Internet service providers (ISP) to block Internet browsing until a payment is made to the group.
Sharing of soccer goals via Vine, social networks claimed as a breach of copyright
Fans of soccer in the United Kingdom have been warned against the creation and sharing of animated GIFs and Vine clips of goals for high-level matches. The Premier League claims it is working on ways to trawl the Internet for football goal clips and to warn creators of the breach of copyright, just one day before the new season is set to start in the country.
Apologies issued for surprise changes, some clarification added on audio recognition
[Updated with Twitch VOD highlight and appeal change] Twitch CEO Emmett Shear did an "ask me anything" Q-n-A on Reddit today, fielding numerous questions over the recent changes that the game-streaming service underwent this week. While Shear confirmed information on most of the changes that had already taken place, he did try to reassure users that the moves were done with a purpose.
Replacement ads state that a site has been reported, branded with force logo
The City of London Police is taking a new approach when it comes to curbing piracy. The Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) recently started replacing advertising banners on websites involved with copyright infringement, warning users that the site is known to authorities. The move is aimed at cutting off revenue streams on sites promoting intellectual property (IP) theft, even when the ads are legitimate.
Declaration by US Copyright Office hampers Aereo reboot
Aereo's attempt to resurrect its cloud-based DVR service has hit a snag, this time with the US Copyright Office. After a Supreme Court ruling declared Aereo to be too similar to a cable company to escape paying licensing fees to broadcasters, the start-up offered to pay the same fees as cable companies, though the US Copyright Office goes against the court's thinking, claiming it falls short of being a cable operator.
House IP subcommittee heard testimony on possible first sale extension
Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives' Committee on the Judiciary's Subcommittee Intellectual Property held a hearing on the "first sale doctrine" as part of review on copyright laws. The committee heard testimony from a number of businesses and groups on the subject of extending first-right sales to digital items. That extension, however, was a point of contention for the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA).
Swedish Police confirm Sunde's arrest based on warrant issued in 2012
One of the co-founders of the torrent site The Pirate Bay was arrested on this weekend on a warrant issued in 2012. Peter Sunde was picked up in Sweden on Saturday stemming from his conviction of aiding in copyright infringement by a Stockholm court in April 2009. Sunde was thought to have been living in Germany according to Swedish media.
Decision backtracks on company's previous stance over copyright videos
Console maker Nintendo has changed its mind on the lock down of revenue on "Let's Play" videos on YouTube. Nintendo will be launching an "affiliate program" that will give a share of the ad revenue from videos to the person(s) creating the content. The move comes after content had been flagged and removed from YouTube when Nintendo filed copyright claims on videos that included footage of their games in 2013.
Piracy warning letters deal close to completion, lacks penalty for infringing
Internet service providers (ISPs) in the United Kingdom are close to an agreement with parts of the entertainment industry, which will attempt to fight piracy in the country. The Voluntary Copyright Alert Program (Vcap), stemming from the Digital Economy Act of 2010, will see BT, Talk Talk, Virgin Media, and Sky sending warning letters to customers identified as possible infringers, though it appears that, unlike the Six Strikes system used by the Center for Copyright Infromation in the US, the scheme may not penalize infringers at all.
Record companies argue that state law protects older recordings
Following a similar lawsuits against Sirius XM radio, a group of record companies has filed suit in a New York court against Pandora, the top streaming subscription music service in the US. While songs made before February 15, 1972 are not subject to federal copyright protections, the labels argue that Pandora, like Sirius, should pay royalties to the tune of tens of millions of dollars because the songs are still protected under state laws.
Sharing copyright-infringing files on Dropbox shows DMCA warning for some users
Dropbox is preventing some users from sharing specific files over DMCA complaints, according to reports. A screenshot showing a folder on the cloud-based storage service with the DMCA warning has appeared on Twitter, which at the time of writing has been retweeted close to 3,000 times, with the user seemingly unable to share a file thanks to Dropbox's automated copyright-infringement prevention systems.
Modernization of UK copyright law may occur in June
The United Kingdom is preparing to legalize the ripping of DVDs and CDs for private use, it has revealed. As part of a larger movement to modernize its copyright laws, the government is also changing the way copyright laws cover quotations, caricature and parody usage, with the new rules likely to come into force June 1st of this year.
New ruling speaks towards weakness of IP address as a definite identification
In a ruling likely to complicate mass-piracy lawsuits, a judge in Washington state tossed out a lawsuit accusing eight "John Does" and four named individuals of illegally downloading the movie Elf-Man. The presiding judge has declared that an IP address alone isn't sufficient to identify a user, and lacks sufficient granularity of identity to sue the possessor for copyright infringement.
Move done last minute to extend UK copyright 20 years
A new Beatles album replete with songs previously available only as bootlegs will appear on iTunes on December 17, beating a copyright expiration in the United Kingdom. The album, called The Beatles: bootleg recordings 1963 will be exclusive to Apple's download service, and will serve to extend the copyright over the recordings for another 20 years. It is not known if the tracks will make it to iTunes radio.
Music site exploits publicity, complains of 'substandard' terms
A digital music news site was forced to take down a copy of an iTunes Radio contract it had been given and published -- opting to post the entire contract online rather than just discuss the portions it wanted to highlight, prompting a copyright claim from Apple. While some have claimed that Apple's beef was more about suppressing business details than protecting copyright, the site's tactics raise the question of whether its okay to break the law in the name of trying to garner hits.
Rights holders concerned about advertising dollars paid to site owners
Fan-curated movie subtitle repository Undertexter has been shut down after a police raid by Sweden. The site provided completely user-driven film and television show subtitles, which combined with some set-top boxes or video playback applications provide on-screen text of the show's dialog and action in alternative languages or for those who were hearing-impaired. The video content itself wasn't hosted on the site.
New user monitoring system powered by error-prone MarkMonitor
As expected, the Center for Copyright Information's BitTorrent monitoring system has launched, but with all five previously-announced ISPs starting up in one day. Participating ISPs in the measure, also known as "six strikes," include Verizon, Comcast, AT&T, Cablevision, and Time Warner, plus all subsidiaries of the parent companies.
Mandatory viewing of anti-piracy video part of measures
Details on how Verizon will allegedly implement its "six-strikes" anti-piracy policy, set to roll out this year, have surfaced online. Warnings, bandwidth throttling, and obligatory viewings of an anti-piracy video will be applied to connections of alleged infringers, before their IP address will be passed over to the MPAA and RIAA, in order for legal action to take place.
Over 2.5 million copyright infringement notices received per week
Google has seen the number of copyright removal requests increase by a factor of ten since the search giant started to publicize takedown notices. Requests have increased from around 250,000 per week in May to over 2.5 million notices a week, continuing the trend of the number of copyright infringement notices vastly accelerating ever since the service started.
All litigation dropped, Le Monde claims Google paying 5 million euros
Google took to its European blog today, and announced that it has reached a settlement with Belgian publishers that launched a suit against it six years ago. In the suit, the publishers argued that Google linked to cached copies and utilized portions of French-language content illegally. All litigation has been dropped under the new deal, but some ambiguity exists as to what exactly the European publishers have received as part of the deal.
Late 2012 implementation testing hampered by storm damage
Center for Copyright Information (CCI) head Jill Lesser has announced in a blog post that the much-criticized "six strikes" copyright enforcement warning system will not be implemented until early 2013. Previously scheduled to begin in December of 2012, damage from Hurricane Sandy affected the organization's testing schedules with Internet service providers.
Ruling: Embedding, viewing doesn't compound infringement
Judge Richard Posner of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals has refuted a legal theory promoted by industry groups that calls embedding of third-party-hosted video copyright infringement. In Thursday's decision, the judge ruled that the video link aggregator site myVidster was not liable to adult video producer Flava Works (link may be NSFW) for users linking copies of videos uploaded by others.
Judge Alsup unlikely to overturn his own rulings
Fresh off a triumph over Oracle in its Java plagiarizing dispute, Google has undertaken a potentially-risky maneuver by filing for a judgement as a matter of law (JMOL) ruling from Judge William Alsup on various unresolved issues from Oracle's copyright claims, and requests a hearing date of August 23. Given Alsup's comprehensive judgement on the matter, the next venue for the appeal is almost certainly the Federal appeals court in Washington, DC. Both Oracle and Google have requested the judge rule on a JMOL motion related to the unceremonious $0 dollar settlement marking the end of the trial.
New ruling removes textbook copy fees, video game music tax
The Supreme Court of Canada issued a sweeping set of rulings in the five copyright cases it heard last December, including a case covering iTunes store song sample length. The court has affirmed that "fair dealing" ("fair use" in the US) must be interpreted on the side of the user, and not on the side of copyright holders, except in the case of extreme abuse of the fair dealing statute. In the same session, the court ruled that supplemental taxes applied on downloadable video games weren't a legal "communications" tariff.
Not enough detail on items sought, reason for search
Judge Helen Winkelmann of the New Zealand High Court ruled that police warrants used to seize property from Megaupload file-sharing site founder Kim Dotcom were illegal. The warrants used did not properly describe the offenses that they were related to, lacked details of the copyright infringement offense, and did not specify the types of items to be searched for. As a logical extension to the ruling, Judge Winkelmann said that it was unlawful for copies of Dotcom's personal data to be taken to the United States for use and analysis by the FBI.
Tax is 'compensation for private copying'
German publication Heise is reporting that the ZPÜ, the German organization responsible for administering a tax on blank media, has announced a sizable increase in the blank media levy. According to the ZPÜ's announcement, the fee on flash drives and similar storage devices up to 4GB will rise from about 10 cents to $1.93. For devices larger than 4GB, the fee will jump from 10 cents to $2.42. For the smaller devices, the new tax rate amounts to a 1,850 percent increase, while the rate jumps 2,338 percent for larger storage media.
Google found to not have willfully infringed patents
Judge William Alsup has rejected Oracle's bid to have the jury verdict finding Google to have not infringed on six patent claims overturned in its ongoing legal battle with Google. Alsup's statement, detailing the reasoning behind the denial, argues that there was sufficient evidence to support the jury's verdict absolving Google of some patent violation charges. The analysis concedes that an appellate court may find reason for a retrial, but for now, the verdict stands in the current phase of the trial.
US defendant offered deal to implicate UK couple
It is a terrible cliché when a writer begins a story by claiming that a series of real-life events "reads like a Hollywood movie script," but occasionally dramatic stories occur that are hard to distinguish from the intricate plottings of screenwriters or novelists. An unusual operation involving the US-based Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) hiring investigators to spy on a UK couple that ran a "links to streaming video" site has resulted in prosecution with the help of a US defendant.
Ruling covers both music and book downloads
A German appeals court has ruled that RapidShare musit monitor the traffic being uploaded by its user to look for and try to stop pirated content. The ruling upholds three lower court decisions against the storage and sharing service. In each case, the company was told to do more to prevent any violation of any copyrights.
Change aims to aid aging musicians
The Council of the European Union has voted to extend copyright protection terms for sound recordings by 20 years. The move was widely supported by the recording industry, pushed through as a way to "help aging sessions musicians" by ensuring that royalties would not be cut off as the copyright holders were ready to retire.
Claims Warner removed 100s of files it didn't own
The battle over software and video piracy took a turn yesterday when a Florida file hosting service sued Warner Brothers for allegedly engaging in copyright fraud and abuse of anti-piracy laws. Hotfile accuses the Warner Bros. of using the hosting company's anti-piracy tools to remove titles the studio doesn't own, including open source software. Hotfile is asking a court to make it whole for the losses they claim Warner Bros. caused.
Ruling could leave door open for locker services
MP3tunes has lost a copyright infringement lawsuit originally filed by EMI, however the judge tossed many of the record label's DMCA claims that were viewed as a threat to other music locker services. Judge William Pauley agreed that MP3tunes violated EMI copyrights by failing to remove pirated tracks from its customers' music lockers after pulling the same listings from Sideload.com, a music search engine that operated alongside the locker service.
Dutch label may actually be at fault
Former rap artist Korvel Sutton has filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in California against Apple's iTunes service, charging that they are selling copyrighted tracks from his former group Pretty Boy Gangsters in other compilations without permission. Apple has already responded that license to sell the recordings, which were made in the early 1990s, came from a Dutch record label -- which has been in trouble before for distributing songs illegally.
UK copyright law updated to reflect 'reality'
Vince Cable, the United Kingdom's Business secretary, has announced major changes to that country's copyright law concerning digital media. The government will legalize "format shifting," or allowing consumers to rip content from CDs and DVDs for personal use. The government will also reverse part of last year's Digital Enforcement Act, which would have blocked websites for hosting copyrighted material. Cable said the law needed to change to conform to reasonable expectations of consumers. "We've got to bring law in line with reality," he said.
ISPs could be forced to give up individuals
A legal challenge to the UK’s controversial Digital Economy Act has failed to have the legislation overturned. According to the BBC report, UK ISP’s BT and Talk Talk had requested a judicial view on the grounds that it was overly invasive. The Digital Economy Act is designed to allow copyright holders the power to gather lists of IP addresses, which can then be used to target individuals. Copyright holders who have insisted that this legislation will help to reduce illegal file sharing welcomed the ruling.
Judge allows controversial measure to proceed
DC-based US Copyright Group has won a ruling that will allow it to proceed in a case against thousands of people alleged to have shared files illegally. The decision by Federal Judge Beryl Howell will require ISPs to turn over the identities of thousands of users who have engaged in P2P file sharing. This is the first time that a subpoena for the identities of thousands of people alleged to have shared files illegally has been granted.
Broadcasters claim copyright infringement
Several broadcasters have filed a lawsuit against Ivi TV after the startup defied cease-and-desist demands to stop retransmitting broadcast TV signals via the Internet without permission. Fox, ABC, CBS, NBC and PBS have accused the small company of copyright infringement for its web-based streaming service, which provides access to over 20 channels for $5/month.
Jury unanimously decides in favor of Novell
The SCO Group faces yet another loss in its legal battle involving a number of Unix patents, according to a blog post on Novell's website. A District Corut of Utah jury on Tuesday issued a verdict confirming Novell's ownership of the Unix copyrights. SCO had attempted to convince the court that IBM and Novell were illegally profiting from SCO-owned Unix code built into their respective versions of Linux.
Court rules final judgment in Apple's favor
The US District Court for the Northern District of California has entered a final judgment granting Apple's motion for permanent injunction against Psystar. The decision effectively bans the clone maker from continuing to infringe on the Mac OS X copyrights, including manufacturing and distribution of non-Apple computers with the Mac operating system pre-installed.
Original iPod creator?
Apple has finally given credit to a British man whose work was the inspiration behind the iPod, claims the Daily Mail. Kane Kramer, 52, is said to have created the technology that powers the digital music player nearly 30 years ago, but not received any royalties. Kramer original designed a device he called the IXI in 1979; though it would only have been capable of storing 3.5 minutes of music on a chip, Kramer was hopeful that capacity would improve over time.
Mediaset sues YouTube
Italian broadcaster Mediaset on Wednesday announced it is seeking at least 500 million euros ($779 million) in damages from Google-owned YouTube, according to a report in Variety. The lawsuit, filed in a Rome court, accuses YouTube of "illegal distribution and commercial use of audio and video files." Mediaset alleges that an audit it performed on June 10 came up with 4,643 clips amounting to 325 hours of copyrighted Mediaset content.
Groups fight MPAA FCC bid
A request to the FCC by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) to waive previously set rules and thus allow it to send video content to select TVs and entertainment devices is being contested by seven public interest and consumer groups. Led by consumer advocacy group Public Knowledge, the request was made on Monday, after the MPAA's May 9th request to be exempt from the rules which were set in 2003. Such exemption would allow studios to deny access to material, or postpone it, to owners of specific brands of TVs, for example, argue the public interest groups.
Pan-European music OK'd
The European Commission has ordered music copyright organizations to allow pan-European licensing schemes, says the Associated Press. At present, companies looking to sell music throughout Europe must negotiate agreements with 24 separate collecting societies, scattered throughout the European Union. While this may protect national industries and culture, the Commission has ruled that it also breaks antitrust regulations, giving the societies monopolies in their respective homelands.