French media to Google: pay us for news searches

18 02 2013

The French seem to have an appetite for regulating the Internet, and for going after Google in particular. A new proposed law would force Google to make payments when French media show up in news searches; but Google has responded, in a letter to French ministers, that it “cannot accept” such a solution and would simply remove French media sites from its searches.

The result? “Less information would be available online,” writes Google.

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Lyrics site LiveUniverse slammed with $6.6 million copyright judgment

18 02 2013

Several years after music publishers began pursuing websites that published lyrics on the Web without permission, they may have their biggest payoff yet. A recent court judgment [PDF] against LiveUniverse makes it crystal clear: hosting an unauthorized lyrics site can get you in serious legal trouble.

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Virginia man owes $1.5 million for sharing 10 porn films

11 02 2013

A Virginia man has been ordered to pay $1.5 million to porn publisher Flava Works for uploading 10 of its copyrighted films to peer-to-peer networks. The default judgment, entered after defendant Kywan Fisher failed to show up in court, was the maximum penalty the judge could have imposed.

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Artist who sued Twitter over copyright declares victory—via settlement

11 02 2013

Two months ago, an artist named Christopher Boffoli sued Twitter for copyright infringement because, he said, the company refused to take down copies of his artwork uploaded to Twitter by its users.

Under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, sites like Twitter are granted a “safe harbor” against prosecution as long as they take copyrighted content down when they are notified of its existence. Boffoli, who made a popular series of photographs of miniature figures posed on and near food, sent Twitter numerous requests to take his artwork off the site, and many of them were ignored.

But suddenly, the pictures have been removed, with messages stating “This image has been removed in response to a report from the copyright holder.” And Boffoli has withdrawn his lawsuit, saying the case has been resolved to his satisfaction.

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Twitter to withhold, not delete, infringing tweets under DMCA

11 02 2013

Twitter announced a change in the way that it processes tweets that are alleged to infringe copyright under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

Rather than remove them outright, the company’s legal policy manager Jeremy Kessel wrote early Saturday morning that the company will “withhold” offending tweets.

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Judge denies Fox’s request to stop Dish’s commercial-skipping service

11 02 2013

A federal judge refused to issue a preliminary injunction in a case pitting the Dish satellite network against the Fox media empire. The dispute is over the legality of Dish’s Hopper DVRs, especially its “AutoHop” feature. That automatically detects and skips over commercials. Fox argues that Dish has a “clear goal of violating copyrights and destroying the fundamental underpinnings of the broadcast television ecosystem.”

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How ISPs will do “six strikes”: Throttled speeds, blocked sites

10 02 2013

The “six strikes” anti-piracy program is on its way, for real. Jill Lesser, head of the Center for Copyright Information—the enforcement agency in charge of the system—confirmed that the system is coming this year in a September interview with Ars. Speaking at a New York Internet conference, representatives of two of the biggest ISPs, Verizon and Time Warner, have finally described how their systems will work.

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Decadent capitalists thwart North Korea with DMCA takedown

10 02 2013

A truly bizarre North Korean propaganda video posted on YouTube has been taken down after a DMCA complaint by Activision. The video used scenes from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 without the gaming giant’s permission. The scenes, showing an American city in flames, were accompanied by a piano instrumental of the song “We are the World.” (Apparently, Michael Jackson and Lionel Ritchie are high on the playlist on North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un’s HTC smartphone.)

Before its takedown, the video was captured by LiveLeak.

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UK Judge denies MPAA attempt to seize profits from copyright infringement

10 02 2013

A high court in the United Kingdom has ruled that a copyright owner does not have the right to claim profits from copyright infringement.

“A copyright owner does not have a proprietary claim to the fruits of an infringement of copyright. I shall not, therefore, grant proprietary injunctions,” wrote judge Guy Newey of the England and Wales High Court of Justice, Chancery Division, in a ruling published on Tuesday.

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Videogame App Developer Breaks the Rules on Copyright Infringement

6 02 2013

Desiree Golden, a recent college graduate, wanted to aim at the big money that can be made in app development. She decided to replicate the popular “Tetris” videogame that has been around since the late 1980s. After researching intellectual property law, she says, she set out to copy only those elements of the Tetris game that she believed were not protected by copyright – game rules and functionality.

If this general strategy sounds familiar, perhaps you have read our recent post on the Oracle v. Google dispute over Google’s use of Oracle’s Java technology in the Android operating system. In that case, the court ruled that Google had done it right, and that the rules and functionality of the Java technology that Google copied were not subject to copyright.

But in Tetris Holding, LLC v. Xio Interactive, Inc., 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 74463 (D.N.J. May 30, 2012), Judge Freda Wolfson ruled that Xio, Ms. Golden’s development company, got it wrong. By wholesale copying not only the rules and functionality of the original Tetris game but also its copyrightable expression, Xio’s“Mino” app crossed the line into copyright infringement.

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