Jailbreaking now legal under DMCA for smartphones, but not tablets

18 02 2013

The Digital Millennium Copyright makes it illegal to “circumvent” digital rights management schemes. But when Congress passed the DMCA in 1998, it gave the Librarian of Congress the power to grant exemptions. The latest batch of exemptions, which will be in force for three years, were announced on Thursday.

Between now and late 2015, there will be five categories of circumvention that will be allowed under the Librarian’s rules, one fewer than the current batch of exemptions, which was announced in July 2010. The new exemptions take effect October 28.

The new batch of exemptions illustrate the fundamentally arbitrary nature of the DMCA’s exemption process.

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Copyright Management Information Must be on Same Web Page

18 02 2013

Personal Keepsakes, Inc. v. PersonalizationMall, No. 11 C 5177, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill. May 24, 2012) (Kendall, J.).

Judge Kendall denied plaintiff Personal Keepsakes’ (“PKI”) motion to reconsider in this copyright and Digital Millenium Copyright Act (“DMCA”) case.  The Court previously held that, as a matter of law, a copyright notice on a separate page of a website from the allegedly copied work does not constitute the copyright management information (“CMI”) required by the DMCA.  The Court’s holding was a “natural extension” of the reasoning in Schiffer Publishing, Ltd. v. Chronicle Books, LLC, 2004 WL 2583817 (E.D. Pa. Nov. 12, 2004).  And PKI cited no binding authority contradicting Schiffer or the Court’s analysis.


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Brazilian press to Google News: pay up or leave our content alone

18 02 2013

Brazil’s National Association of Newspapers decided to deny Google News the ability to re-post headlines and the first few sentences of articles from newspapers around the country. The 154 member newspapers make up 90 percent of Brazil’s newspaper circulation. The association explained the decision by saying Google News was siphoning traffic away from their websites and refusing to pay for the free content.

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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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