Helicopters, guns, attack dogs: New video shows raid on Dotcom home

13 08 2012

With New Zealand authorities trying to overturn a ruling that a raid of Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom’s mansion was illegal, new footage has surfaced showing police storming the home with helicopters, semiautomatic weapons, and attack dogs, despite the fact that police admitted Dotcom posed a “low risk.”

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Google to drop search rankings of sites with many takedown notices

13 08 2012
In a Friday morning blog post, Google said it will change its search algorithm next week to take into account “the number of valid copyright removal notices” it receives for any site. High rates of removal notices are likely to drop a site down in the search results, which Google says “should help users find legitimate, quality sources of content more easily.”

The new move appears to be a nod in the direction of rightsholders, most notably the MPAA and RIAA. The latter trade group, meanwhile, has argued previously that Google isn’t doing enough to remove possibly infringing links.

On its website, the RIAA called the new move a “potentially significant announcement.”

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Maxis and Electronic Arts sue Zynga over The Ville

8 08 2012

It hasn’t been a great couple of weeks for Zynga, whose less-than-stellar earnings report last Friday was quickly followed by allegations of insider trading by no fewer than five different law firms. Now, Electronic Arts and Maxis are piling on, suing Zynga over The Ville‘s similarities to EA’s own The Sims Social.

EA believes that Zynga copied The Sims Social‘s game design, graphics, and other elements to such an extent that “the two games are, to an uninitiated observer, largely indistinguishable,” said Maxis General Manager Lucy Bradshaw in a press release posted over at Joystiq. Bradshaw also wants to protect the “creative teams who feel that their hard work and imaginations have been ripped off” by the alleged copying.

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Video Embedding Site Isn’t a Contributory Copyright Infringer, But Sideloading Could Be Direct Infringement–Flava Works v. myVidster

8 08 2012

By Eric Goldman

Flava Works, Inc. v. Gunter, No. 11-3190 (7th Cir. Aug. 2, 2012). Prior blog post on district court ruling.

myVidster is a “social bookmarking” website that allows users to link to videos hosted elsewhere on the Internet and thereby embed the videos in myVidster’s user interface. Today, myVidster scored a big win at the Seventh Circuit, which held that it had not committed contributory infringement by allowing users to embed infringing videos via myVidster. It’s hard to state just how amazing this ruling was for myVidster, because myVidster’s principal, Gunter, often refused to honor takedown notices (on the dicey premise that anything posted somewhere elsewhere on the Internet was freely linkable) and thus presumptively failed to qualify for the 17 USC 512(d) safe harbor. Normally, when a website fails to honor takedown notices, judges come down hard on the website—just like the district court did in this case.

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Leaked: US proposal on copyright’s limits

8 08 2012

Late Friday, a few short paragraphs of text were leaked that revealed something of the terms on fair use being negotiated in secret by the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The TPP is a treaty currently being negotiated by nine Pacific Rim countries seeking to establish a new free-trade agreement on many issues, including intellectual property. The next negotiating round is set for early September in Leesburg, Virginia.

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As Curiosity touches down on Mars, video is taken down from YouTube

8 08 2012

The NASA Curiosity team had to overcome many obstacles to land their robot safely on the surface of the Red Planet. But one obstacle they were probably not expecting to encounter was an accusation of copyright infringement.

The American space agency has been posting videos related to the Curiosity mission on its official YouTube page. But the Motherboard blog noticed that one of the videos had disappeared. In its place was the message “This video contains content from Scripps Local News, who has blocked it on copyright grounds.”

NASA is a federal agency, and by law, works of the federal government are in the public domain. And in any event, it’s hard to see how Scripps could own footage of NASA scientists celebrating Curiosity’s successful landing in their own control room. So NASA complained to YouTube, and the video was restored within a few hours.

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Amazon decides it actually does need licenses for music

1 08 2012

It has been over a year since Amazon.com introduced its Cloud Player—a personal music storage and playback service connected to a user’s Amazon account. Only today, though, did Amazon announce that it entered into licensing agreements with “Sony Music Entertainment, EMI Music, Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, and more than 150 independent distributors, aggregators, and music publishers,” and has made a new scan-and-match service available to Amazon customers.

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Google Books hasn’t cost authors a dime, company says

29 07 2012

On Friday, Google filed for summary judgment in the Google Books case against the Authors’ Guild, renewing its argument that the entire project constitutes fair use. That company argues therefore that it does not need permission from authors in order to scan substantial portions of their work.

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Music publisher uses DMCA to take down Romney ad of Obama crooning

27 07 2012

A YouTube video produced by the Romney for President campaign got hit by a takedown request on Monday, highlighting the challenges that the Digital Millenium Copyright Act can pose for free speech.

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Offering P2P File-Sharing Software for Downloading May Be Copyright Inducement–David v. CBS Interactive

23 07 2012

By Eric Goldman

David v. CBS Interactive Inc., CV 11-9437 DSF (C.D. Cal. July 13, 2012). The complaint.

When the Grokster Supreme Court opinion came out in 2005, there was a lot of confusion about the relationship between copyright “inducement” and contributory/vicarious infringement. Did the Supreme Court announce a new basis of derivative liability, or was inducement just a subset of contributory infringement? We haven’t gotten a crystal-clear answer over the years, but this case provides a resounding one: the court says the defendants in this case may be liable for inducing infringement even though they aren’t liable for contributory or vicarious infringement. Because this case demonstrates that inducement can completely bypass the existing derivative liability scheme, it’s troubling.

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