Patient sues dentist over gag order, gets Medical Justice to backtrack

30 05 2012

A patient has filed a class-action lawsuit against his New York dentist over her attempts to use copyright law to gag the patient’s online reviews of her services. Robert Lee, who recently moved to Maryland, has asked a New York federal court to declare that his comments are protected under copyright’s fair use doctrine, that the dentist’s attempts to gag him breach dental ethics, and that the “privacy agreement” the patient was forced to sign is invalid and illegal under New York law.

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The Center for Democracy and Technology also filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission “arguing that Medical Justice was itself engaging in “deceptive and unfair business practices” through the sale of these contracts.”

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The content in this post was found at http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2011/11/patient-sues-dentist-over-gag-order-causing-medical-justice-to-drop-it/ and http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2011/11/complaint-medical-copyright-over-your-comments-contracts-are-illegal-1/ and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com. Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post.



Spiritual Group’s Attempt to Unmask Online Critics Goes South–Art of Living Foundation v. Does

29 05 2012

[Post by Venkat Balasubramani]

Art of Living Foundation v. Does, 10-cv-05022-LHK (N.D. Ca.; Nov. 9, 2011)

Art of Living Foundation is an organization based in India that is dedicated to teaching the spiritual lessons of “His Holiness Ravi Shankar.” Defendants are disgruntled former “student-teachers and students” of plaintiff who want to bring to light their view that AOLF is a “manipulative and abusive cult.” Defendants posted blogs under the pseudonyms “Skywalker” and “Klim.”

AOLF sued, alleging various claims including defamation, misappropriation of trade secrets, copyright infringement and trade libel. AOLF also alleged that defendants published AOLF’s copyrighted “Breathe Sound Water Manual.” AOLF sought leave to conduct expedited discovery. This request was approved and AOLF issued subpoenas to Google and Automattic. Before Google and Auttomatic complied with the subpoenas, defendants appeared through counsel and moved to dismiss AOLF’s defamation claim, strike its trade secrets claim, and also moved to quash the discovery. Skywalker acknowledged that he published the manual, but said that he posted this solely as part of his larger campaign to bring awareness to his views about AOLF.

Other coverage:
Public Citizen: Federal Judge Protects Anonymity of Blogger Despite the Allegedly Infringing Posting of a Copyrighted Teaching Manual
Techdirt: Courts Can’t Ignore Free Speech Concerns Just Because Someone Claims Copyright Infringement
Wendy Davis: Court Rejects Bid To Unmask “Art of Living” Critic
RCFP: Federal judge preserves blogger’s anonymity

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The content in this post was found at http://blog.ericgoldman.org/archives/2011/12/spiritual_group.htm and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com. Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post.



Appeals Court reaffirms DMCA protection for user-generated content

28 05 2012

Universal Music Group was dealt a heavy loss today in its long-running copyright lawsuit against Veoh, a now-defunct video hosting site, with a federal judge upholding a previous ruling that the Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s safe harbor provision protected Veoh from liability when users uploaded videos that infringed on UMG’s intellectual property.

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The content in this post was found at http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2011/12/appeals-court-reaffirms-dmca-protection-for-user-generated-content/ and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com. Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post.



Supreme Court rules Congress can re-copyright public domain works

28 05 2012

Congress may take books, musical compositions and other works out of the public domain, where they can be freely used and adapted, and grant them copyright status again, the Supreme Court ruled Wednesday.

In a 6-2 ruling, the court ruled that just because material enters the public domain, it is not “territory that works may never exit.” (PDF)

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The content in this post was found at http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2012/01/supreme-court-rules-congress-can-re-copyright-public-domain-works/ and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com. Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post.



SOPA Who? FBI Charges Seven with Online Piracy

28 05 2012

The start of the Megaupload case [ed.]

The WSJ’s Devlin Barrett reports on a timely online piracy case filed today in Virginia.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation moved against a group of suspected online pirates Thursday, targeting the popular file-sharing website megaupload.com a day after Washington lawmakers were besieged by complaints about legislation designed to crack down on the online sharing of pirated copies of music, movies and other material, people familiar with the matter said.

Mega Indictment

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The content in this post was found at http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2012/01/19/sopa-who-fbi-charges-seven-with-online-piracy/?mod=WSJBlog&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+wsj%2Flaw%2Ffeed+%28WSJ.com%3A+Law+Blog%29 and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com. Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post.



Internet wins: SOPA and PIPA both shelved

27 05 2012

Just hours after Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) announced he was delaying a vote on the PROTECT IP Act, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), the sponsor of the Stop Online Piracy Act, followed suit and announced he would be delaying consideration of the companion legislation.

“I have heard from the critics and I take seriously their concerns regarding proposed legislation to address the problem of online piracy,” Smith said. “It is clear that we need to revisit the approach on how best to address the problem of foreign thieves that steal and sell American inventions and products.”

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The content in this post was found at http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2012/01/internet-wins-sopa-and-pipa-both-shelved/ and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com. Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post.



Photobucket Qualifies for the 512(c) Safe Harbor (Again)–Wolk v. Kodak

27 05 2012

By Eric Goldman

Wolk v. Kodak Imaging Network, Inc., 2012 WL 11270 (S.D.N.Y. Jan. 3, 2012). Prior blog post on this case.

Wolk is an artist. Users uploaded images of Wolk’s work to Photobucket (a UGC photo-sharing site). Photobucket, in turn, had a revenue-sharing agreement with Kodak Imaging that allowed users to print the images via Kodak (i.e., Kodak did “photofinishing”).

Photofinishing Liability

The court says that Kodak Imaging wasn’t directly liable for printing the images (Wolk didn’t allege secondary infringement). The court observes that “reproduction, display or transmission of the Plaintiff’s images by or through the KODAK Gallery website is an automated process with no human intervention by any employee of the Kodak Defendants.” Thus, because its entire system was automated, Kodak didn’t act volitionally and thus avoids the strict liability standards of direct copyright infringement.

This ruling is unexpected because it’s been conventional wisdom for many years that photofinishers were in fact directly liable for their print jobs. Perhaps that’s because humans were always involved in the photofinishing process during that time, as opposed to now where the process from photo upload to mailing of items can be completely automated. Whatever the case, this ruling has to be encouraging for other automated photofinishers (whether they print photos or other items), such as CafePress or Zazzle. Then again, perhaps the copyright plaintiffs will pursue them under secondary infringement doctrines, which Wolk didn’t do.

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The content in this post was found at http://blog.ericgoldman.org/archives/2012/01/wolk_v_kodak.htm and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com. Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post.



After terrific year, music biz demands that world adopt “SOPA plus”

27 05 2012

In order to protect itself from piracy, the worldwide recording industry needs a few favors from governments and corporations around the globe, and a major new digital music report (PDF) from the industry’s worldwide lobby IFPI lays them out. When placed end-to-end, it’s a lengthy list—and its one that comes after a year of surprisingly strong growth for the industry.

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The content in this post was found at http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2012/01/after-terrific-year-music-biz-demands-that-world-adopt-sopa-plus/ and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com. Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post.



Twitter uncloaks a year’s worth of DMCA takedown notices, 4,410 in all

27 05 2012

On almost any given day, Twitter receives a handful of requests to delete tweets that link to pirated versions of copyrighted content—and quickly complies by erasing the offending tweets from its site.

That fact itself is probably unsurprising to people familiar with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown process, which gives sites like Twitter a “safe harbor” against lawsuits related to user behavior and uploads—so long as the sites don’t knowingly tolerate pirated material or links to such material.

But Twitter has taken the unusual step of making DMCA takedown notices public, in partnership with Chilling Effects, a project of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and several universities. The site shows 4,410 cease and desist notices dating back to November 2010. While most of 2011 shows daily or near-daily activity, there is just one notice in January 2012, suggesting either that Twitter is suddenly receiving fewer DMCA takedown notices or that the database is not quite up to date. (If we find out from Twitter or Chilling Effects, we’ll update the story.)

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Beyond ACTA: next secret copyright agreement negotiated this week—in Hollywood

27 05 2012

One of the worst parts of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) was its ridiculous secrecy, under which it was easy for negotiators and industry reps to see draft text, but impossible for the public to do so except through leaks. Thankfully, those leaks showed just how bad ACTA was going to be for the Internet, and public pressure helped remove the worst provisions.

But the basic approach to doing deals didn’t die, and it’s back again this week as negotiators meet in Hollywood to discuss a new, totally secret intellectual property chapter for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a regional trade agreement.

Civil society and digital rights groups would dearly love to be part of the process; barring that, they’d like to know simply what the process is so that they can at least mount press conferences of their own. But even that is difficult.

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The content in this post was found at http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2012/02/beyond-acta-next-secret-copyright-agreement-negotiated-this-weekin-hollywood/ and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com. Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post.