Google names names on copyright takedowns; Microsoft is #1

25 05 2012
Who complains loudest about Google linking to infringing content in its search results? The movie and music industries, of course, who absolutely delight in taking whacks at the search engine. But thanks to a huge new trove of data released today by Google, we know that the worldwide top takedown requestor—by far—is actually Microsoft.

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Fox, NBCUniversal sue Dish over ad-skipping DVR service

24 05 2012

Fox and NBCUniversal have both separately sued Dish Network in a Los Angeles federal court over its new service that lets consumers skip TV ads. Dish’s AutoHop service, which debuted earlier this month, has “irked” entertainment executives, according to the Associated Press.

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ACTA is part of a multi-decade, worldwide copyright campaign

24 05 2012

Last week, we observed that major content companies have enjoyed a steady drumbeat of victories in Congress and the courts over the last two decades. The lobbying and litigation campaigns that produced these results have a counterpart in the executive branch. At the urging of major copyright holders, the Obama administration has been working to export restrictive American copyright laws abroad. The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) is just the most visible component of this ambitious and long-running project.

Ars Technica recently talked to Michael Geist, a legal scholar at the University of Ottawa, about this effort. He told us that rather than making their arguments at the World Intellectual Property Organization, where they would be subject to serious public scrutiny, the US and other supporters of more restrictive copyright law have increasingly focused on pushing their agenda in alternative venues, such as pending trade deals, where negotiations are secret and critics are excluded.

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Pirate Bay ruled to infringe copyright, could be blocked in UK

24 05 2012

The Pirate Bay could be blocked in the UK, after a High
Court judge ruled
that the torrent site and its users are
committing copyright infringement.

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“Unethical” HTML video copy protection proposal draws criticism from W3C reps

24 05 2012

A new Web standard proposal authored by Google, Microsoft, and Netflix seeks to bring copy protection mechanisms to the Web. The Encrypted Media Extensions draft defines a framework for enabling the playback of protected media content in the Web browser. The proposal is controversial and has raised concern among some parties that are participating in the standards process.

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Chinese writers double down on copyright lawsuit against Apple

24 05 2012

A group of nine Chinese authors operating under the name China Written Works Copyright Society (CWWCS) has revised a lawsuit against Apple filed in December 2011, asking for double the original damages. The group contends that Apple isn’t doing what it can to fight unauthorized versions of books repackaged as apps from being sold in the App Store.

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Why wait? Six ways that Congress could fix copyright, now

24 05 2012

The fight against copyright maximalism has largely been negative. To offer something more positive, Public Knowledge (PK for short) has released an Internet Blueprint—six bills that the group says could “help make the internet a better place for everyone” and that “Congress could pass today.”

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Copyright kings are judge, jury and executioner on YouTube

24 05 2012

On Friday, a YouTube user named eeplox posted a question to the support forums, regarding a copyright complaint on one of his videos. YouTube’s automated Content ID system flagged a video of him foraging a salad in a field, claiming the background music matched a composition licensed by Rumblefish, a music licensing firm in Portland, Oregon.

The only problem? There is no music in the video; only bird calls and other sounds of nature.

[instance of abuse of YouTube’s automated Content ID system, ed.]

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Stop innovating, please: Kaleidescape loses DVD ripping case

24 05 2012

A California judge ruled last week that Kaleidescape, the company behind a line of high-end home media servers, violated the terms of its DVD licensing agreement by allowing consumers to rip DVDs.

The DVD Copy Control Association sets rules that all manufacturers of DVD players must follow. The organization objected to the DVD-ripping functionality of Kaleidescape’s products and went to court to force them off the market. On Thursday, Judge William Monahan issued a broad injuncton barring Kaleidescape from selling its DVD-streaming products.

The case is a useful reminder that, thanks to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, major content companies continue to enjoy veto power over the design of digital media devices. Include a digital lock in your spec and the DMCA keeps anyone from bypassing it, even if the intended use might well be legal. Hollywood is using this power to prevent “DVD jukebox” products from reaching consumers.

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Copyright wars heat up: US wins extradition of college kid from England

24 05 2012

A 23-year old student from Sheffield Hallam University in the north of England is bound for America. That wouldn’t be unusual—except that Richard O’Dwyer won’t go voluntarily. The UK Home Secretary has today agreed to extradite O’Dwyer over US copyright infringement charges for running a “linking site” called TVShack.

Back in June 2010, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) seized O’Dwyer’s tvshack.net domain name after a closed, one-sided hearing before a judge. (All domains ending in .net and .com are seizable by US law enforcement, regardless of where their owners are located.) But O’Dwyer soon had the site back up at a new address, TVShack.cc, which did not require a US-based domain name registrar. He slapped a notice to the top of the new site urging users to update their bookmarks.

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As of June, 2012, Appeals and arguments are continuing, in England, as to whether O’Dwyer will be extradited.

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