Pirate Bay ISP hit with German injunction; must stop hosting

13 05 2010

Major movie studios have won yet another round against The Pirate Bay, this time cutting off one of the site’s chief ISPs, Cyberbunker.

The district court in Hamburg, Germany has issued an injunction against Cyberbunker and its owner, Sven Olaf Kamphuis, demanding that he cut off service to The Pirate Bay. Failure to do so will result in massive fines of €250,000 per act of online infringement, or up to two years in prison.

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Google triumphs in US trademark, German copyright cases

29 04 2010


The German Supreme Court has ruled in favor of Google Image Search, saying that the service’s thumbnails don’t infringe on anyone’s copyrights. With Germany’s highest court on its side, Google is understandably happy about the decision. In addition to the victory in Germany, Google also won a case in the US, with the judge saying that AdWords did not infringe on Rosetta Stone’s trademark.

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IMRO vs. The Blogs: collective licensing of music

29 04 2010

Controversy broke out this week when Nialler9, an influential Irish music blogger, publicised IMRO’s demand that music bloggers pay for a Online Exploitation Licence.

Like many blogs, most Irish music blogs are run at no, or very little, profit. Comments on the main posts about the issue generally share a sense of outrage and a belief that IMRO’s demands will damage new Irish music.

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Study: Fair Use Contributes Trillions to U.S. Economy (and all economies)

28 04 2010

One study after another purports to chronicle how much intellectual property piracy hurts the economy, and contributes to every societal ill from terrorism to child porn and slavery. A new study unveiled Tuesday sets out to examine intellectual property in a different light: How fair use — which doesn’t require permission from the copyright holder — actually benefits the economy. The trade group, Computer & Communications Industry Association, in a follow-up to its 2007 report, asks: “What contribution is made to our economy by industries that depend on the limitations to copyright protection when engaged in commerce?” For the year 2007, the fair-use economy accounted for USD 4.7 trillion in revenue (.pdf) and USD 2.2 trillion in value added, roughly one-sixth the total gross domestic product of the United States, according to the study. The fair-use economy also employed more than 17 million people with a USD 1.2 trillion payroll. Fair-use-dependent industries include educational institutions, search engines, web hosting providers, software developers and device manufacturers, among others. The association’s membership includes Microsoft, Google, eBay, AMD, Yahoo, Oracle and others

http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2010/04/fairuse-economy/

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DMCA abuse extends to Twitter posts

26 04 2010

Twitter can be a decent communications medium for some things, but let’s face it: there’s only so much one can say in 140 characters. It’s hard to believe that a user could infringe on someone’s copyright within such tight constraints, but someone apparently thinks it can. Twitter has removed an update posted by the music writer who runs JP’s blog, citing a DMCA takedown request from an unnamed sender. The situation once again highlights the potential for abuse through the DMCA’s takedown system, and raises questions about how much service providers should push back against abuses.

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Lessig, Lawrence. “Getting Our Values around Copyright Right.”

18 04 2010

Lessig, Lawrence. “Getting Our Values around Copyright Right.” EDUCAUSE Review, vol. 45, no. 2 (March/April 2010): 26-42

http://www.educause.edu/EDUCAUSE+Review/EDUCAUSEReviewMagazineVolume45/GettingOurValuesaroundCopyrigh/202337

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UK govt: IP address is “Intellectual Property address”

12 04 2010

The UK has just passed a far-reaching “Digital Economy” bill that gets the judiciary into the website-blocking business and orders ISPs to pass on copyright notices from media companies. It also makes it easy to expand into throttling and Internet disconnections a year from now.

The moves are explicitly done to help the UK’s music and movie industries. This “help the rightsholders!” thinking has taken such hold in the government that an “IP address” can now be defined as an “Intellectual Property (IP) address” rather than an “Internet Protocol address” in official government correspondence—and no one bats an eye.

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In Assessing Employee Status in Copyright Ownership Disputes, Technology Start-Ups Are a Special Case, Says the Ninth Circuit

8 04 2010

A technology start-up company can be an informal environment – both Apple Computer and Hewlett-Packard famously started out in garages, and Yahoo!, Google and Facebook were developed, initially at least, in college dorm rooms. But informality can, and frequently does, lead to legal disputes down the road. In JustMed, Inc. v. Byce, 2010 U.S. App. LEXIS 6976 (9th Cir. Apr. 5, 2010), the Ninth Circuit was faced with a dispute over ownership of the source code for a program that operated a digital audio device.

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DMCA takedowns: trampling on free speech rights?

6 04 2010

Under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, rightsholders have an easy way to take down online material they dislike: send a takedown notice to a website or an ISP. The target of the letter has the right to object by filing a counter-notice, but even if that happens, the targeted material must remain offline for 10 to 14 days before being reposted. If this restriction isn’t followed, the ISP or website in question could lose its “safe harbor” from lawsuits.

This provision of the law means that the DMCA can be used to silence speech, even in cases where the material has not be found by a judge to be infringing. This was an issue with John McCain’s presidential campaign, where news organizations filed takedowns with YouTube about several McCain clips which used their footage. Despite the urgency of the issue (the election was only weeks away), YouTube publicly refused to put the clips back up before the counter-notice window expired; it had the legal right to do so, but the company refused to expose itself to the liability.

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Facebook Preliminarily Wins Copyright Lawsuit over Third Party App–Miller v. Facebook

6 04 2010

By Eric Goldman

Miller v. Facebook, Inc., 3:10-cv-00264-WHA (N.D. Cal. March 31, 2010)

Miller developed a videogame called Boomshine. He is upset that Yeo made an allegedly infringing knockoff variation of the game, called ChainRxn, and distributed the knockoff as a Facebook app. Miller sued both Yeo and Facebook for copyright infringement. In January, I blogged on Facebook’s success invoking the venue clause in its user agreement to move the case to its home court.

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