Senate IP Subcommittee Kicks Off Year-Long Review of Digital Millennium Copyright Act

26 03 2020
IP Watchdog
Eileen McDermott
February 13, 2020
Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) this week held the first in a series of eight tentative hearings scheduled for this year on the topic of updating and modernizing the U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Tillis’ goal is to address changes to the internet since the DMCA was passed in 1998, and by December 2020 to release the text of a draft reform bill for stakeholder comment. Senator Coons pointed out that the IP Subcommittee has been the most active subcommittee on the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Tillis said that the process will take place in the same vein as last year’s patent eligibility hearings, which involved gathering extensive input from a variety of stakeholders.

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Intellectual Property Outlook: Cases and Trends to Follow in 2020 — PART 4

26 03 2020

LexBlog
Robert Masters, Jonathan DeFosse & Kevin A. Ryan
March 25, 2020
PART 4:  INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY LEGISLATION TO WATCH IN 2020

In this four-part series, we take a look forward at the cases, legislation, and other trends that are likely to have a significant impact on intellectual property law and practice in 2020.  In the first three parts of the series, we looked at the IP issues currently pending before the Supreme Court, possible changes to the law of patent eligibility, and hot topics surrounding inter partes review proceedings.  In this last part of our series, we look at proposed legislation related to intellectual property issues.  In particular, we consider:

  • The “Inventor Rights Act,” which would establish protections for “inventor-owned patents,” including a prohibition on USPTO reexamination of such patents without the patentee’s consent;
  • The Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement (“CASE”) Act of 2019, which would establish a small claims tribunal within the Copyright Office to address copyright disputes involving less than $30,000 in damages;
  • The Counterfeit Goods Seizure Act of 2019, which would authorize the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency to seize counterfeit articles that infringe a design patent; and
  • The Trademark Modernization (“TM”) Act of 2020, which would establish new ex parte procedures in the USPTO to expunge trademarks obtained based on false claims that the marks were used in commerce.

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Congressional Research Service Reports Now Officially Publicly Available

19 09 2018

TechDirt

For many, many years we’ve been writing about the ridiculousness of the Congressional Research Service’s reports being kept secret. If you don’t know, CRS is a sort of in-house think tank for Congress, that does, careful, thoughtful, non-partisan research on a variety of topics (sometimes tasked by members of Congress, sometimes of its own volition). The reports are usually quite thorough and free of political nonsense. Since the reports are created by the federal government, they are technically in the public domain, but many in Congress (including many who work at CRS itself) have long resisted requests to make those works public. Instead, we were left with relying on members of Congress themselves to occasionally (and selectively) share reports with the public, rather than giving everyone access to the reports. . . .

And, this week, it has come to pass. As announced by Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden, there is now an official site to find CRS reports at crsreports.congress.gov.

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Congress OKs sex trafficking bill that critics say will “censor the Internet”

22 03 2018

Ars Technica

– 3/21/2018, 5:54 PM

The US Senate today passed a bill that weakens legal protections given to websites that host third-party content, saying the measure will help stop promotion of prostitution and sex trafficking on the Internet. But the legislation won’t actually help victims of sex trafficking, and will erode online free speech, critics say.

The Senate passed the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA) in a 97-2 vote. Only Sens. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) and Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) voted against the bill, which is also known as the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA). It already passed the House of Representatives, and is expected to be signed by President Donald Trump.

The bill changes Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act, which provides website operators with broad immunity for hosting third-party content. The bill declares that Section 230 “was never intended to provide legal protection to websites that unlawfully promote and facilitate prostitution and websites that facilitate traffickers in advertising the sale of unlawful sex acts with sex trafficking victims.”

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The content in this post was found at https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2018/03/congress-oks-sex-trafficking-bill-that-critics-say-will-censor-the-internet/

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Top Internet Law Developments of 2017 (Very Late)

14 03 2018

Eric Goldman
Technology and Marketing Law Blog

March 13, 2018

[It’s a sign of my busy 2018 that I’m only now posting my annual Internet Law year-in-review recap. Better late than never?]

Can the Print-on-Demand Industry Survive?

Trump and Twitter.

Uber.

Europe’s GDPR.

Net Neutrality.

Section 230 and Sex Trafficking.

SESTA/FOSTA

“Conservatives” Bring Censorious Civil Rights Lawsuits Against Internet Giants (and “Liberal” Google/Facebook/Twitter Haters Cheer Them On).

Internet Companies Are Viewed as the Problem, Not the Solution (Especially for Political Ads).

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Leveling the Playing Field: Potential Copyright Reform

27 02 2018

–Greta Messer

FEBRUARY 25, 2018

jetlaw.org

Of the many movements garnering current political interest, music hubs such as Nashville have a keen eye on one more under the radar: copyright reform.  . . . The currently pending legislation to aid these musicians may be packaged differently in omnibus bills moving forward, but the core components include the Music Modernization Act, the Classics Act, and the Allocation for Music Producers Act.

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Congress Probably Will Ruin Section 230 This Week (SESTA/FOSTA Updates)

27 02 2018

For the past year, I’ve been covering Congress’ efforts to create a sex trafficking exception to Section 230’s immunity. From the beginning, it was clear that the proponents did not understand Section 230’s powerful but counter-intuitive doctrinal mechanisms, yet their initiative to gut Section 230 had momentum. Two bills were introduced: SESTA in the Senate and FOSTA in the House. Both bills as introduced were terrible.

After a Senate Commerce Committee hearing, SESTA was amended to fix some of its roughest edges, but the amendments didn’t resolve SESTA’s structural flaw (I’ll discuss that below). As part of a House Judiciary Committee hearing, FOSTA as introduced was replaced by substitute FOSTA, which still had problems but represented a more productive approach to address sex trafficking. Amended SESTA and substitute FOSTA passed the Senate Commerce Committee and House Judiciary Committee, respectively, queuing both up for passage by their respective chambers. However, amended SESTA has been slowed by Sen. Wyden’s hold; and for reasons that aren’t clear to me, the House Judiciary Committee didn’t report substitute FOSTA until last week. Ten days ago, the House Energy & Commerce Committee waived jurisdiction over FOSTA to help get the bill on the House floor.

Ever since substitute FOSTA emerged, one of the key questions has been how Senate and House might reconcile the different policy approaches in SESTA and FOSTA if both advanced. No one I spoke to, not even the inside-Congress experts, were confident in their predictions. Last week, a backroom deal was announced that apparently answers that question, but in substantively and procedurally deficient ways. This is BAD NEWS.

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ESA Comes Out Against Allowing Museums To Curate Online Video Games For Posterity

27 02 2018

Tech dirt
[retrieved 2-27-18]

A week or so back, we discussed the Museum of Art and Digital Entertainment (MADE) calling on the Copyright Office to extend exemptions to anti-circumvention in the DMCA to organizations looking to curate and preserve online games. Any reading of stories covering this idea needs to be grounded in the understanding that the Librarian of Congress has already extended these same exemptions to video games that are not online multiplayer games. Games of this sort are art, after all, and exemptions to the anti-circumvention laws allow museums, libraries, and others to preserve and display older games that may not natively run on current technology, or those that have been largely lost in terms of physical product. MADE’s argument is that online multiplayer games are every bit the art that these single-player games are and deserve preservation as well.

Well, the Entertainment Software Association, an industry group that largely stumps for the largest gaming studios and publishers in the industry, has come out in opposition to preserving online games, arguing that such preservation is a threat to the industry.

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IP and Sovereign Immunity: Why You Can’t Always Sue for IP Infringement

3 02 2018

The overlap between sovereign immunity and IP issues is not something that comes up all of the time. However, when it does, the impact of the immunity can be significant. The law for certain matters, such as lawsuits in Federal court, is fairly well resolved. However, its application when new procedures are made available, such as for IPRs which were established in 2012, has provided new challenges and opportunities… So can the Federal or State government be sued for infringement under Federal patent, trademark, or copyright law? The answer often depends on the particular facts and specific legal issues of a dispute. That said, in most cases the answer is Yes for the U.S. Government and No for states and Tribal Nations, unless they have taken a specific action to waive immunity for that matter. A brief summary follows.

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3D Printing for Consumers: What Does it Mean for the Future of IP?

5 01 2018

Patent filings relating to 3D printing have increased 23-fold over the last five years, and trademark filings for businesses involved in 3D printing have increased 300 percent over the same time. Obviously, there is great excitement over the promise of 3D printing, but there is also concern about how 3D printing could make it too easy to copy a patented product with a push of a button… Traditionally, it is more important to have patent claims that protect products, components of products, arrangements of products, etc. Future IP will weigh more heavily on ideas and designs, rather than methods, which will be increasingly become difficult to police. These files will serve as proof of an owners’ pre-established rights, and could prove to be a major profit-making source in the future. And while copyrights are susceptible to fair use claims in a way patents are not, copyrights last for an extremely long time (e.g., 70 years beyond the death of the author).

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