Record companies argue that state law protects older recordings
Following a similar lawsuits against Sirius XM radio, a group of record companies has filed suit in a New York court against Pandora, the top streaming subscription music service in the US. While songs made before February 15, 1972 are not subject to federal copyright protections, the labels argue that Pandora, like Sirius, should pay royalties to the tune of tens of millions of dollars because the songs are still protected under state laws.
Sharing copyright-infringing files on Dropbox shows DMCA warning for some users
Dropbox is preventing some users from sharing specific files over DMCA complaints, according to reports. A screenshot showing a folder on the cloud-based storage service with the DMCA warning has appeared on Twitter, which at the time of writing has been retweeted close to 3,000 times, with the user seemingly unable to share a file thanks to Dropbox's automated copyright-infringement prevention systems.
Modernization of UK copyright law may occur in June
The United Kingdom is preparing to legalize the ripping of DVDs and CDs for private use, it has revealed. As part of a larger movement to modernize its copyright laws, the government is also changing the way copyright laws cover quotations, caricature and parody usage, with the new rules likely to come into force June 1st of this year.
New ruling speaks towards weakness of IP address as a definite identification
In a ruling likely to complicate mass-piracy lawsuits, a judge in Washington state tossed out a lawsuit accusing eight "John Does" and four named individuals of illegally downloading the movie Elf-Man. The presiding judge has declared that an IP address alone isn't sufficient to identify a user, and lacks sufficient granularity of identity to sue the possessor for copyright infringement.
Move done last minute to extend UK copyright 20 years
A new Beatles album replete with songs previously available only as bootlegs will appear on iTunes on December 17, beating a copyright expiration in the United Kingdom. The album, called The Beatles: bootleg recordings 1963 will be exclusive to Apple's download service, and will serve to extend the copyright over the recordings for another 20 years. It is not known if the tracks will make it to iTunes radio.
Music site exploits publicity, complains of 'substandard' terms
A digital music news site was forced to take down a copy of an iTunes Radio contract it had been given and published -- opting to post the entire contract online rather than just discuss the portions it wanted to highlight, prompting a copyright claim from Apple. While some have claimed that Apple's beef was more about suppressing business details than protecting copyright, the site's tactics raise the question of whether its okay to break the law in the name of trying to garner hits.
Rights holders concerned about advertising dollars paid to site owners
Fan-curated movie subtitle repository Undertexter has been shut down after a police raid by Sweden. The site provided completely user-driven film and television show subtitles, which combined with some set-top boxes or video playback applications provide on-screen text of the show's dialog and action in alternative languages or for those who were hearing-impaired. The video content itself wasn't hosted on the site.
New user monitoring system powered by error-prone MarkMonitor
As expected, the Center for Copyright Information's BitTorrent monitoring system has launched, but with all five previously-announced ISPs starting up in one day. Participating ISPs in the measure, also known as "six strikes," include Verizon, Comcast, AT&T, Cablevision, and Time Warner, plus all subsidiaries of the parent companies.
Mandatory viewing of anti-piracy video part of measures
Details on how Verizon will allegedly implement its "six-strikes" anti-piracy policy, set to roll out this year, have surfaced online. Warnings, bandwidth throttling, and obligatory viewings of an anti-piracy video will be applied to connections of alleged infringers, before their IP address will be passed over to the MPAA and RIAA, in order for legal action to take place.
Over 2.5 million copyright infringement notices received per week
Google has seen the number of copyright removal requests increase by a factor of ten since the search giant started to publicize takedown notices. Requests have increased from around 250,000 per week in May to over 2.5 million notices a week, continuing the trend of the number of copyright infringement notices vastly accelerating ever since the service started.
All litigation dropped, Le Monde claims Google paying 5 million euros
Google took to its European blog today, and announced that it has reached a settlement with Belgian publishers that launched a suit against it six years ago. In the suit, the publishers argued that Google linked to cached copies and utilized portions of French-language content illegally. All litigation has been dropped under the new deal, but some ambiguity exists as to what exactly the European publishers have received as part of the deal.
Late 2012 implementation testing hampered by storm damage
Center for Copyright Information (CCI) head Jill Lesser has announced in a blog post that the much-criticized "six strikes" copyright enforcement warning system will not be implemented until early 2013. Previously scheduled to begin in December of 2012, damage from Hurricane Sandy affected the organization's testing schedules with Internet service providers.
Ruling: Embedding, viewing doesn't compound infringement
Judge Richard Posner of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals has refuted a legal theory promoted by industry groups that calls embedding of third-party-hosted video copyright infringement. In Thursday's decision, the judge ruled that the video link aggregator site myVidster was not liable to adult video producer Flava Works (link may be NSFW) for users linking copies of videos uploaded by others.
Judge Alsup unlikely to overturn his own rulings
Fresh off a triumph over Oracle in its Java plagiarizing dispute, Google has undertaken a potentially-risky maneuver by filing for a judgement as a matter of law (JMOL) ruling from Judge William Alsup on various unresolved issues from Oracle's copyright claims, and requests a hearing date of August 23. Given Alsup's comprehensive judgement on the matter, the next venue for the appeal is almost certainly the Federal appeals court in Washington, DC. Both Oracle and Google have requested the judge rule on a JMOL motion related to the unceremonious $0 dollar settlement marking the end of the trial.
New ruling removes textbook copy fees, video game music tax
The Supreme Court of Canada issued a sweeping set of rulings in the five copyright cases it heard last December, including a case covering iTunes store song sample length. The court has affirmed that "fair dealing" ("fair use" in the US) must be interpreted on the side of the user, and not on the side of copyright holders, except in the case of extreme abuse of the fair dealing statute. In the same session, the court ruled that supplemental taxes applied on downloadable video games weren't a legal "communications" tariff.
Not enough detail on items sought, reason for search
Judge Helen Winkelmann of the New Zealand High Court ruled that police warrants used to seize property from Megaupload file-sharing site founder Kim Dotcom were illegal. The warrants used did not properly describe the offenses that they were related to, lacked details of the copyright infringement offense, and did not specify the types of items to be searched for. As a logical extension to the ruling, Judge Winkelmann said that it was unlawful for copies of Dotcom's personal data to be taken to the United States for use and analysis by the FBI.
Tax is 'compensation for private copying'
German publication Heise is reporting that the ZPÜ, the German organization responsible for administering a tax on blank media, has announced a sizable increase in the blank media levy. According to the ZPÜ's announcement, the fee on flash drives and similar storage devices up to 4GB will rise from about 10 cents to $1.93. For devices larger than 4GB, the fee will jump from 10 cents to $2.42. For the smaller devices, the new tax rate amounts to a 1,850 percent increase, while the rate jumps 2,338 percent for larger storage media.
Google found to not have willfully infringed patents
Judge William Alsup has rejected Oracle's bid to have the jury verdict finding Google to have not infringed on six patent claims overturned in its ongoing legal battle with Google. Alsup's statement, detailing the reasoning behind the denial, argues that there was sufficient evidence to support the jury's verdict absolving Google of some patent violation charges. The analysis concedes that an appellate court may find reason for a retrial, but for now, the verdict stands in the current phase of the trial.
US defendant offered deal to implicate UK couple
It is a terrible cliché when a writer begins a story by claiming that a series of real-life events "reads like a Hollywood movie script," but occasionally dramatic stories occur that are hard to distinguish from the intricate plottings of screenwriters or novelists. An unusual operation involving the US-based Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) hiring investigators to spy on a UK couple that ran a "links to streaming video" site has resulted in prosecution with the help of a US defendant.
Ruling covers both music and book downloads
A German appeals court has ruled that RapidShare musit monitor the traffic being uploaded by its user to look for and try to stop pirated content. The ruling upholds three lower court decisions against the storage and sharing service. In each case, the company was told to do more to prevent any violation of any copyrights.
Change aims to aid aging musicians
The Council of the European Union has voted to extend copyright protection terms for sound recordings by 20 years. The move was widely supported by the recording industry, pushed through as a way to "help aging sessions musicians" by ensuring that royalties would not be cut off as the copyright holders were ready to retire.
Claims Warner removed 100s of files it didn't own
The battle over software and video piracy took a turn yesterday when a Florida file hosting service sued Warner Brothers for allegedly engaging in copyright fraud and abuse of anti-piracy laws. Hotfile accuses the Warner Bros. of using the hosting company's anti-piracy tools to remove titles the studio doesn't own, including open source software. Hotfile is asking a court to make it whole for the losses they claim Warner Bros. caused.
Ruling could leave door open for locker services
MP3tunes has lost a copyright infringement lawsuit originally filed by EMI, however the judge tossed many of the record label's DMCA claims that were viewed as a threat to other music locker services. Judge William Pauley agreed that MP3tunes violated EMI copyrights by failing to remove pirated tracks from its customers' music lockers after pulling the same listings from Sideload.com, a music search engine that operated alongside the locker service.
Dutch label may actually be at fault
Former rap artist Korvel Sutton has filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in California against Apple's iTunes service, charging that they are selling copyrighted tracks from his former group Pretty Boy Gangsters in other compilations without permission. Apple has already responded that license to sell the recordings, which were made in the early 1990s, came from a Dutch record label -- which has been in trouble before for distributing songs illegally.
UK copyright law updated to reflect 'reality'
Vince Cable, the United Kingdom's Business secretary, has announced major changes to that country's copyright law concerning digital media. The government will legalize "format shifting," or allowing consumers to rip content from CDs and DVDs for personal use. The government will also reverse part of last year's Digital Enforcement Act, which would have blocked websites for hosting copyrighted material. Cable said the law needed to change to conform to reasonable expectations of consumers. "We've got to bring law in line with reality," he said.
ISPs could be forced to give up individuals
A legal challenge to the UK’s controversial Digital Economy Act has failed to have the legislation overturned. According to the BBC report, UK ISP’s BT and Talk Talk had requested a judicial view on the grounds that it was overly invasive. The Digital Economy Act is designed to allow copyright holders the power to gather lists of IP addresses, which can then be used to target individuals. Copyright holders who have insisted that this legislation will help to reduce illegal file sharing welcomed the ruling.
Judge allows controversial measure to proceed
DC-based US Copyright Group has won a ruling that will allow it to proceed in a case against thousands of people alleged to have shared files illegally. The decision by Federal Judge Beryl Howell will require ISPs to turn over the identities of thousands of users who have engaged in P2P file sharing. This is the first time that a subpoena for the identities of thousands of people alleged to have shared files illegally has been granted.
Broadcasters claim copyright infringement
Several broadcasters have filed a lawsuit against Ivi TV after the startup defied cease-and-desist demands to stop retransmitting broadcast TV signals via the Internet without permission. Fox, ABC, CBS, NBC and PBS have accused the small company of copyright infringement for its web-based streaming service, which provides access to over 20 channels for $5/month.
Jury unanimously decides in favor of Novell
The SCO Group faces yet another loss in its legal battle involving a number of Unix patents, according to a blog post on Novell's website. A District Corut of Utah jury on Tuesday issued a verdict confirming Novell's ownership of the Unix copyrights. SCO had attempted to convince the court that IBM and Novell were illegally profiting from SCO-owned Unix code built into their respective versions of Linux.
Court rules final judgment in Apple's favor
The US District Court for the Northern District of California has entered a final judgment granting Apple's motion for permanent injunction against Psystar. The decision effectively bans the clone maker from continuing to infringe on the Mac OS X copyrights, including manufacturing and distribution of non-Apple computers with the Mac operating system pre-installed.
Original iPod creator?
Apple has finally given credit to a British man whose work was the inspiration behind the iPod, claims the Daily Mail. Kane Kramer, 52, is said to have created the technology that powers the digital music player nearly 30 years ago, but not received any royalties. Kramer original designed a device he called the IXI in 1979; though it would only have been capable of storing 3.5 minutes of music on a chip, Kramer was hopeful that capacity would improve over time.
Mediaset sues YouTube
Italian broadcaster Mediaset on Wednesday announced it is seeking at least 500 million euros ($779 million) in damages from Google-owned YouTube, according to a report in Variety. The lawsuit, filed in a Rome court, accuses YouTube of "illegal distribution and commercial use of audio and video files." Mediaset alleges that an audit it performed on June 10 came up with 4,643 clips amounting to 325 hours of copyrighted Mediaset content.
Groups fight MPAA FCC bid
A request to the FCC by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) to waive previously set rules and thus allow it to send video content to select TVs and entertainment devices is being contested by seven public interest and consumer groups. Led by consumer advocacy group Public Knowledge, the request was made on Monday, after the MPAA's May 9th request to be exempt from the rules which were set in 2003. Such exemption would allow studios to deny access to material, or postpone it, to owners of specific brands of TVs, for example, argue the public interest groups.
Pan-European music OK'd
The European Commission has ordered music copyright organizations to allow pan-European licensing schemes, says the Associated Press. At present, companies looking to sell music throughout Europe must negotiate agreements with 24 separate collecting societies, scattered throughout the European Union. While this may protect national industries and culture, the Commission has ruled that it also breaks antitrust regulations, giving the societies monopolies in their respective homelands.
Google Viacom agreement
Google, Viacom, and the Football Association of England have all reached an agreement after the latter two firms brought charges of copyright infringement to the video-based social networking site YouTube. Reuters reveals that while the service normally specializes in user-created content, YouTube also hosts many segmented commercial productions, despite the action being against its End-User License Agreement.
Pro-IP passed by House
The House of Representatives on Friday approved the controversial Pro-IP Act, a bill which is designed to protect intellectual property by imposing more rigid punishment in the case of copyright infringement. Ars Technica writes that the bill passed with a vote of 410 to 10, but has yet to be voted on by the Senate. Among the details of the bill, one segment states that law enforcement agents would be able to seize property from those charched with copyright infringement.
Canadian iPhone delay
It may be months or even years before Canadians can finally buy a domestic iPhone, the government now says. The major obstacle is the Toronto VoIP company Comwave, which has already used the term "iPhone;" Apple has had to contest the issue through the Canadian Intellectual Property Office, and an initial examiner's report was expected for June 26th. According to a CIPO spokeswoman however, the June date is only a deadline by which Apple and Comwave have to reply to an earlier notification, and either company could ask for an extension that would delay a resolution by four months.
Italian parliament and P2P
The Italian parliament may be on the verge of legalizing peer-to-peer music sharing, local paper La Repubblica reports. Already approved by both houses of the legislature, a new law allows open sharing of any images and music on the Internet, so long as the material is degraded and used solely in non-profit scientific or educational contexts. The problem, says Italian lawyer Andrea Monti, is that "degraded" has specific connotations which could include any form of MP3, given that the format is by definition affected by compression, even if listeners cannot tell.
No Canadian DMCA in 2007
The Canadian government will not debate the creation of DMCA-like legislation until at least 2008, writes legal expert Michael Geist. Amendments to the country's Copyright Act were expected for discussion in the House of Commons this month, but this can no longer happen, according to the press secretary for Industry Minister Jim Prentice. The bill will not be introduced tomorrow, and as parliament is breaking for the Christmas holidays after Friday, the soonest the legislation can be reintroduced is late January.
Pushing for a harder DMCA
Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA), the chair of the House Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet and Intellectual Property, today argued that the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) does not go far enough, despite common complaints about its severity. Berman is overseeing a hearing on the PRO-IP Act, a bill which could increase statutory damages for copyright violation, and even establish an intellectual property enforcement office in the Department of Justice. Before today's witness testimonies began, Berman admitted that there were things he would like to change in copyright law to make the DMCA more strict.