A new study reveals that the land down under is overflowing with illicit downloaders. Some 5 million Aussie scallywags pillaged television shows, music, and other online content that supposedly cost the related industries a combined $900 million. That number will rise into the billions in just a few short years.
The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) said it was another record year at the box office, with movie receipts reaching an all-time high of $31.8 billion, up 8 percent from 2009. This is the fourth time in five years that box office revenue has grown, setting records in three of them, according to John Fithian, President and CEO of the National Association of Theater Owners. Playing a big role in this continued growth is the emergence of 3D.
A 26-year-old man from Sweden will only have to pay a court ordered fine of 2000 kronor ($311 in U.S. currency) for sharing 44 songs over the Internet, TorrentFreak.com reports. Compared to Jammie Thomas-Rasset, who in 2010 was ordered to pay $1.5 million in copyright infringement damages for illegally sharing 24 songs (that works out to $62,500 per song), the un-named Swedish man should pay his fine and thank his legal team.
What's good for the goose is good for the record labels, who have been ordered to pay Canadian artists $45 million for illegally using copyrighted tracks on compilation CDs, TorrentFreak reports. TorrentFreak says this sort of thing happens more frequently than you think.
"Over the years the labels have made a habit of using songs from a wide variety of artists for compilation CDs without securing the rights," TorrentFreak writes. "They simply use the recording and make note of it on a 'pending list' so they can deal with it later."
It's been going on since the 1980s, TorrentFreak says, with the list of unpaid tracks surpassing 300,000 just in Canada. That didn't sit well with a group of artists and composers waiting to get paid, so they filed a class action suit in 2008. The original suit sought $6 billion in damages from Warner Music, Sony BMG Music, EMI Music, and Universal Music.
In the end, both sides settled on $45 million, which represents "a compromise of disputed claims and is not an admission of liability or wrongdoing by the record labels."
As the saying goes, 'Keep your friends close, and sue your customers.' Wait, that isn't exactly right, but it's the motto Sony's sticking with as it takes legal action against a band of hackers who uncovered and published security codes for the PlayStation 3 console, BBC News reports.
Sony named 21-year-old George Hotz and more than 100 others associated with a hacking group known as "fail0verflow" in its lawsuit.
"I am a firm believer in digital rights," Hotz said. "I would expect a company that prides itself on intellectual property to be well versed in the provisions of the law, so I am disappointed in Sony's current action. I have spoken with legal counsel and I feel comfortable that Sony's action against me doesn't have any basis."
If George Hotz sounds at all familiar to you, it's because he's the same person who cracked the iPhone's security measures. In this case, Sony is upset that Hotz figured out Sony's secret codes, including a number used to digitally sign all PS3 games and software as genuine. With that key, any software can be signed as legit, including pirated games.
U.S. District Court Judge Kimba Wood essentially issued a death sentence for LimeWire after finding the peer-to-peer software firm guilty of copyright violations and issuing an injunction against he company in October. The obituary will have to wait.
According to a report in the Hollywood Reporter, LimeWire's attorneys have been busy trying to get third-party licensees to fork over a bunch of documents, everything from contracts and royalty payments, to accounting books and internal company communications. One of the firms being targeted is Amazon, though the etailer is reluctant to cooperate.
"Amazon's contention that it need not produce revenue information and communications regarding its agreements with Plaintiffs because these documents are equally obtainable from Plaintiffs is wrong on the facts and the law," attorneys for LimeWire wrote in a statement. "The Subpoena requests documents that could not be within Plaintiffs' possession, e.g. purely internal Amazon communications regarding its licensing agreements with Plaintiffs placed on their copyrighted works."
LimeWire claims it has a right to these documents in order to defend against the RIAA's claim of $1 billion in damages. The argument here is that these documents and internal communications could help determine what took place while negotiating over licensing songs for sale, which "could illuminate Plaintiffs' views as to the true value of their works."
According to the TV jingle, 'Nationwide is on your side,' but at least one employee will spend 2.5 years behind bars for being on the wrong side of the law. His name is Qiang "Michael" Bi, and he was found guilty of selling more than 35,000 counterfeit computer games, The Columbus Dispatchreports.
Bi, who promised to "be a better person" and "never commit another crime," will serve two years of probation, including a year of home confinement, following his prison term.
"I believe at your core you are a good person," Judge Algenon L. Marbley said during sentencing. "You made a gross error in judgment...and it seemed all motivated by greed."
During his counterfeiting crime spree, Bi maintained over 50 eBay and Paypal accounts, each with different names.
Private copying levies can have a divisive impact on a room full of people with some sense of technology and law. It is arguably one of the most hotly debated areas of copyright law. In case you need to brush up on your knowledge of copyright law, a private copying levy is generally imposed on the sale of storage media that can be used for copying copyrighted content. The proceeds are distributed among copyright owners as prevenient compensation for copying.
The debate is about to heat up as France is now ready to expand the purview of its private copying levy beyond recordable media and MP3 players. The government there is considering taxing all non-Windows tablets with more than 40GB of storage. Apparently, they feel there is a strong case for taxing tablets as they can be used for duplicating copyrighted content. Despite the majority view that tablets are part of the genus Computer, the French possess enough profundity to point to something that makes the two substantially dissimilar: Windows.
Let alone the fact that even computers running a desktop OS, and not just tablets, can be used for duplicating content, it is ludicrous how the new law exempts tablets running Windows as it treats them as full PCs.
According to French trade magazine Numerama, tablet vendor Archos isn’t too pleased by the lopsided nature of the proposed law and has threatened to join a lawsuit against the legislation. Contending that it lets users turn the company’s Android tablets into full PCs by letting them install Linux on them, the company wants its tablets to be exempt from the levy in much the same way as Windows-based slates.
RIAA and MPAA are pulling out all the stops to suck the life out of file sharing sites like Megaupload and Rapidshare. Initially, they pinned their hopes on the contentious Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA), a bill that seeks to prevent credit card companies and payment processors from rendering their services to sites actively associated with infringing activities.
But with COICA effectively lying dead in the water ever since it was blocked by Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), the powerful trade organizations have turned their focus to goading payment processors, ISPs and, ad networks into abandoning sites that aid piracy.
In a statement sent to ZeroPaid, Megaupload stressed that it’s actually “a legitimate business operating within the boundaries of the law” that has never been sued for copyright infringement. The company also downplayed the financial value of its relationship with MasterCard, even suggesting that should the credit card company cease payment processing for the popular file sharing site, “they will have a problem not us.”
Megaupload made it very clear that it isn’t too pleased with MasterCard’s activist zeal: “Are payment processors trying to become the legislature of the new decade? Will it be them, rather than elected governments, who decide what’s right and what’s wrong? Will ballots be replaced by wallets, will people cast their votes by choosing a conservative or a liberal credit card? First WikiLeaks, then cyberlockers – what’s next, and where will it end? Will you no longer be able to settle your ISP bill by MasterCard, as your carrier of choice may profit from copyright infringement?”
With a little help from their colleagues in The Netherlands, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) sent over two dozen BitTorrent and Usenet indexing sites packing, TorrenFreak.com reports.
Save for HD-UNiT3D, the names of the sites aren't known. According to Tim Kuik, Managing Director of anti-piracy outfit BREIN, listing the names "would amount to free PR for the sites that intend to continue their unlawful activities at another hosting provider." Just as well, because it's getting hard to keep track of all the file sharing sites the MPAA has managed to shut down, anyway.
"This year we have made over 600 of these sites inaccessible," Kuik said. "Some seek refuge in a foreign hosting provider. These 29 apparently thought that in America they could go undisturbed. That is incorrect. Through cooperation with our foreign colleagues we can make sites in other countries inaccessible."
The MPAA hasn't yet said anything on the matter, and according to TorrentFreak, that fact that it hasn't been notified by any of the affected site owners suggests that these are all small time outfits.