Here's a big shocker (assuming you've just been dethawed after thousands of years, a la Encino Man), the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) doesn't feel current copyright law is strict enough.
"The DMCA isn't working for content people at all," RIAA President Cary Sherman said at the Technology Policy Institute's Aspen Forum. "You cannot monitor all the infringements on the Internet. It's simply not possible. We don't have the ability to search all the places infringing content appears, such as cyberlockers like RapidShare."
Sherman is none too happy with what he perceives are loopholes in the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act that supposedly let ISPs and Web firms ignore their customers' illegal activities.
So what does Sherman suggest? More legislation, of course. Sherman feels Congress needs to step up with new laws with broadband providers, Web hosts, search engines, and the like.
"We're working on [discussions with broadband providers], and we'd like to extend that kind of relationship -- not just to ISPs, but [also to] search engines, payment processors, advertisers.
"If legislation is an appropriate way to facilitate that kind of cooperation, fine," Sherman said.
Google has come out swinging in the wake of Oracle's lawsuit against the search giant for their use of Java in Android. Google calls the lawsuit "baseless" and makes it clear that they will be seeing Oracle in court. The suit is indeed aimed at the Dalvik virtual machine that Android uses to compile and run Java code on the phone. Google said in their statement that technology like Dalvik, "goes beyond any one corporation."
Google is framing this issue as a fight for open standards. Judging by the ton of their response, no one is looking to settle this quietly. More than likely, this will drag on for years. It is interesting that Google's open source operating system is being targeted in multiple legal actions. Still, if there's a company with the resources to devote to defending such a thing, it's Google.
YouTube has raised the cap on video length from 10 minutes to 15 minutes following numerous entreaties to this effect. According to the world's most popular video site, the ability to upload videos longer than 10 minutes was the most requested feature. Some of you might be wondering why YT took so long to raise the limit.
On the face of it, the company feared that extending the upload limit without due preparation could have overwhelmed the site with unauthorized videos – especially longish content like movies. So YouTube was busy perfecting copyright-protection tools like its “state-of-the-art Content ID system” while your were clamoring for a more generous upload limit or none at all.
“Because of the success of these ongoing technological efforts, we are able to increase the upload limit today. We will continue our strong commitment to provide advanced technology and tools to protect the rights of small and large copyright owners worldwide. We’ll also do everything we can to release incremental improvements like this one that benefit our video creators,” YouTube said in a blog post.
Pay-per-view events are big business, and the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) isn't in the mood to share. After seeing their live events streamed on both Justin.tv and Ustream, the organization is going after both sites, presumably with a choke-hold of some sort. Well, more likely the subpoena they have obtained to force the disclosure of the infringing IP addresses will take care of everything without the need for physical violence.
UFC's parent company, Zuffa LLC claims that during an event on January 2, more than 36,000 viewers tuned into an illegal stream on Ustream and Justin.tv that originated from a single IP address. Six weeks later, the same IP address hosted a stream of a pay-per-view event for 78,000 fans. It is unclear if there are additional streamers involved in other incidents. Both streaming sites have been working to keep pirated content off their services, but it's a losing battle. Some automated content fingerprinting is in use, but content makers have to work closely with the sites; something that has not happened in the case of UFC.
The UFC is apparently only after individuals that uploaded the content, not those that watched it. It's unclear if the sites will be forced to hand over the information. Do you think Ustream and Junstin.tv should give in and release the data?
There's not a whole lot to like about the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), but one of the more onerous provisions of the law is a ban on circumvention of DRM and similar "technical protection measures". The decision handed down today from the Copyright Office and Librarian of Congress has resulted in three exemptions in this law. That is, three situations where it is now acceptable to break digital protection schemes.
The first exemption allows users to "Jailbreak" an iPhone or other handset in order to run legally obtained, but unapproved software. Apple had previously hinted that this activity could be illegal under the DMCA. This change was done to enable consumers to increase the interoperability of their devices. The EFF also secured new protections for artists that make fair use of copyrighted content in video remixes, or mashups. Noncomercial artists are now permitted to break digital protection for this purpose. Get ready for some YouTube celebration mashups.
The last ruling is not a new provision, but rather a renewal of an existing exemption. The Librarian of Congress reaffirmed a 2006 rule that protects cell phone unlocking from prosecution under the DMCA. The locking of a phone to one carrier makes it harder to use or resell later. It's important to note that none of these new exemptions mean that companies have to stop using DRM, just that we are actually allowed to break it in more situations.
Researchers from the University of Ballarat's Internet Commerce Security Laboratory have it all wrong. Everyone knows BitTorrent is mostly used for downloading Linux distros and game demos, right? As it turns out, it's even hard to type that with a straight face.
It's no secret that BitTorrent is a popular tool for snagging copyrighted content, but is BitTorrent getting a bad rap? According to a new study, if anything, we might be underestimating just how much illegal content flows through the file sharing protocol.
The above mentioned researchers examined 1,000 torrent files from 23 trackers and found that 89 percent of the content was confirmed to be copyrighted, while the remaining 11 percent was suspect at best. And out of all those files, only three of them were confirmed legal. That's .3 percent, folks.
Broken down into categories, movies, music, and TV shows were the most popular, with not a single legal file being shared among any of them.
Fredrik Neij, Gottfrid Svartholm, and Peter Sunde, the three outspoken founders of the popular torrent tracking site The Pirate Bay, have been told to take their shenanigans out The Netherlands, or face the consequences. Failure to do so will result in fines of 50,000 euros (around US$64,590) per day.
This is the second time in two summers the trio have been told get out of Dodge, so to speak. Last summer, an anti-piracy outfit took TPB's founders to court, where a judge ultimately ordered them to remove a list of torrents linking to copyrighted works and to ban Dutch users from accessing the site.
Sunde and company opted to appeal the case, and this latest ruling confirms the one from a year ago. The judge did not, however rule that TPB is guilty of copyright infringement, but did say that the site's operators assist in copyright infringement by both allowing and encouraging users to share torrents.
While TPB and its founders will likely remain ever defiant, the case sets a precedent that might be used against other torrent sites.
The legal battle of Viacom against Google took years to come to some sort of conclusion. We knew lawyers weren't cheap, but in their recent earnings call, Google CFO Patrick Pichette reminded us just how not cheap. Google spent $100 million defending themselves in the Viacom-YouTube copyright infringement lawsuit, and the case didn't even make it to trial.
A judge dismissed the case last month, and Google is declaring victory. Though, there is still the possibility Viacom could appeal. But considering how much Google spent on this little endeavor, we imagine Viacom's bill was just as high, if not higher. When the total amount of damages requested was only $1 billion, Viacom might be doing the math. Add to that the strong language the judge used in the judgment, coming down on the side of "safe harbor", and Viacom might do better to move on.
A scientific study in the late 90’s had concluded that the average mainland Chinese mind lacks the mental faculty necessary to fully comprehend the concept of intellectual property. Well, all right, I just made it all up to highlight the extreme level of piracy in China, something that has been done ad nauseam.
But the Chinese government’s latest anti-piracy initiative is a step in the right direction. According to reports in the local media, authorities in Beijing have begun cracking down on internet cafes suspected of video piracy, with over a third of the city’s 1500 registered cyber cafes on their radar.
According to a news report on InformationWeek.com, around 30% of all internet cafe customers come to watch movies, even though more than 60% of China’s 130,000 registered cyber cafes have never sought any video distribution licenses.
On the bright side for convicted file sharer Joel Tenebaum, the 26-year-old Boston University student no longer is being ordered to pay $675,000 in damages to four record labels. The bad news? He still owes a lot of cheddar.
A Boston judge reduced the award to $67,500 for illegally downloading and sharing 30 songs online. U.S. District Court Judge Nancy Gertner said the original amount was "out of proportion with the government's legitimate interests in compensating the plaintiffs and deterring unlawful file-sharing."
Tenebaum, while pleased as punch at having his fine reduced to 10 percent of the original amount, contends that $67,500 is "equally unpayable."
"We feel vindicated that Judge Gertner agreed that $675,000 was an unconstitutional award," Debbie Resenbaum of joelfightsback.com says. "But it is only a step along the way toward recognizing the abusiveness of the RIAA's litigation campaign."
Tenenbaum, who admitted to downloading the songs through Kazaa, had the chance to settle for $4,000 before this went to trial. He now owes $2,250 per song.