U.S. Republican congressional staff said in a report released Wednesday that previous efforts to regulate privacy technology were flawed and that lawmakers need to learn more about technology before trying to regulate it. The 25-page white paper is entitled Going Dark, Going Forward: A Primer on the Encryption Debate and it does not provide any solution to the encryption fight. However, it is notable for its criticism of other lawmakers who have tried to legislate their way out of the encryption debate. It

Source: US Efforts To Regulate Encryption Have Been Flawed, Government Report Finds – Slashdot

IPAF’s survey also reveals that the proportion of consumers using streaming services grew from 26 per cent last year to 32 per cent this year.Of those, 33 per cent were taking advantage of some form of free trial and 66 per cent planned to pay for the service after their trial expired.That has helped drive down the proportion of consumers aged 18 to 24 engaged in piracy, from 54 per cent last year to 46 per cent this year.For consumers aged 25 to 34 the rate has fallen from 48 per cent to 40 per cent. Piracy rates for consumers aged 35 to 49 remain steady.Overall, piracy rates across all age groups have fallen from 29 per cent to 25 per cent.About a third of those pirating less frequently said it was due to the emergence of legal alternatives. About 16 per cent said it was because they feared getting caught or downloading a computer virus.Ms Flekser warned that the biggest challenge continued to be a lack of education and unwillingness by some consumers to perceive online piracy as theft.However, she said recent changes to the legal and regulatory environment around online piracy were starting to have an impact on consumer perceptions.Ms Flekser was referring to the court bid by the film studio behind Dallas Buyers Club to force iiNet to reveal the identities of alleged infringers and new federal laws allowing copyright holders to apply for court orders to block websites promoting copyright infringement.

Source: Netflix no panacea to piracy: IPAF | The Australian

This paper discusses whether a compensation system (CS) for recorded music – endowing private Internet subscribers with the right to download and use works in return for a fee – would be welfare increasing under current market conditions. It reports the results of a discrete choice experiment conducted with a representative sample of the Dutch population consisting of 4,986 participants. The Internet penetration rate in the Netherlands is 95%, one of the highest worldwide (Eurostat 2014). The Netherlands also entertain a system of levies on copying technology, so that basic elements of a CS should be familiar to many residence.

We find that applied only to recorded music, a mandatory CS could increase the welfare of rights holders and users in the Netherlands by over €600 million per year (over €35 per capita). This far exceeds the current sales value of recorded music of ca. €144 million. Even if a CS were to substitute all of the current sales of recorded music and provided no cost savings, it could simultaneously increase user welfare and rights holder revenues at a price that constitutes a reasonable surplus split. According to our results, this is achieved over a broad range of CS user fees, for example between ca. €1.74 and €9.25 for a CS that is mandatory for all households with Internet subscription.

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The future of copyright amendments crowdsourced by the Finnish public appear to be in doubt. The citizen-drafted proposals, which received 50,000 signatures, seek to decriminalize file-sharing, but Finland’s Education and Culture Committee now wants to reject the historic initiative.

via Finland Wants to Kill Crowdsourced Copyright Law | TorrentFreak.

Austrian Tor Exit Node Operator Found Guilty As An Accomplice Because Someone Used His Node To Commit A crime

from the bad,-bad-news dept

Three years ago we wrote about how Austrian police had seized computers from someone running a Tor exit node. This kind of thing happens from time to time, but it appears that folks in Austria have taken it up a notch by… effectively now making it illegal to run a Tor exit node. According to the report, which was confirmed by the accused, the court found that running the node violated §12 of the Austrian penal code, which effectively says:

Not only the immediate perpetrator commits a criminal action, but also anyone who appoints someone to carry it out, or anyone who otherwise contributes to the completion of said criminal action.

In other words, it’s a form of accomplice liability for criminality. It’s pretty standard to name criminal accomplices liable for “aiding and abetting” the activities of others, but it’s a massive and incredibly dangerous stretch to argue that merely running a Tor exit node makes you an accomplice that “contributes to the completion” of a crime. Under this sort of thinking, Volkswagen would be liable if someone drove a VW as the getaway car in a bank robbery. It’s a very, very broad interpretation of accomplice liability, in a situation where it clearly does not make sense.

via Austrian Tor Exit Node Operator Found Guilty As An Accomplice Because Someone Used His Node To Commit A crime | Techdirt.

The Law Library of Congress has digitized its collection of pre-1923 piracy trial. This historical collection of piracy trials is critical for understanding how the various nations of the world handled piracy issues before the year 1900. The full texts of these titles are available from the bibliography listed below.

via Piracy Trials | Law Library of Congress.

The error message that launched this whole investigation.

Darrell Whitelaw / Twitter

For years now, Internet users have accepted the risk of files and content they share through various online services being subject to takedown requests based on the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and/or content-matching algorithms. But users have also gotten used to treating services like Dropbox as their own private, cloud-based file storage and sharing systems, facilitating direct person-to-person file transfer without having to worry.

This weekend, though, a small corner of the Internet exploded with concern that Dropbox was going too far, actually scanning users’ private and directly peer-shared files for potential copyright issues. What’s actually going on is a little more complicated than that, but it shows that sharing a file on Dropbox isn’t always the same as sharing that file directly from your hard drive over something like e-mail or instant messenger.

The whole kerfuffle started yesterday evening, when one Darrell Whitelaw tweeted a picture of an error he received when trying to share a link to a Dropbox file via IM. The Dropbox webpage warned him and his friend that "certain files in this folder can’t be shared due to a takedown request in accordance with the DMCA."

Whitelaw freely admits that the content he was sharing was a copyrighted video, but he still expressed surprise that Dropbox was apparently watching what he shared for copyright issues. "I treat [Dropbox] like my hard drive," he tweeted. "This shows it’s not private, nor mine, even though I pay for it."

In response to follow-up questions from Ars, Whitelaw said the link he sent to his friend via IM was technically a public link and theoretically could have been shared more widely than the simple IM between friends. That said, he noted that the DMCA notice appeared on the Dropbox webpage "immediately" after the link was generated, suggesting that Dropbox was automatically checking shared files somehow to see if they were copyrighted material rather than waiting for a specific DMCA takedown request.

Dropbox did confirm to Ars that it checks publicly shared file links against hashes of other files that have been previously subject to successful DMCA requests. "We sometimes receive DMCA notices to remove links on copyright grounds," the company said in a statement provided to Ars. "When we receive these, we process them according to the law and disable the identified link. We have an automated system that then prevents other users from sharing the identical material using another Dropbox link. This is done by comparing file hashes."

Dropbox added that this comparison happens when a public link to your file is created and that "we don’t look at the files in your private folders and are committed to keeping your stuff safe." The company wouldn’t comment publicly on whether the same content-matching algorithm was run on files shared directly with other Dropbox users via the service’s account-to-account sharing functions, but the wording of the statement suggests that this system only applies to publicly shared links.

We should be clear here that Dropbox hasn’t removed the file from Whitelaw’s account; they just closed off the option for him to share that file with others. In a tweeted response to Whitelaw, Dropbox Support said that "content removed under DMCA only affects share-links." Dropbox explains its copyright policy on a Help Center page that lays out the boilerplate: "you do not have the right to share files unless you own the copyright in them or have been given permission by the copyright owner to share them." The Help Center then directs users to its DMCA policy page.

Dropbox has also been making use of file hashing algorithms for a while now as a means of de-duplicating identical files stored across different users’ accounts. That means that if I try to upload an identical copy of a 20GB movie file that has already been stored in someone else’s Dropbox account, the service will simply give my account access to a version of that same file rather than allowing me to upload an identical version. This not only saves bandwidth on the user’s end but significant storage space on Dropbox’s end as well.

Some researchers have warned of security and privacy concerns based on these de-duplication efforts in the past, but the open source Dropship project attempted to bend the feature to users’ advantage. By making use of the file hashing system, Dropship effectively tried to trick Dropbox into granting access to files on Dropbox’s servers that the user didn’t actually have access to. Dropbox has taken pains to stop this kind of "fake" file sharing through its service.

In any case, it seems a similar hashing effort is in place to make it easier for Dropbox to proactively check files shared through its servers for similarity to content previously blocked by a DMCA request. In this it’s not too different from services like YouTube, which uses a robust ContentID system to automatically identify copyrighted material as soon as it’s uploaded.

In this, both Dropbox and YouTube are simply responding to the legal environment they find themselves in. The DMCA requires companies that run sharing services to take reasonable measures to make sure that re-posting of copyrighted content doesn’t occur after a legitimate DMCA notice has been issued. Whitelaw himself doesn’t blame the service for taking these proactive steps, in fact. "This isn’t a Dropbox problem," he told Ars via tweet. "They’re just following the laws laid out for them. Was just surprised to see it."

via Dropbox clarifies its policy on reviewing shared files for DMCA issues | Ars Technica.

An open source textbook on open source cultures (in Hungarian).

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The Government of Antigua is planning to launch a website selling movies, music and software, without paying U.S. copyright holders. The Caribbean island is taking the unprecedented step because the United States refuses to lift a trade “blockade” preventing the island from offering Internet gambling services, despite several WTO decisions in Antigua’s favor. The country now hopes to recoup some of the lost income through a WTO approved “warez” site.

Antigua and Barbuda is a small country in the Caribbean that for years had a flourishing gambling industry.

A few years ago 5% of all Antiguans worked at gambling related companies. However, when the U.S. prevented the island from accessing their market the industry collapsed.

“What was once a multi-billion dollar industry in our country, employing almost 5% of our population has now shrunk to virtually nothing,” Antigua’s High Commissioner to London, Carl Roberts, said previously.

Hoping to rebuild the gambling business Antigua filed a dispute at the World Trade Organization (WTO), which they won.

In 2005 the WTO ruled that the US refusal to let Antiguan gambling companies access their market violated free-trade, as domestic companies were allowed to operate freely. In 2007 the WTO went a step further and granted Antigua the right to suspend U.S. copyrights up to $21 million annually.

TorrentFreak is informed by a source close to Antigua’s Government that the country now plans to capitalize on this option. The authorities want to launch a website selling U.S. media to customers worldwide, without compensating the makers.

The plan has been in the works for several months already and Antigua is ready to proceed once they have informed the WTO about their plan. Initially the island put the topic on the WTO meeting last month, but the U.S. blocked it from being discussed by arguing that the request was “untimely.”

This month Antigua will try again, and if they succeed their media hub is expected to launch soon after.

Antigua’s attorney Mark Mendel told TorrentFreak that he can’t reveal any details on the plans. However, he emphasized that the term “piracy” doesn’t apply here as the WTO has granted Antigua the right to suspend U.S. copyrights.

“There is no body in the world that can stop us from doing this, as we already have approval from the international governing body WTO,” Mendel told us.

TorrentFreak is in the process of obtaining details of the content to be offered and the prices to be charged. One option would be to ask users for $5 a month in return for unlimited access to U.S. media.

As predicted, the suggestion to suspend U.S. copyrights is already meeting resistance from United States authorities.

“If Antigua actually proceeds with a plan for its government to authorize the theft of intellectual property, it would only serve to hurt Antigua’s own interests,” the U.S warned in a letter to the WTO last month.

According to the letter Antigua will ruin their chances of getting a settlement should they approve a site that sels U.S. copyrighted goods without compensating the makers.

“Government-authorized piracy would undermine chances for a settlement that would provide real benefits to Antigua. It also would serve as a major impediment to foreign investment in the Antiguan economy, particularly in high-tech industries,” the U.S. added.

Antigua doesn’t appear to be impressed much by these threats and is continuing with its plan.

If the Antiguan media portal indeed launches, it will make headlines all across the world, which may result in the site becoming one of the larger authorized suppliers of U.S. media on the Internet.

via Antigua Government Set to Launch “Pirate” Website To Punish United States | TorrentFreak.

According to the Federal Court, RapidShare has to take all “technically and economically reasonable precautions” without compromising its business model to ensure that its users do not upload Atari’s game. The Court also noted that by not installing a word filter RapidShare may have already breached the “reasonable” threshold.One of the additional steps that the Court said RapidShare must take is to monitor a “manageable number” of third-party sites that offer “link collections” of content available on RapidShare. Should it find them indexing a copy of Atari’s game available on RapidShare it should then delete it from its servers.

via Supreme Court: RapidShare Liable For Copyright Infringement – Sometimes | TorrentFreak.According to the Federal Court, RapidShare has to take all “technically and economically reasonable precautions” without compromising its business model to ensure that its users do not upload Atari’s game. The Court also noted that by not installing a word filter RapidShare may have already breached the “reasonable” threshold.One of the additional steps that the Court said RapidShare must take is to monitor a “manageable number” of third-party sites that offer “link collections” of content available on RapidShare. Should it find them indexing a copy of Atari’s game available on RapidShare it should then delete it from its servers.

via Supreme Court: RapidShare Liable For Copyright Infringement – Sometimes | TorrentFreak.


Allowing students access to unpaid, small excerpts of copyrighted works promotes the spread of knowledge because it reduces the cost of education, the judge said. On the other hand, decreased income for publishers could reduce their ability to produce academic textbooks and scholarly works, thereby diminishing the spread of knowledge.Evans said that “decidedly small” excerpts could be copied by Georgia State. In most circumstances, she determined, it is permissible for universities and colleges to copy 10 percent of a book or one chapter of a book with 10 or more chapters.Brandon Butler, director of public policy initiatives for the Association of Research Libraries, said the publishers lawsuit had had a chilling effect on university libraries. “There was a feeling of being under siege,” he said. “They took us to court saying we were shameless pirates.”

via Judge rules largely for Georgia State in copyright case  | ajc.com.Allowing students access to unpaid, small excerpts of copyrighted works promotes the spread of knowledge because it reduces the cost of education, the judge said. On the other hand, decreased income for publishers could reduce their ability to produce academic textbooks and scholarly works, thereby diminishing the spread of knowledge.Evans said that “decidedly small” excerpts could be copied by Georgia State. In most circumstances, she determined, it is permissible for universities and colleges to copy 10 percent of a book or one chapter of a book with 10 or more chapters.Brandon Butler, director of public policy initiatives for the Association of Research Libraries, said the publishers lawsuit had had a chilling effect on university libraries. “There was a feeling of being under siege,” he said. “They took us to court saying we were shameless pirates.”

via Judge rules largely for Georgia State in copyright case  | ajc.com.

An analysis of the SOPA debate the the Hungarian weekly Magyar Narancs.
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WordPress is web software you can use to create a beautiful website or blog. We like to say that WordPress is both free and priceless at the same time.

via WordPress › Blog Tool, Publishing Platform, and CMS.

One in three people in Switzerland download unauthorized music, movies and games from the Internet and since last year the government has been wondering what to do about it. This week their response was published and it was crystal clear. Not only will downloading for personal use stay completely legal, but the copyright holders won’t suffer because of it, since people eventually spend the money saved on entertainment products.

swissIn Switzerland, just as in dozens of other countries, the entertainment industries have been complaining about dramatic losses in revenue due to online piracy.

In a response, the Swiss government has been conducting a study into the impact downloading has on society, and this week their findings were presented.

The overall conclusion of the study is that the current copyright law, under which downloading copyrighted material for personal use is permitted, doesn’t have to change.

Their report begins with noting that when it comes to copying files, the Internet has proven a game-changer. While the photocopier, audio cassette tape and VCR allowed users to make good quality copies of various media, these devices lacked a in-built distribution method. The world-wide web changed all that.

Distribution method or not, the entertainment industries have opposed all these technological inventions out of fear that their businesses would be crushed. This is not the right response according to the Swiss government, which favors the option of putting technology to good use instead of taking the repressive approach.

“Every time a new media technology has been made available, it has always been ‘abused’. This is the price we pay for progress. Winners will be those who are able to use the new technology to their advantages and losers those who missed this development and continue to follow old business models,” the report notes.

The government report further concludes that even in the current situation where piracy is rampant, the entertainment industries are not necessarily losing money. To reach this conclusion, the researchers extrapolated the findings of a study conducted by the Dutch government last year, since the countries are considered to be similar in many aspects.

The report states that around a third of Swiss citizens over 15 years old download pirated music, movies and games from the Internet. However, these people don’t spend less money as a result because the budgets they reserve for entertainment are fairly constant. This means that downloading is mostly complementary.

The other side of piracy, based on the Dutch study, is that downloaders are reported to be more frequent visitors to concerts, and game downloaders actually bought more games than those who didn’t. And in the music industry, lesser-know bands profit most from the sampling effect of file-sharing.

The Swiss report then goes on to review several of the repressive anti-piracy laws and regulations that have been implemented in other countries recently, such as the three-strikes Hadopi law in France. According to the report 12 million was spent on Hadopi in France this year, a figure the Swiss deem too high.

The report further states that it is questionable whether a three-strikes law would be legal in the first place, as the UN’s Human Rights Council labeled Internet access a human right. The Council specifically argued that Hadopi is a disproportionate law that should be repealed.

Other measures such as filtering or blocking content and websites are also rejected, because these would hurt freedom of speech and violate privacy protection laws. The report notes that even if these measures were implemented, there would be several ways to circumvent them.

The overall suggestion the Swiss government communicates to the entertainment industries is that they should adapt to the change in consumer behavior, or die. They see absolutely no need to change the law because downloading has no proven negative impact on the production of national culture.

Aside from downloading, it is also practically impossible for companies in Switzerland to go after casual uploaders. In 2010 the Supreme Court ruled that tracking companies are not allowed to log IP-addresses of file-sharers, making it impossible for rightsholders to gather evidence.

via Swiss Govt: Downloading Movies and Music Will Stay Legal | TorrentFreak.

What should we call this ad hoc association of Silicon Valley businesses, venture capitalists, law professors, civil libertarians, and avid Internet users? Julian Sanchez of the Cato Institute told me he’d brand it a “populist technocratic coalition,” which is somehow both oxymoronic and apt. Leslie Harris, president of the Center for Democracy & Technology, says it calls to mind the old buzzword Netizens. My preferred term: the geek lobby.

via Stop Online Piracy Act: Can the geek lobby stop Hollywood from wrecking the Internet? – Slate Magazine.

Analysis: Did the content industry lose the legal battle?

Do you remember back in 2001 when Napster shut down its servers? US courts found Napster Inc was likely to be liable for the copyright infringements of its users. Many of Napster’s successors were also shut down.

Aimster and its controversial CEO were forced into bankruptcy, the highest court in the US strongly suggested that those behind Grokster and Morpheus ought to be held liable for “inducing” their users to infringe, and Kazaa’s owners were held liable for authorisation by our own Federal Court. Countless others fled the market in the wake of these decisions with some, like the formerly defiant owners of Bearshare and eDonkey, paying big settlements on the way out.

By most measures, this sounds like an emphatic victory for content owners. But a funny thing happened in the wake of all of these injunctions, shutdowns and settlements: the number of P2P file sharing apps available in the market exploded.

By 2007, two years after the US Supreme Court decided Grokster, there were more individual P2P applications available than there had ever been before. The average number of users sharing files on file sharing networks at any one time was nudging ten million and it was estimated that P2P traffic had grown to comprise up to 90 percent of global internet traffic. At that point content owners tacitly admitted defeat, largely abandoning their long-time strategy of suing key P2P software providers and diverting enforcement resources to alternatives like graduated response or “three strikes” laws.

Why is it that, despite being ultimately successful in holding individual P2P software providers liable for their users’ infringement, content owners’ litigation strategy has failed to bring about any meaningful reduction in the amount of P2P development and infringement?

Physical vs digital

I would argue pre-P2P era law was based on a number of “physical world” assumptions. That makes sense, since it evolved almost exclusively with reference to physical world scenarios and technologies. However, as it turns out, there is often a gap between those assumptions and the realities of P2P software development.

Four such physical world assumptions are particularly notable in explaining this phenomenon.

The first is that everybody is bound by physical world rules. Assuming this rule had universal application, various secondary liability principles evolved to make knowledge and control pre-requisites to liability. But software has no such constraint. Programmers can write software that will do things that are simply not possible or feasible in the physical world. So once the Napster litigation made P2P programmers aware of the rules about knowledge and control, they simply coded Napster’s successors to eliminate them – something no provider of a physical world distribution technology ever managed to do.

Remember to sign up to our new Telecommunications bulletin to stay connected with a concise online wrap of Australiaís telecommunications and ISP industry.

In response, the US Supreme Court in Grokster created a brand new legal doctrine, called inducement, that did not rely on either knowledge or control. That rule was aimed at capturing “bad actors” – those P2P providers who aimed to profit from their users’ infringement and whose nefarious intent was demonstrated by “smoking guns” in their marketing and other communications. But the inducement law failed to appreciate some of the other differences that make the software world special and thus led directly to the explosion in the number of P2P technologies. In understanding why, three other physical world assumptions come into play.

One is that it is expensive to create distribution technologies that are capable of vast amounts of infringement. Of course in the physical world, the creation of such technologies, like printing presses, photocopiers, and VCRs required large investment. Research and development, mass-manufacturing, marketing and delivery all require massive amounts of cash. Thus, the law came to assume that the creation of such technologies was expensive.

That led directly to the next assumption – that distribution technologies are developed for profit. After all, nobody would be investing those massive sums without some prospect of a return.

Finally comes the fourth assumption: that rational developers of distribution technologies won’t share their secrets with consumers or competitors. Since they needed to recoup those massive investments, they had no interest at all in giving them away.

All of these assumptions certainly can hold up in the software development context. For example, those behind Kazaa spent a lot on its development, squeezed out the maximum possible profit and kept its source code a closely guarded secret. By creating a law that focused on profits, business models and marketing, the Supreme Court succeeded in shaking out Kazaa and its ilk from the market.

But the Court failed to appreciate that none of these things are actually necessary to the creation of P2P file sharing software. It can be so inexpensive to develop that some university programming courses actually require students to make an app as part of an assignment. When the software provider puts in such a small investment, there’s much less need to realise a profit. This, combined with widespread norms within the software development community encouraging sharing and collaboration, also leads to some individuals making the source code of their software publicly available for others to adapt and copy.

When the US Supreme Court created its new law holding P2P providers liable where they “fostered” third party infringement, as evidenced by such things as business models, marketing and internal communications, the result was an enormous number of programmers choosing to create new applications without any of those liability attracting elements. In the absence of any evidence that they had set out to foster infringement, they could not be liable for inducement, and having coded out of knowledge and control they could not be held liable under the pre-P2P law either.

The end result? The mismatch between the law’s physical world assumptions and the realities of the software world meant that the law created to respond to the challenges of P2P file sharing led to the opposite of the desired result: a massive increase in the availability of P2P file sharing software. The failure of the law to recognise the unique characteristics of software and software development meant the abandonment of the litigation campaign against P2P providers was only a matter of time.

Dr Rebecca Giblin is a member of Monash University’s law faculty in Melbourne. Her new book Code Wars tells the story of the decade-long struggle between content owners and P2P software providers, tracing the development of the fledgling technologies, the attempts to crush them through litigation and legislation, and the remarkable ways in which they evolved as their programmers sought ever more ingenious means to remain one step ahead of the law. The book explains why the litigation strategy against P2P providers was ultimately unsuccessful in bringing about any meaningful reduction in the amount of P2P development of infringement.

Visit codewarsbook.com where you can read the first chapter in full. Physical copies can be ordered online from stores like Amazon and Book Depository, and electronic copies are available via Google books at a heavily discounted price.

via How litigation only spurred on P2P file sharing – Telco/ISP – Technology – News – iTnews.com.au.

A court has overturned a 2010 ruling which said that blocking The Pirate Bay at the ISP level was “disproportionate”. The Antwerp Court of Appeal sided with the Belgian Anti-Piracy Federation in their quest to force two ISPs to block subscriber access to the world’s most famous torrent site. Belgacom and Telenet must now implement a DNS blockade of the site within 14 days or face fines.

via Belgian ISPs Ordered To Block The Pirate Bay | TorrentFreak.

The deed is done. Copyright term extension for sound recordings from 50 to 70 years was adopted yesterday (12 September 2011) by qualified majority in the European Council. The remaining opposition came from Belgium, the Czech Republic, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Sweden. Austria and Estonia abstained.

The chorus of approval has been led by aging artists, masking the fact that for more than a decade the lobby for copyright extension has been resourced by the multinational record industry. Labels do not want to lose the revenues of the classic recordings of the 1960s which are reaching the end of their current 50 year term. Rather than innovating, right holders find it much easier to exclude competition. Europe is in danger of locking away her music heritage just as digital technology is enabling the opening of the archives.

via Copyright Term | Centre for Intellectual Property Policy & Management | Bournemouth University.

Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) has a rejoinder to those who argue copyright laws must be further strengthened: “I think if we were to do nothing on copyright law, we would be getting it just about right.”

Lofgren, who represents Silicon Valley, spoke this week at a meeting of the Intellectual Property Breakfast Club in Washington, DC. She offered her typically blunt assessments of digital copyright, arguing that “the focus on copyright has almost been an impediment for content owners to really embrace streaming and to really understand how to make money utilizing the Internet.” In her view, copyright was partially responsible for a mindset that focused too much on control just as the Internet was offering a different distribution model.

via US Rep: Copyright has actually been an “impediment” to rightsholders.

Advisory Committee on Enforcement : Sixth Session

Meeting Documents

Code Title(s) File(s)
English : Liste des participants/ List of Participants Liste des participants/ List of Participants, Complete document (pdf)
French : Liste des participants/ List of Participants Liste des participants/ List of Participants, Complete document (pdf)
English : Agenda Agenda, Complete document (pdf)
French : Projet d’ordre du jour Projet d’ordre du jour, Complete document (pdf)
Spanish : Proyecto de Orden del día Proyecto de Orden del día, Complete document (pdf)
English : Recent Activities of WIPO in the Field of Building Respect for Intellectual Property (IP) Recent Activities of WIPO in the Field of Building Respect for Intellectual Property (IP), Complete document (doc) Recent Activities of WIPO in the Field of Building Respect for Intellectual Property (IP), Complete document (pdf)
French : Activités récentes de l’OMPI dans el domaine de la promotion du respect de la propriété intellectuelle Activités récentes de l'OMPI dans el domaine de la promotion du respect de la propriété intellectuelle, Complete document (doc) Activités récentes de l'OMPI dans el domaine de la promotion du respect de la propriété intellectuelle, Complete document (pdf)
Spanish : Actividades reicentes de la OMPI dirigidas a cultivas el respeto por la propiedad intelectual Actividades reicentes de la OMPI dirigidas a cultivas el respeto por la propiedad intelectual, Complete document (doc) Actividades reicentes de la OMPI dirigidas a cultivas el respeto por la propiedad intelectual, Complete document (pdf)
English : Future Work of the Advisory Committee on Enforcement (ACE) Future Work of the Advisory Committee on Enforcement (ACE), Complete document (doc) Future Work of the Advisory Committee on Enforcement (ACE), Complete document (pdf)
French : Travaux futurs du Comité consultatif sur l’application des droits (ACE) Travaux futurs du Comité consultatif sur l'application des droits (ACE), Complete document (doc) Travaux futurs du Comité consultatif sur l'application des droits (ACE), Complete document (pdf)
Spanish : Labor futura del Comité asesor sobre observancia (ACE) Labor futura del Comité asesor sobre observancia (ACE), Complete document (doc) Labor futura del Comité asesor sobre observancia (ACE), Complete document (pdf)
English : Observations on Efforts to Quantify the Economic Effects of Counterfeit and Pirated Goods Observations on Efforts to Quantify the Economic Effects of Counterfeit and Pirated Goods, Complete document (doc) Observations on Efforts to Quantify the Economic Effects of Counterfeit and Pirated Goods, Complete document (pdf)
French : Observations sur les efforts visant à quantifier les répercussions sur l’économie des produits contrefaisants ou pirates Observations sur les efforts visant à quantifier les répercussions sur l'économie des produits contrefaisants ou pirates, Complete document (doc) Observations sur les efforts visant à quantifier les répercussions sur l'économie des produits contrefaisants ou pirates, Complete document (pdf)
Spanish : Observaciones sobre los esfuerzos para cuantificar los efectos económicos de los productos falsificados y pirateados Observaciones sobre los esfuerzos para cuantificar los efectos económicos de los productos falsificados y pirateados, Complete document (doc) Observaciones sobre los esfuerzos para cuantificar los efectos económicos de los productos falsificados y pirateados, Complete document (pdf)
English : Media Piracy in Emerging Economies: Price, Market Structure and Consumer Behavior Media Piracy in Emerging Economies: Price, Market Structure and Consumer Behavior, Complete document (doc) Media Piracy in Emerging Economies: Price, Market Structure and Consumer Behavior, Complete document (pdf)
French : Le piratage des supports d’information dans les économies des paye émergents: prix, structure du marché et compportement du consommateur Le piratage des supports d'information dans les économies des paye émergents: prix, structure du marché et compportement du consommateur, Complete document (doc) Le piratage des supports d'information dans les économies des paye émergents: prix, structure du marché et compportement du consommateur, Complete document (pdf)
Spanish : La piratería de productos audiovisuales y de software en las economías emergentes: precios, estructura de mercado y comportamiento de los consumidores La piratería de productos audiovisuales y de software en las economías emergentes: precios, estructura de mercado y comportamiento de los consumidores, Complete document (doc) La piratería de productos audiovisuales y de software en las economías emergentes: precios, estructura de mercado y comportamiento de los consumidores, Complete document (pdf)
English : Research Report on Consumer Attitudes and Perceptions on Counterfeiting and Piracy Research Report on Consumer Attitudes and Perceptions on Counterfeiting and Piracy, Complete document (doc) Research Report on Consumer Attitudes and Perceptions on Counterfeiting and Piracy, Complete document (pdf)
French : Rapport de recherche sur l’attitude et la perception des consommatuers en matière de contrefaçon et de piratage Rapport de recherche sur l'attitude et la perception des consommatuers en matière de contrefaçon et de piratage, Complete document (doc) Rapport de recherche sur l'attitude et la perception des consommatuers en matière de contrefaçon et de piratage, Complete document (pdf)
Spanish : Informe de investigación sobre las actitudes y percepciones de los consumidores respecto de la fialsificaión y la piratería Informe de investigación sobre las actitudes y percepciones de los consumidores respecto de la fialsificaión y la piratería, Complete document (doc) Informe de investigación sobre las actitudes y percepciones de los consumidores respecto de la fialsificaión y la piratería, Complete document (pdf)
English : The Economic Effects of Counterfeiting and Piracy: A Literature Review The Economic Effects of Counterfeiting and Piracy: A Literature Review, Complete document (doc) The Economic Effects of Counterfeiting and Piracy: A Literature Review, Complete document (pdf)
French : Examen des études consacrées aux conséquences économiques de la contrefaçon et du piratage Examen des études consacrées aux conséquences économiques de la contrefaçon et du piratage, Complete document (doc) Examen des études consacrées aux conséquences économiques de la contrefaçon et du piratage, Complete document (pdf)
Spanish : Examen de la documentación acerca de la de los efectos económicos de la falsificación y la piratería Examen de la documentación acerca de la de los efectos económicos de la falsificación y la piratería, Complete document (doc) Examen de la documentación acerca de la de los efectos económicos de la falsificación y la piratería, Complete document (pdf)
English : A Study Relating to Existing Methods of Disposal and Destruction of Counterfeit Goods and Pirated Goods within the Asia Pacific Region A Study Relating to Existing Methods of Disposal and Destruction of Counterfeit Goods and Pirated Goods within the Asia Pacific Region, Complete document (doc) A Study Relating to Existing Methods of Disposal and Destruction of Counterfeit Goods and Pirated Goods within the Asia Pacific Region, Complete document (pdf)
French : Étude relative aux méthodes actuelles d’écoulement et de destruction des produits contrefaisants et pirates dans le région asie et pacifique Étude relative aux méthodes actuelles d'écoulement et de destruction des produits contrefaisants et pirates dans le région asie et pacifique, Complete document (doc) Étude relative aux méthodes actuelles d'écoulement et de destruction des produits contrefaisants et pirates dans le région asie et pacifique, Complete document (pdf)
Spanish : Estudio sobre los métodos de eliminación y destrucción de mercancías falsificadas o pirateadas en la región de asia y el pacífico Estudio sobre los métodos de eliminación y destrucción de mercancías falsificadas o pirateadas en la región de asia y el pacífico, Complete document (doc) Estudio sobre los métodos de eliminación y destrucción de mercancías falsificadas o pirateadas en la región de asia y el pacífico, Complete document (pdf)
English : IPR Infringements and Enforcement – Accounting for Socio-Economic, Technical and Dvelopment Variables IPR Infringements and Enforcement - Accounting for Socio-Economic, Technical and Dvelopment Variables, Complete document (doc) IPR Infringements and Enforcement - Accounting for Socio-Economic, Technical and Dvelopment Variables, Complete document (pdf)
French : Atteintes aux droits de propriété intellectuelle et application des droits – la prise en consideration des variables socioéconomiques, techniques et en rapport avec le développement Atteintes aux droits de propriété intellectuelle et application des droits - la prise en consideration des variables socioéconomiques, techniques et en rapport avec le développement, Complete document (doc) Atteintes aux droits de propriété intellectuelle et application des droits - la prise en consideration des variables socioéconomiques, techniques et en rapport avec le développement, Complete document (pdf)
Spanish : Infracciones y observancia de los derechos de propiedad intelectual. La toma en consideración de las variables socioeconómicas, técnicas y de desarrollo Infracciones y observancia de los derechos de propiedad intelectual. La toma en consideración de las variables socioeconómicas, técnicas y de desarrollo, Complete document (doc) Infracciones y observancia de los derechos de propiedad intelectual. La toma en consideración de las variables socioeconómicas, técnicas y de desarrollo, Complete document (pdf)
English : Summary by the Chair Summary by the Chair, Complete document (doc) Summary by the Chair, Complete document (pdf)
French : Résumé du Président Résumé du Président, Complete document (doc) Résumé du Président, Complete document (pdf)
Spanish : Resumen del Presidente

via Advisory Committee on Enforcement.

As was widely reported last week, several major internet access providers including, very likely, yours struck a deal last week with big content providers to help them police online infringement, educate allegedly infringing subscribers and, if subscribers resist such education, take various steps including restricting their internet access. We’ve now had a chance to peruse the lengthy “Memorandum of Understanding” MOU behind this deal. Turns out, as is often observed, the devil is in the details – and they are devilish indeed.

via The “Graduated Response” Deal: What if Users Had Been At the Table? | Electronic Frontier Foundation.

American Internet users, get ready for three strikes “six strikes.” Major US Internet providers—including AT&T, Verizon, Comcast, Cablevision, and Time Warner Cable—have just signed on to a voluntary agreement with the movie and music businesses to crack down on online copyright infringers. But they will protect subscriber privacy and they won’t filter or monitor their own networks for infringement. And after the sixth “strike,” you won’t necessarily be “out.”Much of the scheme mirrors what ISPs do now. Copyright holders will scan the ‘Net for infringement, grabbing suspect IP addresses from peer-to-peer file-sharing networks. If they see your IP address participating in a swarm for, say, Transformers, they will look up that IP address to see which ISP controls it, then fire off a message.ISPs have committed to forward such notices to subscribers—though, crucially, they won’t turn over actual subscriber names or addresses without a court order. This is a one-way notification process.

via Major ISPs agree to “six strikes” copyright enforcement plan.

We are informed by the BBC that the MPA is in the UK High Court today seeking to force the ISP British Telecom to block us from Stephen Fry’s web browser. Charming, we thought, bloody charming: “A Newzbin2 themed costume party, with horsehair wigs, and no-one invited us.” The MPA didn’t invite us, BT didn’t invite us, the court didn’t invite us. Team R Dogs would have loved to have had some say.What is worse is that it is a UK legal first: the first time anyone there has sought a blocking order in the High Court. The only blocking so far has been done by British Telecom using their Cleanfeed system to filter out kiddyporn sites on a list created by the Internet Watch Foundation, but that has been done without a court order.If the MPA get this injunction they will certainly, in the mould of the Internet Watch Foundation, start to add to the list other sites that offend them, e.g. the Pirate Bay. All of this will probably also be secret and, like us, not subject to an appeal or any due process.

via Press statement for immediate release. 29/6/2011 | NZBlog.

A piece in the Infocommunications and Law journal on pricing problems and piracy. In this piece I argue that the problem is not that pirates and ISPs are not willing to pay rightsholders, but that legitimate businesses cannot get the right price with which they could outcompete the black market. I argue that if there is a room for intervention, it must be concentrated on forcing rights holders to set a price which reflects local market realities, instead of forcing ISPs or their users to pay a levy for file-sharing.
Read the rest of this entry »

ars technica


The Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA, S.3804) sets up a system through which the US government can blacklist a pirate website from the Domain Name System, ban credit card companies from processing US payments to the site, and forbid online ad networks from working with the site. It passed the Senate Judiciary Committee 19-0 this week, but it’s never going to pass the Senate before the end of the current Congress.

That’s due to resistance from people like Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), who announced at a separate trade hearing of his own yesterday that he was going to “take the necessary steps to stop [COICA] from passing the United States Senate.”

“It seems to me that online copyright infringement is a legitimate problem,” he said in the midst of his questioning, “but it seems to me that COICA as written is the wrong medicine. Deploying this statute to combat online copyright infringement seems almost like using a bunker-busting cluster bomb when what you really need is a precision-guided missile.”

“The collateral damage of this statute could be American innovation, American jobs, and a secure Internet.”

Ed Black, CEO of computing industry trade group CCIA, was testifying at the hearing, and he agreed that COICA was a “good example of what not to do in an important, complicated digital ecosystem.”

Sweet sanity! And yet—this thing passed out of committee 19-0 with minimal hearings? Presumably there’s a big bipartisan bloc in the Senate which doesn’t think a major new Internet censorship regime—and one that applies only to copyright—needs much in the way of oversight. While the bill looks dead this year, the idea has met with thunderous applause from the movie and music industries, who are sure to back it next year. Hopefully, something more considered will be on the table the second time around.


– Asva.info

Szóval mi a tanulság? Az, hogy a pedofília miatt kap az ember 2 év felfüggesztett börtönt, míg kalóz szoftverek használata miatt nyolcmilliós bírságot. Félre ne értsen senki, egyáltalán nem akarom védeni az embert, nekem csak az fáj, hogy ha ez két külön személy lett volna, mennyivel rosszabbul  járt volna a másolt Photoshop-ot futtató ember.

In this book my aim was to look beyond the legal and economic readings of contemporary western copyright piracy and understand it as a unique social practice that merits attention not only because of its dubious legality, ubiquity, or the havoc it has played with copyright-based business models, but first and foremost because it shapes the ideas and attitudes of millions of netizens about what intellectual property is and could be; what sharing and online cooperation means in a p2p setting; what privacy is and how it can be protected; how to form and negotiate online identities in an anonymous environment, just to name a few issues. Piracy is not just a drain on the cultural economy, but a powerful productive force whose legacy in social relations will stay with us long after the economic conditions that called it into being –and the power vacuum that enabled it – have passed.
Read the rest of this entry »


We were just talking about whether or not countries are really able to push back on the US’s attempts to export draconian anti-competition/anti-innovation copyright and patent policies elsewhere. Michael Geist points us to two cases where US trade representatives are going overboard in trying to get foreign countries to put in place stringent intellectual property rules. The first is in Costa Rica, which is included in the Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA). Yet like with other free trade agreements that the US has agreed to elsewhere, this one includes draconian intellectual property law requirements. I still cannot understand why intellectual monopoly protectionism — the exact opposite of “free trade” — gets included in free trade agreements. At least in Costa Rica, a lot of people started protesting these rules, pointing out that it would be harmful for the economy, for education and for healthcare. So the Costa Rican government has not moved forward with such laws. How has the US responded? It’s blocking access to the US market of Costa Rican sugar until Costa Rica approves new copyright laws. Nice of the US, right? Bankrupting Costa Rican farmers to force Costa Rica to put in place a copyright regime it does not want.

Then there’s the Bahamas, where US trade representatives are demanding new intellectual property laws, claiming that the country is not in agreement with WTO treaties. Apparently, the USTR is particularly upset about the police force in the Bahamas not cracking down on the sale of unauthorized DVDs, CDs and counterfeit clothing. However, as the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce president notes, nearly all of those counterfeit products actually originated in the US — and that the majority of people doing the buying are US tourists. In other words, the issue is really with the US, but it seems to want everyone else to deal with it.


Lawyers have presented their final arguments in the trial of Alan Ellis. The prosecution slammed the ex-OiNK admin, saying that the site was set up with dishonest and profiteering intentions right from the start. The defense tore into IFPI and countered by calling Ellis an innovator with talents to be nurtured. Today the jury returned a unanimous verdict of not guilty, and Ellis walked free.

After a very long wait of more than two years, last week the OiNK trial got underway with the prosecution making their case against Alan Ellis. This week it was the turn of the defense and yesterday both sides had the opportunity to summarize their positions by submitting their closing arguments to the jury at Teesside Crown Court.

Peter Makepeace, prosecuting, naturally painted an extremely negative picture, labeling the Pink Palace as a place designed from the ground up as a personal money-making machine for Ellis.

“21 million downloads. 600,000-plus albums. £300,000. This was a cash cow, it was perfectly designed to profit him and it was as dishonest as the day is long,” said Makepeace.

It is common sense to come to the conclusion that Oink was dishonest, claimed the prosecution lawyer, adding that Ellis knows that it’s dishonest “to promote, encourage and facilitate criminal activity,” and accusing him of telling the jury “persistent, cunning, calculated lies.”

It would, of course, be dishonest to promote “criminal activity”, but Mr Makepeace should be very well aware that the activity engaged in by OiNK’s users is covered under civil law.

Switching momentarily from criticism to praise and then back again, Makepeace said that the OiNK website was a “wonderful machine” for sharing music but noted that while the site had a really good brand name, it was a brand synonymous with “ripping off music.”

University of London professor Birgitte Andersenok gave evidence earlier in the trial, stating that file-sharing didn’t hurt the music industry and led to more sales. Mr Makepeace trashed her evidence.

“It’s nonsense, it’s flannel, it’s verbiage, it’s garbage,” he told the Court.

For the defense, Alex Stein said that Ellis had never knowingly acted dishonestly and that in 2004 when OiNK was launched, it was a “brave new world” on the Internet.

“In many societies he’d be an innovator, a creator, a Richard Branson. His talent would be moulded, not crushed by some sort of media organization,” he said.

The media organization being referred to by Stein was the IFPI, who he said had never requested that OiNK be shut down, and had instead “sat and watched.”

Gazette Live reports that Stein went on to launch a scathing attack on the IFPI.

“They used this site. Their own members used this site to promote their own music and now they’re crushing him. Maybe he grew too big for them, maybe they’ve taken a different marketing approach. I don’t know. But it was decided that this site should be taken down.

“All of us here are being manipulated to some sort of marketing strategy by the IFPI. If anybody’s acting dishonestly it’s them,” he said.

At the end of the two week trial the jury returned a unanimous verdict (12 to 0). Alan Ellis is not guilty of Conspiracy to Defraud the music industry. He walked out of Teesside Crown Court a free man today, his name cleared.

The verdict cannot be appealed and Ellis can finally put the past behind him and move on.

via Copyrights & Campaigns

p2pnet news » Blog Archive » RIAA v Tenenbaum: what might have been

Quoted in the Harvard Law Review, he was referring to the Joel Tenenbaum vs the RIAA farce, going on the final judgment was “both disappointing and absurdly excessive”.


Chet Baker was a leading jazz musician in the 1950s, playing trumpet and providing vocals. Baker died in 1988, yet he is about to add a new claim to fame as the lead plaintiff in possibly the largest copyright infringement case in Canadian history. His estate, which still owns the copyright in more than 50 of his works, is part of a massive class-action lawsuit that has been underway for the past year.

The infringer has effectively already admitted owing at least $50 million and the full claim could exceed $60 billion. If the dollars don’t shock, the target of the lawsuit undoubtedly will: The defendants in the case are Warner Music Canada, Sony BMG Music Canada, EMI Music Canada, and Universal Music Canada, the four primary members of the Canadian Recording Industry Association.

The CRIA members were hit with the lawsuit in October 2008 after artists decided to turn to the courts following decades of frustration with the rampant infringement (I am adviser to the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic, which is co-counsel, but have had no involvement in the case).

The claims arise from a longstanding practice of the recording industry in Canada, described in the lawsuit as “exploit now, pay later if at all.” It involves the use of works that are often included in compilation CDs (ie. the top dance tracks of 2009) or live recordings. The record labels create, press, distribute and sell the CDs, but do not obtain the necessary copyright licences.

Instead, the names of the songs on the CDs are placed on a “pending list,” which signifies that approval and payment is pending. The pending list dates back to the late 1980s, when Canada changed its copyright law by replacing a compulsory licence with the need for specific authorization for each use. It is perhaps better characterized as a copyright infringement admission list, however, since for each use of the work, the record label openly admits that it has not obtained copyright permission and not paid any royalty or fee.

Over the years, the size of the pending list has grown dramatically, now containing more than 300,000 songs.

From Beyonce to Bruce Springsteen, the artists waiting for payment are far from obscure, as thousands of Canadian and foreign artists have seen their copyrights used without permission and payment.

It is difficult to understand why the industry has been so reluctant to pay its bills. Some works may be in the public domain or belong to a copyright owner difficult to ascertain or locate, yet the likes of Sarah McLachlan, Bruce Cockburn, Sloan, or the Watchmen are not hidden from view.

The more likely reason is that the record labels have had little motivation to pay up. As the balance has grown, David Basskin, the president and CEO of the Canadian Musical Reproduction Rights Agency Ltd., notes in his affidavit that “the record labels have devoted insufficient resources for identifying and paying the owners of musical works on the pending lists.” The CRIA members now face the prospect of far greater liability.

The class action seeks the option of statutory damages for each infringement. At $20,000 per infringement, potential liability exceeds $60 billion.

These numbers may sound outrageous, yet they are based on the same rules that led the recording industry to claim a single file sharer is liable for millions in damages.

After years of claiming Canadian consumers disrespect copyright, the irony of having the recording industry face a massive lawsuit will not be lost on anyone, least of all the artists still waiting to be paid. Indeed, they are also seeking punitive damages, arguing “the conduct of the defendant record companies is aggravated by their strict and unremitting approach to the enforcement of their copyright interests against consumers.”


Earlier this year, the IFPI gave Norwegian ISP Telenor an ultimatum – block access to The Pirate Bay within days or get taken to court. Telenor refused, IFPI followed through with its threat and the case was heard earlier this month. The decision was announced today. IFPI lost the case and Telenor will not have to block The Pirate Bay.

tpbThis March, IFPI – backed by several Hollywood movie companies – gave Telenor, Norway’s largest ISP, a warning: block your users from accessing The Pirate Bay within 14 days or we will take legal action.

Without any legal basis, Telenor refused to comply.

“This would be the same as demanding that the postal service should open all letters, and decide which ones should be delivered,” said Telenor boss Ragnar Kårhus.

The verdict in the case was due to be delivered October 30th, but was delayed until today.

IFPI has lost the case and Telenor will not have to block The Pirate Bay.

The court ruled that Telenor is not contributing to any infringements of copyright law when its subscribers use The Pirate Bay, and therefore there is no legal basis for forcing the ISP to block access to the site.

“Obviously we are pleased that the District Court has arrived at this conclusion,” said Telenor’s Ragnar Kårhus in a statement.

“At the same time it is important for us to emphasize that this case is not about being in favor of or opposed to copyright, but about whether or not it is reasonable to saddle Internet service providers with a censorship role in respect of content on the Internet,” he added.

Kårhus went on to say that the most important way for IFPI and other rights holders to maintain healthy revenue streams, is to develop business models and services that render the use of sites like The Pirate Bay less attractive to Internet users.

In making its decision, the court also had to examine the repercussions if it ruled that Telenor and other ISPs had to block access to certain websites. This, it said, is usually the responsibility of the authorities and handing this task to private companies would be “unnatural”.


A Boston University student has been ordered to pay $675,000 to four record labels for illegally downloading and sharing music.

Joel Tenenbaum, of Providence, R.I., admitted he downloaded and distributed 30 songs. The only issue for the jury to decide was how much in damages to award the record labels.

Under federal law, the recording companies were entitled to $750 to $30,000 per infringement. But the law allows as much as $150,000 per track if the jury finds the infringements were willful. The maximum jurors could have awarded in Tenenbaum’s case was $4.5 million.

The case is only the nation’s second music downloading case against an individual to go to trial.

Last month, a federal jury in Minneapolis ruled a Minnesota woman must pay nearly $2 million for copyright infringement.


A Dutch court ruled Thursday that three men connected with The Pirate Bay Web site must block traffic between it and the Netherlands within 10 days.

The written ruling by Judge Wil Tonkens concludes that the men have control over the site and ordered them “each separately and together, to stop and keep stopped the infringements on copyright and related rights of Stichting Brein in the Netherlands,” or face a charge of euro30,000 ($42,000) per day.

Stichting Brein is a Dutch-based organization funded by various copyright holder groups that brought the civil suit against The Pirate Bay.

It was not clear how the court expected the site’s operators to block traffic to the site, or whether it can enforce its order if they decline or are unable to comply.

“The Pirate Bay is not a legal person who can be summoned, but a cooperative,” the ruling noted.

The Pirate Bay provides an index to BitTorrent files, which can be used for trading media such as movies, music and computer games. The site has more than 20 million users globally.


The suit appears to have been initiated by Music Copyright Solutions (MCS), which claims to administer copyrights for more than 45,000 compositions. MCS is named as the lead plaintiff, along with a number of songwriters including Mark Farner of Grand Funk Railroad fame. These folks allege that Microsoft, Yahoo, and RealNetworks improperly licensed the rights to more than 200 compositions that they offered as on-demand streams or limited downloads via the Zune Marketplace, Yahoo Music, and Rhapsody.

Surely these companies paid somebody for the rights to offer these songs. But there’s a catch, which TechDirt pointed out earlier Tuesday: these companies may have licensed the rights to the recordings, but that doesn’t mean they licensed the rights to the compositions (also known as publishing rights). As section 23 of the legal filing puts it:

In order to transmit, perform, reproduce and deliver any sound recording of any musical work via ‘On-Demand Streams’ or ‘Limited Downloads,’ Defendants must first obtain not only the rights for the sound recording itself, but also the rights for the underlying musical composition that is embodied on said musical recording.

Maybe, maybe not–that’s up to the court to decide. But that’s not the insane part. The insane part is that the plaintiffs are alleging that each time one of the defendants made any recording of a covered song available, that’s a copyright violation, and they’re seeking damages of $150,000 per violation (or the amount the defendants earned from streaming those songs, whichever is more). So, for example, the lawsuit claims that Yahoo Music offered Conway Twitty’s recording of “Fifteen Years Ago” on six different greatest hits albums. The plaintiffs allege that constitutes six copyright violations, which would mean damages of $900,000. Overall, the lawsuit names more than 200 songs, and a far greater number of recordings, meaning that the potential liability for each defendant would be tens of billions of dollars–that’s far greater than the total amount of revenues these companies ever earned from any of these services.

The Becker-Posner Blog

Expanding copyright law to bar online access to copyrighted materials without the copyright holder’s consent, or to bar linking to or paraphrasing copyrighted materials without the copyright holder’s consent, might be necessary to keep free riding on content financed by online newspapers from so impairing the incentive to create costly news-gathering operations that news services like Reuters and the Associated Press would become the only professional, nongovernmental sources of news and opinion.

I wonder if Judge Posner will stop writing his blog because I linked to his post.

Free Software Foundation

We don’t make (much) music here at the Free Software Foundation, so it’s natural for people to wonder why the FSF has been standing up for individuals targeted by lawsuits launched by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Most recently, we filed an amicus curiae brief in the case of Sony BMG Music Entertainment, et al. v. Joel Tenenbaum showing the RIAA’s theory of statutory damage awards to be unconstitutional.

ISPreview UK

TThe European Parliament has, in its FINAL vote (there have been five so far) on the matter, chosen to retain amendment 46 (138) of the new Telecoms Package
by a majority of 407 to 57. Amendment 46 states that restrictions to
the fundamental rights and freedoms of Internet users can only be put
in place after a decision by judicial authorities, which protects ISPs
from having to disconnect customers suspected of involvement with
illegal broadband file-sharing (P2P) downloads.

La Quadrature du Net
confirms that the European Parliament has nevertheless adopted a soft
compromise on issues of network equity: no strong protection against “net discrimination” was adopted.

formidable campaign from the citizens put the issues of freedoms on the
Internet at the center of the debates of the Telecoms Package. This is
a victory by itself. It started with the declaration of commissioner
Viviane Reding considering access to Internet as a fundamental right.
The massive re-adoption of amendment 138/46 rather than the softer
compromise negotiated by rapporteur Trautmann with the Council is an
even stronger statement. These two elements alone confirm that the
French ‘three strikes‘ scheme, HADOPI, is dead already.
” explains Jérémie Zimmermann, co-founder of La Quadrature du Net.

it’s not all good news as the changes do not prevent similar schemes
from being introduced by individual member states. Likewise nothing
will forbid ISPs from turning the Internet away from a neutral zone where people have equal access to all content applications and services. [geek]We doubt the Romulans would approve.[/geek]

strong statement for the access to the Internet as a fundamental right
demonstrates that the Parliament can be courageous and reject the
pressure to compromise when essential values are at stake.
Unfortunately, on issues that appear more technical such as the absence
of discrimination of services and contents on the Internet, the
Parliament did not take the full measure of what it is at stake yet.
Citizens must remain mobilized on these crucial questions,
” concludes Gérald Sédrati-Dinet, analyst for La Quadrature.

we’re unlikely to see Three-Strikes style legislation in the UK,
although some rights holders are still privately pushing for it. To
date the industry as a whole has failed to agree a concrete way forward
on the matter, although it’s expected that Lord Carter’s final Digital
Britain report (due in another month or so) may present one. See our ‘To Ban or Not to Ban (Illegal File Sharers)‘ – article for more background to all this.he European Parliament has, in its FINAL vote (there have been five so far) on the matter, chosen to retain amendment 46 (138) of the new Telecoms Package by a majority of 407 to 57. Amendment 46 states that restrictions to the fundamental rights and freedoms of Internet users can only be put in place after a decision by judicial authorities, which protects ISPs from having to disconnect customers suspected of involvement with illegal broadband file-sharing (P2P) downloads.

La Quadrature du Net confirms that the European Parliament has nevertheless adopted a soft compromise on issues of network equity: no strong protection against “net discrimination” was adopted.

“A formidable campaign from the citizens put the issues of freedoms on the Internet at the center of the debates of the Telecoms Package. This is a victory by itself. It started with the declaration of commissioner Viviane Reding considering access to Internet as a fundamental right. The massive re-adoption of amendment 138/46 rather than the softer compromise negotiated by rapporteur Trautmann with the Council is an even stronger statement. These two elements alone confirm that the French ‘three strikes’ scheme, HADOPI, is dead already.” explains Jérémie Zimmermann, co-founder of La Quadrature du Net.

However it’s not all good news as the changes do not prevent similar schemes from being introduced by individual member states. Likewise nothing will forbid ISPs from turning the Internet away from a neutral zone where people have equal access to all content applications and services. [geek]We doubt the Romulans would approve.[/geek]

“The strong statement for the access to the Internet as a fundamental right demonstrates that the Parliament can be courageous and reject the pressure to compromise when essential values are at stake. Unfortunately, on issues that appear more technical such as the absence of discrimination of services and contents on the Internet, the Parliament did not take the full measure of what it is at stake yet. Citizens must remain mobilized on these crucial questions,” concludes Gérald Sédrati-Dinet, analyst for La Quadrature.

Mercifully we’re unlikely to see Three-Strikes style legislation in the UK, although some rights holders are still privately pushing for it. To date the industry as a whole has failed to agree a concrete way forward on the matter, although it’s expected that Lord Carter’s final Digital Britain report (due in another month or so) may present one. See our ‘To Ban or Not to Ban (Illegal File Sharers)’ – article for more background to all this.


“For years, the content industries having been trying to get laws passed that would stop people sharing files. For years they failed. Then they came up with the ‘three strikes and you’re out’ idea — and it is starting to be put into law around the world. First we had France, followed by countries like Italy, Ireland — and now South Korea: ‘On March 3, 2009, the National Assembly’s Committee on Culture, Sports, Tourism, Broadcasting & Communications (CCSTB&C) passed a bill to revise the Copyright Law. The bill includes the so called, “three strikes out” or “graduated response” provision.’ Why has the ‘three strikes’ idea caught on where others have failed? And what is the best way to stop it spreading further?”

Technology | guardian.co.uk

Today was the last scheduled in the Pirate Bay trial, and the four defence lawyers made their closing statements. They all presented much the same points, the main ones being that the Pirate Bay site didn’t hold any copyright films or music — it merely acted as a search engine — and that no copyrighted content passed through it anyway. The prosecution had failed to produce any uploaders or downloaders, and had not shown their actions were illegal where they happened to live.

Fredrik Neij’s lawyer, Jonas Nilsson, said that the prosecution had not established that most of the links on the Pirate Bay were to copyright material, but linking to copyright material wasn’t specific to Pirate Bay, it was an internet-wide problem.

Then there were the financial issues. The prosecution appears to have an exaggerated view of how much money the site made (millions!), and an even more generous view of how much had been lost in the cases presented in evidence (more millions).

Gottfrid Svartholm’s lawyer, Ola Salomonsson, said there were only four adverts on Pirate Bay, not the 64 the prosecution claimed, so the revenue was closer to 725,000 kronor (£55,846, €62,510, $78,655). That was less than the site’s running costs of 800,000 kronor.

As for damages of 117 million kronor (£9m, €10.1m, $12.7m), witness Roger Wallis had testified that the content industries benefited from file-sharing. Peter Sunde’s lawyer, Peter Althin, said he personal attacks on Wallis were “pathetic”. As or Sunde, he was just a spokesman for the site and hadn’t done anything illegal.

Carl Lundström’s lawyer, Per E Samuelson, said (to quote TorrentFreak’s summary) that

when new technology appears it can be difficult to “see the wood for the trees”. He said that just because something may have been used by people for illicit purposes, should that mean that there should be an attack on the infrastructure as a result? It’s like taking legal action against car manufacturers for the problems experienced on the roads, he said.

As for Lundström, he “didn’t own the site, nor was he involved in maintaining or coding it.” He was just a “businessman who is only vaguely connected to TPB [via] one of his customers (PRQ),” TorrentFreak reported.

The prosecution didn’t enhance its reputation during the case, but as Wired pointed out in an editorial, perhaps the defendants didn’t, either. Their previous “swagger evaporated like salt water on a beached schooner once The Pirate Bay landed on the witness stand.” Wired said:

In the courtroom, the defendants quickly abandoned their revolutionary, free-culture ideals in favor of the simpler philosophy embraced by criminal defendants since time immemorial: I’m Not Responsible.

Outside the courtroom, “Peter Sunde expressed confidence that The Pirate Bay would win the case,” reports Ars Technica. “A guilty verdict would ‘be a huge mistake for the future of the Internet,’ he said. ‘It’s quite obvious which side is the good side’.”

It’s equally obvious to the record industry, of course, which sees sites like Pirate Bay destroying the commercial music business. In its report, Billboard quotes Kjell-Åke Hamrén, chairman of SMFF, the Swedish Music Publishers Association:

“Without compensation the creators’ livelihood is unsustainable. It is therefore of utmost importance that licensing schemes and new legal services can emerge in the digital environment, while at the same time legislation says firmly no to grand scale businesses that are built on copyright infringement.”

The verdict is due on April 17

Moscow Times

The wisdom of our State Duma deputies is a well-known attribute — second only to their selfish patriotism. Apparently, it was their sense of national pride that moved them to pass in two readings amendments to the Civil Code regarding copyright violations. International trade organizations and a host of Western companies concerned about Russians’ widespread abuse of copyrights laws had been pushing the Kremlin and the Duma for years to strengthen its legislation.

According to the legislative bill, any unlawful or unsanctioned copying of text, music or pictures from the Internet is subject to criminal prosecution of up to six years in prison.

In reality, though, it is almost impossible for the average computer user to not violate some copyright law every time he is on the Internet. For example, if you accidentally right click your mouse on some useless picture while browsing the web, you are a criminal. And this is the weakness of the new legislative bill — virtually every Internet surfer is guilty a priori. If the proposed amendments become law, the state will have the luxury of jailing any citizen it wants at any moment, and they would have every legal justification for doing so.

In addition to surfers, Internet providers would also be liable. Since they are obligated to spy on the Internet activities of their customers day and night, if even a single user posts pirated material on the network the provider could have problems with the law. The only safe path for the provider to take is to be as vigilant as possible, informing the authorities on even the slightest possible copyright violation. This could mean that thousands of web sites and blogs would be wiped out.

But please don’t think that Duma deputies are inhumane. They have included two mitigating circumstances in the bill that could help Internet users evade a prison sentence. First, you can claim that the alleged copyright violation was caused by “necessary” circumstances. The only problem is that “necessary” is not clearly defined. Imagine court proceedings in which the accused testifies, “My grandmother was suffering from depression and wanted to take her own life. After I downloaded and played her favorite music for her, she decided to live a little longer.” The jury members break into tears and find the defendant innocent.

Second, a person can evade prosecution if he can prove that he is a comedian. The bill allows for free use of other people’s intellectual property if it is being used as a parody. Now that’s funny, isn’t it?

And for all of the people who rely on the Internet for automatic translations from English to Russian, the legislation has tried to create a loophole for your free use of these programs in accordance with World Trade Organization rules.

It appears that WTO membership is a key motivation behind this legislations. For the sake of this prize, lawmakers are willing to sacrifice anything, from citizens’ rights to common sense.

At the same time, there could be an added bonus for our security siloviki. They also see plenty of opportunities to increase their surveillance of Russians’ Internet activities under the pretext of complying with this new copyright law, of course. As everyone knows, Russia is a free, democratic country, and therefore nobody is thrown in prison because of his political views. But I have a sneaking suspicion that only the Kremlin’s political foes will be the ones who are caught violating this law.

The only hurdle left for this bill to become law is for it to pass the third reading in the Duma. Usually, the third reading is only for eliminating typos. In this case, you could say the entire legislation is one enormous typographical error.

Boris Kagarlitsky is the director of the Institute of Globalization Studies.


A British publisher has come up with the idea of selling reprints of Nazi newspapers to German customers.

You can imagine the sales pitch: “Week by week, your collection will grow into a fascinating overview of the virulent propaganda that polluted a nation’s psyche and started a war that brought Europe to its knees.”

The Zeitungszeugen(Newspaper Witnesses) series, juxtaposing reprints with modern analysis and comment, has been a huge hit and the first issue, including pages from Der Angriff– editor Joseph Goebbels – has all but sold out in the German capital.

And so, as the rest of the world reads about the inauguration of US President-elect Barack Obama this week, tens of thousands of Zeitungszeugenreaders will be catching up with Der Angriff’saccount of Adolf Hitler’s rise to power in January 1933.

“We want to give people the opportunity to form their own picture not only of the political events,” says series editor, historian Sandra Paweronschitz, “but also of the era in which these events took place and the attitudes to life at that time, for example by reading the classifieds or the film guide.”

Historian Wolfgang Benz, who worked on the project, described the reprints of original material as less harmful than the endless series of slick documentaries that run on German television every night.

But involving several leading German historians in the project hasn’t placated Germany’s Jewish community. Ralph Giordano, one of Germany’s most prominent Holocaust survivors, suggested that the series was an indication that “Hitler was defeated militarily, but not intellectually”.

On Friday evening, the Bavarian state government slapped a ban on the project just as publishers readied issue two – a reprint of the vitriolic Völkischer Beobachter, the Nazi party paper.

Officials in Munich announced that the publication was a breach of copyright it has held since absorbing the assets of the main Nazi publishing house, Eher, in 1945.

The publishers of Zeitungszeugenhave admitted they were aware of the copyright, but declined to apply for permission for fear of being refused.

Now the company has vowed to fight a ban they call “an attack on press freedom”.

That could lead to an interesting legal battle, as some legal observers in Germany have claimed the copyright on the Nazi newspapers has long since expired.

It is the latest round in a long-running battle in Germany about whether to keep Nazi documents locked up or to distribute them for educational purposes.

Last year, leading historians called on the Munich government to permit a new German-language publication of Hitler’s Mein Kampf, to which it also holds the rights.

They want to see an annotated version on sale before the work enters the public domain in 2015. Then, 70 years after the dictator’s death, far-right fringe parties in Germany plan to flood the country with their own cheap copies of the work.

Recording Industry vs. The People

In SONY BMG Music Entertainment v. Tenenbaum, the defendant has moved for all court proceedings to be televised over the internet through Courtroom View Network. The motion argues:

is the currency of democracy, sunshine laws open government. The
federal court is open not only as a court of justice but a forum of
civic education. WE the PEOPLE are the ultimate check in our
constitutional system of checks and balances, we the people of the
integrated media space opened and connected by the net in a public
domain. Net access will allow an intelligent public domain to shape
itself by attending and engaging in a public trial of issues
conflicting our society.

Net access to this litigation will
allow an interested and growingly sophisticated public to understand
the RIAA’s education campaign. Surely education is the purpose of the
Digital Deterrence Act of 1999, the constitutionality of which we are
challenging. How can RIAA object? Yet they do, fear of sunlight shone
upon them.

Net access will allow demonstration by the parties to
the jury of the nature and context of the copyright infringement with
which Joel Tenenbaum is charged.

Net access will allow an
intelligent public domain to shape itself by attending and engaging a
public trial prosecuted by a dying CD industry against a defendant who
did what comes naturally to digital kids.

Net access will allow
educational and public media institutions to build a digital archive
and resource for understanding law akin to Jonathan Harr’s A Civil
Action reconceived in execution for legal pedagogy in a digital age,
Another Civil Action. The immediacy of net-based access to court
opinions already allows lawyers, professors, students, and reporters to
better keep abreast of the most recent legal developments, but none
with the immediacy the Net allows.

If the motion is granted, it will be the first RIAA case of which we are aware to be televised.

Motion and memorandum of law in support of internet audio-visual coverage
Declaration of John Shin
Declaration of Charles Nesson

Recording Industry vs. The People

According to a report on Wired.com, the RIAA spokesman claims that the RIAA has not filed any new lawsuits “for months”; according to the Wall Street Journal report
the RIAA stopped filing mass lawsuits “early this fall”; and the
Associated Press was apparently told that the RIAA had stopped bringing
new lawsuits in August.

Being very familiar with the RIAA’s penchant for “misspeaking”,
even when under oath, I investigated the matter a bit, and learned that
a large number of suits have been brought by the RIAA quite recently,
one as recently as this Monday. Here are just a few. Those marked green were contributed by some of our great readers:

Intellectual Property Watch

By David Cronin for Intellectual Property Watch
BRUSSELS – Europe’s copyright rules are ill-suited to an age when millions of music files can be accessed at the click of a mouse, a Brussels conference has been told.

About eight million tracks by musicians from a wide variety of genres can now be listened to via the internet, a figure that is projected to rise to 12 million by 2012. With the entertainment industry estimating that 90 percent of music downloads are illegal and sales of CDs having declined sharply over the past few years, some technology firms are urging that the whole basis of copyright law needs to be rethought.

Kurt Einzinger, president of the Internet Service Providers Association (EuroISPA), believes that attitudes to music have changed so fundamentally that the “established copyright regime is not fit for the internet.”

“I personally have LPs [records] of The Rolling Stones and Cream at home,” he said. “But my kids get a piece of music and they listen to [it] and that’s it. They don’t keep it. They wouldn’t pay one euro or one dollar for listening one time to a piece of music.”

While acknowledging that there is a “culture of disrespect for copyright rules,” he added that “when downloading, people don’t feel they are illegal, they don’t feel they are doing something wrong.”

Einzinger was speaking at a conference organised by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) that took place in Brussels on November 24 and 25.

A markedly different view was offered by Feargal Sharkey, former singer with Irish punk-rock band The Undertones.

Now chief executive of UK Music, which represents artists, record companies, managers and royalty collecting societies, Sharkey contended that the “voice of the creator is frequently overlooked” in the debate about the internet.

The proliferation of free downloading, he said, is a contributory factor to the often meagre income of artists, citing estimates that more than 80 percent of musicians in Britain earn less than €15,000 euros per year.

“The copyright system was introduced to protect true originality,” he added, stating that freedom of expression does not confer “a freedom to steal and plagiarise.”

A ‘memorandum of understanding’ between the British government, the recording industry and technology firms signed during July aims to set up new business models, which allow listeners access to music using whichever means they prefer but in a way that “the creator gets paid,” according to Sharkey.

Jean Bergevin, a European Commission official handling single market issues, suggested there is considerable confusion about how copyright legislation applies.

Many internet service providers have claimed that they merely host data and should not be held responsible for whether its content violates copyright law. But Bergevin stressed that the European Union’s directive on electronic commerce, which dates from 2000, does not make such firms “fully exempt from liability.” Once they receive knowledge that copyright is not being respected, they are supposed to take action. Yet he said that the issue of how courts should interpret what constitutes knowledge in such cases is “an issue that might require some clarification.”

His colleague Jean-Eric de Cockborne, an official dealing with audiovisual policy, described internet piracy as “a massive problem.” While he insisted that “doing nothing is not an option,” he argued that it would be premature to introduce fresh laws.

“It is unlikely that new punitive legislation will be adopted,” he added. “There is a very strong political view on the need to balance the protection of intellectual property rights with other fundamental rights, in particular data protection and the right to information.”

Jürgen Becker, vice-president of GEMA (the society for musical performing and mechanical reproduction rights in Germany), complained that “copyright is not being adequately protected online” and that a “crisis of copyright” has been taking place for the past two decades. His organisation, he noted, has initiated legal action in Germany in a bid to pressurise internet firms into blocking access to websites which breach copyright rules.

“All rights-owners agree that they do not wish to put up with this any longer,” he said. “But the options open to them in this respect are limited. Only lawmakers – both national and European – are in a position to remedy the situation.”


What happened with the “Telecoms Package” (that I have mentioned here and here)? It seems that most of the worrying amendments regarding copyright issues (especially the three strikes approach) were not adopted by the European Parliament. A detailed analysis by La Quadrature du Net will be published in the next days. However, it was an impressive example of digital citizen lobbyism. If you read German head over to netzpolitik.org and heise.de. EurActiv has a long and rather general article on the whole initiative. But it is true: the Internet is rather quiet about this success in the European Parliament as A Fistful of Euros notes. Bashing the EU is much easier, I guess.


Közismert és széles körben bírált gyakorlata az RIAA szervezetnek, hogy illegális letöltés és fáljmegosztás vádjával rengeteg eljárást indított az elmúlt években – ezek jó része peren kívüli megállapodással zárult le, bár nem mindegyik. Kevés védőügyvéd van, aki vállalja ezeket az ügyeket; egyikük a képen látható Ray Beckerman, aki Recording Industry vs The People címmel blogot is ír. Most pedig őt magát fogta perbe az RIAA. Azt szeretnék elérni, hogy bíróság ítélje el a tevékenységét és kötelezze pénzbüntetés megfizetésére.

Az egyik vád éppen a bloggal kapcsolatos: eszerint Beckerman rendszeresen feltett ide részleteket az éppen folyó ügyekkel kapcsolatban, ezzel próbálva befolyásolni nemcsak a bírósági eljárást, hanem a közvéleményt is, és “szégyenbe hozni a felpereseket”. Másfelől pedig azzal vádolják az ügyvédet, hogy bizonyos ügyekben hamis állításokat tett, így terelve téves irányba a nyomozást, hogy az RIAA ügyészei számára nehezebb legyen a vonatkozó bizonyítékok beszerzése. Az interneten különféle blogokban olvasható híradások természetesen elfogultak, mégpedig az RIAA ellen – mindenesetre több helyütt olvastuk, hogy a lemezipari szervezet vádjai “nevetségesek”, főleg ami a bloggerkedést illeti. Főleg, hogy maga az RIAA is részben pr-tevékenységként, vagyis “felvilágosító kampányként” jellemzi pereskedéseit.

Threat Level from Wired.com

It was five years ago Monday the Recording Industry Association of America began its massive litigation campaign that now includes more than 30,000 lawsuits targeting alleged copyright scofflaws on peer-to-peer networks.

Today, the RIAA — the lobbying group for the world’s big four music companies, Sony BMG, Universal Music, EMI and Warner Music — admits that the lawsuits are largely a public relations effort, aimed at striking fear into the hearts of would-be downloaders. Spokeswoman Cara Duckworth of the RIAA says the lawsuits have spawned a “general sense of awareness” that file sharing copyrighted music without authorization is “illegal.”

“It costs more to hire a lawyer to defend these cases than take the
settlement,” agrees Lory Lybeck, a Washington State attorney, who is
leading a prospective class-action against the RIAA for engaging in
what he says is “sham” litigation tactics. “That’s an important part of
what’s going on. The recording industry is setting a price where you
know they cannot hire lawyers. It’s a pretty well-designed system
whereby people are not allowed any effective participation in one of
the three prongs in the federal government.”


Prosecutors in a German state have announced they will refuse to entertain the majority of file-sharing lawsuits in future. It appears that only commercial-scale copyright infringers will be pursued, with those sharing under 3000 music tracks and 200 movies dropping under the prosecution radar.

During the last few years the legal climate in Germany has become more and more weighted against file-sharers, with hundreds of thousands receiving threats of legal action. Based on information gathered by anti-p2p tracking outfits, an offense is reported which the public prosecution service is obliged to investigate due to the fact that copyright infringement is a criminal issue in Germany. The ISP of the alleged infringer would then be forced to hand over the personal details of those accused, who would then be threatened with legal action.

Very often the legal action is not carried out but the threats are used as leverage to get ‘compensation’ from the alleged infringer to hand to the rights holder. It seems that the legal system in German has had enough of this ‘abuse’ of the criminal law system for ‘civil’ monetary gain.

In an interview with Jetzt.de, prosecutors from the Nort-Rhine Westphalia area state that those sharing files for personal, non-commercial uses, will no longer be the target of a lawsuit.

Christian Solmecke, a lawyer working at lawyers Wilde & Beuger and currently defending around 500 file-sharers against the German music industry told TorrentFreak: “That means, that the music industry in Germany has no chance to find out the real address behind an IP-address at the moment,” which is clearly a major obstacle for someone looking to take legal action.

The dividing line between personal file-sharing and commercial file-sharing needs to be defined clearly under the law, and the prosecutors have gone some way in offering this definition. “The guidelines say that no investigation should be done if the damage is lower than 3000 Euros (approx $4,500),” Christian told us. “The guideline says that the damage of trading one song is 1 Euro ($1.50). That means, that you could have 2999 Files on your computer and the prosecutors will not investigate.”

The damages for a movie are being touted at 15 Euros (approx $22.00) each, so presumably anyone sharing less than 200 movies will be considered a non-commercial file-sharer and should avoid prosecution. However, the prosecutor has indicated that those sharing brand new movies still in theater cannot expect to receive the same treatment.

Christian told TorrentFreak: “This decision is very new, we do not know what consequences it will have or if all prosecutors in Germany will follow the new guidelines.” However, the German music industry is clearly unhappy, labeling the decision as “a catastrophe” and refusing to accept it.

Should this decision spread around Germany, P2P tracking outfits such as Logistep AG and the German company Digiprotect will have to look elsewhere to make up their revenue. There are indications that Digiprotect is already branching out into the UK, in a new partnership with everyone’s favorite anti-p2p lawyers, Davenport Lyons.


The Higher Education Opportunity Act, passed Wednesday by the House and Thursday by the Senate, promotes education, legal alternatives, and improved monitoring of campus networks.

If signed into law by President George W. Bush, the bipartisan bill would require publicly funded universities and colleges to teach students and employees about illegal downloading, distribution of copyrighted materials, and related campus policies.

The bill also requires universities and colleges to create plans to prevent piracy by using technology and to present legal alternatives. The bill would provide grants to support those efforts.

PC Magazine

A bipartisan group of senators introduced a bill in the U.S. Senate on Thursday that would allow the U.S. Attorney General to bring civil actions against Americans that violate copyrights.

The bill, the “Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights Act of 2008”, was scheduled to be introduced on Thursday, according to Judiciary Committee chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), who authored the bill along with Arlen Specter (R-Pa.). The bill’s co-sponsors include Senators Evan Bayh (D-Ind.), George Voinovich (R-Ohio), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and John Cornyn (R-Texas).

The bill is similar to the “Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement Act” of the 2007 Congress, which set out to establish a so-called Intellectual Property Enforcement Network (IPEN) made up of the deputy secretaries of the Department of Homeland Security, Justice, the Treasury, Commerce, and State, plus the Deputy Attorney General and other senior government members.

However, the current bill would pair the IPEN with a designated Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator, an advisor who would report directly to the President. Enforcement would be left to the FBI, who would be authorized to form an operational task force to fight copyright crime. An organized crime task force would also be created at the Department of Justice to link copyright violations to organized crime, such as DVD piracy. Five “intellectual property law enforcement coordinators” could be sent overseas to work with local law enforcement.

“The time has come to bolster the Federal effort to protect this most valuable and vulnerable property, to give law enforcement the resources and the tools it needs to combat piracy and counterfeiting, and to make sure that the many agencies that deal with intellectual property enforcement have the opportunity and the incentive to talk with each other, to coordinate their efforts, and to achieve the maximum effects for their efforts,” Sen. Leahy said in a statement. “The Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights Act of 2008 does just that.”

The proposed bill would also tighten civil IP laws, requiring that an actual copyright be filed before a criminal case can be brought. However, according to the text of the bill, no actual copyright would need to be filed in the case of a civil suit brought by the Attorney General or another individual or company.

The bill would also explicitly allow documents and records to be seized in the course of a civil copyright-infringement suit. And a “harmless error” provision would allow prosecutors to gloss over minor errors in copyright filings that would otherwise provide defendants a loophole.

Reactions split across industry lines

Unsurprisingly, the bill was welcomed by software groups, including the Business Software Alliance. “”BSA and its members commend Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Diane Feinstein (D-CA), Evan Bayh (D-IN), John Cornyn (R-TX), George Voinovich (R-OH) and others for their leadership on intellectual property issues, as further illustrated today, with the introduction of the Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights Act of 2008,” the BSA said in a statement. “This important legislation will go a long way to curbing software piracy which cost more than $48 billion around the globe. The bill will provide US law enforcement with new legal tools to combat software piracy and counterfeiting. It will also provide much needed resources to investigate and prosecute IP crimes and expand the successful program of placing IP attaches in key US embassies around the globe.”

“American innovators and creators are driving our nation’s economy. Whether they are born of research, technological innovation or the strum of a guitar, creative expression of ideas are the backbone of job creation, growth and surplus trade,” executive director Patrick Ross of the Copyright Alliance added.

“We urge Congress to act quickly so that copyright owners can see new enforcement measures on the President’s desk this Congress,” Ross said in a statement.

Public interest group Public Knowledge said it was concerned, however. “We are concerned that several provisions in this bill could have harmful, if unintended, consequences that would harm consumers,” Gigi Sohn, president and co-founder of the organization, said in a statement. “The bill rightly targets enforcement of copyright law against commercial infringers, but some of these same enforcement provisions are likely to hurt ordinary consumers.

“The provisions allowing seizure of equipment may be harmful to consumers,” Sohn added. “Seizing expensive manufacturing equipment used for large-scale infringement from a commercial pirate may be appropriate. Seizing a family’s general-purpose computer in a download case, as this bill would allow, is not appropriate. This bill goes even farther, expanding the penalties under the flawed Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) to create new grounds for allowing a family’s computer to be seized if used to circumvent digital rights management, even if for fair uses.

“In addition, this bill would turn the Justice Department into an arm of the legal departments of the entertainment companies by authorizing DoJ to file civil lawsuits for infringement, forcing taxpayers to foot the bill,” Sohn concluded.


The agreement between internet service providers, the government, and the music industry to send angry letters to music fans who are downloading free music is a smokescreen, intended to obscure the crisis the record industry is facing.

This agreement has come about as a result of music industry pressure on ISPs who are, after all, facilitating their customers’ free music downloads. If this were an ordinary copyright infringement case, the record companies would put their lawyers onto the ISPs. However, everyone knows that the music industry is using internet sites, particularly the big social networks such as MySpace, to promote their artists.

It is just not in the music industry’s interest to bite the hand of the ISPs, which provide them with access to potential customers. But on the other hand, the industry does have a case against the ISPs – so what is to be done? I imagine some corporate boardroom representing the ISPs shrugged their shoulders and said “well I suppose we could send them a warning letter”. The industry moguls replied “yeah a warning letter – that’ll do it”.

But of course a warning letter won’t do it. Without some kind of legal framework to back it up, it’s nothing more than a gesture. The real problem for the record companies is that the ground is changing beneath them. New technology has made it possible for people to acquire music without going through the traditional route of buying objects in a shop.

Rather than fighting this trend, the industry itself needs to find new methods of collecting royalties. The only real moral argument the industry has that will work with music fans is that the artist should be rewarded financially for providing them with music. Yet everyone knows that historically the record industry has paid artists a fraction of the price paid by the public for albums and singles.

What needs to happen is for the industry to reverse its priorities, put artists to the fore and pay them a larger share of the price in return for their support in the transition to new business models. It is doesn’t take a huge amount of imagination to conceive of other ways of levying royalties where original music is used. The way we get radio in the UK offers two simple examples.

On one hand, we have the BBC service, where for the price of the licence fee you can listen to as much radio as you like. On the other hand, there is commercial radio, which is free at the point-of-use to you, the listener. However, the fact that it is free doesn’t mean the music content is not paid for. Royalties are paid to musicians from the sale of advertising that appears between the songs. Either of these two models could be applied to music.

A licence fee could be paid, allowing you to download as much music as you like, which will be simpler to police as you would need to presumably give your licence number before you download anything. Or sites such as MySpace, which make billions of dollars in advertising revenue without paying for any content whatsoever, could reverse that trend and start paying royalties to musicians and other content providers.

In an ideal world, such royalties or the blanket licence fee would not be paid to music companies themselves but to an independent collection agency that would pay the money directly to artists. The music industry treats the internet as a threat, whereas for artists it gives us an opportunity to get closer to our audience than ever before. We must be very, very careful that we don’t alienate those fans and make it impossible for the next generation of singer-songwriters to have viable careers.

The Register

Thousands – or to be more precise, six thousands – of lucky alleged infringers a week are to be informed of the error of their ways, according to the terms of the deal struck this week between the British government and six major ISPs. They will in the first instance be “informed when their accounts are being used unlawfully to share copyright material and pointed towards legal alternatives.”

And in the second instance? That is yet to be determined, and the ISPs and rights holders signing the Memorandum of Understanding with the government have been sent off for four months to figure out the ‘or what?’ bit of the deal.

In the meantime those letters will be cranking out. The targets will be identified by “music rights holders” who will pass the data on to the ISPs, who will then run the system as a trial for three months. So that’s about 70,000 letters in total, the number of suspects being dependent on whether they’re going to bombard the same people with information regarding the unlawful nature of some of their account’s activities, or whether they go for a ‘one per deviant’ rule.

The evidence of this trial period will be analysed, and depending on what that tells them they’ll agree with Offcom an escalation in numbers, a widening of content coverage (presumably to video), and “a process for agreeing a cap.” That is, not a cap in itself, but a process for agreeing one. This (we speculate) might take into account factors such as cost of stamps to ISPs, level of music business profitability, percentage of deviants in total user base, ratio of ridicule experienced by music industry to ridicule experienced by ISPs, and the price of sardines. Or something.

The two aspects of the letter – drawing the user’s attention to the infringement and pointing them at legal alternatives – are likely to be important in determining the success of the trial. Some users – possibly, as Feargal Sharkey thinks, most – are likely to be scared off when they learn that somebody’s watching them, but adequate legal alternatives (which the ISPs say they’re going to set up) will have to exist in order for the customers to be directed to them, and to carry on using them.

It seems doubtful that this will be the case in four months time, when the working group is due to report back back with proposals to deal with the hard cases. Despite fevered reporting in some newspapers, ‘three strikes’ doesn’t figure in this and the measures being considered are light on savagery. “The group will… look at solutions including technical measures such as traffic management or filtering, and marking of content to facilitate its identification. In addition, rights holders will consider prosecuting particularly serious infringers in appropriate cases.”

The ISPs already do traffic management, so that could just mean more of the same. Content marking would have to be done by the rights holders and would simplify filtering, if they decided they were going to do filtering, while rights holders busting serious infringers is pretty much what rights holders do already.

Fevered press coverage of a ‘crackdown on filesharers’ seems to derive in the main from the government’s “alternative regulatory options”. These are effectively various things the Nasty Party might do if the preferred option of voluntary measures and a little light rule-making enforced by Offcom doesn’t pan out. One of these light rules will ensure “that all ISPs are required to undertake an appropriate level of action to achieve the desired result.” So the ISPs signing the MOU won’t be disadvantaged by users fleeing to refusenik ISPs, because there will be no refusenik ISPs -“ISPs who choose not to engage in the self-regulatory arrangement would remain bound by the underlying requirement to have an effective policy on unlawful P2P file- sharing.”

Currently four tougher alternatives to this regime are being floated, and they still don’t include ‘three strikes’. Option A1 proposes legislation making it possible for rights holders to get personal data of infringement suspects on request, rather than having to apply for a court order. This would make it cheaper to sue infringers than it currently is, and could possibly mean an increase in prosecutions, but this only seems possible if the rights holders decided all deals were off, threw their toys out of the pram and went nuclear. Or they might just want to add everybody to their mailing lists, but we doubt that.

Option A2 seems similarly BPI-friendly. “Typically, under the terms of the contract between an ISP and an Internet service subscriber, the subscriber is not allowed to use the account for illegal purposes. Obliging ISPs to take action to enforce this contractual term in some way, for example to warn, suspend or terminate the Internet accounts of file-sharers, or to use other technical options would avoid lengthy, costly legal action.”

Getting the ISPs to “implement their own terms and conditions” is one of the BPI’s refrains, and if they were to do this in accordance with the BPI’s wishes, then they’d be warning people, suspending them, kicking them off… Which could indeed end up looking and feeling like three strikes, but these are alternative options, remember – they are not currently on the table.

Option A3 is basically Option A2, but sitting in between the rights holders and the ISPs would be a third party regulatory body which would assess the evidence, direct the ISP to take appropriate action and hear appeals and complaints. This would be costly and complex – and the government seems not to like it much.

Finally, Option A4 (there are no B options, or if there are they’re secret) covers filtering equipment. The government seems quite taken with this, claiming:

“There are technologies available which can filter Internet traffic. These can identify particular types of file (eg music files), check whether the file is subject to copyright protection and then check whether the person offering the file for download has the right to do so. If no such permission is found, the filter can block the download. These technologies vary in their effectiveness and cannot guarantee 100% accuracy given the lack of conformity between different computer and software technologies.”

And: “If the download is in breach of copyright the filter can block the download before it has been completed. No breach therefore occurs.”

Which is cool, if true. The rights holder doesn’t lose revenue because there’s no infringement, the ISP doesn’t need to do any threatening or booting, and it “may not require costly regulatory processes to be established or require issues of data protection to be addressed.” It could indeed be the government’s preferred magic bullet if all of that turned out to be true.

Unfortunately: “Opinion seems to be divided between stakeholders on whether filters could be an effective, long-term, cost-effective way of tackling not only P2P piracy but also other forms of copyright infringement. It might be valuable, in addition to moving forward on P2P, if rights holders and ISPs jointly investigated the technical, legal and cost issues around filters and assessed their utility in addressing unlawful online activity.”

Which is how the filtering bit got into the brief for the MOU group that’s reporting back in four months. Tune in then to see whether the ISPs and the BPI can save their marriage. ®


The European Union has proposed a plan to retroactively extend the copyright terms on musical recordings for another 45 years. Apparently, it’s unfair for performers who recorded tracks in their twenties not to keep receiving money for them in their seventies; under the current 50-year copyright term, “this means that income stops when performers are retired.” Funny—we thought that most retirees faced the same problem.

Information Week

The Motion Picture Association of America has proclaimed victory with a criminal conviction against a peer-to-peer Web site operator.

A federal jury convicted 26-year-old Daniel Dove of EliteTorrents.org, a site that distributes movies before their official release. Dove’s conviction on charges of conspiracy and felony copyright infringement marks the eighth successful prosecution stemming from a national crackdown on sites that distribute copyrighted content through P2P networks. It’s the first time a federal jury has handed down a criminal conviction for P2P copyright infringement, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Prosecutors said Dove recruited a small group of EliteTorrents members with high-speed Internet connections and served as an administrator as they uploaded pirated content. They said he operated a high-speed server to distribute content through BitTorrent technology.

Investigators who participated in “Operation D-Elite” uncovered evidence showing EliteTorrents had more than 125,000 members and promoted distribution of about 700 movies, which were downloaded more than 1.1 million times.

Dove will face sentencing Sept. 9. He could spend up to 10 years in prison.

Dove’s conviction “sends a clear message that when presented with clear-cut evidence, jurors have little tolerance for the willful, deliberate, and widespread distribution of protected content,” said Dan Glickman, chairman and CEO of the MPAA.

“The MPAA commends the federal jury in Big Stone Gap, Va., for their thoughtful deliberations in this case and for valuing the protection of intellectual property in the United States,” he said.


To date, Ofcom has not made a lot of public noise about the piracy issue. But that should not be mistaken for a lack of interest or concern. Our formal locus may be limited. But this sort of piracy is something that affects network operators, ISPs, content creators and consumers – and as the converged regulator we have of course been keeping a watchful eye on developments.

The issue is critical. An operator investing in next generation networks will not want it clogged up with illegal peer-to-peer content if that means no-one will pay to ensure a return on the investment, as we have seen in some Asia Pacific markets. And content providers, self evidently, do not want illegal traffic undermining their investment in IPR.

This is a crucial issue for both network providers and content creators. It has not touched every company in these spheres yet, but it will do. We very much hope that a commercial or voluntary agreement can be found to resolve these difficult issues. As the converged communications regulator, if we can play a constructive role in helping to find a common solution in the best interests of companies and consumers we would be very happy to do so.


Néhány éve az EliteTorrents az internet egyik legmenőbb torrentoldala volt. A nevéhez hűen eredetileg kiválasztott kevesek titkos oldalának készült, aztán egyre inkább elterjedt a híre, és amikor a Star Wars előzménytrilógia befejező része, a Sith bosszúja ezen az oldalon keresztül szivárgott ki az internetre a premier előtt, a média is felfigyelt rá.

Az FBI 2005-ben az amerikai filmkiadók szövetségének segítségével elkapta az EliteTorrents üzemeltetőit, és bíróság elé állította őket. Az oldal két adminisztrátorát, Scott McCauslandet és Grant Stanleyt már 2006-ban elítélték, néhány ezer dolláros bírságot, és öt-öt hónap börtönt kaptak (plusz McCauslandnek a próbaidején Windows kell használnia [1], mert az ellenőrző szoftver, amivel az FBI követi az online ténykedését, nem megy Linuxon).

Két társával ellentétben Daniel Dove a végsőkig ragaszkodott ahhoz, hogy ártatlan, de a vádnak végül sikerült annyi bizonyítékot [2] felhalmozni, ami meggyőzte a bíróságot ennek ellenkezőjéről. Dove a fájlcserélőre a friss tartalmakat feltöltő szűk elitréteg vezetője volt, és 700 film illegális másolatainak megosztását bizonyították rá, amit 1,1 millióan töltöttek le a hálózatról. A büntetése maximálisan tíz év lehet; ha ilyen súlyos lesz az ítélet, az azt jelzi, hogy az amerikai zene- és filmkiadók egyre agresszívabban lépnek fel a fájlcserélők ellen.

Times Online

Anyone who persists in illicit downloading of music or films will be barred from broadband access under a controversial new law that makes France a pioneer in combating internet piracy.

“There is no reason that the internet should be a lawless zone,” President Sarkozy told his Cabinet yesterday as it endorsed the “three-strikes-and-you’re-out” scheme that from next January will hit illegal downloaders where it hurts.

Under a cross-industry agreement, internet service providers (ISPs) must cut off access for up to a year for third-time offenders.

Intellectual Property Watch »

Broadcasters also argue that the current relationship between the performers and radio stations is a mutually beneficial one, in which the radio benefits from advertising revenue and artists get free air time, which boosts record sales. They cited Nielson Company data from companies that track the relationship between “spins” of songs on the radio and the resulting sales demonstrate that both artists and record labels reap big rewards for local radio time. Between 14 and 23 percent of industry sales of albums and digital tracks can be attributed to local radio, which provides artists with $1.5 billion to $2.4 billion annually, according to a new study promoted by NAB.

Entertainment News, Technology News, Media – Variety

For the first time, Spain and Greece join usual suspects Russia, China, Canada and Mexico on a congressional list of countries with the highest levels of piracy.

The Intl. Antipiracy Caucus issued Thursday its annual list of countries “based on levels of piracy and the need for government intervention in lawmaking, enforcement and prosecution of intellectual property theft,” according to the Motion Picture Assn. of America, which supports the caucus.

The list is essentially Congress’ smaller-scale version of the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative’s annual 301 Report. But unlike the 301 Report, the caucus list does not carry with it the authority directly to affect trade relations with any countries.

Still, the MPAA and the Recording Industry Assn. of America hailed the list, and Hollywood particularly emphasized the inclusion of Spain.

“The Spanish government’s persistent failure to address Spain’s epidemic Internet piracy problem, which is wreaking havoc on the legitimate market, has caused Spain to appear on the list,” the MPAA said.

The RIAA said: “Joining China and Russia in ‘the ignominious three’ is Canada, which, notwithstanding numerous public announcements, has failed to join the rest of its partners in the developed world in modernizing its copyright laws to address the challenges — and to seize the opportunities — of the digital age.”

Listening Post from Wired.com

A 25-year-old Brooklyn man has been found guilty of conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement in what the Recording Industry Association of America describes as the first-ever federal trial for online criminal copyright infringement primarily featuring music.

Barry Gitarts was convicted Thursday by a federal jury in Virginia, according to the U.S Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. He now faces up to five years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000 and three years of supervised release. In addition, he must “make full restitution” to record labels.

This is no mere file sharing case, so if you share the odd file now and again, you don’t need to worry about facing charges like this. Under the pseudonym “Dextro,” Gitarts was charged with administering a server in Texas for an underground file sharing group called Apocalypse Production Crew.

APC members traded music, games, movies and software amongst themselves but trial testimony portrayed APC as what the RIAA termed a “first provider” or “release group” of pirated content.

According to the RIAA, evidence presented in the case showed that he received payment from the leader of the group in return for this work.

Ars Technica

Hollywood has been granted another victory in its war against piracy, this time at the expense of two linking sites that the Motion Picture Association of America believes profited from enabling copyright infringement. Both ShowStash.net and Cinematube.net have been hit with multimillion dollar judgments recently for copyright infringement of various movies and TV shows.
Even though ShowStash and Cinematube didn’t host any of these files, both were found guilty of contributory copyright infringement, according to the judges’ opinions, because they searched for, identified, collected, and indexed links to illegal copies of movies and TV shows. Aside from monetary damages, both sites are now prohibited from engaging in further activity that would infringe upon the studios’ work.

The damages totaled $2.7 million for ShowStash and $1.3 million for Cinematube, neither of which were particularly well-known to the general Internet community. The MPAA doesn’t seem to care much that it gives free publicity to these tiny sites when it makes announcements of its litigation plans, however. The organization apparently hopes that others will merely feel threatened by the prospect of paying out millions of dollars and shut down voluntarily.


“The judge in Capitol Records v. Thomas said today he’s thinking about granting a new trial because he may have committed a ‘manifest error of law’ in his jury instructions. He says that his instruction that simply uploading music to a P2P network without any proof that anyone actually downloaded it may conflict with a case in the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals that said ‘infringement of [the distribution right] requires an actual dissemination.’ Briefs are due by May 29, with oral argument July 1. The judge invited friend of the court briefs by May 29, as well.”

Threat Level from Wired.com

A day after a U.S. judge dinged TorrentSpy with one of the largest fines in copyright history, the lawyer for the torrent-tracking search engine said Thursday the $111 million judgment won’t get paid.

Nevis-based Valence Media, the owner of TorrentSpy, filed for bankruptcy protection in England last week “and has no appreciable assets,” attorney Ira Rothken said. “This was a Hollywood publicity stunt.”

The Motion Picture Association of America sued the search engine in Los Angeles federal court, alleging the site facilitated copyright infringement of Hollywood movies. The MPAA won a default judgment last year after TorrentSpy refused to turn over internal documents, and a federal judge levied the $111 million penalty and ordered the site never to return online.

“It certainly is not a lesson for other search engines to look at what the rules are as they relate to dot-torrent files,” Rothken said. “There was no analysis of the copyright.”

Elizabeth Kaltman, an MPAA spokeswoman, said “We will pursue enforcement of the judgment.”

The legality of torrent-tracking services has never been litigated on the merits in the United States, said Charles Baker, a Houston IP lawyer who defended Grokster and is Limewire’s attorney in a case accusing the peer-to-peer software maker of facilitating copyright infringement.

The MPAA, he said, wants “other torrent owners and operators to look at the $111 million figure and say, ‘I’m getting out of the business.'”

The TorrentSpy case, Baker said, “is another example of the studios eating these guys to death. They haven’t tried the merits of the case.”

Gary Fung, the operator and founder of tracking service Isohunt, said the TorrentSpy decision worries him, but he’s not going to cave to Hollywood.

“I’m worried,” he said. “I wouldn’t be able to pay something like a $100 million. I fully know the risk I’m taking.”

The United States’ largest copyright fine, $115 million, was against the Kazaa file sharing service two years ago.

The MPAA’s case against Fung is pending in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, a case that is likely to set legal precedent in the United States and perhaps abroad on the legalities of torrent-tracking services that the MPAA claims facilitate wanton copyright infringement.

The TorrentSpy penalty is being appealed to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, Rothken said. He has already appealed last year’s default judgment in the case that allegedly was built on the back of a hacker who was paid $15,000 to obtain private e-mail and financial information. Both sides are briefing that case.

Threat Level from Wired.com

University of Florida professor Michael Moulton thinks copyright law protects the lectures he gives to his students, and he’s headed to court to prove it.

Moulton and his e-textbook publisher are suing Thomas Bean, who runs a company that repackages and sells student notes, arguing that the business is illegal since notes taken during college lectures violate the professor’s copyright.

Faulkner Press filed suit in a Florida court Tuesday against the the owner of Einstein’s Notes, which sells “study kits” for classes, including Professor Michael Moulton’s course on “Wildlife Issues in the New Millennium.”

Those notes are illegal, Faulkner and Moulton contend, since they are derivative works of the professor’s copyrighted lectures.

If successful, the suit (.pdf) could put an end to a lucrative, but ethically murky businesses that have grown up around large universities to profit from students who don’t always want to go to the classes they are paying for.


The Italian Data Protection Authority (Garante per la Protezione dei Dati Personali) issued a press release on 13 March 2008, explaining that the private companies can’t systematically monitor the activities of peer-to-peer (P2P) users that share files on the Internet, for the purpose of identifying and suing them.

The decision was taken on 28 February 2008 in the very controversial Peppermint case.


Although initially the Swedish Government promised not to hunt down young people for filesharing, on 14 March 2008, it made a proposal that will allow courts to force Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to give up IP addresses used for illegal filesharing to the owners of the fileshared material.

Digital Civil Rights in Europe

EMI, Sony, Warner and Universal have sued Ireland’s largest ISP, Eircom, demanding that it install filters to prevent users from illegally sharing or downloading music. The action was admitted by Mr. Justice Peter Kelly to the Commercial Court, meaning that it will be heard on an expedited basis.

via Pho

 Written by enigmax<http://torrentfreak.com/author/enigmax/>on March 15, 2008

Following a huge increase in complaints from the music, movie and software industries, the four major Japanese ISP organizations have agreed that they will work with copyright holders to track down copyright infringing file-sharers and disconnect them from the internet.

In 2006, a Japanese ISP decided to plan measures to stop their subscribers using file-sharing software, by tracking their activities and disconnecting them from the Internet. The plan didn’t come to fruition as the government stepped in and said that such monitoring might have privacy implications.

Now, under huge pressure from the movie, music and software industries, the four major ISP organizations in Japan are at it again, and have agreed to take drastic action against online pirates.

According to the
Yomiuri Shimbun, the agreement would see copyright holders tracking down file-sharers on the Internet using “special detection software” and then notifying ISPs of alleged infringers. ISPs would first send out emailed warnings to those traced, then interrupt the Internet connection if action to cease the activity isn’t taken. For persistent breaches, the ISP would ultimately terminate the accounts of its subscribers.

These four major ISP organizations – which include Telecom Service Association and the Telecommunications Carriers Association – are made up of around 1,000 other ISPs, a large portion of the Japanese market. In collaboration with the copyright holders, the ISPs will set up a panel in April to decide exactly how the system should operate.

Right now, there is a lot discussion surrounding the suggestion that persistent file-sharers could be banned from the internet. So far there have been proposals in France<http://uk.reuters.com/article/internetNews/idUKL2346825720071123?pageNumber=1&virtualBrandChannel=0>,
the UK<http://torrentfreak.com/illegal-downloaders-will-not-face-uk-ban-080212/>and

During December last year we
the number of internet users file-sharing in Japan had increased by a 180% in a single year.

 - News – The Phoenix

“While networks may have legitimate network issues and practices, that does not mean that they can arbitrarily block access to certain network services,” said FCC chairman Kevin Martin. “The commission is ready, willing and able to step in if necessary to correct any practices that are ongoing today.”


Spare a thought for the people over at file-sharing website The Pirate Bay – they’re being attacked from all sides at the moment.

Following recent lawsuits and calls for ISPs to monitor illegal file sharing activities on websites such as The Pirate Bay, now artists Prince and The Village People are to sue the file-sharing website in a Swedish court, according to news website E24.se.

“We’re looking at damages of millions of dollars, and we will act in both US and Swedish courts,” John Giacobbi, president of law firm Web Sheriff, said in a statement. The law firm specialises in copyright issues, E24.se reports.

Other artists, including Van Morrison and copyright holders of Chet Baker’s back catalogue, can also be included in the lawsuit, Giacobbi said.


The race is on to get the last word in on the Comcast/BitTorrent
With ten days left to file, telcos, trade, and advocacy groups are
sending the Federal Communications Commission their statements on
whether Comcast and other ISPs purposefully degrade peer to peer
traffic, and if so, what to do about it. Not surprisingly, the debate
pits broadband content providers and advocacy groups against the big
telcos, cable companies, and their trade association backers.

Just about every big phone company has filed a statement challenging the FCC’s authority to deal with this problem. AT&T, Verizon, and Qwest all submitted lengthy remarks on February 13th, the last day for comments on the proceeding (parties can still reply to comments through the 28th).

The Industry Standard

One of Denmark’s largest ISPs said on Wednesday it will fight a court injunction mandating that it shut off access to a file-sharing Web site, in what could be a closely-watched battle with the music industry in Europe.

Tele2 met with representatives of other ISPs on Monday and decided to challenge the injunction, said Nicholai Pfeiffer, Tele2’s chief of regulations.

As a result, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) is understood to have filed on Tuesday a further justification for the injunction with the court, Pfeiffer said.

Tele2 has complied with the injunction and blocked its customers from accessing The Pirate Bay, a Web site that hosts torrents, or small information files used to download larger files from the BitTorrent P-to-P (peer-to-peer) network. The IFPI alleges that Danish Internet users are using BitTorrent to download, without authorization, copyright content that they found using The Pirate Bay’s list of available torrents.

No other Danish ISP has been ordered to shut off access to The Pirate Bay. However, IFPI plans to send letters this week to other Danish ISPs asking them to also block The Pirate Bay, said Jesper Bay [cq], spokesman.

“Whether they are going to do that or not, it’s up to them,” Bay said, adding that IFPI hasn’t decided whether to pursue more injunctions.

Bay said the injunction has two purposes: It sends a signal to ISPs that they have a responsibility to stop piracy and to users that downloading copyright content without permission is illegal.

The content the IFPI objects to is actually hosted on the PCs of users around the world. The torrents coordinate the download of file fragments from different PCs, and those fragments are eventually linked together to form a complete file that can then be uploaded to other machines. BitTorrent has many legitimate uses, including software distribution, and is used by some media companies to deliver their content.

The record industry has employed companies specializing in file-sharing forensics to track down individual Internet users it says are sharing copyright content illegally. It also sought to shut down Web sites such as The Pirate Bay that are part of the P-to-P network.

The Danish court concluded that Tele2 was assisting in copyright infringement. Tele2, as well as other ISPs that have come under pressure, maintain they are blind to what their customers transmit on their networks and should not be responsible for policing content.

“Our overall view is we don’t actually want to take sides in this dispute between IFPI and The Pirate Bay,” Pfeiffer said.

The Pirate Bay said on Friday that traffic from Denmark has shot up 12 percent since Tele2’s block was imposed. The Pirate Bay also set up an alternative Web site for Tele2 customers giving them instructions on how to circumvent the block.

Meanwhile, The Pirate Bay faces trouble in its own waters. In Sweden, charges of profiting and encouraging copyright infringement are pending against four people involved with the Web site.


Four years after being shut down by Swiss authorities, Christian Riesen (aka Simon Moon), owner of the Edonkey link site Sharereactor.com, has been guilty of copyright infringement and ordered to pay 4700 Swiss francs (about $4,268).

“I have sold the ShareReactor.com domain,” Riesen posted in 2006.

“The new owner has now put it back online, with some of the old crew and some content. ShareReactor still is an ed2k website, and still features the same contents (and more) it was known for before.”

Meanwhile, Sharereactor.com attracted up to 250,000 visitors per day, according to an Afterdawn interview with Moon from October 2004, says P2P Blog, going on:

“Moon also revealed in that interview that he paid about 5000 dollars per month for the bandwidth of the site, which means that the total judgement is worth less than one month of Sharereactor’s operating costs.”

The site, under new ownership, wasn’t online for long chiefly because ED2K was usurped by Bittorrent, says the story, observing all that’s left is, Host www.sharereactor.com is under construction.

“The site is hosted on a server that also is home to a hand full of sites registered to or maintained by simon Moon’s company ‘Riesen Industries’, which, according to Swiss news outlets, is now operating from Canada,” adds P2P Blog.


File-sharing service RapidShare has been dealt a blow by a German court and faces severe penalties if it fails to take appropriate measures against the uploading of copyrighted content by its users. The Düsseldorf Regional Court ruled against RapidShare last week in a case brought on by the German version of the RIAA, GEMA. GEMA hailed the decision as a huge victory, and concluded that RapidShare could face shutdown if it’s unable to comply.

Had this involved a US court, the outcome would have been different. In the US, web site operators can
(and do)
argue that the Safe Harbor provision in the DMCA protects them from
liability as long as they remove infringing content after being
presented with a takedown notice. In Germany (and many other
countries), there is no equivalent to protect sites like RapidShare,
meaning that RapidShare almost has little but to comply with the
ruling. According to GEMA, the court said that RapidShare must “take
such measures as involve the risk of its business model becoming much
less attractive or even having to be discontinued entirely.”

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COPENHAGEN (Reuters) – A Danish court has ordered Denmark-based Internet service provider Tele2 to shut down its customers’ access to the popular file-sharing site Pirate Bay, Danish IT magazine Computerworld reported on Monday.

Computerworld said on its Web site that a court had ordered Denmark’s Tele2 — one of the Nordic country’s largest Internet providers — to close access to the site at the request of the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI).

On its Danish Web site, the IFPI said Frederiksberg county court had ordered an Internet provider to shut down its customers’ access to The Pirate Bay.

“The provider had agreed to follow the order and it is expected that other Internet service providers will voluntarily follow the court order,” the organization said.

Tele2 Denmark was bought last year by Norway’s Telenor from Swedish telecoms operator Tele2 and has about a 4 percent market share of Denmark’s roughly 2 million Internet subscriptions.

Tele2 and Telenor were not immediately available to comment, however, Tele2’s regulatory director Nicholai Pfeiffer told Computerworld Tele2 would abide by the ruling.

Other large Danish Internet service providers said they would not immediately follow the order.

The restriction is another blow for the Internet-based music and film sharing site. Last week four men linked to Pirate Bay were charged by a Swedish prosecutor with conspiracy to break copyright law.

BBC NEWS | Technology

In February 2006, a part-time Canadian music student established a modest, non-commercial website that used collaborative wiki tools, such as those used by Wikipedia, to create an online library of public domain musical scores.

Within a matter of months, the International Music Score Library Project (IMSLP) featured more than 1,000 musical scores for which the copyright had expired in Canada.

Within two years – without any funding, sponsorship or promotion – the site had become the largest public domain music score library on the internet, generating a million hits per day, featuring over 15,000 scores by over 1,000 composers, and adding 2,000 new scores each month.

In mid-October this year the IMSLP disappeared from the internet.

Universal Edition, an Austrian music publisher, retained a Canadian law firm to demand that the site block European users from accessing certain works and from adding new scores for which the copyright had not expired in Europe.

The company noted that while the music scores entered the public domain in Canada 50 years after a composer’s death, Europe’s copyright term is 20 years longer.

Slashdot: News for nerds, stuff that matters

“The antitrust counterclaims imposed by Lime Wire against the RIAA record companies have been dismissed. In a 45-page decision (pdf), the Court relied principally upon the holding of the United States Supreme Court in Bell Atlantic v. Twombly that ‘A party’s obligation to provide the grounds of his entitlement to relief requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.’ Ironically, the Twombly decision was the authority upon which the RIAA’s copyright infringement complaint was dismissed in Interscope v. Rodriguez.”

Slate Magazine

the tough-guy act typified by the music industry of the early 2000s, and recently in the case of the $222,000 fine imposed on Jammie Thomas, may be going out of fashion. Instead, media companies—particularly in television and film—are at least sometimes practicing a mellower concept called “tolerated use.” They watch and see whether infringements are actually harmful or not before sending out their copyright pit bulls.

Slate Magazine

Tolerated lawbreaking is almost always a response to a political failure—the inability of our political institutions to adapt to social change or reach a rational compromise that reflects the interests of the nation and all concerned parties.

Wanganui Chronicle

Richard Storey, director of operations for the New Zealand Federation Against Copyright Theft (NZFACT), said independent research two years ago showed piracy was costing the film industry in New Zealand about $70 million.

“The projected loss of revenue for DVD stores is anywhere from 15 to 20 percent of their annual income,” Mr Storey, who heads the NZFACT investigation team, told the Chronicle yesterday.

His comments came in the wake of the court appearance of two Wanganui people charged with making and selling pirated DVD movies.

Dion Heemi Williams, 26, was ordered to pay reparations of $5000 and sentenced to 200 hours’ community service while his girlfriend, Renee Waterman, 21, was sentenced to 100 hours’ community service when they appeared in the Wanganui District Court on October 3.

On August 2, Wanganui police raided Williams’ home and seized 266 pirated DVDs including Transformers, Disturbia and The Break Up, titles recently released or yet to be released in cinemas.

Ars technica

After just four hours of deliberation and two days of testimony, a jury found that Jammie Thomas was liable for infringing the record labels’ copyrights on all 24 the 24 recordings at issue in the case of Capitol Records v. Jammie Thomas. The jury awarded $9,250 in statutory damages per song, after finding that the infringement was “willful,” out of a possible total of $150,000 per song. The grand total? $222,000 in damages.

Read the coverage on the ongoing Capitol vs Thomas trial here.

It is full of gems, like:

“Gabriel [RIAA counsel] asked if it was wrong for consumers to make copies of music which they have purchased, even just one copy. Pariser [BMG’s chief anti-piracy lawyer] replied, “When an individual makes a copy of a song for himself, I suppose we can say he stole a song.” Making “a copy” of a purchased song is just “a nice way of saying ‘steals just one copy’,” she said.

Times Online

10%: proportion of music sales worldwide that come from internet downloads

10,000: people in 18 countries threatened with legal action

20bn: tracks are illegally downloaded each year

14%: of broadband users regularly engage in illegal file-sharing

795m: estimated number of legal downloads bought last year

4m: songs can currently be purchased online

£1bn: what legal music download market is worth

25: illegal downloads for every legitimate music purchase

The Pirate Bay – A világ legnagyobb BitTorrent trackere

Thanks to the email-leakage from MediaDefender-Defenders we now have proof of the things we’ve been suspecting for a long time; the big record and movie labels are paying professional hackers, saboteurs and ddosers to destroy our trackers.

While browsing through the email we identified the companies that are also active in Sweden and we have tonight reported these incidents to the police. The charges are infrastructural sabotage, denial of service attacks, hacking and spamming, all of these on a commercial level.

The companies that are being reported are the following:

* Twentieth Century Fox, Sweden AB
* Emi Music Sweden AB
* Universal Music Group Sweden AB
* Universal Pictures Nordic AB
* Paramount Home Entertainment (Sweden) AB
* Atari Nordic AB
* Activision Nordic Filial Till Activision (Uk) Ltd
* Ubisoft Sweden AB
* Sony Bmg Music Entertainment (Sweden) AB
* Sony Pictures Home Entertainment Nordic AB

Stay tuned for updates.


Stanford University and UC Berkeley are among schools that have added teeth to their policies to make students think twice about violating copyright laws. The hope, in part, is to keep students from being sued by Hollywood studios, which consider online piracy a threat to their business and are sparing little expense to track down people who illicitly share songs, television shows and films.

The penalties are an acknowledgment by the schools that they have been largely ineffective at keeping students from online file-sharing services like Limewire, Ares and Gnutella, where music by top artists can be swapped for free.

Stanford started a program on Saturday that financially hits students who go astray. If students fail to remove illegal digital downloads from their computers within 48 hours of being asked to do so, the university will sever their campus Internet connections, and they will have to pay $100 to get them restored.

A second offense will require a $500 reconnection fee. A third infraction will cost students $1,000.

A judge in the city of Pécs has sentenced two individuals caught accidentally with 85 and 735 illegally copied CDs and DVDs to seven and eighteen months suspended prison term and 2 million HUF penality. The damage was 12 million HUF. The prosecution has not appealed the decision.


Precedens értékû, jogerõs ítéletet hozott a Pécsi Városi Bíróság a napokban egy évek óta húzódó, szerzõi jogokat sértõ kalóz-ügyben – adta hírül az ASVA, az Audiovizuális Mûvek Szerzõi Jogait Védõ Közcélú Alapítvány. A bírói döntés értelmében a két elkövetõ hét hónap, illetve egy év hat hónap szabadságvesztésre és összesen több mint 2 millió forint pénzbírság megfizetésére ítéltetett. A jog 1992 óta ad lehetõséget arra, hogy a szerzõi jogok megsértését akár szabadságvesztés kirovásával is sújtsa a bíróság
Az 2004 nyara óta húzódó ügyben az egyik elkövetõt 85 rendbeli, a szerzõi jogok üzletszerûen elkövetett megsértésének bûntettében és szerzõi, vagy szerzõi joghoz kapcsolódó jogok védelmét biztosító mûszaki intézkedés kijátszásának vétségében találta bûnösnek a pécsi bíróság, így õt halmazati büntetésként hét hónapi szabadságvesztésre, míg társát, aki 735 rendbeli, a szerzõi jogok üzletszerûen elkövetett megsértésének bûntettében találtatott bûnösnek, 1 év hat hónap börtönbüntetésre ítélte a bíróság. Mindkét esetben a szabadságvesztés végrehajtását próbaidõre felfüggeszti a bíróság.

Funny, I linked to the Techcruch story on the new HP book two days ago and through the trackback link thousands of visitors have arrived to Warsystems. Welcome. Now Techcruch has received a notice and takedown letter from the lawyers of the US HP publisher to stop distributing any copyrighted material (I guess that would be the photo of the title page they run along the article, and the link to the link from where the book can be acquired). This is either a dumb PR move as some suggest, or these guys simply don’t get it.  The revolt around the leaked HD-DVD key was a lesson never learned (and be assured, it will never be forgotten either). Dumb. As I write this, in Cambridge, MA, thousands of kids are running around yelling abracadabra and waving wands, and queuing in front of bookstores to be the first to get the official copies in the morning, and they do not have the slightest idea that they are nothing more than a sad-to-see victims and human billboards of a cold-as-the-sound-of-the-cash-register marketing blitz to publicize this franchise, which in my opinion will eventually be a never ending story, just like the James Bond franchise.

I wonder whether these lawyers will bother busy beeing after the book turns out to be the biggest grossing book release in history?


I, the undersigned, certify under penalty of perjury that the information in this notification is accurate and that I am authorized to act on behalf of J.K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter books and owner of copyright rights therein, and Scholastic Inc., exclusive U.S. publisher of the Harry Potter books, including without limitation the cover and all other art incorporated therein (collectively, the “IP Owner”). I have a good faith belief that the materials identified below are not authorized by the IP Owner, its agent, or the law and therefore infringe the IP Owner’s rights according to state and federal law. Please act expeditiously to remove or disable access to the material or items claimed to be infringing.

PC World

A court has ruled that the Belgian ISP Scarlet Extended SA is responsible for blocking illegal file-sharing on its network, setting a precedent that could affect other ISPs in Europe, according to a recording industry group.

Australia hands over man to US courts – National – theage.com.au

BEFORE he was extradited to the United States, Hew Griffiths, from Berkeley Vale in NSW, had never even set foot in America. But he had pirated software produced by American companies.

Now, having been given up to the US by former justice minister Chris Ellison, Griffiths, 44, is in a Virginia cell, facing up to 10 years in an American prison after a guilty plea late last month.

Griffiths’ case — involving one of the first extraditions for intellectual property crime — has been a triumph for US authorities, demonstrating their ability to enforce US laws protecting US companies against Australians in Australia, with the co-operation of the Australian Government.

In some corners of the Australian legal community, however,
there is concern about Griffiths’ case. In a recent article for the
Australian Law Journal, NSW Chief Judge in Equity, Peter
Young, wrote: “International copyright violations are a great
problem. However, there is also the consideration that a country
must protect its nationals from being removed from their homeland
to a foreign country merely because the commercial interests of
that foreign country are claimed to have been affected by the
person’s behaviour in Australia and the foreign country can
exercise influence over Australia.”

NYC Makes Film Piracy a Misdemeanor – Forbes.com

With the summer blockbuster movie season just ahead, City Hall and the Motion Picture Association of America are warning that secretly videotaping films is now a misdemeanor in New York City.

Days before the highly anticipated Spider-Man 3 opens nationwide, Mayor Michael Bloomberg signed legislation into law on Tuesday that upgrades film piracy from a violation with a $250 fine to a misdemeanor that carries up to six months in jail and criminal penalties of up to $5,000.

CE Pro §

Manufacturers, dealers, and champions of digital rights everywhere can rejoice: Video server maker Kaleidescape has beaten the DVD Copy Control Association (DVD CCA).

The DVD CCA, which licenses the Content Scramble System (CSS) for protecting DVDs, had claimed that Kaleidescape breached a contract when it created products that enable (indeed encourage) individuals to copy protected DVDs onto hard-drive servers.

Kaleidescape argued, first and foremost, that nothing in the DVD CCA licensing agreement prohibits the development of products that allow users to copy their DVDs. (For the full background, see “Copy Protection Group Sues Kaleidescape.”)

Indeed, that’s exactly what Judge Leslie C. Nichols ruled today in the non-jury trial at the Downtown Superior Court of Santa Clara in San Jose, Calif.: There was no breach of contract.

So Yahoo got busted because of linking to infringing content. That is not a very good news to anyone in the search business: my estimate is that the majority of any content in the search services’ indexes is infringing to a certain extent from the Colbert Report clips on YouTube to blog entries like this one. The DMCA in the US and similar laws in other countries may shield search engines from liability  at least till the Viacom-YouTube lawsuit ends with another conclusion. I wonder if the reason behind the Yahoo China decision is the lack of such a safe harbour.

But nevertheless, this is a very dangerous road to go down. If it turns out that search engines are liable, because they link to infringing content, that would effectively end the web-search  as such.


A court has ordered Yahoo Inc.’s China subsidiary to pay $27,000 for aiding music piracy, the company and a music industry group said Tuesday.

The ruling came amid U.S. pressure for Beijing to stop rampant copying of music and other goods.

The lawsuit filed by the International Federation of Phonographic Industries accused Yahoo China of violating copyrights because its search engine linked to sites that carried 229 pirated songs. It was filed on behalf of 11 recording companies including Sony BMG, Warner Music, EMI and Universal Vivendi.

“We’re very pleased with the outcome,” said Leong May Seey, Asia regional director for the federation.

“We think it is a step in the right direction in creating a legitimate online music service in China.”

The ruling Monday by the No. 2 Intermediate People’s Court ordered Yahoo China to pay 210,000 yuan ($27,000) in damages, the official Xinhua News Agency said. Court employees declined to confirm the report or release any other information.

via CeskeNoviny

A case of illegal music file sharing on the Internet has resulted in a court sentence for the first time in the Czech Republic, police officer Libor Macek who deals with such cases told journalists today.

The perpetrator, who used the name Lubsoft on the Internet, caused damage of more than one million crowns. He received a suspended sentence of seven months in prison.

P.B. Hugenholtz, M.M.M. van Eechoud, S.J. van Gompel et al., from U. of Amsterdam, Institute of Information Law have published their report to the European Commission on The Recasting of Copyright & Related Rights for the Knowledge Economy.

In the document among other topics they discuss the problem of term extension for sound recordings, which in Europe is limited in 50 years. In unison with the UK comissioned Gowers Report they find no reason to extend the term.

They also address the problem of p2p piracy and conclude (rightly) that the reason behind infringing individual behavior is not the lack of knowledge about copyright, but the copynorms that diverge from what the law thinks about rightful use. As a solution they argue for inviting users to the bargaining table instead of strengthening enforcement:

“Given the fact that copyright (non)conforming behaviour seems largely influenced by social norms and rational/economic considerations, it would appear that European institutions have limited options to help compliance to copyright law. Consistently seeking input from stakeholders that represent consumers in the policy making process may contribute to a balanced end result, which in turn can lead to a better acceptance of and adherence to copyright norms. But the stakeholders themselves –industry and consumers alike– are clearly best positioned to influence acceptance, for instance through the development of more consumer-friendly business models and informative campaigns, including initiatives like standardised labelling of product features on playability.”


Digital World Norway Outlaws iTunes

Norway has […] declare[d] that Apple’s iTunes store is illegal under Norwegian law.

MP3.com: DJ Drama arrested in RIAA piracy sting

A police SWAT team and antipiracy agents from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) raided the Atlanta-based Aphilliates Music Group office and Gangsta Grillz studio, arresting mix tape specialist Drama and his partner DJ Don Cannon. Authorities told Atlanta’s Fox 5 News that they confiscated more than 81,000 mix tape CDs, several computers, recording equipment, and four cars, among other items. Drama, real name Tyree Simmons, and DJ Don Cannon, spent the night in Fulton County Jail. The raid occurred under the Rackeetering Influenced Corrupt Organizations Act, and Drama and Cannon could face felony charges.

I doubt that SWAT team is needed against djs. They are either not only DJs ora something is really fucked up.

Independent Online Edition > Business News

The music industry opened up a new front in the war on online music piracy yesterday, threatening to sue internet service providers that allow customers to illegally share copyrighted tracks over their networks.

The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, or IFPI, said it would take action against internet companies that carry vast amounts of illegally shared files over their networks. It stressed that it would prefer not to pursue such a strategy and is keen to work in partnership with internet providers.

John Kennedy, the chairman of the IFPI, said he had been frustrated by internet companies that have not acted against customers involved in illegal activity. He warned that litigation against ISPs would be instigated “in weeks rather than months”. Barney Wragg, the head of EMI’s digital music division, said the industry had been left “with no other option” but to pursue ISPs in the courts.

Index – Tech – Nem adja fel a ProArt

Szinger András ügyvéd, az Artisjus (a ProArt egyik tagszervezete) jogásza szerint is a precedens értékű ítélet hiánya a legfőbb problémájuk per pillanat a fájlcserélők elleni harcban. Ők mindent megtettek, hogy “mondja már ki végre a magyar bíróság, hogy a fájlcsere illegális”, a büntetőügyek azonban eddig nem jutottak el bírói szakba, bár még van folyamatban lévő eljárás, melyben ez várható. Az eredménytelenséget részben annak tulajdonítja, hogy a Diablo hub elleni nyomozást megszüntető ügyészség álláspontja – a szabad felhasználásra történő hivatkozás – “totálisan téves”, másrészt elismeri, hogy “a jogalkalmazók szerint talán nem a büntetőjog a legmegfelelőbb eszköz a probléma kezelésére”.

Büntetőjogilag ugyanis jövedelemszerzést, vagy vagyoni hátrányt (elmaradt hasznot) is kellett volna bizonyítani, ez azonban annak ellenére sem sikerült, hogy az Artisjus által felkért szakértő jogvédett műveket megosztó felhasználókat azonosított (IP-cím alapján) a Diablo hub nevű fájlcsereközponton. Az ügyészség azonban eljárásjogi hiba miatt nem vette figyelembe a feljelentő által benyújtott szakvéleményt, így a vagyoni hátrány bizonyítása egyelőre elmaradt, de a pótmagánvádat az Artisjus ki fogja egészíteni a szükséges adatokkal.

Yahoo! Canada News

Several major record labels sued the operator of the Russian music website AllofMP3.com, claiming the company has been profiting by selling copies of music without their permission. The lawsuit was filed Wednesday in federal court in New York against Moscow-based Mediaservices, which owns AllofMP3 and another music site, allTunes.com.

What kind of authority a US federal court has over a Russian company?

Interfax China:

Shanghai. December 19. INTERFAX-CHINA – Shanghai Push Sound Music & Entertainment Co. Ltd. won a case against Kuro, a mainland operator of peer-to-peer software, setting a legal precedent in China, Shanghai Push’s lawyer said.

“This is a milestone in the online copyright field,” Rong Chao, who represented Shanghai Push, said. “The judge’s ruling didn’t solely rely on the central servers the company keeps, rather the judge made full consideration of the intentions of the company. The key point is that the copyright infringement was organized – the company charged money and its activity could be defined as active inducement.”

However, Rong didn’t think any cases against individual users would be filed. “Individual users conducted direct copyright infringement, but due to state policy and other reasons, I don’t think it’s smart to file lawsuits against individuals.”

Index – Tech:

A szervert lefoglalták, az üzemeltetőt feljelentették, házkutatást tartottak nála és kihallgatták, majd amikor az eljárás bűncselekmény hiányában megszűnt, pótmagánvádat is beterjesztettek ellene. De a ProArt teljes jogi arzenálja sem volt elég a Diablo Hub nevű fájlcsereközpont kiiktatására, az ügy a hangzatos nyilatkozatok ellenére a vádemelésig sem jutott el. Az ország egyik legnagyobb fájlcserélője most rágalmazás és hamis tanúzás miatt ellenperelné a szerzői jogvédő ernyőszervezetet.

Musicians Oppose Media Consolidation: Financial News – Yahoo! Finance:

Radio consolidation is shrinking playlists and creating a homogenized musical landscape, several singers and songwriters told the Federal Communication Commission on Monday. “Big radio is bad radio,” Rick Carnes, president of the Songwriters Guild of America, told FCC commissioners in the second of six public meetings nationwide. “You can drive I-40 from Knoxville to Barstow, California, and hear the same 20 songs on every country radio station.”

FT.com / World / International economy – Universal, MySpace set for landmark battle:

The legal battle brewing between Universal Music and MySpace could shape the broader commercial relationship between traditional media companies and a new generation of internet start-ups that rely on them for content.

Mr Zittrain said that the DMCA probably favoured the user-generated sites but that their case was hardly airtight.

“If I had to place a bet, I think they would probably pull it off. But there is plenty of room for a judge to rule on the equities,” he said.

Content companies could also be bolstered by the Supreme Court’s ruling last year against Grokster, an online file-sharing service.

MPAA sues over DVD-to-iPod service:

After the iPod gained the ability to play videos, services sprung up that would rip your DVDs and reencode them for viewing on your iPod. Useful, but illegal in the US. The Motion Picture Association of America has decided to sue one of those DVD ripping and reeconding services. Earlier this month, Load ‘N Go Video was sued by Paramount Pictures in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York. The suit accuses Load ‘N Go Video of copyright infringement and violating the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Based in Boston, Load N’ Go was founded in 2005 to help consumers get video content on to their portable media players. Load N’ Go also sells iPods and DVDs, and will rip DVDs for its customers and load them on to their iPods. The customer then gets the iPod with the movies loaded on it and a copy of the DVD that she legally purchased. The DMCA makes it illegal to circumvent copy protection, even for fair use purposes, so Load N’ Go’s prospects do not look good. The implications of this case are even more troubling. Not only could the MPAA sue any other companies performing similar services, but they clearly believe that they can sue you for ripping DVDs and moving the content to your iPod or other digital media player.

File-sharing defendant says Kazaa has him covered:

As the RIAA-shepherded file-sharing lawsuits wend their way through the courts, we have seen defendants utilizing a handful of different strategies as they fight back. A novel defense comes courtesy of Arista v. Greubel, filed in the US District Court for the Northern District of Texas. David Greubel argues that even if is found liable for copyright infringement, Arista and the other record labels are barred from recovering any damages because the of the Kazaa settlement. In his first affirmative defense to Arista’s complaint, Greubel says that the RIAA has been “fully satisfied for any liability and damages” due to his alleged conduct because of its settlement with Sharman Networks. Since the RIAA held Kazaa’s parent company liable for the infringement of Kazaa users, Greubel argues, the cartel has been fully compensated for whatever harm Greubel may have done.

The Register:

Twenty-two people were convicted of internet piracy in Finland last week.
A judge in Turku ordered them to pay fines and more than €420,000 in damages for copyright offences – about €19,000 each.
All 22, some of whom are still under the age of 18, were operators or administrators of Finnish BitTorrent tracker Finreactor.
In its ruling, the court said the administrators had intentionally created the service to violate copyright law. The court rejected the defendants’ claim that as operators of the service they were not responsible for the infringement since the content was transferred directly between the users and no infringing content was either stored or transferred through the tracker.

The court argued that the service should be seen as a whole and the convicted defendants “were directly and essentially involved in the infringing activities”.

 | The Register:

A judge in the northern city of Santander in Spain dismissed a case against an anonymous 48-year-old man who downloaded digital music from the net.

Judge Paz Aldecoa of No. 3 Penal Court ruled that under Spanish law a person who downloads music for personal use can not be punished or branded a criminal.

He called it “a practised behaviour where the aim is not to gain wealth but to obtain private copies”.

The state prosecutor’s office and two music distribution associations had sought a two year sentence against the man, who downloaded songs and then allegedly offered them on a CD through email and chat rooms.
However, there was no direct proof he made money from selling the CDs.

Justice Minister Juan Fernando Lopéz Aguilar says Spain is drafting a new law to abolish the existing right to private copies of material.


In the midst of an explosion in digital music sales, and a flourishing new music scene, industry executives are lobbying the UK government to extend protection for sound recordings from 50 years to 95.

This, they say, would protect existing revenue streams that bands like the Beatles and the Rolling Stones provide.

The argument for the extension of copyright is often presented as win-win situation for all. If we do not extend copyright, then the Beatles’ sound recordings could be packaged and released by anybody, and the recording artists would not receive any money from future sales of the songs they recorded and made popular.

The debate surrounding whether it is right or wrong to increase copyright term is often presented as a choice between all or nothing: either continue to protect the Beatles’ songs or give them away for nothing, and allow artists to be ripped off and the music industry to suffer.

But this false polarisation is not very helpful. The majority of works produced in the 50s and 60s are no longer of any commercial value. Many are out of circulation and unavailable to would be listeners.

Opportunities offered by the internet and digital distribution could allow niche providers to re-package and re-distribute old recordings, bringing previously ‘lost’ creative content to contemporary ears.

If you walk into a bookshop you can buy a copy of Dickens’ Bleak House, or Austen’s Pride and Prejudice for about £1.50. The copyright in these works has long expired so different publishers can compete to offer them at lower prices. Consumers have benefited from the works being out of protection.

So perhaps the expiration of copyright in sound recordings for the Beatles should not be seen as the end of music. Instead it could be the end of an era, perhaps.

It arrives at the start of new careers for new artists producing new and exciting music.

p2pnet.net – sais:

In an, “unmitigated victory for the music and movie studios,” a US federal judge has ruled StreamCast Networks, “contributed to massive copyright infringement because the company developed a business model that relied on users who violated the law and it did not attempt to block the trading of copyrighted materials,” says the Los Angles Times.

Recording Industry vs The People sais:

In Arista v. Lime Wire, in Manhattan federal court, Lime Wire has filed its answer and interposed counterclaims against the RIAA for antitrust violations, consumer fraud, and other misconduct. Lime Wire alleged that the RIAA’s

goal was simple: to destroy any online music distribution service they did not own or control, or force such services to do business with them on exclusive and/or other anticompetitive terms so as to limit and ultimately control the distribution and pricing of digital music, all to the detriment of consumers. (Counterclaim, paragraph 26, page 18).

Publishers aim for some control of search results | Tech&Sci | Internet | Reuters.com:

Global publishers, fearing that Web search engines such as Google Inc. are encroaching on their ability to generate revenue, plan to launch an automated system for granting permission on how to use their content. Buoyed by a Belgian court ruling this week that Google was infringing on the copyright of French and German language newspapers by reproducing article snippets in search results, the publishers said on Friday they plan to start testing the service before the end of the year. “This industry-wide initiative positively answers the growing frustration of publishers, who continue to invest heavily in generating content for online dissemination and use,” said Gavin O’Reilly, chairman of the World Association of Newspapers, which is spearheading the initiative.


Answers From Lawyers Who Defend Against RIAA Suits Posted by Roblimo on Thursday September 14, @12:39PM

You had some excellent questions for attorneys Ty Rogers and Ray Beckerman, who maintain the Recording Industry vs The People blog. Here are their answers, verbatim, as they were sent to us by Mr. Beckerman.

www.jeremydebeer.ca – Sony BMG Settles Canadian Class Actions:

Sony BMG has agreed to settle Canadian class action lawsuits relating to its use of restrictive contractual terms and DRM technologies on music CDs. If approved by the courts following hearings in late September, the Canadian settlement will resolve disputes in Québec, British Columbia and Ontario.

The structure of the agreement mirrors the one reached in the United States earlier this year, and the terms are generally similar. People who purchased CDs containing certain digital rights management systems will be entitled to various forms of compensation, depending on the type of software on the CD. Purchasers of “XCP” CDs will receive a DRM-free replacement disc and MP3 versions of the tracks, as well as a choice between either a cheque for C$8.40 (American purchasers got US$7.50) and a free album download, or 3 free album downloads. “MediaMax 3.0” purchasers get only a free MP3 version of the album they had bought, while “MediaMax 5.0” purchasers get the MP3s plus another free album download.

via Torrentfreak:

On August 28, the Pirate Party of Sweden made their election program official. An introduction stating the ideas and ideology behind their program, the party stated their program for the election in a number of concrete points.

In a situation where they can gain position of forming a government by striking a deal with us in an issue that they, themselves, believe to be less important, there is every reason to believe that they will be eager to find a solution.

But in either case, there are three possible scenarios:

1) One of the factions agree to our demands, and the other does not. Then we will choose the faction that agree with us. Whether this is the red faction of the blue faction is of no concern for us. As long as we see that they are doing their best to seriously run our issues, we will support the government in all other issues as well, without questioning.

2) Both the factions agree to our demands. If there are differences of nuances making one faction looking slightly better than the other, we will choose this faction. If both are exactly as good, we will support the faction with the more votes. This way we won’t influence the balance between the factions in Swedish politics. As long as the government is running our issues, we will support them in all decicions, just as in the first scenario.

3) Both the factions refuse to meet our demands. This is the more complicated case, but we can handle this one too. Initially we will support one faction, and make a government possible. Most likely this will be the ones with the less votes, so that the others, the ‘victors’, will feel that they have lost power they were entitled to. They can, however, not do much about it, since we will support the government without questioning in anything that does not involve our principles.

When the “victors” are safely placed in the penalty box of opposition, we start our businesslike, low-voiced conversations with them, until they realize that our proposals are not, in fact, that dangerous, and that they can only win from working with us. When they have seen our arguments in the glow of the miraging governmental position for a while, there are good reasons to believe they will agree with us. This is when we will call for a vote of non-confidence and change the government. After that, the Pirate Party with support the new government without questioning, in all issues, as long as the government runs our issues forcefully, just as in scenario 1 and 2.

This is our entire strategy. This way we can guarantee that our policies will have a break-through.

Canadian Peer-to-Peer (P2P) legal theories:

Canadian Peer-to-peer (P2P) legal theories, proposals and questions Conversations in the Digital-copyright.ca discussion forum in the last few weeks have suggested there is more than one theory about how peer-to-peer “file-sharing” (P2P) works, what it does, and what the meanings of terms like “upload” and “download” are when used in the context of P2P.

LA Weekly has a nice article on the difficulties of clearing rights for documentaries.

“There’s actually a discussion within the BBC between people like me and some quite senior executives who are keen to say, ‘If we are a public broadcasting corporation, then we should make everything we have ever made completely free and downloadable at an MPEG-2 level, and people can do whatever they want with it. I think there is a feeling that if we could do that, we would be able to do something that those who are constrained by commercial considerations cannot. And then where will Rupert Murdoch be?

Wired News: A Nation Divided Over Piracy:

n Fleischer’s world, the Motion Picture Association of America and rights holders are attacking digital technology itself, trying to hang on to an outdated model. “It’s an inevitability that digital data will be copied…. The alternative to peer-to-peer piracy is person-to-person piracy,” he says. While some online pirates take pains to distinguish themselves from those who sell counterfeit DVDs and CDs, he sees such physical bootlegging as just “a symptom of underdeveloped computer networks.”

Wired News runs an uber-interesting story on the  Secrets of the Pirate Bay:

“The general perception is that they are doing something good … they’ve always had this image, very ideological,” says Tobias Brandel, the reporter who broke the story. If the Pirate Bay turns out to be a collection of businessmen profiting off of piracy via porn ads and online poker, it would lose popular support in the moralistic Swedish society. And if the Pirate Bay’s crew is eventually convicted of copyright crimes “they will have a much harder punishment,”

So, the dilemma, according to Wired and the swedish journalist representing the “swedish moral (minimum) consent” is that stealing a la Robin Hood is okay, but keeping a share of the bounty is bad.

Apart from the fact that pirating is not by definition an altruistic activity, lets think for a moment about the economics of this case.
Providing access to “pirated” material comes with a cost. The two images show the difference:

The first 3 servers of pirate bay

The current configuration of 12 Hewlett-Packard ProLiant DL140 servers.

And these are only the hw costs. The costs of litigation, police raids, and eventually the inevitable conviction are much-much higher. These guys are willing to pay that price for

The Pirate Bay’s jaunty image was blemished when a July 5 article in the Swedish daily paper Svenska Dagbladet revealed the site’s hidden financial life for the first time. Posing as an internet firm seeking advertising on the Bay, the paper phoned Eastpoint Media, which sells banner ads for the Pirate Bay in Scandinavia. Eastpoint revealed to the reporter that they place 600,000 Kr of ads per month — about $84,000 U.S.

for an indefinite amount of (but possible not very long) time. So this is the wage of fear (Le salaire de la peur) for providing links to 3.513.240 torrent files on the net. Good to know.