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The Hypocritical Use of Piracy As a Corporate Weapon Rupert Murdoch, media tycoon, founder and Chairman and CEO of News Corporation, has been a fanatical supporter of tougher anti-piracy legislation including PIPA and SOPA in the US. But this week it was claimed that Murdoch’s piracy crusade is a rather hypocritical one, with his News Corporation now at the center of a major piracy scandal in which it’s accused of encouraging piracy to cripple competitors. Troubled international media giant News Corporation felt the ice crack beneath its feet this week after years of enduring ill winds blowing from phone hacking scandals in the United Kingdom and United States. The Australian Financial Review and the BBC’s Panorama programme combined to publish a four-year investigation into the operations of News Corporation subsidiaries, unveiling damaging claims of a plot to facilitate and encourage piracy with the aim of crippling pay-television rivals.
French ‘Three Strikes’ Law Slashes Piracy, But Fails to Boost Sales A new report on the effectiveness of the French three-strikes anti-piracy law claims that it managed to cut Internet piracy in half last year. While lobbyists are making preparations to show these great results to politicians worldwide, there is one thing the report fails to mention. Despite the claimed decrease in piracy, revenues through legal channels are down as well. This is strange, because in previous years these losses were solely attributed to piracy.
Spanish RIAA Sues Blogging Professor for Defamation Spanish music group Promusicae has sued Enrique Dans, professor at the IE Business School and a well-known blogger, after he claimed that the group is a copyright monopoly that violates antitrust laws. In addition to a public apology, the Spanish version of the RIAA is demanding 20,000 euros in damages. The professor, however, is prepared to fight the case until the bitter end and says he’s protected by the right to freedom of expression. Last summer, professor Enrique Dans wrote a blog post about the powerful copyright lobby in Spain. One of his arguments is that Promusicae, the well-known recording industry outfit, is violating antitrust laws.
Microsoft Censors Pirate Bay Links in Windows Live Messenger The Pirate Bay is not only the most visited BitTorrent site on the Internet, but arguably the most censored too. Many ISPs have been ordered to block their customers’ access to the website, and recently Microsoft joined in on the action by stopping people sharing its location with others. Microsoft’s Windows Live Messenger (MSN) now refuses to pass on links to The Pirate Bay website, claiming they are unsafe.
Last year, we wrote about how Zuffa, the parent company of Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) was suing Justin.tv because some of its users streamed UFC matches. As we noted at the time, we couldn't see how Zuffa would get past the DMCA's safe harbors. Apparently, Zuffa tried to get around that by being way too creative for its own good and the court has now shut down those efforts . Basically, Zuffa focused on two areas not covered (or not clearly covered) by safe harbors. The first is trademark , which is neither covered by the DMCA's safe harbors nor Section 230's safe harbors -- though, many courts have accepted similar rules that limit liability to third party service providers anyway. Justin.tv Not Guilty Of 'Stealing Cable' When Users Stream UFC Matches
Google has filed a brief at a federal court in Florida defending the file-hosting site Hotfile in its case against the MPAA. The search giant accuses the movie companies of misleading the court and argues that Hotfile is protected under the DMCA’s safe harbor. Indirectly, Google is also refuting claims being made by the US government in the criminal case against Megaupload. Google Defends Hotfile (and Megaupload) in Court
Google Amicus Brief PDF
Last year, we wrote about a dispute between two guys who had both recorded songs based on the number pi . A guy named Lars Erickson had recorded The Pi Symphony back in 1992 and registered a copyright on the output. It was based on assigning notes to the numbers 0 to 9, then playing them according to the sequence of pi. Judge Chooses Pi Day To Reject Lawsuit Over Attempt To Copyright Pi As A Song
Copyright Math: the best TED Talk you'll watch all year This may just be the best TED Talk video I've seen: listen.com/Rhapsody founder and extremely funny person (and soon-to-be debut science fiction author) Rob Reid examines the math behind the claims made by the copyright lobby and explains the mindbending awesomeness of the sums used to justify SOPA, PIPA, ACTA and the like. Here's Ars Technica's Ken Fisher discussing Reid's philosophy: Reid’s goal was to capture and represent some of the rhetoric from that past decade and a half in a way that would fill the hall with laughter, even if some of it came at the expense of some clearly ridiculous industry arguments.
Rob Reid: The $8 billion iPod
Righthaven, a copyright-troll law firm that failed in its attempt to make money for newspapers by suing readers for sharing stories online, was dealt a death blow on Tuesday by a federal judge who ordered the Las Vegas company to forfeit "all of" its intellectual property and other "intangible property" to settle its debts. The order is an ironic twist to a copyright trolling saga that began in 2010, when Righthaven was formed with the idea of suing blogs and websites that re-post newspaper articles or snippets of them without permission. U.S. District Judge Philip M. Pro of Nevada ordered Righthaven to surrender for auction the 278 copyrighted news articles that were the subject of its lawsuits. Judge orders failed copyright troll to forfeit "all" copyrights
Months ago, former Las Vegas Review-Journal publisher Sherman Frederick would use his column to promote lawsuits filed by the R-J's copyright enforcement partner, Righthaven LLC. Now, one of the Frederick's columns will be the first to have its federal copyright registration auctioned after Righthaven's collapse. The development came as U.S. District Judge Philip Pro in Las Vegas signed an order Tuesday transferring any interests Righthaven has in its 278 copyright registrations and its trademark to a receiver. The order formalized a March 5 verbal ruling by Pro that Righthaven’s intellectual property would be transferred to a receiver so it could be sold to cover some of Righthaven’s $186,680 in debts. Anybody can bid for the federal copyright registration. R-J copyright to be auctioned following Righthaven’s collapse
It's no secret that various major labels and big music organizations have a history of not paying artists what they're owed under the law. We've covered plenty of examples of fancy "accounting" to avoid having to pay, such that even big stars claim they never see royalties. However, Jeff Price, over at Tunecore has uncovered what may be an even bigger scam on the publishing/songwriting side of the business, creating a giant shell game, wherein major labels are getting hundreds of millions in royalties that are owed to songwriters, but are never paid. The details are quite complex. How Big Music Companies Are Stealing Hundreds Of Millions In Royalties From Artists
Perfect 10 has basically made a business out of suing companies claiming copyright abuse. The former publisher of "adult" magazines has gone on a rampage suing tons of companies -- including all the major search engines -- claiming that pointing people to infringing results and showing thumbnails of copyrighted images is infringement itself. For an eye-opening look at Perfect 10, the best read is probably Rapidshare's countersuit from a few years ago, that goes into detail on how the company operates. So far, Perfect 10 has lost almost all of its big cases -- including those against both payment processors and search engines. To be honest, in the long run, Perfect 10 may have done a lot of good in presenting cases that highlight the clear insanity of certain interpretations of copyright law, providing strong and clear precedents from court rulings that have been tremendously useful in other cases. Supreme Court Won't Hear Perfect 10's Silly Lawsuit Against Google; Good Ruling Stands
Perfect 10′s Lawsuit Against Google is a Bust!
Anti-Piracy Co. Blames Hack For Bogus DMCAs, But They’re Just Sloppy A London-based anti-piracy company has found itself mired in controversy after it wrongfully took down comedian Dave Gorman’s work posted to Flickr. The company responded with the excuse that their server had been hacked last month by people hoping to ruin the company’s reputation. Research into DMCA takedowns previously issued by the company suggests they can do that on their own. Comedian Dave Gorman is reporting about an unfortunate situation concerning an image he’d posted to Flickr back in 2006.
History Shows That Copyright Monopolies Prevent Creativity And Innovation We all too frequently hear that the copyright monopoly is supposed to encourage creativity and that the patent monopoly is supposed to encourage innovation. Most lawyers whose jobs depend on the belief in these myths even claim that the monopolies fulfill these functions to the letter. But when we look at history, a different pattern emerges. Let’s start around the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. In that day and age, copyright monopoly laws were in force in the United Kingdom, and pretty much the United Kingdom alone (where they were enacted in 1557 ).
The DMCA was once drafted to protect the interests of copyright holders, allowing them to take infringing content offline. Today, however, the system is systematically abused by rightsholders as an overbroad censorship tool. One third of the notices sent to Google are false, companies like Microsoft censor perfectly legal sites, and others use the DMCA to get back at competitors. DMCA: Horrors of a Broad and Automated Censorship Tool
There Can Be No 'Balance' In The Entirely Unbalanced System Of Copyright
Artist and Hacktivists Sabotage Spanish Anti-Piracy Law