by Mike Masnick
Fri, May 24th 2013 1:45pm
by Mike Masnick
Fri, May 24th 2013 12:45pm
from the copyright-trolls.....-in.....-spaaaaaaaaaaaaace dept
The punchline here is that it doesn't really matter, because after a bunch of back and forth negotiations, they got all the permissions they needed directly from David Bowie. But, assuming others start going up into space (yay, private space tourism), this issue is going to be raised sooner or later. Glenn points out that it's kind of messy, because different countries have very different compulsory licensing laws for cover songs, and there are no compulsories for sync licenses, which are needed to put the song to a video. There was also the issue of the International Space Station having different sections "owned" by different countries, and the official agreement says that it matters where creation happens -- so if the video had been done in all different parts of the space station, it potentially could have been a mess (though, it looks like it was all filmed in parts owned by NASA).
While there's no issue with this specific case, Glenn alerts us to a paper from a few years ago that lays out how copyright in space is about to get complicated:
The copyright issue may seem trivial, but the emergence of privately funded rocket launches, space tourism and space exploration hold the potential for more substantive disputes. If an astronaut were to travel to the Moon, an asteroid or Mars on a privately funded spacecraft, the situation would become knottier still, because the United Nations Outer Space Treaty of 1967 applies to countries, not companies or private individuals. J.A.L. Sterling, a London-based expert on international copyright law, anticipated all this in a 2008 paper, "Space Copyright Law: the new dimension", in which he lists dozens more potentially problematic scenarios that could arise, some seemingly risible at first. He asks what would have happened if, on a moon landing broadcast live by NASA across the world, two astronauts were overcome by emotion and burst into song—one covered by copyright. NASA might still be engaged in litigation 40 years later. More prosaically and immediately plausibly, Sterling considers space travellers who put copyrighted material from Earth on a server reachable from space, or engage in rights-violating "public performances" for crewmates. If the first person to walk on Mars decides to launch into "A Whole New World", the rights will need to have been cleared with Disney first.Yeah, remember Rob Reid's funny sci-fi novel about copyright in space? Perhaps, like many sci-fi books, it will eventually turn out to be an accurate prediction of the future.
by Mike Masnick
Fri, May 24th 2013 11:45am
from the good-luck-with-that dept
Reading through the actual filing, Barshack, who is represented by his wife, Erin Smith, who also is a plaintiff, focuses on the fact that Sun Valley doesn't indicate on its website that its logo is covered by trademark. That's about as close to meaningless as you can imagine. Not only do you not have to show that it's a registered trademark, you don't even need to have a registered trademark (though, it helps if you're seeking damages) because common law trademarks are perfectly acceptable in most cases.
But, more to the point, Twitter has no legal obligation to let you keep your account. If it wants to take away the account and shut it down, it can. If it wants to change the name of your account, it can. I just don't see what the purpose of the lawsuit is, other than that Barshack is upset. I can understand that, and I might even agree that Twitter could and should handle disputes like this differently, but that doesn't give him any basis at all for a lawsuit. Not liking something that a company does isn't a reason to sue.
by Tim Cushing
Fri, May 24th 2013 10:40am
from the patent-that-catchphrase,-yo dept
While we realize that the intricacies of IP law (and its often-attendant ridiculousness) can be rather difficult for the average, uninterested person to parse, it's really not asking too much to expect large international news agencies to make an effort to get the terminology right.
As you recall, Kim Dotcom recently announced he holds a patent for two-factor authentication, which he then waved in the direction of other internet titans like Twitter and Google, promising not to sue in exchange for contributions to his legal defense fund.
Here's how AFP (Agence France-Presse), the third-largest news agency in the world (and one of the oldest) titled its coverage of the Dotcom/patent story: Kim Dotcom might sue Twitter, Google and Facebook over copyright infringement.
Congratulations, AFP. The headline sounds like Facebook itself wrote it, using machine learning to gather IP-related flotsam from the feeds of millions of teenagers, each one bragging about trademarking their copyright on some catchy phrase they misheard on Twitter ("Be careful talking when you have a mouthful of glass") and regurgitating its findings in 40-pt font across the top of Raw Story's piped-in news selection.
The story reiterates the "copyright" claim in the opening paragraph.
Internet mogul Kim Dotcom said Thursday he was considering taking legal action against tech giants such as Twitter, Google and Facebook for infringing copyright on a security measure he invented.Then it quotes Dotcom tweeting about his patent and even remarks on the fact that Kim posted a patent approved in 2000 as proof. But, even with multiple chances to rescue this story from the unfortunate headline, AFP continues down its chosen path.
Dotcom said he had never sought to enforce copyright on his invention but was now reconsidering in light of the US case accusing him of masterminding massive online piracy through his now-defunct Megaupload file-sharing site.Now, the hypothetical teens used above can be excused their (hypothetical) ignorance. But a news agency, especially one of AFP's size and longevity? Not a chance. It's especially inexcusable when AFP seems to know the correct terminology when its suing Google for linking to its stories or suing a photographer whose photographs it used without permission. (No, you read that last part right.)
Perhaps AFP truly doesn't understand the definitions and limitations of various IP protections. It certainly doesn't seem to be too well-informed in the linked stories. Maybe AFP views all IP terms as interchangable. It may be striving to know just enough to be dangerous, but to date, it only seems to have gathered enough knowledge to injure itself.
by Mike Masnick
Fri, May 24th 2013 9:37am
from the like-the-folks-you-shook-down? dept
While Judge Wright's most recent order told Gibbs to officially withdraw from the cases, it doesn't mean that Gibbs has been let off the hook for payment. In response, it appears that Gibbs is basically begging Judge Wright for mercy, highlighting that he's completely broke and has expensive medical bills due to his brain cancer. It is a sob story, and you do feel bad for the guy... but then you remember some of his actions during the course of all of these cases, including more than a few absolutely ridiculous claims and tactics in this case and in how he dealt with opposing counsel. And, of course, there's the fact that he was involved in an operation that is being widely accused (by a federal court judge, among others) of perpetrating a massive shakedown scheme, threatening people with a lawsuit for gay porn if they don't pay up.
Yes, it's sad that Gibbs got brain cancer. I don't wish that on anyone. And it's sad that he's got less than $500 in his bank account and over $50,000 in debts. But, perhaps he should have thought of all of that before getting involved in a scheme that threatens thousands of people with highly questionable lawsuits if they don't pay up. Still, the main targets of Judge Wright's focus are clearly Steele, Hansmeier, and Duffy, so it'll be interesting to see if he agrees to let Gibbs off the hook in some manner.
from the 'to-serve-and-elicit-incredulous-laughter' dept
Citizens recording police activity often find their subjects in no mood to be photographed. These amateur photographers/filmmakers are threatened, attacked or dragged to the nearest police station and booked, using charges like "interference" or "disorderly conduct" or "walking in an alley" to make sure they don't walk away unintimidated.
A new thought process seems to be taking hold, however. As we covered a few weeks ago, police officers are now trotting out the bizarre theory that the cell phone filming them might be a weapon. Photography Is Not A Crime has rounded up another instance of a cop playing the "cell phone=gun" card in order to prevent being recorded.
A California cop who was being video recorded by a smartphone said she was in fear for her life because the phone could have possibly been a gun, marking at least the fourth time this year a cop in this country has uttered those nonsensical words.
The trend of insinuating cell phones can be guns began earlier this year when Juan “Biggie” Santana had his Sony Bloggie confiscated by Hialeah police officer Antonio Sentmanat in South Florida.
It continued when San Diego police officer Martin Reinhold slapped a phone out of Adam Pringle’s hands and arrested him while writing him a citation for smoking a cigarette on a beach boardwalk.
Then again in Arkansas when a cop ripped an iPhone out of a man’s hands who had been trying to document the Exxon oil spill outside Little Rock.
It certainly hasn't reached epidemic levels yet, but the argument seems to be increasing in popularity. The story we covered contained a statement by the police officer that indicated this new "cell phone=gun" logic is part of the training process.
Now, it's not entirely impossible to make a weapon shaped like a cell phone. It's just highly unlikely. PINAC's article contains a video of a cell phone/gun, but it seems to require a bulky, out-of-date antenna to hide the barrel. The weapon exists (or existed), but it (or any knockoffs) never made an appearance here in the US.
[T]hat weapon never even made it to the United States, according to ExCopLawStudent, a former cop turned law student who firmly believes in the right of officers to ensure their safety, but who also understands police paranoia doesn’t override the Constitution.So, the threat of a weaponized cell phone is hovering at zero, or close enough to it to be laughable when a law enforcement officer uses this "danger" as an excuse to prevent being recorded. Even the supposedly trained-in-the-art-of-phoneguns cops don't take the argument seriously. Or at least no more seriously than the TSA agents who are instructed to consider 3 ounces or less of a liquid "safe," ignoring the fact that any traveler with opposable thumbs could pour 6 ounces of liquid into two three-ounce containers and sail right through the checkpoint with a "dangerous" amount of contraband.
In 2000 or 2001, police in Europe discovered a four-shot gun disguised as a cellphone. Since then police officers in the United States have claimed on multiple occasions that civilians who were recording video with their cellphones had to put the phone down. Why? Because it could be a weapon.
Geez, guys, you’re killing us. There have been no cellphone guns recovered in the United States, according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. None. Zero. Nada. Zilch.
In addition, there are exactly zero court cases that discuss the issue. As a matter of fact, there is nothing in the legal world that discuss the issue. No law review articles, no trial or appellate briefs, nothing.
[I]f Detective Shannon Todd of the Newark Police Gang Unit was really so stupid to believe that the phone could have been a gun, then why did she first order the citizen to place it back into his pocket?The rhetoric is used solely to shut down filming. If this was an actual weapon, one presumes it would be confiscated and the carrier arrested, or at least detained until proper paperwork was produced (cell phone bill?). This also conveniently ignores the fact that many everyday objects that people carry around have also been converted into weapons at one point or another.
The only threat a cell phone presents to an officer making this assertion is the possibility of public embarrassment. I suppose we should be happy that these officers are at least going above and beyond the "you can't film me" argument and showing a little creativity in their shutdowns of amateur policewatchers. But this one crosses the "fine line between clever and stupid" and just keeps running.
by Mike Masnick
Fri, May 24th 2013 7:33am
from the they-just-don't-get-it dept
But, that's not how the RIAA functions.
Rather than having a useful employee, like a VP of new business models, the RIAA has a VP of anti-piracy (I actually believe they have a few), and one of them, Brad Buckles, wrote the latest misleading screed against the safe harbors. The short version is basically: everyone else needs to prop up our business models by randomly taking down content that might, possibly be infringing. Of course, this makes no logical sense, no matter how much the RIAA wants to play pretend. Already, we see stories practically every day about how the copyright holders themselves -- including the RIAA -- send bogus DMCA takedowns all the time. And those are the guys who are supposed to know what's infringing.
And yet they magically expect some third party, who has no idea if the content was put up in an authorized manner or not to make that determination for them? Really? Do they not realize (or not care) what a massive chilling effect that would have on innovation? If service providers are required to proactively guess at what is infringing and what's not -- and face liability for guessing wrong -- then the obvious is going to happen: a lot less innovation in any service that includes user generated content. The risk of liability would be way too high. That may not matter to the RIAA, who has never been a fan of the internet, but it sure as hell matters to the public, who has received tremendous value from the internet. I'd also imagine it matters quite a bit to tons of musicians who are not a part of the RIAA machine, who now use the internet to have a better career than they ever had under the old system.
So, here's a suggestion for the RIAA, while they're laying off a bunch of staffers (despite giving boss Cary Sherman a hefty raise to $1.5 million per year). Maybe layoff the "anti-piracy" team -- since clearly that's not working for you -- and hire a "new business model" or "innovation" team, and give them a shot to help your members.
by Mike Masnick
Fri, May 24th 2013 5:36am
from the total-failure dept
It appears that the whole thing has backfired badly on Ron Paul. He failed in his attempt to seize both domain names and was also found guilty of reverse domain hijacking on the .org account, for filing the demand for it after it had already been offered to him for free.
On the use of the .com, the panel found the following:
As Respondent puts it, expressing support and devotion to Ron Paul’s political ideals is a legitimate interest that does not require Complainant’s authorization or approval. Moreover, Respondent’s legitimate interest in the Domain Name is strong because the site provides a place for political speech, which is at the heart of what the United States Constitution’s First Amendment is designed to protect. In this way, the Panel is persuaded by Respondent’s arguments and evidence that Respondent is making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the Domain Name, without intent for commercial gain to misleadingly divert consumers or to tarnish any trademark at issue. Moreover, Respondent has submitted evidence that there are multiple, very clear disclaimers on the website to which the Domain Name links, indicating that the site is not Complainant’s official site. In regards to Complainant’s arguments that the website is actually a “pretext for commercial advantage”, the Panel finds the website linked to the Domain Name is primarily a noncommercial service, while the products advertised and sold are ancillary to the site’s primary purpose as a source of news and information about Ron Paul, and serving as political forum. Moreover, Respondent’s use meets the criteria for a nominative fair use, as stated in a number of UDRP cases.Yeah. Ron Paul loses out because the First Amendment is even stronger than he believes it to be. How about that?
The fact that the owners offered the .org for free plays heavily into the decision:
Finally, related to Respondent’s second main point, there is no evidence that Respondent has attempted to corner the market of domain names to prevent Complainant from reflecting his alleged RON PAUL mark in a domain name. To the contrary, the evidence indicates that in 2013 Respondent offered to give Complainant theAnd it's this point that leads to the panel saying that Paul was engaged in reverse domain hijacking.
Domain Name for free.
Respondent has requested, based on the evidence presented, that the Panel make a finding of Reverse Domain Name Hijacking. In view of the unique facts of this case, in which the evidence demonstrates that Respondent offered to give the Domain NameWhile this may just make Ron Paul hate the UN even more, perhaps it'll drive home the point that his initial attack on the fan site was ridiculous.
to Complainant for no charge, with no strings attached, the Panel is inclined to agree. Instead of accepting the Domain Name, Complainant brought this proceeding. A finding of Reverse Domain Name Hijacking seems to this Panel to be appropriate in the circumstances.
by Mike Masnick
Fri, May 24th 2013 3:31am
President Obama Is 'Troubled' About Chilling Effects His Own Administration Is Causing To Journalism?
from the really-now? dept
President Obama said Thursday that he is “troubled by the possibility that leak investigations may chill the investigative journalism that holds government accountable.”While it's great that he's "troubled," it's not a "possibility" that this is chilling investigative journalism, it's a confirmed fact. Not only that, but many believe that this was actually part of the goal all along. There's been no evidence of any interest in "balance." There has, instead, been what is clearly a concerted effort to intimidate whistleblowers and the press that investigates the federal government. The Obama administration has used the Espionage Act against more cases of whistleblowing to the press than all other Presidents combined. That's not about "striking the right balance."
In a major speech on national security, Obama said that the “Justice Department’s investigation of national security leaks offers a recent example of the challenges involved in striking the right balance between our security and our open society.”
Obama said that “journalists should not be at legal risk for doing their jobs," but that the "focus must be on those who break the law."Oh really? Then why did your own DOJ claim that a journalist was an aider and abettor and/or co-conspirator for reporting on a leak -- just like tons of other reporters?
President Obama sounds like someone campaigning against his own policies. Either Eric Holder and the DOJ have "gone rogue" or the President is hastily pretending that his administration is not doing what it clearly has been doing for years.
by Mike Masnick
Thu, May 23rd 2013 11:20pm
from the maybe-something-will-get-through dept