from the uh-oh dept
Photo by Adam Hart-Davis/DHD Multimedia Gallery
Of course, in a country where copyright laws trump all, perhaps Damon could sue for infringement and seek discovery to find out all the documentation on PRISM.
by Mike Masnick
Thu, Jun 13th 2013 8:12am
by Mike Masnick
Wed, Jun 12th 2013 9:56pm
“Yes. Warner Bros. is working with Digital Rights Corp on a test ISP/subscriber notification program to many ISPs that are not participating in the Copyright Alert System,” a Warner spokesman told TorrentFreak.This is nefarious on multiple levels, because it actually treats the consumers of alternative ISPs worse than customers of ISPs who agreed to sell out those customers to Hollywood.
[....] “The notices give consumers an opportunity to settle the identified infringement for a very nominal sum of $20 per title infringed–not as a measure of damage, but as a concrete reminder that our content has value and as a discouragement of future unauthorized activity.”
After the initial payment, Rights Corp matched the notified (and settled) infringement with two others already on file. Since the guy had filled in his phone number, the company then called him up and asked for another $40.00 to clear his file.This certainly sounds like copyright trolling, along the lines of Prenda, but at a slightly cheaper level.
by Mike Masnick
Wed, Jun 12th 2013 1:11pm
Since I started taking classes at St. Olaf college 3 years ago, there has not been one professor that has not used some sort of audiovisual aid during the course. I am a political science major, and the trends of using videos is no different in the humanities. For example in my Russian and Eurasian politics class, we studied the relations between the Soviet Union and its satellite states today, and the use of Youtube videos and documentary films were instrumental in giving us a better understanding of the situation. The use of videos in education has become a norm to address the needs of various types of learners as well as to complement the various tools and sources at the disposal of the professors.Just last week, I had dinner with a university professor who was telling me the difficulty she had in trying to get the use of videos approved for her teaching, asking a variety of people about the copyright issues of even linking to clips online and getting back vague or contradictory answers.
Videos are not used solely in the classroom, they are assigned as homework and part of the syllabus and the “reading list” of most if not all courses you have to take to get a bachelor today. Audiovisual materials also compose a large part of the library. Archival footage for example is an essential part of a history major curriculum.
In 2009, the Motion Picture Industry began to lobby the Obama Administration to narrow the treaty to "print disabilities" only, and to eliminate deaf persons as beneficiaries. By 2010, the Obama Administration took a hard line in the WIPO negotiations, backed upon by the European Union, to narrow the treaty, excluding deaf persons. This was designed to overcome political opposition from the MPAA, and the USPTO said the compromise on beneficiaries was necessary for the text to move forward. In November 2010, the WIPO SCCR agreed to separate the more "mature" issues of visually impaired and reading disabilities from "other disabilities" in its negotiations. In June 2011, a new committee sponsored negotiating text for this treaty (SCCR/24/9) defined beneficiaries in such a way that deaf persons were excluded.But, that's not all. There were still questions around "audiovisual works" and the MPAA went to work again:
From 1985 to 2011, the various treaty proposals all would have covered any copyrighted work, including, for example SCCR/23/7, the text published in December 2011. But shortly after the MPAA was able to remove deaf persons as beneficiaries, they lobbied the Obama Administration to remove audiovisual works from the text. The Obama Administration proposed this formally in June 2012, and in December 2012, there was a deal to eliminate audiovisual works from the text, in order to get an agreement to hold a diplomatic conference in June 2013. Since nothing is set in stone in the negotiation, that decision can be changed, but it will probably require a change of position in the Obama White House, which has threatened to block the treaty if audiovisual works are included.The MPAA's claims that it wants this treaty passed ring pretty hollow. It wants a completely gutted version approved at a time when audiovisual works are increasingly not just important, but necessary, for education.
by Mike Masnick
Tue, Jun 11th 2013 9:30am
"On every check we have made, Google's search engine gave us easy access to illegal goods including websites which offer dangerous drugs without a prescription, counterfeit goods of every description, and infringing copies of movies, music, software and games," Hood said. "This behavior means that Google is putting consumers at risk and facilitating wrongdoing, all while profiting handsomely from illegal behavior."Of course, Hood has no legal mandate over copyright. At all. But, what the AGs normally do -- and Hood is doing here -- is use their broad, vague mandates towards "consumer safety" to pretend they have a mandate.
Hood didn't buy Google's explanations that it only removes content from search results in a narrow set of circumstances, pointing out that Google blocks child pornography and has removed content that glorifies the Nazi party. "Why will Google not remove websites or de-index known websites that purport to sell prescription drugs without a prescription or provide pirated content?" Hood asked.
by Mike Masnick
Mon, Jun 10th 2013 10:24pm
Fri, Jun 7th 2013 6:34pm
What we have there is an example of Fox News presenting two sides of the debate and among their own hosts to boot. In case you can't see it, Kelly uses clips from Lou Dobbs' show within her own to demonstrate her point. I mention this only to demonstrate that Fox News was not sufficiently embarrassed by the dumb things said by some of their commentators to keep from re-airing them on another of their shows. When an advocacy group wants to use those same clips for an ad-spot, however, suddenly the scramble to copyright claims has occurred. An anti-sexism group named UltraViolet submitted the ad to air on Fox's channel, painting the commentators in a negative light and then asking them to be retired from Fox News. You might expect the channel to dismiss the ad simply on the grounds that they don't want to denigrate their own programming, but that wouldn't help in trying to keep the spot off of other networks, would it? So Fox instead relied on the go-to protocol for censoring negative information. Per UltraViolet's media buyer, Buying Time, LLC:
Team – Just heard back from Fox Business. Unfortunately, Fox has rejected the ad. Due to their copyright rules, they can’t air an ad that uses their material in a spot.It's a dumbfounding refusal on its face and is almost certainly being used as an excuse rather than a legitimate claim. Certainly nothing in copyright law would keep a network from airing commercials that use its own footage, valid copyright claim or not. It's their footage. Beyond that, this seems like a clear-cut case of fair use, the clips being central to a critique which does not seek commercial gain, are not significantly long in use, and in a way that certainly doesn't compete against Fox's own programming. Watch the ad for yourself:
by Mike Masnick
Thu, Jun 6th 2013 2:00pm
The WIPO Copyright Treaty and the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty require countries that have acceded to the Treaties to “provide adequate legal protection and effective legal remedies against the circumvention of effective technological measures.”1 Enacted in 1998 as part of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, Section 1201 (a)(1) of Title 17 implements these treaty obligations in the U.S. by prohibiting circumvention of a technological protection measure (TPM) that effectively controls access to a copyrighted work subject to one key exception. Every three years, the Register of Copyrights is directed by statute to conduct a rulemaking in which advocates for specific exemptions may petition for exemptions to the anticircumvention provisions for noninfringing uses subject to five factors.If you're even remotely aware of the history of the DMCA and the WIPO Copyright Treaty, you would know that this is first, an incredible rewriting of history, and second, a ridiculous and false direct claim from Congress that it has abdicated its sole authority in establishing copyright policy to the administration.
Since the enactment of this provision into U.S. law, the U.S. has entered into several Free Trade Agreements that require signatories (the U.S. and the particular country or region) to enact anti-circumvention provisions and set requirements on how exceptions to them can be created. Most such FTAs limit the duration of such exemptions to a three or four year period and require that they be administratively or legislatively created based upon a record of evidence.
by Glyn Moody
Thu, Jun 6th 2013 11:57am
Overblocking is not a new problem -- over two years ago, Techdirt wrote about an instance where Homeland Security took down 84,000 innocent sites at a stroke -- so you might have thought that those employing this blunt instrument would take a little more care these days. However, things seem to be getting worse, not better. In Australia, the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) has just scored a whopper:
The largest number of sites censored when attempting to block one particular site ASIC believed was defrauding Australians was 250,000. Of these, ASIC said about 1000, or 0.4 per cent, were active sites. It said the 249,000 other sites hosted "no substantive content" or offered their domain name up for sale, rather than hosting a fully-fledged active site.
I wonder how the ASIC established that 249,000 had "no substantive content". I can't believe it really checked all of them. And that's the big problem with overblocking: when huge numbers of sites get taken down by mistake, there's no way of telling what just fell off the Web, and what obscure but possibly important information is no longer available.
At least ASIC realizes that its current ham-fisted approach isn't acceptable:
ASIC told senate estimates in its opening statement that it was now examining how it could ensure only a site's specific domain name was blocked and ways it could alert the public to a site being blocked via a pop up page. It was also examining ways such a page could indicate why access was blocked and to whom queries could be made to dispute a block.
That's good, but maybe it would have been better if it had explored those options before shutting down nearly a quarter of a million innocuous sites by mistake.
by Mike Masnick
Thu, Jun 6th 2013 7:31am
Most significantly, the Section 1201 rulemaking is an exercise in legal theatre. All the parties to the rulemaking—those seeking an exemption, the rights holders, and the Copyright Office staff--acknowledge that it is unclear whether the rulemaking has any practical effect. This is because Section 1201(a)(1)(C) authorizes the Librarian of Congress to adopt exemptions to the Section 1201(a)(1)(A) prohibition on the act of circumventing a technological protection measure (TPM), but not to the Section 1201(a)(2) prohibition on the development and distribution of the technologies necessary to perform the circumvention. In other words, after receiving an exemption, a person might be legally permitted to perform the act of circumvention, but might have no lawful way of obtaining the technology necessary to perform that act.There's more to it, but that's a good snippet. It's a shame that this more detailed view wasn't included as a part of the actual hearing.
Similarly, all the parties understand that what occurs inside the hearing room has no connection to the world outside it. In the last three rulemaking cycles, LCA has joined with other groups in seeking exemptions for educators and students to circumvent the TPMs on DVDs for the purpose of making educational uses of film clips. The rights holders know that the uses we seek will not harm their market in any way. They also know that whether the exemption is granted or rejected will have absolutely no impact on the level of infringement. This is because the technology necessary to circumvent the TPMs on DVDs is widely available on the Internet and easy to use. Nonetheless, the rights holders reflexively oppose the exemption or seek to narrow it so that it would be unusable. As a result, the discussions in the rulemaking descend into hyper-technical issues such as the quality of video necessary for effective pedagogy in different kinds of courses.
Moreover, in two rulemaking cycles, witnesses from the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) demonstrated how a person could camcord a film off of a high definition television. MPAA was attempting to show that a relatively high quality recording could be made without circumventing a technological protection measure. What it succeeded in proving, however, was the contradiction underlying its position. If one could obtain a high quality copy without circumvention, why use technological protection measures in the first place, and why should their circumvention be unlawful? Moreover, the MPAA was demonstrating how to camcord a film precisely at the same time it was asking Congress, state governments, and foreign legislatures to impose criminal penalties on camcording.
Banning technologies is an extreme step by government, a truly incredible reach of Federal power, and I would petition this body to be very careful in continuing to delegate the authority of what technologies to ban to a quasi-regulatory agent when, in these and many other circumstances, there is no compelling governmental interest.Hopefully, Congress will recognize that punting this and pretending there's nothing wrong with section 1201 is the wrong way to go, but given the situation, it doesn't seem like those in Congress are even open to considering that issue at this time.
This legislation, as currently crafted, does not reflect the input of the White House, former FCC Chairman, FCC Commissioner, scholars or outside groups such as R Street and FreedomWorks. Our campaign was about actually solving this problem and restoring a free market. Minor changes to this legislation would ensure that H.R. 1123 actually solves the problem it intends to address by permanently legalizing unlocking and allowing for businesses to sell the technology to consumers. Overall, our contention is that given the enormous benefits that phone unlocking provides to the consumer, phone unlocking should be made permanently lawful for the consumer to use, industry to develop and marketers to sell.
by Mike Masnick
Wed, Jun 5th 2013 3:40pm
It is understood that Contracting Parties who are members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) acknowledge all the principles and objectives of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS Agreement) and understand that nothing in this Treaty affects the provisions of the TRIPS Agreement, including, but not limited to, the provisions relating to anti-competitive practices.As Love notes, similar language has appeared in a variety of other agreements, including ACTA and the Beijing Treaty (which would give Hollywood stars their own special copyrights). Why is this language important? Because TRIPS includes key provisions that allow countries to make some of their own decisions about how they implement the agreements, to protect the public's rights. But, the content industry doesn't want that same language in this treaty, which is focused on the public's rights, because they're afraid it will, once again, open the door to countries expanding the public's rights, and pushing back on egregious copyright restrictions on those rights.
"Contracting parties may fulfill their rights and obligations under this Treaty through, exceptions or limitations, specifically for the benefit of beneficiary persons,other exceptions or limitations,or a combination thereof within their national legal traditions/systems. These may include judicial, administrative or regulatory determinations for the benefit of beneficiary persons as to fair practices, dealings or uses to meet their needs."In other words, it's just as we said the MPAA is trying to do: sure they claim they want a treaty to help the blind, but not if it includes anything even remotely suggesting an expansion of the public's fair use rights. So, here, they're "fine" with helping the blind get access to works, but not if it's done via fair use.
Explore some core concepts:
|3:50pm:||States Attorneys General Want Special Exception To Blame Sites For Actions Of Users (73)|
|3:02pm:||Google, Without Admitting It Gets FISA Orders, Files Lawsuit To Challenge FISA Gag Orders (34)|
|2:29pm:||NYPD Commissioner Blasts NSA Secret Monitoring For Being Secret (25)|
|1:43pm:||It's Come To This: Commentators Arguing That The Press Commits A Crime In Exposing NSA Surveillance (59)|
|1:00pm:||US Chamber Of Commerce: Bollywood Is So Successful Without Strong Copyrights That It Will Fail Unless India Strengthens Its Copyrights (55)|
|11:58am:||Senator Lindsey Graham Defends NSA Surveillance By Arguing About Something Entirely Different (58)|
|11:15am:||NSA Claims Surveillance Programs Aided The Stopping Of 50 Attacks; Details Lacking (79)|
|10:31am:||The NSA's Lockbox Has No Lock (47)|
|9:44am:||Knowing The Government Is Spying On You Changes How You Act (53)|
|8:44am:||MPAA's Chris Dodd Will Be The Chair Of 'Free Speech Week' (120)|
|7:46am:||Steve Wozniak Speaks Out Against NSA Spying: This Is Not My America (44)|
|5:41am:||'Gears Of War' Designer: Used Games Must Be Killed So Unsustainable Development Can Live (126)|
|3:40am:||Discovering Names Of Secret NSA Surveillance Programs Via LinkedIn (46)|
|1:38am:||Is Encryption Effective Against Snooping? German Government Says No, Snowden Says Yes (58)|
|10:13pm:||Japan's Prime Minister Mocks TPP Protestors On Facebook (23)|
|7:07pm:||British Intelligence Spied On G20 Officials' Phone Calls And Emails During 2009 Summit (35)|
|5:00pm:||DailyDirt: Inspired By Nature (20)|
|4:32pm:||Philippine Record Labels Get Government To Play Whac-A-Mole With Kickass Torrents (65)|
|3:32pm:||Copyright Troll Lawsuit Ends Badly Because Very Dumb Defendant Lied To Court, Destroyed Evidence (78)|
|2:40pm:||NSA Boss Asks Congress For Blanket Immunity For Companies That Help NSA Spy On Everyone (46)|
|2:03pm:||Al Gore Says NSA Surveillance Is Unconstitutional And 'Not The American Way' (44)|
|1:13pm:||CISPA's Sponsors Can't Keep Their Story Straight: If Snowden's Leaks Are False, How Do They Harm America? (67)|
|12:22pm:||Retired Federal Judge Explains Why The FISA Court Should Not Be Trusted (45)|
|11:30am:||Dick Cheney's Crystal Ball Says That NSA Surveillance Could Have Stopped 9/11 (77)|
|10:37am:||First French File-Sharer Sentenced To Disconnection Under Hadopi; But Judgment May Be Unenforceable (55)|
|9:36am:||Congressional Staffers Told To Pretend NSA Leak Docs Don't Exist; So How Are They Supposed To Respond? (40)|
|8:33am:||It's Not Whether NSA Surveillance Helped Stop Any Plots, But Whether Or Not It Needed To Spy On Everyone To Do So (62)|
|7:29am:||More Than Half The Senate Skips Town Rather Than Attend Briefing About NSA Surveillance (38)|
|5:28am:||DOJ Says Tech Companies Can Sort Of Release FISA Numbers, But.. In A Way That Decreases Transparency (49)|
|3:21am:||Why The NSA And President Bush Got The FISA Court To Reinterpret The Law In Order To Collect Tons Of Data (44)|