Sony's Own Copyright Infringement Shows How Broken Our Copyright System Is Today

from the because-of-course dept

It almost always seems to come out that the most aggressive "anti-piracy" people, companies and organizations are engaged in some form of copyright infringement themselves. There was Nicolas Sarkozy, former President of France who initiated the idea of a "three copyright strikes and you lose access to the internet" program, but who also apparently was mass pirating DVDs. Even the MPAA -- an organization whose entire reputation is basically wrapped up in its anti-piracy efforts -- has a history of infringing on others' copyrights when it's convenient. The latest example is Sony Pictures.

As we've been covering, Sony was among those involved in the MPAA's plot to attack Google by paying for state Attorneys General investigations into Google, a company that the MPAA still thinks isn't doing "enough" to stop piracy online. Yet, now it comes out that in The Interview -- a movie whose plotline has become intertwined with the Sony Hack -- Sony used some music that it did not license. The musicians in question are now threatening to sue:
Tiger JK and Yoon Mi-rae (a.k.a. Tasha Reid)'s agency FeelGhoodMusic said Friday in a press release that the two's duet piece, "Pay Day," is featured in the Seth Rogen/James Franco comedy, but a contract was never signed. About 10 to 15 seconds of the song appears in the film.

"There were initial discussions about including the song in the film score, but negotiations stopped so we were under the impression that it wasn't happening," said the press release. "It was only after the film was released that we became aware of the song's unauthorized use, without taking the appropriate and necessary steps to complete a contract with the artists."
The label also noted that the musicians were hesitant to license the music for this movie at all, given that "the film is a very sensitive topic in Korea." Oh really? I hadn't noticed.

Of course the likelihood of this ever getting to court is basically nil. Sony will pay up to make it go away quietly without a trial. And, as Sarah Jeong helpfully points out, Sony has insurance to pay for these kinds of mistakes.

The larger point here isn't even that Sony is a hypocritical assholish company when it comes to copyright (on both sides of the question). Rather, it's that the entire copyright system is broken, and this little incident demonstrates that once again in multiple ways:

First, if Sony were to get sued, it would face the exact same penalties as someone sitting at home who downloaded or shared an unauthorized copy of the same exact song. It's difficult to see how that's even close to reasonable, but that's the way copyright law is structured today, with no real way to distinguish between a blatant commercial abuse for use in a high profile movie, and totally non-commercial use by a fan. Either way, you're facing $750 to $150,000 in statutory damages (the cap is $30,000 if the infringement isn't "willful" -- but copyright holders will claim that the file sharer at home is willful infringement).

Second, it shows that everyone infringes all the time. Whether meaning to or not, it's actually fairly difficult to avoid infringing on copyrights. That's not to say that accidental copyright infringement is what's happening with file sharers or with Sony's use of the music here, but under the law, it's pretty much all the same. The fact that, as noted above, some of the biggest copyright system defenders are found out to infringe should highlight this issue pretty clearly. Even when you are a strong believer in copyright, there are going to be some situations in which you screw up and break the law. Given how frequently this happens, it certainly seems like the problem is with the law rather than all the people.

In the end, this story will quickly go away, because Sony will fork over some cash and everyone will forget this ever happened. But for someone at home who just wants to check out a movie, these kinds of threats and lawsuits can absolutely destroy them. And Sony doesn't care one bit about that.

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    antidirt (profile), 29 Dec 2014 @ 8:13am

    Wow, Mike. Your tinfoil hat is on extra-tight today. Sony might have failed to properly license a clip, and that means "the entire copyright system is broken"? LMAO. And it "shows that everyone infringes all the time"? ROFLMAO. I can't believe you still link back to that post on Tehranian's ridiculous claims. In that post, you said: "Replying to an email with quoted text? Infringement!" Do you really believe that, Mike? Of course you don't. But you repeat it over and over again. Why? Because you're not an honest person. Seriously, Mike. If you don't believe that's true, why do you keep saying it?

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    • icon
      techflaws (profile), 29 Dec 2014 @ 8:26am

      Re:

      Reading comprehension fail as always. But I would have clicked report anyway, since it's you.

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        Anonymous Coward, 29 Dec 2014 @ 9:29am

        Re: Re:

        Of course you would have clicked report no matter what- you're a hypocritical douchenozzle.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 29 Dec 2014 @ 4:30pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          For fuck's sake, log back in. We know it's you spamming from your wife's/boyfriend's/mancrush's laptop. It's not insightful or intelligent by any stretch of the imagination. All it does is prove that the stooges on your side are mindless cockgobblers.

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        • icon
          techflaws (profile), 29 Dec 2014 @ 9:52pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Zero points for originality, keep trying.

          *report*

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    • icon
      Gwiz (profile), 29 Dec 2014 @ 8:26am

      Re:

      Replying to an email with quoted text? Infringement!" Do you really believe that, Mike?


      Isn't that the letter of the law, though?

      My email is copyrighted the moment it's fixed to a tangible medium, right? If someone replies with my text quoted then they have committed copyright infringement. You not believing it doesn't change the facts there, AJ.

      Do you care to explain why you think it's NOT infringement?

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        antidirt (profile), 29 Dec 2014 @ 11:06am

        Re: Re:

        Ask Mike "fair use" Masnick. He doesn't really believe it's infringing.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 29 Dec 2014 @ 11:28am

        Re: Re:

        Do you care to explain why you think it's NOT infringement?

        Because if it is, all communications between people using a persistent medium are illegal.
        If it is illegal the laws of unintended consequences has bitten hard, as nobody can use messages on a permanent medium to hold a conversation.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 29 Dec 2014 @ 11:55am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Everything you cannot afford to defend yourself from in court is potentially infringing.

          A business can literally walk in off the street and level these accusations against you with little or no evidence. Yes some people pay to make them go away.

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        • icon
          Gwiz (profile), 29 Dec 2014 @ 1:40pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Because if it is, all communications between people using a persistent medium are illegal.

          No, not all. It would only be infringement if you copied someone's else's words. Like when you respond to an email and include their message with yours.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 29 Dec 2014 @ 1:51pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            No, not all. It would only be infringement if you copied someone's else's words.

            Or when as a middle manager, you pass on orders as sent by the higher ups verbatim!

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 8 Jan 2015 @ 9:59pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Citation? Because you've just said that the US Mail system is delivering illegal goods.

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          • icon
            nasch (profile), 9 Jan 2015 @ 7:26am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Because you've just said that the US Mail system is delivering illegal goods.

            The USPS delivers over 3 billion items per year. What are the chances none of them contain illegal goods?

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      • icon
        Tanner Andrews (profile), 30 Dec 2014 @ 3:52am

        Re: Re: [Quoted Text in Reply]


        If someone replies with my text quoted then they have committed copyright infringement

        Fair use. I am copying for purposes of criticism and education. I criticize your writing as ill-informed, and thereby educate others.

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    • icon
      Ninja (profile), 29 Dec 2014 @ 8:39am

      Re:

      Sony might have failed to properly license a clip, and that means "the entire copyright system is broken"?

      If it was a rare event then you'd have a point but it happens everyday on a massive scale. Not only this but copyrights for a 10 second snippet is ridiculous. So where is the line drawn? Below 2 seconds is not infringement anymore? What if the main character whistles 3 or 4 notes? And let's emphasize yet again that the single mom that had her kids download a handful of songs for personal use face LESS fines than Sony for these 15 seconds even though it's clearly massively commercial. The system is utterly broken. And I'm not advocating for the legalization of downloads for personal use yet!

      Replying to an email with quoted text? Infringement!

      It may be depending on the nature of the e-mail and the court. And that's precisely one of the many broken points in the current system.

      Do you really believe that, Mike? Of course you don't.

      Talking to the pseudo-straw-mike you built in your head?

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    • icon
      DOlz (profile), 29 Dec 2014 @ 9:01am

      Re:

      “Sony might have failed to properly license a clip, and that means "the entire copyright system is broken”?”

      Let’s try an anology to see if it helps you. Your city has a law about barking dogs being a nuisance (copyright law). Your dog sometimes barks in the afternoon (accidental or personal infringement). Your next door neighbor (Sony) who is connected in the city government complains. You’re told you have to pay a $100 fine for every time your dog barked and if happens again your dog will be put down. While your neighbor is complaining about your behavior, he lets his dog out every night to do its business and it barks up a storm every time. When you complain your Sony, ahem neighbor is told to pay a $10 dollar fine and to not do it again. They tearfully promise this EVERY time they do it and they never face the consequences they demand of everyone else.

      On a side note before this whole brouhaha about the “Interview” came about I hadn’t planned to see it. I still won’t see it because if I do the terrorists and Sony will win.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 29 Dec 2014 @ 9:23am

      Re:

      ...you missed the part where Sony higher-ups already said they wanted to pay the artists, and did not do so.

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      Anonymous Coward, 29 Dec 2014 @ 9:28am

      Re:

      Masnick is trying to get everyone to think that this error means its ok that he's been stealing from those evil-doers in Hollywood for the past 15 years. Totally makes sense.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Dec 2014 @ 8:14am

    Not paying to see the Interview

    So the Interview was available online for $6 on Youtube to rent. I was able to watch it on my AppleTV since Apple recently added that functionality to the Youtube app (although I had to purchase it through the Youtube website first). And yet, a lot of people still chose to download it through torrents or whatever. Now, some of these people couldn't get it through youtube because of their location, but there were still a lot who could but chose not to.

    And yet, there were probably also a lot of people who sat down and watched the legally streaming version that a friend or family member purchased. Now, what's the difference between that person and someone who just downloaded it for free? Neither secures a dime for Sony. If you have a choice between a person not watching your movie and watching it for free shouldn't the answer be watching it for free?

    But I still think the media companies would rather you not see it. Because they think if something is available for free then no one will pay for it. And that says a lot for what they think about the consumers of their products.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 30 Dec 2014 @ 11:55am

      Re: Not paying to see the Interview

      And yet, a lot of people still chose to download it through torrents or whatever.
      To be fair, in this case I think it's less that people chose regardless to illegally download because of not wanting to pay ever, and moreso they illegally downloaded it as a giant "fuck you!" to Sony.

      Personally, I can't find fault in either, because fuck Sony.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Dec 2014 @ 8:21am

    If a song is played in a movie and no one watches it, does it make a sound?

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  • identicon
    David, 29 Dec 2014 @ 8:38am

    Wrong deduction

    First, if Sony were to get sued, it would face the exact same penalties as someone sitting at home who downloaded or shared an unauthorized copy of the same exact song. It's difficult to see how that's even close to reasonable, but that's the way copyright law is structured today, with no real way to distinguish between a blatant commercial abuse for use in a high profile movie, from totally non-commercial use by a fan.

    That's the penalty per infringement. And infringement would obviously be at the very least per screening but more likely per viewer.

    Sony will settle this one for a ridiculous amount of money in order to avoid being in court for an even more ridiculous amount of money.

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    • identicon
      cpt kangarooski, 29 Dec 2014 @ 9:07am

      Re: Wrong deduction

      That's the penalty per infringement. And infringement would obviously be at the very least per screening but more likely per viewer.

      Not necessarily. Actual damages plus profits are per infringement. Statutory damages are per work infringed, regardless of the number of infringements of the copyright of any work in question. Take a look at 17 USC 504 for the relevant language.

      Mike did reference the statutory damages in particular. And for this song and this movie, I doubt that actual damages plus profits would amount to very much anyway. While it's technically per infringement, the measure of the damages would be based on how much it would've cost to license it, not on how many screenings or viewers there were. And good luck finding profits for this film, particularly since Sony would reduce the pool of potential profits by showing what's not attributable to the infringement.

      Anyway, people often make the mistake of thinking that statutory damages are per infringement rather than per work. I think that this caused the damage award in Sony v. Tenenbaum to be larger than the jury would've actually intended -- Sony claimed that the award was per infringement when the jury instructions were being written, and the defense missed it, so didn't object. So I guess it would be ironic if they got hit by that now, not that they, or anyone, should.

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    • icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), 29 Dec 2014 @ 9:43am

      Re: Wrong deduction

      That's the penalty per infringement. And infringement would obviously be at the very least per screening but more likely per viewer.

      Not true. The statutory damages are per the work infringed. Only one work infringed here, so max is $150k.

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      • icon
        That Anonymous Coward (profile), 29 Dec 2014 @ 10:00am

        Re: Re: Wrong deduction

        Which is why copyright trolls always want a settlement, and not a judgement. The amount of settlements for many of these films is often well in excess of $150K, if they got judgements instead of settlement they would have to inform the court of how much they were already paid to be made whole.

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        • icon
          That One Guy (profile), 29 Dec 2014 @ 2:16pm

          Re: Re: Re: Wrong deduction

          Well that and a judgement would require them to present their 'evidence of infringement' in court, where it could be challenged, something that could lead to more than a few 'speed bumps' to the money train.

          In fact, that, more than the money angle, is probably why they prefer settlements over judgement. If someone refuses to settle, then they can just move on and try another sucker, of which there are countless numbers, but if they get a judgement against them in court, that's a lot harder to ignore and move past.

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        antidirt (profile), 29 Dec 2014 @ 11:03am

        Re: Re: Wrong deduction

        Mike,

        For the record, do you really think it's infringement to quote an email when replying? Don't run away! Tell us what you really believe. And if you don't really think it's infringing, please explain why you said otherwise. Thanks. (I know you won't really answer. Bawk!)

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        • identicon
          Baron von Robber, 29 Dec 2014 @ 11:08am

          Re: Re: Re: Wrong deduction

          Trollin, trolling, trollin. Trolls keep on trollin.
          Even tho we knowin, Rawhide!

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            antidirt (profile), 29 Dec 2014 @ 11:18am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Wrong deduction

            Yeah, asking Mike to explain why he keeps pretending like replying to an email with quotes is infringing is just terrible. We should just ignore his lies! Copyright is scary!!

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 29 Dec 2014 @ 11:52am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Wrong deduction

              You are a known troll who has proven time and time again that you are not interested in discussion and do not deserve answers.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 29 Dec 2014 @ 11:52am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Wrong deduction

              You are a known troll who has proven time and time again that you are not interested in discussion and do not deserve answers.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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                antidirt (profile), 29 Dec 2014 @ 12:17pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Wrong deduction

                You are a known troll who has proven time and time again that you are not interested in discussion and do not deserve answers.

                LOL! He does NOT really believe that replying to an email with quotes is infringement. He's so dishonest that he keeps saying it anyway. Keep making excuses for him. I'm sure he appreciates it.

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                • icon
                  MrTroy (profile), 29 Dec 2014 @ 5:48pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Wrong deduction

                  Why the heck do you even care that much about Mike's opinion on a specific point that's only tangentially related to the article you're commenting on?

                  Don't you realise that it's perfectly valid to argue a point from somebody else's opinion in order to demonstrate some aspect of that opinion? What Mike thinks about it is, quite frankly, irrelevant. The whole point is that *anyone* thinks it, and even a fair use argument couldn't keep you out of court to defend against a claim against you.

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                antidirt (profile), 29 Dec 2014 @ 12:19pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Wrong deduction

                You are a known troll who has proven time and time again that you are not interested in discussion and do not deserve answers.

                LOL! He does NOT really believe that replying to an email with quotes is infringement. He's so dishonest that he keeps saying it anyway. Keep making excuses for him. I'm sure he appreciates it.

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                • icon
                  Gwiz (profile), 29 Dec 2014 @ 1:32pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Wrong deduction

                  He does NOT really believe that replying to an email with quotes is infringement.

                  Can you show me where in the statutes or relevant case law that says emails are not copyrighted the moment they are created? Is there some exemption that I am missing or something?

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 29 Dec 2014 @ 4:32pm

          Re: Re: Re: Wrong deduction

          Back to mimicking barnyard animals again. What a surprise. Clearly that's all the intelligence you're capable of handling, as is everyone else on your side.

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    identicon
    Michael, 29 Dec 2014 @ 8:53am

    playstation

    Does sony have to realise new playstation?

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  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 29 Dec 2014 @ 8:56am

    Someone infringes copyright and makes $25 million, and it is just a booboo.
    Someone else infringes copyright makes nothing, and is left on the hook for $150,000.
    (working with the assumption that corporations are people)

    Perhaps it is time to separate commercial from noncommercial infringement.

    At least while this movie was burning up the filesharing outlets, they still managed to make a shitload of money for what is allegedly a shitty film. I wonder if one of the small reptilian brains in control of the industry had a small stroke that the sky is falling claims just didn't hold water in reality.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 29 Dec 2014 @ 9:33am

      Re:

      Just more proof that the law is written for the rich to get richer while the poor will stay poor.

      It costs less for some companies to dump toxic chemicals and pay a fine than it does to properly dispose of things.

      Same for here... it costs less in some cases for big studios to risk a lawsuit than to pay the license fees.

      There is only one way to end these types of corruption.
      The government should not be allowed to monetarily penalize anyone or any business for any-reason. If a person/business breaks the law, then person(s) responsible should see jail-time. No fines or fees, this just breeds corruption.

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      • icon
        jupiterkansas (profile), 29 Dec 2014 @ 10:02am

        Re: Re:

        Right, because I deserve jailtime (and possibly losing my job) because I run a red light, or get caught speeding, or for jaywalking.

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      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 29 Dec 2014 @ 1:50pm

        Re: Re:

        Slight modification:

        Individuals should only face fines and fees for minor stuff like copyright infringement(or really any non-violent crime). It works as an effective punishment, without claiming the most valuable resource they can offer, that being their freedom.

        Companies, and those that work for them, should only face jail time. To a company, paying a few thousand, or even million, isn't any sort of punishment at all, so it completely fails as a form of punishment. However, having the CEO and/or other execs spending time in jail, that is something that they'll pay attention to, so jail time would be an effective punishment and deterrent, where fines and fees are not.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Dec 2014 @ 9:32am

    I guess at least this is not as embarrassing as when Sony stole the song False Flags, which was an anti-corportism/anti-sony Sony, and used it as the theme for a series of Vita commercials.

    Of course that artist never got his rightfully due paycheck because Sony has a massive lobbying arm and an army of lawyers to protect them.

    Copyright law is bullshit when it only protects corporate interests and not the everyman.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Dec 2014 @ 9:48am

    Sony and all other MAFIAA sucks.

    Don't buy their shit.

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    • icon
      jupiterkansas (profile), 29 Dec 2014 @ 10:03am

      Re:

      People keep saything this (and presumably doing it) but it doesn't change anything.

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      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 29 Dec 2014 @ 1:28pm

        Re: Re:

        On an individual basis, no, it doesn't do much(other than save you money and provide that warm feeling you get from not giving money to a company that holds nothing but contempt for you), but if enough people do it, they might notice.

        The fact that 'enough' will probably never be reached, due to the overwhelming number of morons who don't care how a company sees and treats them, as long as they can have the 'newest' and 'shiniest' toy, does not remove the individual perks you get from refusing to purchase from a given company.

        As such, even if that tipping point of 'enough' is never reached, it's still a good idea to boycott companies that hate their customers and anyone who might have been their customers, if for no other reason than knowing that you're not helping them by giving them money or attention.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Dec 2014 @ 10:21am

    ' investigations into Google, a company that the MPAA still thinks isn't doing "enough" to stop piracy online.'

    that's a strange remark to come out with when the entertainment industries themselves are doing absolutely nothing to even try to reduce the amount of illegal downloading (that cost those industries about 1% of what they say it costs them). even the logging and sending notices out are done by the ISPs! if they were that concerned about it, the industries would at least put a token show up, but they do nothing! they want the downloading stopped but expect every other industry to foot the bill! if they were truly worried, they would put up on the internet their own versions that were on par at least with what can be downloaded, at sensible prices, so as to entice people away from the supposed 'pirate' sites! as it is, all the industries do is constantly complain while just as constantly throwing money at the politicians and law makers who, again just as constantly take the money offered!! a vicious circle that wont be broken until a government actually tells the industries 'enough is enough! sort your own shit out first before you keep conning everyone else!!'

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Dec 2014 @ 10:23am

    As for the Cromnibus bill going through congress, I think Sony just inserted a paragraph into it exempting film companies from having to obey copyright when it fails to secure the rights, because...terrorism.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Dec 2014 @ 12:00pm

    DMCA Takedown?

    The label should send DMCA takedowns and get it removed from digital stores. That would be funny.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Dec 2014 @ 12:12pm

    I disagree with point one. No additional damage has been done in a case of corporate infringement as opposed to a case of personal infringement. Perhaps motive should change the punitive damages in a suit, but not how big someone's bank account is. Of course give. Techdirt's political demographic my comment will largely go unsupported; take from the rich because they're rich, after all.

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    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 29 Dec 2014 @ 1:34pm

      Re:

      Wait, what?

      I have got to be misreading that, are you really arguing that when a company infringes on a copyright for commercial reasons, no harm is done, yet when someone downloads a song/file for personal reasons, there is measurable harm?

      Like I said, I have got to be misreading that, so further explanation would be appreciated.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 29 Dec 2014 @ 4:34pm

        Re: Re:

        No, you're not.

        As bizarre a disconnect as it is, that seems to be the general status quo for average_joe and the usual trolls. Corporate infringement is okay, but not when it's Google, and everyone owes Gene Simmons money or something.

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      • icon
        nasch (profile), 30 Dec 2014 @ 1:17pm

        Re: Re:

        I have got to be misreading that, are you really arguing that when a company infringes on a copyright for commercial reasons, no harm is done, yet when someone downloads a song/file for personal reasons, there is measurable harm?

        No, he's saying corporate infringement doesn't do more damage than personal infringement. Which is still wrong.

        Perhaps motive should change the punitive damages in a suit, but not how big someone's bank account is

        It's not about motive, but about the nature of the infringement. What harm is done by not spending a dollar on a song and downloading it instead, compared to the harm done by not spending whatever the license fee would be (thousands? tens of thousands?) and using the song in a movie? You're saying it's the same harm?

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  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 29 Dec 2014 @ 2:20pm

    Laws are for the little people

    And to the surprise of absolutely no-one who's been paying attention, yet another 'Strident defender of copyright and the creators it's meant to serve', has shown no problem or hesitation infringing on copyright, and screwing over the creator.

    And really, why should they, corporations wrote the law, it was never meant to apply to them, so why would they care about following it?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Who Cares (profile), 29 Dec 2014 @ 7:28pm

    Fair use?

    Couldn't Sony get away with a fair use claim?
    Or does that only apply for non commercial uses?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 29 Dec 2014 @ 7:40pm

      Re: Fair use?

      Possible, commercial use doesn't automatically bar fair use claims, but the fact that they were in negotiations with the artists previously would seriously hurt the chances of that working, as it would make it appear that they simply decided that the terms being offered were too bothersome, and just used the music regardless.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    k-h, 29 Dec 2014 @ 9:56pm

    $750 to $150,000 per infringement

    $750 to $150,000 for each showing or download?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      nasch (profile), 30 Dec 2014 @ 1:19pm

      Re: $750 to $150,000 per infringement

      $750 to $150,000 for each showing or download?

      No, the $150,000 statutory damages is for each work infringed, not for each act of infringement.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Brian W., 30 Dec 2014 @ 2:32am

    This isn't the first time

    The word on the street is the mid 2000s, Sony hired a design firm to help build their PS3 controllers. That firm may have been Logitech. Logitech has been using licensed Immersion technologies haptic feedback in their own devices since 2001. It's possible that the design firm pointed out that haptic feedback would need to be licensed from Immersion separately, but Sony seemed to ignore this advice or whatever. Sony conveniently and happily used the Immersion patented haptic feedback mechanism in the controller. A patent infringement lawsuit commenced. As a result, Sony lost.. But, during the proceedings, Sony inexplicably disabled haptic feedback in all controllers globally through a software update during 2006 and released new controllers without the mechanism entirely during that time. Sony made up some cock and bull story about the haptic feedback interfering with a sensor. But, we all know the real reason.

    In 2007, Sony agreed to a large monetary licensing agreement with Immersion and the haptic feedback mechanism was once again reintroduced and controllers could then be purchased with the mechanism inside. Sony ended up paying a whole lot of money ($90+ million + royalties) just to give us a controller with vibration capabilities, which I personally find annoying and never use. If they had just licensed it up front or outright bought Immersion, it would have been far cheaper.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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