by Mike Masnick
Fri, Sep 7th 2012 7:13am
by Mike Masnick
Mon, Mar 26th 2012 11:28am
from the even-legit-ones dept
As TorrentFreak points out, the whole thing makes little sense since lots of other content is perfectly shareable via Live Messenger:
Whatever Microsoft’s reason for monitoring private conversations and then swallowing Pirate Bay links, the Redmond-based company’s censorship policies are not very consistent. All of the other large BitTorrent sites remain unaffected, even though they offer content that’s identical to The Pirate Bay.This is troubling on a number of fronts. First of all, a link by itself should never be considered infringing. There may be content at the end of a series of links that is infringing, but blocking at the link level is really extreme and dangerous. Second, of course, is the fact that not all TPB content is infringing. Yes, an awful lot of it is almost certainly infringing. But automatically deciding that all of it is and not letting people share such links is extreme and dangerous. Cutting off legitimate speech should never be an option. Finally, the really scary part is the realization that Microsoft appears to be monitoring content being shared in private communication between two individuals in an instant messenger conversation. It seems like a pretty strong reason never to use Microsoft's Live Messenger.
by Mike Masnick
Tue, Feb 21st 2012 6:00am
Canadian Universities Agree To Ridiculous Copyright Agreement That Says Emailing Hyperlinks Is Equal To Photocopying
from the poor-decision-making dept
The agreement reached last month with the licensing agency includes provisions defining e-mailing hyperlinks as equivalent to photocopying a document, an annual $27.50 fee for every full-time equivalent student and surveillance of academic staff email.As the article notes, it seems incredibly premature for anyone to sign such an agreement, since the Supreme Court is expected to weigh in shortly about Access Copyright's mandate and limits, so there's simply no reason to rush into such a ridiculous deal. But, even worse is the message this kind of agreement sends to students. Accepting the idea that emailing hyperlinks is like making a photocopy is a ridiculous message that only serves to make more young people mock copyright as being a law that makes no sense at all.
by Mike Masnick
Fri, Dec 23rd 2011 3:48pm
from the really? dept
Barnes & Noble recently purchased most of the Borders trademarks and intellectual property in a recent auction. As a result of this purchase, we started transitioning the Borders.com website to Barnesandnoble.com via redirects.To be honest, I absolutely could not recall ever linking to Borders, but I did some digging, and found that we did so... three and a half years ago in a post about Borders.com's last ditch attempt to try to be innovative with a different kind of home page. Because of that we linked to the front page of Borders.com. For a variety of reasons, it would be stupid to change that link. In the context of the story, it wouldn't make any sense at all.
We noticed that your site is currently linking to http://www.borders.com/online/store/Home , and I’d like to reach out and ask you to kindly update your links to the corresponding URLs on Barnesandnoble.com. We have redirects in place for many Borders.com pages, so you can use that to help you determine the correct landing pages on Barnesandnoble.com.
But all of this makes me wonder why Barnes & Noble is wasting their time sending emails to people like this. If it wants to redirect people, just set up some redirects. Don't expect everyone to drop everything and go change ancient links.
Wed, Nov 23rd 2011 1:06pm
from the learn-from-the-past dept
This type of lawsuit is really nothing new for Baidu as it has been sued in the past and prevailed in court. Those court rulings stated that merely linking to infringing content was not enough to be held liable for infringement. Why these game developers think the outcome will be any different is anyone's guess. Perhaps these game developers should look to the music industry for some tips on what should be done. After losing repeatedly to Baidu in court, three major labels decided it would be better to enter a licensing deal with Baidu. I guess those labels realized that if people were using Baidu to find music, it would be better for those fans to be pointed to legal alternatives rather than infringing services. The same could work for game developers. If they were to partner with Baidu to offer a licensed game store or download service, those people who use Baidu to find games would be able to get them directly from the developers. That is a win for everyone. Let's hope that these game developers don't enter into the same vicious six year cycle the music industry went through.
by Mike Masnick
Fri, Nov 11th 2011 5:33pm
from the that'll-work dept
Note: due to copyright restrictions this page may not be linked from other online pages.Then, at the very bottom, it says:
Copyright (c) 2005 by Encyclopedia of Globalization. Grolier Academic. All rights reserved. This page may not be linked from other online pages.And, in neither case is that accurate. You absolutely can link to it as I have just now (and above) and (what the hell) will do again (just for fun). Sorry Dr. T. Matthew Ciolek, that's just not how copyright works. You are free to block anyone who comes via referrals from other sites (or block referrals from this site specifically). You're also free not to post your content online, or to bar others from republishing it (recognizing certain legal exemptions). But, nothing in copyright law says that you can order people not to link to your work.
by Mike Masnick
Thu, Oct 20th 2011 5:00am
from the link-away dept
In a ruling this morning, the Supreme Court, once again, explained to Crookes that linking to defamatory content is not, by itself, defamatory. As the court states:
I would conclude that a hyperlink, by itself, should never be seen as “publication” of the content to which it refers.Going into more detail:
Hyperlinks are, in essence, references. By clicking on the link, readers are directed to other sources. Hyperlinks may be inserted with or without the knowledge of the operator of the site containing the secondary article. Because the content of the secondary article is often produced by someone other than the person who inserted the hyperlink in the primary article, the content on the other end of the link can be changed at any time by whoever controls the secondary page. Although the primary author controls whether there is a hyperlink and what article that word or phrase is linked to, inserting a hyperlink gives the primary author no control over the content in the secondary article to which he or she has linked....As Michael Geist highlights at the link above, the Court goes above and beyond just explaining why hyperlinks don't represent defamation, but also explains how this is fundamental to a functioning internet and the concept of free speech.
Hyperlinks thus share the same relationship with the content to which they refer as do references. Both communicate that something exists, but do not, by themselves, communicate its content. And they both require some act on the part of a third party before he or she gains access to the content. The fact that access to that content is far easier with hyperlinks than with footnotes does not change the reality that a hyperlink, by itself, is content neutral - it expresses no opinion, nor does it have any control over, the content to which it refers.
The Internet’s capacity to disseminate information has been described by this Court as “one of the great innovations of the information age” whose “use should be facilitated rather than discouraged”. Hyperlinks, in particular, are an indispensable part of its operation...The Internet cannot, in short, provide access to information without hyperlinks. Limiting their usefulness by subjecting them to the traditional publication rule would have the effect of seriously restricting the flow of information and, as a result, freedom of expression. The potential “chill” in how the Internet functions could be devastating, since primary article authors would unlikely want to risk liability for linking to another article over whose changeable content they have no control. Given the core significance of the role of hyperlinking to the Internet, we risk impairing its whole functioning. Strict application of the publication rule in these circumstances would be like trying to fit a square archaic peg into the hexagonal hole of modernity.Geist also wonders if this ruling might be expanded to cover other forms of third party liability around linking. As we've seen in the US and elsewhere, governments (and the entertainment industry) are keen to pin liability for merely linking to infringing content. While this case doesn't directly discuss infringement, if you were to take the words of the ruling and substitute in copyright, it seems like the same basic concepts should apply.
by Mike Masnick
Thu, Oct 6th 2011 11:57am
from the justice-not-served dept
Streaming Links:Now, this raises all sorts of questions. Why is the Justice Department threatening blogs like this? Was it really the Justice Department, or was it ICE (a part of Homeland Security)? What other sites have been contacted beyond SB Nation? What is the Justice Department saying to these sites and is it an accurate reflection of the law? And why don't SB Nation and other sites point out to the Justice Department that, under the DMCA safe harbors, there is a clear process for the removal of links to infringing content -- and it also provides safe harbors for the sites themselves?
This is something I'll address in a separate post, but we can no longer allow links to be posted to online streams of the Dallas Stars games. While we have yet to be contacted, other SB Nation sites have been contacted by the Department of Justice. Because our site is 'allowing' these links to be posted, we can be held liable.
My guess is that the Justice Department and ICE, via Operation In Our Sites, are trying to imply criminal copyright infringement here (otherwise, why else would the DOJ be involved?). But that's a much higher bar, and it's unlikely that a comment could be criminal copyright infringement. The link itself would have to be for profit, for starters. And while SB Nation or the site might make money, that's entirely separate from the action of the user. Either way, this is quite worrisome and seems like a massive step out of bounds by the Justice Department.
As the guy who submitted it wrote:
We fans want to watch our favorite hockey players play our favorite game. Since the NHL hasn't seemed to provide a convenient, reasonable means to watching games, "unauthorized" streaming exists. Why is the DOJ doing the NHL's dirty work? Some would argue that you can watch every NHL game on their streaming service, Center Ice. Wrong. You can't watch the team for the town you're in. You can watch everything BUT your local team. Since local teams are usually the teams that people want to watch, this renders Center Ice rather useless.But that's the idea. They seem to think that if such things are useless due to government decree, then they can pretend that the world markets are not changing.
from the come-on-twitter,-stand-up-for-your-users dept
Yet it appears that Twitter hasn't just kept up this practice, but has made it worse. There was a bit of a fuss among some popular hiphop blogs in the last few days as certain Twitter feeds connected to one such blog disappeared. That is, they didn't just take down the tweets in question, but flat out suspended the account. RapRadar, whose twitter feeds were impacted, was not at all pleased, posting this complaint on its website:
This lil blue bird keeps fuckin' with us! First you shut down our @RapRadar account cuz 50 and Em went "Psycho" and last night you wanna pull the plug on @RapRadarDotCom with no fair warning. Man, I thought it was gonna be smooth sailing like Chris Cross after a yellow nigga got verified. The kid @ElliottWilson is creepin' on 40K followers but you won't let my company breathe. This damn DMCA ain't nuthin' ta f' wit. For the record: No site has supported the consumption of music legally more than RapRadar.com. Yeah we've provided free streams from day one but no download links unless its a free release. We also link back to iTunes constantly. We play the game the right way and what do we get for it? Shit, I'm not opposed to a lil preferential treatment. Ha! Can we live?So... at this point, it looks like a totally and completely ridiculous DMCA takedown claim. Let's connect the dots:
- DMCA notice goes to Twitter, complaining about a tweet with a link in it
- Rather than pointing out that a mere link is not infringing, Twitter suspends the account
- That link doesn't even link to infringing content. Instead it links to a blog page
- That blog page doesn't even link to infringing content. Instead, it links to official free releases, official streams... and iTunes for purchases.
I reached out to Twitter to see if I could understand why they would suspend such accounts, and got a link to their DMCA policy, which states:
We respond to valid claims of alleged copyright infringement such as the unauthorized use of a copyrighted image as an account background or account avatar, or Tweets containing a link to allegedly infringing materials.But that doesn't actually respond to the issue here. These were not links to infringing material. They were links to blog posts that linked to authorized material. Furthermore, Twitter told me that they provide those who are targeted with a takedown with "all info" from the claim including "who made it." This appears to be untrue. I've now seen a few of the takedown notices and they provide no such info, which makes this worse. Twitter users are forced to respond to questionable DMCA takedown claims on links to blog posts that aren't infringing, without even knowing who is issuing the takedown.
It seems like Twitter would have really strong reasons for refusing such takedowns. Twitter could easily point out that a link to a webpage is simply not infringing, thus they're not hosting any infringing content included in the DMCA notice. Instead, it doesn't just block that single tweet but suspends an entire account? That's ridiculous overkill... and exactly what whoever is issuing the takedown notice wants. Even worse, by not providing the information on who filed the takedown, the whole process is completely blind. It's censorship by DMCA takedown with Twitter helping out. That's really unfortunate for a company that has a history of standing up to legal bullies.
by Mike Masnick
Fri, Aug 26th 2011 10:15am
RealNetworks Destroying Dutch Webmaster's Life Because He Linked To A Reverse Engineered Alternative
from the seriously? dept
However, in this case, it seems pretty clear that they've gone way too far. They sued a Dutch webmaster, Hilbrand Edskes, not because he was hosting or distributing the software, but because he had a link to the software on a webpage he maintains that lists a variety of freeware programs. It's not hard to find all sorts of sites, including big names like CNET, that still distribute Real Alternative. Yet for whatever reason, it appears Real Networks chose to go after this guy for maintaining a list of freeware programs.
Making matters even more confusing and ridiculous, is that it appears that Edskes actually did remove the link when asked. Real claims he did not, but the company who seized his computers (after a judge ordered it, following a court filing from Real) admits that the links were actually removed right after he was told to remove them, and Edskes' hosting company also confirms, via its backups, that he removed the link. But Real still saw the link at a later date due to some DNS caching... so it's pushing ahead with the lawsuit. The article details how it's already cost Edskes €66,000 in legal fees, and Real is asking for about €210,000 in fines and for its own €75,000 legal fees.
Even if Real Alternative is infringing (a claim that I think is pretty questionable in its own right), it's pretty ridiculous to then sue someone just for linking to it, and to continue to sue him even after he shows that he removed the link in question. Real Networks was famous for having some nasty business practices and for forcing crapware on people, and it seems to be continuing that trend in the legal world as well.