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Links 23/11/2013: Copyright Reform and Abuses

Posted in News Roundup at 2:38 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • Amazon to Lawmakers: Keep the Internet Open & Limit Copyright Excesses

    Speaking to members of a U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Courts subcommittee, Amazon’s vice president for global public policy has urged that potential barriers to digital content delivery should be addressed in order to ensure the development of distribution platforms. Exorbitant statutory damage awards for copyright infringement could chill innovation, the executive warned, adding that the Internet should remain a non-discriminatory and open platform to maintain consumer choice.

  • Judge Chin Reimagines “Fair Use” for the Internet Age

    Last week, Judge Denny Chin handed down the latest opinion in the now-eight year battle between Google and the Author’s Guild (among others) over Google’s massive book scanning project. If the Author’s Guild fails to overturn the Judge’s decision on appeal, it will mark an enormous watershed in the ability of Web site owners to display copyrighted works without the prior permission of the owners of those works.

    At issue was the appropriate application of the “fair use” doctrine under U.S. law to the Google project, a rationale that allows certain types of copying to be permissible that would otherwise be actionable. As applied by Judge Chin, the scope of that doctrine has seemingly been expanded by orders of magnitude. Indeed, in the case at hand, the judge has broadened its scope so dramatically that it’s difficult not to conclude that he was struggling to find sufficient legal precedents to justify a favorable outcome for Google. Many will contend that he fell short in that effort, and that his intent was instead to rebalance, if not rewrite, the doctrine itself in order to bring it into the Internet age.

  • Instagram Act: UK.gov’s latest copyright landgrab stymied – for now

    Remember the notorious ‘Instagram Act’? If you recall, clauses smuggled into April’s Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act (ERRA) – in the name of allowing reuse of orphan works – paved the way for the Government to grab your photographs and other visual images, in breach of international conventions.

    The mechanics of the scheme were promised for later in the year, to be detailed in a statutory instrument (SI).

  • Pirate Party Gets Observer Status at World Trade Organization

    Pirate Parties International (PPI), the international umbrella organization for dozens of Pirate Parties worldwide, has been granted observer status by the World Trade Organization. PPI will join a host of major international players during the upcoming conference in Bali next month. The WTO’s decision is a major breakthrough for the political organization, which hopes to influence decision making on key issues related to copyright and privacy on the Internet.

  • IOC Demands 2014 Olympics Piracy Takedowns & Blocks “Within Minutes”

    The International Olympic Committee is pushing for the most concerted effort yet to ensure that pirate coverage of the 2014 Olympic Games reaches as few unauthorized screens as possible. In order to protect four major local media companies and others internationally, the IOC has issued demands for the creation of a “rapid response team” authorized to remove or block infringing content and links “within minutes.”

  • Warner Bros. Admits To Issuing Bogus Takedowns; Gloats To Court How There’s Nothing Anyone Can Do About That

    One of the bizarre side notes to Hollywood’s big lawsuit against the cyberlocker Hotfile was a countersuit against Warner Bros. by Hotfile, for using the easy takedown tool that Hotfile had provided, to take down a variety of content that was (a) non-infringing and (b) had nothing to do with Warner Bros. at all (i.e., the company did not hold the copyright on those files). In that case, WB admitted that it filed a bunch of false takedowns, but said it was no big deal because it was all done by a computer. Of course, it then came out that at least one work was taken down by a WB employee, and that employee had done so on purpose, annoyed that JDownloader could help possible infringers download more quickly.

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