EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

04.07.14

Newegg Beats Patent Troll, Sony Becomes DMCA Troll, NSA/PRISM Dropbox Blocks Accounts Based on Suspicion

Posted in Intellectual Monopoly at 4:48 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Buildings around Sony HQ in Tokyo
Buildings around Sony HQ in Tokyo

Summary: New examples of so-called ‘IP’ being used to oppress society, censor society, and perform extensive surveillance on it

THERE IS some real criticism of the so-called “IP” (intellectual monopolies) movement these days, even in some of the corporate press. TechDirt points out that Newegg has just crushed a patent troll [1]. The problem, however, is that the media mostly tackles the issue which is trolls (tackling one patent at a time) rather than cover the real issue, which large corporations don’t want fixed (right now they lobby against patent scope reform at SCOTUS).

It’s not just about patents, either. Copyright monopolies are getting more draconian over time and according to [2,3], the company which attacks Android using patents (Sony) is now attacking Open Source films using bogus DMCA requests. Over the years we have covered many other reasons to avoid anything from Sony. Now there is yet another reason. This abuse is systematic, not an “oops”. Simon Phipps (OSI) said he had tried to upload the original video (“Sintel”) and was blocked, whereupon he appealed and asked others to do the same. British law and British politics mostly overlook these serious abuses [4] which are monopolies on ideas and works. British politicians are generally quite horrible; they serve corporations, not people. Just look how many British politicians lobbied against net neutrality in the European Parliament last week.

“What we have right now is the criminalisation of more and more digital activities which were perfectly legitimate activities before digitisation.”Not too long ago, a business of a German living in New Zealand was shut down using an illegal raid along with abuses of surveillance and police powers (and literal stealing of people’s personal and business data [5]). Dropbox, which was on the leaked PRISM slides as “coming soon” (Microsoft was first in PRISM’s slides/timeline), plays ball with those who are abusing powers [6], using suspicion alone as justification for suspension and/or censorship. This also means that Dropbox is accessing all files that people are uploading. Copyright provides/equips Dropbox with a convenient excuse for doing so, showing again that copyright, surveillance and censorship typically go hand in hand. Dropbox is definitely something to boycott (better now than later).

The world needs to learn how to share. Corporations need to learn how to cooperate. What we have right now is the criminalisation of more and more digital activities which were perfectly legitimate activities before digitisation.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Newegg and friends crush a patent troll

    MacroSolve is a company that got a lot of (generally negative) attention when it turned full-blown “patent troll” in 2011, suing dozens of companies (including small app development shops) over patent No. 7,822,816, which it claims covers using questionnaires on a mobile app.

    Now, a coalition of defendants led by Newegg and Geico Insurance has stopped MacroSolve in its tracks. MacroSolve has dismissed all remaining cases, and it has admitted that it can’t proceed to go forward with a trial that was scheduled to take place this June in East Texas.

  2. Sony issues fraudulent takedown for Blender’s open source movie
  3. Sony Demands Removal of Open-Source Indie Short ‘Sintel’ From YouTube

    Sony Pictures has demanded the removal of the CGI short film Sintel from YouTube due to a claim of copyright infringement. One small problem: they don’t actually own anything in the film.

    Sintel, a film by Colin Levy which has been featured before on Cartoon Brew, was created by the Blender Foundation, the non-profit organization which promotes the free, open source 3D software Blender. The crowdfunded short was made using entirely original materials, and was licensed as Creative Commons Attribution 3.0, which means that anyone can freely share the movie.

  4. Defend your digital rights in the European elections this May

    While Nigel Farage and Nick Clegg kicked around old political footballs like immigration on Wednesday night, there was a glaring omission from the debate: digital rights.

  5. 1,103 Megaupload Servers Gather Dust at Virginia Warehouse

    Millions of users lost access to their personal files when Megaupload was raided, and there’s little chance that they will have them returned in the near future. Despite efforts from both Megaupload and its former hosting company to negotiate a solution, the servers are still gathering dust in a Virginia warehouse.

  6. Dropbox will block if you shared ‘pirated’ files

    A tweet that appeared late last night took everyone by surprise. The tweet talked about a DMCA notice that blocked a file from being shared on a Dropbox user’s account.

04.04.14

Copyrights and Reform News

Posted in Intellectual Monopoly at 6:59 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • Copyright Reform: We’re Getting Somewhere

    A spokesperson for BIS (the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills), commented on the reforms, saying, “One of these measures is copyright exception for archiving and preserving. The existing preservation exception will be updated to apply to all types of media and to museums and galleries, as well as libraries and archives.”

  • Police Prepare to Place Banner Ads on Pirate Sites
  • Saudi Arabia Government Blocks The Pirate Bay (and More)

    The Saudi Arabian Ministry of Culture and Information has blocked access to The Pirate Bay, for reasons yet unknown. In addition to the notorious torrent site, Torrentz.eu, Rarbg and possibly several others are blocked too. As always, local users are already discussing ways to work around the restrictions.

  • De La Soul X BitTorrent Bundle: Smell the DA.I.S.Y.

    In 1989, a little known group from New York released an album that would change the course of hip hop. De La Soul’s 3 Feet High and Rising sounded like nothing else: spoken word, skit, and psychedelia; sampled exhaustively, sampled from life. 25 years in, it sounds all the more remarkable. It sounds like the Internet.

  • Civil Rights Lawyer To Fight U.S. Govt. in Internet Piracy Case

    Two individuals accused of millions of dollars worth of Android piracy signed plea agreements with the U.S. Government last week, but at least one other defendant has different things in mind. With the hiring of a “much-feared civil rights lawyer”, the former operator of Applanet is going on the offensive against the DOJ.

  • Prenda Law stunner: “Porn trolls” win a round, dodge sanctions

    It’s been almost a year since US District Judge Otis Wright issued a sanction order repudiating the lawyers behind the “copyright trolling” organization known as Prenda Law. Since then, several other judges have pounded Prenda with expensive sanction orders. Just last week, Paul Hansmeier, Paul Duffy, and John Steele—the three lawyers commonly linked to Prenda—were found to be in contempt of a devastating sanction order won by AT&T and Comcast.

03.26.14

Law No Longer Matters When it Comes to Copyrights, as the Copyright Monopoly is Above the Law, Uses Anti-Terrorism Instruments

Posted in Intellectual Monopoly, Law at 4:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Counterterrorism becomes terrorism

Apache raid

Summary: More new examples of the draconian and unthinkable state of copyright law and especially its enforcement, which now co-opts anti-terror laws

A READER has diverted our attention to “secret evidence in NZ courts,” in reference to [1] and [2]. Read [3] (a news site not blocked by default by some British ISPs, unlike [1,2]). It’s amazing. Here we have not just SWAP-type raiders being used by the copyright monopoly (Hollywood) but also secrecy laws, clearly confusing/conflating terrorism with copyright allegations. What have we come to?! Copyright allegations are now equated not just with “piracy” (misnomer) but with “terrorism”. Also see [4] for ransom/bounty examples; monetary rewards are put on the heads of alleged copyright infringers. If some of these alleged copyright infringers are suitable to run for European Parliament [5], then surely they are not as bad as pirates or terrorists. A “European Pirate Party” may well be on its way [6] as reforms for copyright law are sought. Groups like Chilling Effects [7] and the British Open Rights Group also join such efforts [8-10], boosted to some degree by some recent court cases [11], including the billion-dollar YouTube lawsuit against Google [12,13]. Just watch how copyright continues to induce censorship inside Google [14]; and it’s spiraling out of control (“Google Takedown Notices Surge 711,887 Percent in Four Years”). Does anyone think this really makes sense?

When copyright infringement (or allegation thereof) is treated as an offence as serious as terrorism it should be rather clear that the law is broken and needs fixing.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Sssh! Dotcom’s Use of Twitter Problematic, Court Told

    Days after the Supreme Court denied Kim Dotcom access to evidence held by the FBI, the Megaupload founder’s legal team were back in court seeking other documents in connection with a compensation claim. During the hearing, however, a Crown lawyer took the opportunity to complain about Dotcom’s use of Twitter.

  2. Supreme Court Denies Kim Dotcom Access to U.S. Evidence

    Kim Dotcom and his alleged Megaupload co-conspirators have been denied access to the evidence gathered by U.S. authorities against them. Megaupload’s legal team argued that this information is essential to mount a solid defense, but the Supreme Court ruled that full disclosure is not required under New Zealand law.

  3. Kim Dotcom loses key evidence ruling at NZ Supreme Court

    Dotcom and his lawyers have lost a bid to force the United States to show them the evidence they plan to use in making their argument that he should be extradited. The Supreme Court of New Zealand published a 123-page ruling today, detailing their decision that the US isn’t required to hand over to Dotcom and his lawyers copies of the documents it refers to in its arguments.

  4. WWE Lawyer Offers Gifts to Obtain Streaming Pirate’s Home Address

    World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) “apologized” last week to a streaming links site owner for wrongfully taking down his Facebook page on copyright grounds. On offer was a compensatory WWE gift bag, but it quickly became clear that nicely wrapped presents were probably the last thing the wrestling outfit had in mind.

  5. Pirate Bay Founder Gets Ready to Run for European Parliament

    In two months time citizens of all European Union member states will vote on who can represent them in the European Parliament. Pirate Parties will join the election race In several countries, with Finland having the most prominent candidate in Pirate Bay founder Peter Sunde, who is also picked by the European Pirate Party as candidate for the European Commission presidency.

  6. My Address To The European Pirates

    This weekend, hundreds of pirates from all over Europe gathered in the European Parliament to formally found the European Pirate Party. It was an amazing gathering of determined activists, many of which were absolutely electrified at realizing the sheer scale of this movement, seeing 400 of Europe’s brightest activists gathering for the occasion. I had the honor of giving one of the opening keynotes (below).

  7. Copyright Alliance Attacks ChillingEffects.org As ‘Repugnant,’ Wants DMCA System With No Public Accountability

    Sandra Aistars of the Copyright Alliance issued a statement during the recent DMCA-related hearing in front of the House Judiciary Committee. As was noted earlier, a bunch of effort was made to turn the “notice and takedown” system into a “notice and stay down” system, and weirdly, the word “free” was thrown about as if it was synonymous with “infringement.”

  8. Will ‘voluntary’ copyright enforcement protect users’ rights?

    It is approaching four years since the Digital Economy Act was passed, and still measures within it to deal with individuals alleged to have infringed copyright have not been implemented. It’s an Act that was so poorly conceived, planned and written that it has proven almost impossible to implement in practice.

  9. Why UK copyright reform is needed

    It is fitting that last week heralded the 25th anniversary of the foundation of the Web. It is also 25 years since the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act received Royal Assent. Since 1989, the Internet and other types of new technology have changed the world dramatically. The copyright framework needs to reflect these changes and fit with the digital world so that information is preserved, respect for the law is regained and opportunities are not lost to competitor countries who have more flexible frameworks.

  10. Bingo and beer spoofs show that our copyright laws are a joke

    Unlike Germany, France, the Netherlands, Australia and the USA, the UK does not have an exception from copyright law for parody. This means that thousands of us are engaging in illegal activity everyday. Upload a film of you singing Adele’s Someone Like You, create a Downfall spoof or make a meme based on a well-known advert, and you’re infringing copyright law.

  11. Judge Highlights Bogus Collusion By ASCAP, Publishers In Rejecting Their Attempt To Jack Up Pandora’s Rates

    Last month, we wrote about the rate court fight between ASCAP and Pandora as ASCAP attempted to massively increase Pandora’s rates through moves that were quite clearly collusive. ASCAP had already lost an earlier ruling showing that it had violated its consent decree by letting publishers selectively remove certain works in order to force Pandora into paying much, much higher rates. However, the details of ASCAP and the publishers’ deception became much clearer during the rate court battle. Last week, the judge handed ASCAP a huge loss, keeping the rate where it had been, at 1.85%, rather than jacking it up to ASCAP’s requested 3%.

  12. Billion-Dollar YouTube Suit Ends With a Whimper
  13. Viacom, Google settle long-running YouTube copyright lawsuit

    Ending a long-running legal battle, search giant Google has settled a landmark copyright lawsuit in which Viacom, the parent company of such television networks as MTV, Comedy Central, and Nickelodeon, accused the former of posting its films and television shows on YouTube without permission.

  14. Google Takedown Notices Surge 711,887 Percent in Four Years

03.19.14

Reforming Copyrights and Challenging Copyrights Stigma With Free/Libre Software

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Intellectual Monopoly at 4:27 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Freedom revolutionises not only software

Revolution OS

Summary: How the “Revolution OS” (GNU/Linux) and Free software in general help change perceptions around copyrights

LAST NIGHT when watching “Revolution OS” (again) I was reminded of the connection between software freedom and copyrights, more so than patents. In fact, the movie hardly mentions patents at all. This movie, which is in principle copyrighted and is not free to watch, remains on Google’s YouTube. There was no takedown request on the face of it — probably a conscious decision in fact from the makers of a movie that’s centred around Richard Stallman and the FSF’s role, with big mentions (but not too big) of Linux. If it wasn’t immediately available on YouTube, my wife and I would not have watched it. This is one of those cases where copyright maximalism proves to be counter-productive. Permissive copyright policy leads to free publicity and it helps reaching those who have pricing and availability issues (official link for ordering the DVD). The Internet has changed many things, so laws need to adapt accordingly — according to people’s needs that is.

“Public domain means any use allowed,” says iophk about [1], “even distasteful or commercial ones.” What we increasingly find is that copyright law changes, and it typically changes to benefit corporations (very rich people), not 99% or more of the world’s population. This trend ought to change and it all starts with education because there is plenty of indoctrination out there, even in state-funded schools. At Apple, shows a new article [2], the idea that “copying is theft” gets explicitly promoted. This is wrong. And since Apple has been “shamelessly copying” many other companies, according to Steve Jobs himself, that may simply imply that Apple itself if a “thief”, based on Apple’s own standards. If lies are manufactured and promoted as “Truth”, then justice will never triumph.

Right now there is a struggle between politicians who serve corporations’ interests in copyrights (and parrot propaganda [3]) and those who are doing the opposite [4] (yes, they exist, but they are a minority in politics). Earlier this month we saw several stories about censorship using “copyrights” [5,6], where the claims of copyrights themselves were bogus (fraudulent piggybacking on DMCA). This in itself is a breach of human rights and free speech. It’s a serious case demonstrating how broken today’s copyright laws are, especially Hollywood export like the DMCA.

Last week Red Hat dedicated at least 2 articles to permissive licensing that challenge copyrights [7,8]. OpenSource.com itself has just embraced the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0. That’s fantastic. It wasn’t really surprising, however, because wherever Free software goes there tends to be an atmosphere of sharing and collaboration. The licences on text tend to be liberal and minimally restrictive (usually just attribution is needed).

This leads us to the final case of point. Last week we mentioned a new application called “Popcorn Time”. It is basically an application for streaming videos over torrent. Nice idea; friendly to networks (reduces loads on backbones), privacy-preserving, robust, and decentralised. What’s not to like?

What’s not to like? It’s competition for the copyright cartel/monopoly.

Not too shockingly, the developers abandoned the project just days later [9] (reasons not known), but it soon got embraced by other developers [10], only to be portrayed as “Netflix for piracy” by corporate British press the following day [11]. Remember that here in Britain ISPs are now being pushed to block (censor) almost everything which even challenges the status quo on copyrights. Even new sites like TorrentFreak get censored by some ISPs like Sky.

What we really need right now is a challenge to the stigma that torrents are all about copyright infringement, that FOSS is facilitating copyright infringement, and generally that decentralised communication, which makes surveillance difficult for the likes of NSA and GCHQ, is somehow for “terrorists” or “paedophiles”, as the copyright cartel wants people to believe.

After the events surrounding Popcorn Time we should become better aware that copyright law — not just patent law — remains a serious threat to software freedom. We gave other examples of this before.

According to OpenSource.com, “vague patents” are now under threat again because the SCOTUS is taking another look at them. To quote: “You’ve probably realized this by now, but the Supreme Court is having a very busy term when it comes to patent cases. In Nautilus, Inc. v. Biosig Instruments, Inc.—scheduled for oral argument on April 28—the Court will consider whether to hold vague patents to a more exacting standard.” There are other such ongoing cases at the SCOTUS, but when will copyright law, including failures such as the DMCA (widely abused), be challenged at this high level?

Intellectual Monopoly as a whole (“Revolution OS” sparingly uses the term “Intellectual Property”) is a real problem; it is all about protectionism and it retards society.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Sweden Invokes Little-Known ‘Perpetual Copyright’ Clause Against Mercedes Ad

    Sweden has invoked a previously-unknown “Perpetual Copyright” clause against carmaker Mercedes-Benz, who recited a public-domain work by the poet Boye in a recent ad. The legal threat was brought by the Swedish Academy, which is tasked with overseeing the clause. This has severe chilling effect on culture even 70 years past an artists’ death.

  2. Copying is theft of hours and hours of struggle, says Apple’s Jony Ive

    In a detailed interview with the Sunday Times, he said, “Copying is theft … what’s copied isn’t just a design, it’s thousands and thousands of hours of struggle. It’s only when you’ve achieved what you set out to do that you can say, ‘This was worth pursuing.’ It takes years of investment, years of pain.” The sharp views on copying followed when he was indirectly asked about its competitor (read: Samsung) mimicking the work of his team.

  3. Lawmakers Get Caught Parroting Copyright Lobby

    Last year Finland wrote history after it became the first country to vote on a “fairer” copyright law, crowd-sourced by the public. Now that the vote is near, several lawmakers have warned against the disastrous effects of the proposal, by parroting a memo handed to them by the copyright lobby.

  4. Digital Rights and Dismal Governments – Senator Scott Ludlam
  5. Time to Punish DMCA Takedown Abusers, WordPress Owners Say
  6. Chilling Effects DMCA Archive is ‘Repugnant’, Copyright Group Says

    If it wasn’t for the Chilling Effects DMCA clearing house the actions of those abusing the DMCA would go largely unreported. Still, the Copyright Alliance doesn’t like the site, this week describing the information resource as “repugnant” to the DMCA. Unsurprisingly, Chilling Effects sees things differently.

  7. Recording open culture songs

    My friend Mary, a folk singer, stopped by to visit spontaneously this evening. “What are you up to?” she inquired.

    “I’m recording a music video for a new folk song,” I explained. “The Firefox Phone was announced last week, so I need to compose a song about it.”

  8. Opensource.com now using Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International license

    Opensource.com is now using the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International license as our preferred license for all original content. You are still responsible for ensuring that you have the necessary permission to reuse any work on this site.

  9. Popcorn Time Is Dead

    Hollywood won. The open source project called Popcorn Time is dead after just four days. It’s not really surprising.

    “Popcorn Time is shutting down today. Not because we ran out of energy, commitment, focus or allies. But because we need to move on with our lives,” reads the website and a post on Medium.

  10. Popcorn Time Is Back

    YTS developer Jduncanator told TorrentFreak that they are in a better position from a copyright standpoint because it’s built on their API. “It’s as if we have built another interface to our website. We are no worse off managing the project than we would be just supplying the movies. It’s our vision at YTS that we see through projects like these and that just because they create a little stir in the public, it doesn’t mean they are shut down.”

  11. Popcorn Time: ‘Netflix for piracy’ back up and running after going open-source

    Popcorn Time’s closure lasted just two days, with the site allowing users to watch movies free online being picked up by other developers.

03.12.14

Copyright News: EU Copyright Consultation Not Serious, Google ‘Gets’ It on Copyrights

Posted in Europe, Intellectual Monopoly at 3:38 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

CDR

Summary: Realisation that data can and will be copied, and the building of copyright law to accommodate this new reality

THE EU copyright consultation [1] seems to have become somewhat of a charade [2] or an act of publicity and not much more [3] as “it appears that this is exactly the approach that the Commission is intent to pursue: promoting the interests of one particular tree (content producers) even if this comes at the cost of killing or damaging the rest of the forest.” Reaching out to the public helps promote the perception of serving the public while doing exactly the opposite at the end. Real copyright reformists in Europe are meanwhile being treated worse than murderers and rapists [4]. While some entities, including Getty Images [5], try to reform in preparation for a new age of abundance, others continue to fight the reality of the Net [6,7,8,9,10], seeking to just criminalise everything rather than legalise and adequately embrace. One European activism site says that “EU Commission Must Rapidly Publish Responses to Consultation” [11], paving the way to a much-needed copyright reform [12] in the age of copyright trolling [13] and censorship using copyright law (more on that in the next post). “There is significant, credible evidence emerging that online piracy is primarily an availability and pricing problem,” Google states. [14] Well done for saying it.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Last Chance to Submit to EU Copyright Consultation
  2. Does The European Commission Really Think The Internet Is A ‘Value Tree’ That Requires A ‘Transmission Belt Of Euros’?

    Optimists might see the extra time as a sign that the Commission is genuinely interested in gathering as wide a range of public views on this subject as possible. But a post from Paul Keller raises the possibility that this is just window-dressing, and that it has already made up its mind about what it will do on copyright regardless of what the public thinks

  3. No the Internet is not a ‘value tree’

    In recent weeks officials at the European Commission’s Internal Market and Services Directorate General (which is in charge of copyright policy) have been passing around this diagram of what they call the ‘Internet Ecosystem value tree’…

    [...]

    We need a departure from the one-size-fits-all approach of traditional copyright towards a system that is more flexible and better adapted to the needs of all stakeholders. This includes professional content creators and distributors who need adequate levels of protection for their works, educators and cultural heritage institutions who need more freedoms to do their work in the digital realm, and also end users and researchers who should not have to fear that making use of the Internet will turn them into copyright infringers.

    A first step towards ensuring that copyright positively enables all of these outcomes would be to increase the scope of user rights (through updating the existing list of copyright exceptions) and to make copyright more flexible (through the introduction of a fair-use type exception). In the long run this will mean simplifying the way copyright works, and ensuring that copyright protection is only granted where it is necessary (or wanted by the creators).

    Looking after the interests of all trees in the Internet Ecosystem is also in the interest of the particular value tree that the Commission seems to care so much about. If the copyright rules continue to hinder those online activities that are not primarily motivated by a transmissions belt of €s, copyright will lose legitimacy and be detrimental primarily to those who rely on the protections offered by copyright law.

  4. Pirate Bay Founder’s Detention Extended Based on “New Evidence”

    Pirate Bay founder Gottfrid Svartholm’s custody has been extended for four more weeks after the court reviewed new evidence. The prosecution presented an encrypted container found on Svartholm’s computer which links him to the CSC hack, but according to his lawyer this doesn’t rule out that someone else carried out the hacks remotely.

  5. Getty Images opens treasure trove to bloggers, tweeters

    Looking for free, high-quality images for your blog or other noncommercial uses? Getty Images has begun using social media and personal sites as a way of drawing attention to its licensable images.

  6. NBC Crows About Thwarting 45,000 ‘Illegal’ Olympic Videos, Ignores The Fact That It Drove Users To Them
  7. Police Raid “Movie Cammer” and Family Twice – Then Drop All Charges
  8. VPN Users ‘Pirating’ Netflix Scare TV Networks

    TV networks in Australia are expressing fresh concern that local viewers are ‘pirating’ Netflix with help from VPN services. Officially unavailable Down Under, Netflix reportedly has up to 200,000 Aussie subscribers who evade geo-blocking mechanisms to happily pay for the service.

    [...]

    Naturally there are no official figures on how many people watch Netflix this way but estimates range from 20,000 up to 200,000 subscribers. Highlighting how the TV networks view these people, an article this morning in News Corp-owned The Australian went as far as labeling subscribers as “pirates”, even though they are paying for the service.

  9. ‘Domains by Proxy’ Hands Over Personal Details of “Pirate” Site Owner

    To shield their identities from the public, many site owners use domain privacy services. Domains by Proxy is one of the most used services in this niche, but the operator of a linking site found out that it’s far from secure. Responding to an inquiry from the Motion Picture Association, the company shared his personal details.

  10. International Music Organizations Claim Aereo Must Be Illegal Because Of International Trade Agreements

    For many years, we’ve highlighted how copyright maximalists have abused the international trade process to expand copyright monopolies around the globe. If you’re interested in the history there, I highly recommend the book Information Feudalism: Who Owns the Knowledge Economy?, which details much of the history. Defenders of this policy love to pretend that international trade agreements can’t bind US law, but reality is quite different. Time and time again, we’ve seen maximalists use international agreements to get their way either in ratcheting up copyright law even further, or pressuring courts into certain positions. This is one of the reasons (one of many) that we’re so concerned about new agreements like the TPP and TTIP/TAFTA. Even if the USTR claims (incorrectly) that nothing in them goes beyond US law today, they can not only limit the changes Congress can make to copyright and patent law, but these issues can show up in court cases, potentially hindering innovation.

  11. Copyright Reform: EU Commission Must Rapidly Publish Responses to Consultation

    Paris, 7 March 2014 — The European Commission’s Public Consultation on the review of EU copyright rules closed on 5 March 2014 (LQDN’s answer). It is now essential for the Commission to publish as soon as possible all responses to ensure a transparent policy-making process.

  12. Outdated copyright laws must adapt to the new digital age

    The ways that we create and consume culture has fundamentally changed with the digital revolution and the rise of the internet, making it increasingly difficult to distinguish between the producers of content on one side and consumers on the other – says Maël Brunet

  13. News Editor Copyright Trolls Pirating Political Party – and Gets Paid

    To draw attention to “broken” copyright law, the editor of a popular news site turned the tables on a leading German political party. Finding the government’s Social Democratic Party using a Creative Commons work without permission, he sent them a troll-style settlement demand – and got paid.

  14. Google: Piracy is An Availability and Pricing Problem

    In a recommendation to the Australian Government, Google warns that draconian anti-piracy measures could prove counterproductive. Instead, the Government should promote new business models. “There is significant, credible evidence emerging that online piracy is primarily an availability and pricing problem,” Google states.

03.03.14

The Continued Occupation of US ‘Trade’ by Microsoft- and Monopolies-backed Entities Like BSA

Posted in Intellectual Monopoly at 6:20 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Corruption in the process which synthesises draconian laws whose only purpose is to protect monopolies, including the copyright monopoly

“Nice animation,” calls it Glyn Moody, “makes bias clear” (referring to this visualisation). So it seems like the BSA is now officially well inside the insidious panels that try to take everything from the public and pass everything to few plutocrats, under the guise of “free” “trade”. The Hill described the latest addition, namely Robert Holleyman, as “a former software trade group lobbyist for a top trade office.” President Obama has just nominated him, which shows what side Obama and Biden are really on. There is already interpretation of the news [1], which in many people’s views helps show (yet again) that policy around copyright, patents, etc. has nothing to do with public interests. Suffice to say, the corporate media does not cover this [2] (or hardly ever does) and only few voices of reasons do give it coverage in the corporate media [3]; they even slam the TPP, albeit too gently. Here in the UK, some shamelessly-named “Intellectual Property” Office [4] continues to distract from a policy which favours public interests, leaving it to sites that British ISPs are blocking by default (TorrentFreak, or the people’s voice, is not allowed) to speak some sanity [5-10] and also cover [11] the latest case of abuse of copyrights [12-15] (Professor Lessig has just won).

When it comes to copyrights, patents and all those other plutocrats-leaning laws, just remember that there is a war being fought against the people, ensuring that everything that’s ours if no longer ours, using some pixie dust which is draconian laws. We are never really part of making those laws; lobbyists of companies make up these laws, sometimes in secret. This massive injustice rarely receives press coverage because owners of the media have vested (multiple but aligning) interests.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Revolving Door: Obama Nominates Copyright Maximalist Lobbyist To Deputy USTR Position

    We recently highlighted the massive problem of the revolving door between the USTR’s office and various patent and copyright maximalist organizations. One example of this was Victoria Espinel, a former USTR official (and then IP Enforcement Coordinator — better known as the IP Czar), who went on to become the head of the Business Software Alliance (BSA), the maximalist lobbying/trade group that is basically a voice for Microsoft, IBM and Adobe’s copyright maximalist positions. Espinel’s predecessor in the job was Robert Hollyeman, who lead the BSA for two decades, during which time it became well known for its preposterous studies equating every infringing copy to a lost sale.

  2. As TPP Opposition Soars, Corporate Media Blackout Deafening

    Opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership—dubbed ‘NAFTA on steroids’—is receiving unprecedented popular opposition and nearly no news coverage by major outlets

  3. No Big Deal

    And you know what? That’s O.K. It’s far from clear that the T.P.P. is a good idea. It’s even less clear that it’s something on which President Obama should be spending political capital. I am in general a free trader, but I’ll be undismayed and even a bit relieved if the T.P.P. just fades away.

  4. Government response to consultation on EU copyright rules
  5. RapidShare Stops Washington Lobbying Efforts and Regains Pirate Stamp

    Popular file-hosting service RapidShare has stopped its lobbying efforts in Washington. The company invested over a million dollars in recent years to upgrade its image, an effort that initially paid off. However, just a few months after RapidShare’s lobbyists left Washington and despite huge changes to the company’s operations, the U.S. Government has now rebranded the service as a notorious market.

  6. RIAA Accuses Grooveshark of Making Piracy a Job Requirement

    In the long-running case of the RIAA versus music-streaming service Grooveshark, the major labels have this week asked the court for summary judgment in their favor. They claim that Grooveshark’s founders instructed employees to upload as much infringing content as possible, even making that a job requirement. Evidence proving greater levels of infringement was subsequently destroyed, the labels say.

  7. Why YouTube’s Automated Copyright Takedown System Hurts Artists
  8. Why Is The Copyright Monopoly Necessary, Anyway?

    The copyright industry is amazing at pretending the copyright monopoly has always been there in its current form. But international copyright monopolies didn’t exist in practice across the Western world before 1989.

  9. Google Downranks The Pirate Bay in Search Results

    Google is downranking The Pirate Bay’s website in its search results for a wide variety of queries, some of which are not linked to copyright-infringing content. Interestingly, the change mostly seems to affect TPB results via the Google.com domain, not other variants such as Google.ca and Google.co.uk.

  10. World’s Largest BitTorrent Trackers Suffer Prolonged Downtime

    The two largest BitTorrent trackers on the Internet have been down for a few days, and will remain offline for another week. The tracker owners are performing maintenance and replacing hardware to cope with the billions of connection requests they get each day. Interestingly enough, most casual BitTorrent users are completely unaware of the prolonged downtime.

  11. Lawrence Lessig Wins Damages For Bogus YouTube Takedown

    Law professor, Creative Commons co-founder and advocate for copyright reform Lawrence Lessig has agreed to receive damages from an Australian music label. Without considering fair use Liberation wrongly had some of Lessig’s work removed from YouTube and threatened to sue – it didn’t go well.

  12. Label Threatening Larry Lessig With Insane Infringement Claim Over Fair Use Video Caves In, Pays Up

    Last summer, we wrote about what appeared to be a suicidal Australian record label, Liberation Music, which issued a DMCA claim (after first having a disputed ContentID claim) on a classic presentation by famed professor (and copyright/fair use expert) Larry Lessig, in which he discusses fair use and creativity, using as an example, some clips that made use of the song “Lisztomania” by the band Phoenix. Liberation holds the Australian (not US) rights to that song, but still went DMCA crazy. Lessig filed a counter-notice and Liberation (again, apparently having no idea what it was doing) sent Lessig a letter saying that it would be filing a copyright infringement lawsuit against him if he didn’t retract his counter-notice. The whole thing was bizarre. It was as if whoever was doing all of this at Liberation Music was unaware of basic copyright law, the concept of fair use, how the DMCA works and (most importantly) who Larry Lessig is. In response, Lessig did the appropriate thing and filed for declaratory judgment and (more importantly) sought damages under section 512(f) of the DMCA, the nearly toothless clause of the DMCA that lets victims of bogus takedowns seek damages. As we’ve been pointing out for years 512(f) is almost entirely useless because courts almost never enforce it — and we hoped that with such a clear cut case, we might finally get a good 512(f) ruling on the books.

  13. Australian music label Liberation to pay damages to Harvard professor Lawrence Lessig in copyright battle

    An Australian music label has agreed to pay damages to a Harvard law professor after it threatened to sue him for using a popular song in a YouTube video lecture.

  14. A Win For Fair Use After Record Label, Copyright Lawyer Settle

    An Australian record label that threatened to sue one of the world’s most famous copyright attorneys for infringement has reached a settlement with him.

    The settlement includes an admission that Lawrence Lessig, a Harvard Law School professor, had the right to use a song by the band Phoenix.

  15. Phoenix Side With Lawrence Lessig On “Lisztomania” Fair Use Lawsuit

    LL’s video was, of course, in defense of free-use and used my video as an example (my original video that once had millions of views and is now stuck in a reuploaded YT purgatory, but I’ll get to that). My little bad-quality joke of a video spawned a life of its own in numerous live-action remakes, which is incredible. And Lessig – a Harvard copywright lawyer – was using it in speeches as an example.

02.20.14

Anti-’Terror’ Squads for the War on Sharing

Posted in Intellectual Monopoly at 11:58 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: The state-sanctioned forces are being (mis)used to crack down on those who are challenging the real criminals, even when it comes to copyright

ON NUMEROUS occasions before we covered the war on digital sharing, which has basically justified surveillance, back doors, classification of particular software as “illegal” and certain digital data as “theft” or whatever. What we have here is a war waged by corporations and governments (those in power) on the increasingly connected and digitalised population. It’s neo-feudalism, or put more simply: digital oppression.

One story that we covered before was the violent raid on Kim Dotcom’s house. As expected, and as we saw in Britain just now (regarding David Miranda), those in power give a stamp of approval to violent/fearsome overreach (zealous actions) that misuse the label “terrorism” to basically harass, imprison, strip, rob, discredit and terrify or not terrorise law-abiding citizens whom those in power don’t like. In New Zealand, the disgraceful raids have just been given a blessing by a state-controlled court [1] and the host sued [2] as if merely hosting a sharing site (which was not even found guilty of anything) makes one a criminal. Another new report from New Zealand [3] shows that the US lobby (copyright monopoly/cartel) is currently making appalling new moves in Australia, threatening to make copyright infringement (meaning downloading, e.g. to cache, a copyrighted image in the browser) the equivalent of some kind of crime like substance abuse. This is beyond disgusting, it’s corruption. The system is corrupt and it’s clear who it is serving. The oligarchs, people who manage from their Manhattan apartments a conglomerate like CBS (a US-based propaganda channel/network), pretend that there is some issue like “struggling” networks [5] at stake even when the numbers contradict these claims and then, arguing that they fight for survival, they are fighting against free speech, dissemination of information, and free culture. It’s class war. It’s a war against people.

If there was justice there would be raids. Those Manhattan apartments would be raided and those behind the copyright cartel would be put in prison for many years for colluding, conspiring, and abusing state powers. No government (with army and police) should exist for the purpose of delivering corporate welfare and corporal punishment against innocent citizens.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Kim Dotcom Raid Warrants Legal, Court of Appeal Rules

    The New Zealand Court of Appeal has this morning ruled that the search warrants used by police during the raid on Kim Dotcom’s mansion contained errors, but were valid.

  2. LeaseWeb Sued For Hosting Megaupload and Other “Pirate” Websites

    Megaupload’s former hosting provider LeaseWeb has been sued for copyright infringement at a federal court in California. A complaint filed by adult magazine publisher Perfect 10 accuses the hosting provider of servicing several “pirate” websites. The publisher also holds LeaseWeb liable for the infringements of Megaupload, demanding up to $188 million in damages.

  3. Pat Pilcher: Aussies to get three strikes law and Internet blockade?

    The Aussies are looking at an Internet blockade and setting up a 3 strikes law as the Abbott Government seeks to crack down on piracy.

    The move was signalled by Aussie Attorney-General George Brandis, who said he would make ISPs block access to piracy related websites and set up a 3 strikes law.

  4. CBS Admits Aereo Supreme Court Win Wouldn’t Hurt CBS, Might Make Things Better For Everybody

    Last year CBS joined a number of broadcasters in whining incessantly about how if Aereo was allowed to continue living, the “struggling” networks would be forced to pull their content from over the air broadcasts and move to cable. It’s part of a long, long history of broadcasters pretending that if things don’t go just they way they want them to, they’ll surely go out of business. The threat to pull broadcasts was aimed at scaring Congress into passing protectionist legislation, and as we noted at the time it’s something CBS should just shut up and do — given the public could probably come up for better uses for their spectrum.

02.17.14

Proprietary Software Turns Users Into Informants Against Their Neighbours

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Intellectual Monopoly at 6:12 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: An example of anti-social aspects of proprietary software and a look at recent news about intellectual monopolies that go way too far

ONE of the best examples of anti-social behaviour is Facebook, where people are basically carrying out surveillance on their friends, family, colleagues, etc. and then send it in image/video/text form to authorities and to other people. This may be counter-intuitive given the marketing with “social” theme, but that’s what it is. Taking this even further, the Apple- and Microsoft-backed front group BSA is now offering useds [sic] of Facebook money to rat on their ‘friends’ who may be using proprietary software without a licence. As TorrentFreak (a news site banned for some people in the UK, thanks to ever-increasing government censorship) has put it: “The Business Software Alliance, a trade group representing Adobe, Apple and Microsoft, is offering hard cash to Facebook users who report businesses that use unlicensed software. The anti-piracy group is running an ad-campaign luring people with the prospect of a “free” ski-trip.”

This is what proprietary software does to people. It sure seems like proprietary software promotes behaviour that alienates oneself, leaving people suspicious of one another and generally divided. Hopefully, now that Windows turns into a security threat to many (not just back doors), more people will turn to Free software through GNU/Linux. Not only XP users are being deserted. Vista users too are left out in the cold. There is news related to this. “Microsoft confirms both IE9 and IE10 contain vulnerability, urges customers to upgrade to IE11; leaves Vista users out in the cold,” Gregg Keizer writes. This is yet another example of neglect — a common symptom of proprietary software. Users are pressured to pay through the nose for an upgrade (or “die”).

There is clearly something wrong with this current system where copyright makes the singing of “Happy Birthday” an infringement [1] and even linking to a site an infringement (this is challenged by EU reforms [2] and court cases [3,4]) right now). In the US, which is run by the copyright monopoly [5] (at a legislative level), the military is trademarking everything [6,7] and the telecoms cartel trademarks even colours [8]. All sorts of trade deals are only threatening to make things worse (e.g. expansion to Europe), but fortunately the push back against the Trans-Pacific Partnership, for example, is proving to be effective [9].

A society of few proprietor and many people who are by design “infringers” (similar to incarcerating by wide classification like that of the “War on Drugs”) is a society of selected rulers and many slaves. We need to reject proprietary software and we need to encourage or promote a culture of increased sharing. It’s an ethical matter. It improves co-existence/cooperation and speeds up advancement.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. “Happy Birthday” copyright defense: Those “words” and “text” are ours

    There may be no song more widely sung in America than “Happy Birthday,” but it isn’t free to sing. Warner/Chappell music licensing, which has long claimed copyright to the words, typically dings filmmakers and TV producers a few thousand bucks for a “synchronization license” any time the song is used in video. Warner reported that by the 1990s the “Happy Birthday” licensing enterprise was pulling in upwards of $2 million annually.

  2. European Commission Public Consultation on Copyright: La Quadrature du Net’s Answer

    The European Commission’s public consultation on copyright reform is open until 5 March [The European Commission extended the deadline by a month]. This consultation represents an important opportunity for European citizens to demand that access to culture and knowledge be recognised as their fundamental right. It also allows the interests of authors and creators to be defended against those of the cultural industries, major distributors and intermediaries, and heirs of rightholders who currently receive the greatest share of income from copyrighted works. La Quadrature du Net therefore calls on the maximum number of citizens and organisations to reply to the consultation and support a positive reform of copyright.

  3. Hyperlinking is Not Copyright Infringement, EU Court Rules

    Does publishing a hyperlink to freely available content amount to an illegal communication to the public and therefore a breach of creator’s copyrights under European law? After examining a case referred to it by Sweden’s Court of Appeal, the Court of Justice of the European Union has ruled today that no, it does not.

  4. Europe’s Highest Court Says Linking Doesn’t Require Permission

    Recently, Techdirt has reported on a number of important judgments from the Court of Justice of the European Union, the EU’s highest court. Here’s another one that represents a good win for common sense. It concerns hyperlinking to copyright materials held on another site (pdf).

  5. Another Friend Of The Recording Industry Joins The House Subcommittee On Courts, Intellectual Property And The Internet

    There’s a new ranking member of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet, and it’s another copyright maximalist. Mel Watt, the former ranking member and one of SOPA’s biggest supporters, has moved on to the Federal Housing Finance Agency. Before Mel Watt, there was subcommittee chair “Hollywood” Howard Berman, whose nickname clearly spells out which side of the copyright argument he espoused.

  6. US Military Looking To Trademark Everything

    As we’ve noted plenty of times in the past, works produced by the federal government are not subject to copyright. However, they are (almost inexplicably) subject to both patent and trademark protection, where those things apply. A little while back, Jim Gourley over at Foreign Policy looked into how the Pentagon has gone trademark slap happy over the last five years or so (the headline of the article falsely implies that it has also gone copyright happy, despite barely mentioning copyright, and in the one spot it does, totally confusing copyright and trademarks).

  7. Jim Gourley’s Military Culture column: Who knew? The Pentagon is TM and ©

    Christmas is almost upon us, which means military brats, Twitter junkies, and Google Earth nuts around the world will gather online for NORAD’s yearly tracking of Saint Nick as he delivers presents across the globe. How the tradition began is a heart-touching story that demonstrates the holiday spirit. The tradition now enters its 58th year, and despite some PR snags you can keep faith that the Air Force will ensure it’s an authentic experience.

  8. Court orders AT&T to stop infringing on T-Mobile’s magenta color
  9. The Trans-Pacific Partnership Is in Trouble Thanks to Grassroots Pressure

    Multilateral trade agreements like the TPP are virtually impossible to enact without fast track, which allows the executive branch to submit a treaty to Congress for an up or down vote, without amendments.

« Previous entries Next Page » Next Page »

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channels: Come and chat with us in real time

New to This Site? Here Are Some Introductory Resources

No

Mono

ODF

Samba logo






We support

End software patents

GPLv3

GNU project

BLAG

EFF bloggers

Comcast is Blocktastic? SavetheInternet.com



Recent Posts