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2009: July-Sept

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26th September   

Online News Producers Club...

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Thailand news providers join in fight against cut and paste
Link Here

The Nation logo Major Thai news groups jointly committed themselves to enriching the value of their online content while countering the threat from copy-and-paste websites and netizens used to getting everything for free.

The formation of the Online News Producers Club is aimed primarily at protecting the proprietary material of news websites. A joint declaration forming the club was signed by 13 major online news-content providers: ASTV Manager, Thai Rath Online, Daily News Online, Matichon, Post Publishing, the Nation Multimedia Group, Siam Sport, INN Online, Thansettakij Online, Dara Daily Online, Nawnha Online, Siam Rath Online and Thai Post Online.

The club say they will be patient and diplomatic at first in trying to convince the commercial websites with pirated news to halt their activities, said Nation Broadcasting president Adisak Limprungpatanakij.

The club wants them to add RSS feeds to their websites, so visitors interested in articles can receive the news from their sources directly, he said.

We don't want to limit the news accessibility of people, but we want the owners of commercial websites to be aware of the fact that we have to invest in news production, so they should respect the copyrighted content and not pirate it, Adisak said: We always welcome them to make a link back to the original source of news. That would be a better way out for both the websites and the news producers.

 

26th September   

Brand Wars...

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Advice issued that Google is ok to sell brand names as AdWords
Link Here

Google Adwords logo Google has won the latest round in a legal battle against Louis Vuitton and other brand owners.

An adviser to Europe's highest court, the European Court of Justice (ECJ), said that Google's practice of selling keyword phrases, such as Louis Vuitton shoes , to other businesses, including rivals, was not illegal under European law. He said: Google has not committed a trademark infringement by allowing advertisers to select keywords corresponding to trademarks. The adviser's opinion is not binding but is followed by the ECJ in 80% of cases.

Keyword advertising, known within Google as AdWords, allows businesses to buy slots alongside Google's main search results in the sponsored links section. Sponsored links, which appear to the right of a Google results page, account for most of the search engine's revenues, which reached $21 billion in 2008. The practice annoys brand name owners, who claim that it allows competitors to piggyback on their trademarks.

The issue came to prominence in Britain when Marks & Spencer bought the Google keyword Interflora. The florist complained that this meant anyone typing Interflora into Google would also see a prominent mention of M&S's flower delivery service. This issue is the subject of separate litigation. Louis Vuitton, which also claimed that keywords were being used by people selling fake versions of their goods, advanced similar arguments. Related Links

The case will return to the ECJ this year, when a full panel of judges will decide the outcome.

Update: Confirmed

26th March 2010. See article from business.timesonline.co.uk

Google today won the latest stage in a legal battle with luxury goods manufacturers after Europe's highest court ruled that the search engine does not breach companies' rights by allowing online advertisers to buy key search words.

The European Court of Justice ruled that allowing third parties to buy brand names as key advertising words, which link to their online stores, did not violate luxury goods trademarks, owned by the likes of LVMH, owner of the Louis Vuitton brand.

 

26th September   

Update: For Freedom of Culture...

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Attempts to establish the Pirate Party of Canada
Link Here  full story: Pirate Party...The Pirate Party starts up arund the world

Pirate Party of Canada New Pirate Parties are popping up all around the world, putting copyright, censorship and privacy issues on the political agenda. The Canadian Pirate Party is eager to join in. They are currently seeking federal approval and need just a few more members to become registered as an official political party.

In Canada the Pirate Party is currently trying to get federal approval, in order to become recognized as an official party and get involved in Canadian politics. The goal is to gain at least one seat in Parliament, Pirate Party spokesman Jake Daynes told TorrentFreak.

As soon as the party is officially registered with Elections Canada, we hope to gain a bit more of the mainstream media's attention; let Canadians know we are out there and build a community, Jake added.

Among other things the Canadian Pirates will push for copyright and patent reform, Net Neutrality and freedom of culture, Jake said.

Canadians interested in helping the party to get federal approval should fill out the membership form listed on the site and send it in. The Pirates need another 140 paper forms (how old-fashioned) to be sent in to get approval from the authorities.

 

20th September   

Hammer to Crack a Nut...

P2P software banned in Brazil
Link Here

Brazil After an earlier decision failed to reach its objective, this week a Brazilian court made an unprecedented ruling against file-sharing clients.

Following legal action by anti-piracy groups against a website offering a file-sharing client for download, the court decided that software which allows users to share music via P2P is illegal.

Two years ago, legal action was initiated by the Protective Association of Phonographic Intellectual Property Rights (APDIF). The lawsuit was issued against Cadare Information Technology Ltd, a company which controls the iPlay.com.br site. iPlay distributed a piece of popular P2P file-sharing software known as K-Lite Nitro, which allows users to download from several P2P networks including Gnutella, OpenFT and Ares.

Following a trial on August 25th, a court handed down an unprecedented ruling. The judge came to the conclusion that since a proposed K-Lite Nitro copyright filtering mechanism was ineffective, he had no alternative than to issue a complete ban on the software instead, saying that the website offering it would be assisting the copyright infringements of its users. He went on to suggest that any website offering the software alongside advertising (i.e, trying to profit from offering it) would be committing a crime, punishable by between two and four years in jail.

Announcing that Cadare Information Technology will appeal the decision, Nelson Cadare Luciano, owner of iPlay said: We will defend ourselves because we always had the feeling that it [K-Lite Nitro] is not illegal since you can use it to share legal content as well.

 

17th September   

Update: Third Strike...

French authorities continue with their attempts to impose 3 strikes internet ban
Link Here  full story: International 3 Strikes Laws...File sharers threatened with loss of internet access

France flag A bill has passed France's lower house of parliament that would cut off Internet access to surfers who download illegally.

About 1,000 French Internet users a day could be taken offline under the bill. Surfers who ignore email warnings and a registered letter could see their online connections suspended for up to a year, and they could also face up to $435,000 in fines or jail time.

The Senate approved the bill in July, and the National Assembly followed suit with a 285-225 vote. The bill must clear at least one more vote to become law.

With the legislation, French Internet subscribers would be asked to install special software to enable authorities to track down and identify those suspected of illegal downloads.

The law is expected to come into force by the end of the year.

 

8th September   

Burnt...

Burning Man organisers claim ownership of all festival photos
Link Here

Burning Man logo Organisers of the popular US Burning Man festival have been criticised over their strict photography rules, implemented in a bid to stop images of nude participants ending up on porn websites.

Under the rules many deem heavy-handed, organisers of the famous festival claim to hold the copyright for images and videos taken at the event and may request the removal of any images they don't approve of on any website.

The organisers claim the rules are designed to protect the rights of those who attend the event, which is currently in full swing at the Black Rock Desert in Nevada, US.

Many participants like to shed their clothes at the liberating event, which attracts around 50,000 revellers each year in a celebration of community, participation, self-expression and self-reliance , and involves burning down a tall man-like structure.

However, Burning Man spokeswoman Andie Grace said the organisers are concerned that photographs of naked female festival-goers have appeared on porn websites in the last few years. There are a lot of nude people out here, and this protects the school teacher from Iowa who doesn't wasn't want to appear on a porn site, Grace said.

The US Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has criticised Burning Man over the photo restrictions: We do empathize with Burning Man Organization (BMO)'s desire to preserve the festival's noncommercial character and to protect the privacy interests of ticket-holders. But by granting itself ownership of your creative works and forbidding fair uses of its trademarks, BMO is using the 'fine print' to give itself the power of fast and easy online censorship. Those Terms and Conditions include a remarkable bit of legal sleight-of-hand: as soon as 'any third party displays or disseminates' your photos or videos in a manner that the BMO doesn't like, those photos or videos become the property of the BMO.

The rules have provoked widespread debate on various websites, with many participants outraged at what they see as a restriction to their rights, while others want to protect their privacy. Where does BMORG get off claiming copyright of other people's work? photographer Pereubu said on blogging website BoingBoing.

Others are supportive of the rights of those wanting to let their hair down at the event. You could argue that if you don't want to be photographed in public doing something 'wrong' you shouldn't do it in public. That kind of defeats the entire purpose of this private event we call Burning Man. This is one of the few places where you can feel liberated wearing your crotch flame thrower, a blogger called Rindan said.

 

7th September   

Update: NewSpeak for Sorry...

Amazon replaces copies of 1984 it deleted from customers' Kindles
Link Here  full story: Amazon Kindle Freakery...Amazon remotely delete purchased Kindle book

1984 on Kindle After suffering multiple black eyes in the blogosphere and plenty of ire from Kindle users, Amazon has finally decided to make good on its ill-advised decision to delete illegally distributed copies of George Orwell's 1984 from users' Kindle e-reader devices.

Those who purchased the book only to find it remotely deleted from their devices without warning will receive a digital copy of the book–with all their annotations still intact--or a $30 credit for Amazon products. Or they can just opt for a $30 check. Considering they paid just 99 cents for the book, it's not such a bad deal for customers. It has, however, been quite the ordeal for Amazon.

Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos offered the following apology to customers in an email sent to those affected by the mass deletion: This is an apology for the way we previously handled illegally sold copies of 1984 and other novels on Kindle. Our "solution" to the problem was stupid, thoughtless, and painfully out of line with our principles. It is wholly self-inflicted, and we deserve the criticism we've received. We will use the scar tissue from this painful mistake to help make better decisions going forward, ones that match our mission.

 

27th August   

Sharing the Wishes of the Music Industry...

Mandelson jumps the gun with his own cure for file sharing
Link Here  full story: International 3 Strikes Laws...File sharers threatened with loss of internet access

Digital Britain Report People who persist in swapping copyrighted films and music will have their internet connections cut off under new laws to be proposed by the government.

The measures also include taking the power to target illegal downloaders away from regulator Ofcom and giving it to ministers to speed up the process.

The decision to cut off peer-to-peer filesharers is unexpected since it was ruled out by the government's own Digital Britain report in June as going too far.

But today the government will take the unusual step of proposing much stricter rules midway through the Digital Britain consultation process. Illegal filesharers will still get warning letters but if they continue to swap copyrighted material they could have their internet connection temporarily severed, although it may be possible to retain basic access to online public services.

In the UK, privacy groups are likely to challenge any similar legislation as contrary to human rights law.

The surprise move will intensify speculation that Peter  Mandelson reached a secret deal to protect the film and music industries with Hollywood mogul David Geffen earlier this month.

The business secretary met Geffen, founder of Asylum Records and the man who set up DreamWorks with Steven Spielberg, at a private dinner with members of the Rothschild banking dynasty at the family's holiday villa on Corfu.

Following that meeting with Geffen, a long-term and outspoken opponent of online piracy, Mandelson instructed officials at his Department of Business Innovation and Skills (BIS), charged with tackling online piracy by June's report, to clampdown even harder on the pirates.

ISPs Not Impressed

Based on article from news.bbc.co.uk

Internet service providers (ISPs) have reacted with anger to new proposals on how to tackle internet piracy.

UK ISP Talk Talk said the recommendations were likely to breach fundamental rights and would not work.

TalkTalk's director of regulation Andrew Heaney told the BBC News the ISP was as keen as anyone to clamp down on illegal file-sharers: This is best done by making sure there are legal alternatives and educating people, writing letters to alleged file-sharers and, if necessary, taking them to court. But introducing measures to simply cut people off will not work, he said.

Disconnecting alleged offenders will be futile given that it is relatively easy for determined file-sharers to mask their identity or their activity to avoid detection, he added. There are also concerns that the method of identifying offenders using the IP address of a specific machine may punish those who share a web connection.

Don Foster MP, the Liberal Democrat's culture and media spokesman, told BBC News that Lord Mandleson's move was reckless and dangerous. There are many families whose children, unbeknown to them, might be illegally downloading but now their own access could be put in jeopardy by Lord Mandleson's proposals.

Foster acknowledged that online piracy was a major problem in the UK but said overriding the opinion of Lord Carter and two Secretary of States was bizarre.

 

26th August   

X-Files Investigation...

Sinister organisation try to take over the world via controlling human entertainment outlets
Link Here

 XFiles parody cast Twentieth Century Fox has sent a cease and desist letter to Digital Sin/New Sensations, which is currently in post production on a parody of its television series X-Files .

The adult studio's X-rated drama, set to release in late September, was given the title The X-Files: A Dark XXX Parody.

In the letter, a representative from Fox demands that Digital Sin/New Sensations change the title of the film and cease use of the X-Files mark.

Digital Sin/New Sensations does not believe that its intended product infringes the rights of Fox. However, in the spirit of cooperation, the company has decided to respond to Fox's concerns by adapting the title to The Sex Files: A Dark XXX Parody , removing the website associated with the film and changing the names of the main characters.

The adult studio has successfully parodied a growing list of the primetime lineups from current and past, with spoofs of The Office , Scrubs , Seinfeld , Friends and 30 Rock resulting in sales that have given a heartbeat to an otherwise slumping industry.

 

26th August   

Update: Pirates Grounded...

Short lived attempt to close Pirate Bay via threatening its ISP
Link Here  full story: Pirate Bay...Pirate Bay, Swedish file sharing site

Sweden flag Stockholm's district court ordered The Pirate Bay's largest ISP, Black Internet, to stop serving the website's traffic or face a penalty of 500,000 kronor ($71,000, £43,000) a day.

Black Internet pulled the plug saying it had no choice but to comply - making The Pirate Bay unavailable for a few hours.

Unsurprisingly, The Pirate Bay was able to quickly relocate and return online. Access is not yet 100% but it will soon be back to normal.

The shutdown was intended to disconnect Pirate Bay pending an outcome of a civil lawsuit filed by the music industry.

New Owners Share the Hassle

Based on article from news.bbc.co.uk

The entertainment industry's latest attempt to sink Pirate Bay comes just three days before the website is allegedly set to be purchased by the Swedish software firm, Global Gaming Factory X (GGF).

Trading in GGF shares was suspended on Friday and there are reports that the firm's chairman - Magnus Bergman - has resigned.

In an exclusive interview with BBC News, GGF's chief, Hans Pandeya, said that the acquisition of The Pirate Bay would go ahead on 27 August as planned: The Aktietorget - the Swedish stock market - said they wanted more information on investors, which we said we would release after the acquisition. There are risks and possible lawsuits, and this makes people nervous. None [of the investors] wants to give out their details, otherwise the media will attack them.

Pandeya said he had no knowledge of Mr Bergman's resignation, as reported in the Swedish media, but he added that the company knew he was going to leave soon.

Black Internet Rethinks

20th September 2009. See article from zeropaid.com

A few weeks ago the entertainment industry managed to convince the Stockholm District Court to order Black Internet, the largest bandwidth provider of Swedish BitTorrent tracker site the Pirate Bay, to cut off service to the site until it exhausts the remaining appeals of its conviction for copyright infringement.

Their ISP, Black Internet, of course complied, citing the expense and labor of appeal, and the site was partially down for 3hrs while traffic was rerouted to other ISPs.

It's CEO now regrets that decision and plans to appeal. This is a very important question for all ISPs and we can't just lay down, said CEO Victor Möller. The district court made a very controversial decision. The entire ISP business needs some clarity in this matter. A door has been opened and we don't know what's behind it.

He's finally realized that if a court can order an ISP to block one site then what's to stop it from blocking others? Möller says that he plans to join forces with other ISPs who also think it's wrong for the court to order ISPs to block file-sharing sites like the Pirate Bay.

Update: Sale's Off

2nd October 2009. Based on article from torrentfreak.com

A little over a month ago, Global Gaming Factory (GGF) announced that its shareholders had agreed to buy The Pirate Bay – the only thing that stood in their path was the actual money transfer. Today the deadline to transfer the money passed silently, putting an end to the deal and three turbulent months.

 

23rd August   

Pirates at Bay...

Irish ISP Eircom will block Pirate Bay from September
Link Here  full story: Pirate Bay...Pirate Bay, Swedish file sharing site

Eircom logo This week the music industry sent an email to several Internet providers in Ireland, asking the companies to block their users' access to The Pirate Bay or face legal action.

In a response to this request, Eircom said it would agree and the ISP will block customers access to the Pirate Bay starting September 1st.

Thus far Eircom is the only ISP that has caved in to the threatening letter. UPC and BT Ireland – two other local ISPs – explicitly denied the request from the music industry and said they would rather fight the issue out in court.

UPC has informed the rights holders that there is no basis under Irish law requiring an ISP to block access to certain websites and that it will not agree to a request that goes beyond what is currently provided for under Irish law, UPC said in a statement. Should the rights holders proceed with their threat of legal action if UPC fails to block access to Pirate Bay, UPC has every intention of vigorously defending its position in Court.

 

20th August   

Sony Censors...

Sony ban porn from its Blu-ray pressing business in Australia
Link Here

Sony logo Sony wants Blu-ray production business down under, but no porn, please.

Opened in June in the Huntington area of Sydney, Sony's hi-def disc factory is said to be the only Blu-ray duplicator in the Southern hemisphere. But porn producers will have to find another outlet for Blu-ray production.

Sony DADC will be doing production for local companies and there will be capacity, said a Sony spokesperson, telling APC the plant: is open to other contracts but would not take on any adult titles or content.

Porn duplication also has been banned in other Blu-ray factories around the globe. APC calls it the Disney effect, because Disney's upgraded versions of its classic films and animated works are among the top sellers in the Blu-ray market, especially when a DVD copy and/or a digital copy in included in the package. Disney has mandated that no plant duplicating its products may also handle adult content of any kind. Understandably, most factories would rather have the Disney business than service adult producers.

 

18th August   

Update: More Criminalisation...

Mandelson signals new laws against British file sharers
Link Here  full story: International 3 Strikes Laws...File sharers threatened with loss of internet access

Pirate Party UK Seven million people could be criminalised under government plans to crack down on internet piracy, to be included in this autumn's Queen's Speech.

The illicit downloading of music and films on the internet, a practice engaged in by one in 12 of the population, could lead to severe restrictions on internet access and a fine of up to £50,000.

Lord Mandelson, the Business Secretary, is said to be persuaded by the argument for tough laws to curb illegal file-sharing after an intensive lobbying campaign by influential people in the music and film industry.

But Tom Watson, the former minister for digital engagement, today criticises the proposed crackdown as extreme and calls for a more measured approach that would target those who uploaded illegal content, rather than the millions who downloaded the files.

His intervention comes in the week after the Pirate Party, announced it would fight the next general election in Britain. The new Pirate Party UK was reported to be recruiting as many as 100 people every hour since its launch last week. Among its supporters was Stephen Fry, who applauded the new party on Twitter. The organisers said they now had 259 fully paid-up members, although hundreds more had shown an interest in joining.

When the Digital Britain report was published in June, the Government appeared to row back from a hardline stance on illegal downloading. But a consultation document on the latest plans, which could be tagged on to a Bill in the next Queen's Speech, makes it clear that ministers favour tough sanctions.

Under the proposed laws, Ofcom, the industry regulator, would be given powers to require internet service providers to collect information on those who downloaded pirate material. The data would be anonymous, but serious repeat infringers would be tracked down through their computer ID numbers. Individuals would be hit by restricted internet access – from slowing down broadband to blocking access altogether – and could face fines of up to £50,000.

Andrew Robinson, the leader of the Pirate Party UK, said that the new laws would be a gross intrusion into civil liberties, and would penalise people in the same household as those who had broken the law.

Robinson, a graphic designer and part-time musician, is planning to stand in his home constituency of Worcester, where the Labour MP Michael Foster is defending a majority of 3,144. He said: This is about proving to the major parties that there are so many votes to be had in adopting policies like ours. The pro-copyright lobby is very powerful.

 

17th August   

Update: Worst ISP Law Proposal We've Ever Seen...

Australia proposes that ISPs monitor customers for 'inappropriate use' of the internet
Link Here  full story: International 3 Strikes Laws...File sharers threatened with loss of internet access

Australia flag There's a disturbing new development in Australia. A law proposal was disclosed to the public that would get ISPs to spy on the contents of all communications to monitor for compliance. Presumably, the amendments would get Australian ISPs to monitor their networks for p2p activity and hand all their information to copyright holders.

The Electronic Frontier Australia commented in a consultation response:

EFA's submission addresses our key concern that the proposed legislation provides a very broad exception to the prohibition on interception of network communications for the purposes of ensuring that a network is ‘appropriately used'. This is a very broad category that means that all network operators in Australia will be able to monitor the substance of communications that pass over their network for compliance with their Acceptable Use Policies – the terms of which could include nearly anything.

This proposed changed threatens to radically alter the ability of network operators to intercept, store, and disclose information passing over their networks. There are no safeguards to prevent disclosure to law enforcement agencies or third parties. It is entirely possible for these new provisions to be used to examine P2P filesharing data for copyright violations, for example, and to disclose any captured information to copyright owners.

In other words, these amendments could be used to get ISPs to do all the dirty work for the copyright industry.


Section 5(1) effectively provides that network protection duties includes monitoring the content of communications in order to ascertain whether the network is being appropriately used. Because of the broad undefined nature of the term appropriately used and the fact that many AUPs may contain restrictions not on protocols or services that internet uses may use but upon the purpose for which those communications are being made, this provision opens the bulk of network communications to potential interception and continuing surveillance.

At best, this law should be a frightening prospect to all internet users, not just file-sharers as this is a huge infringement of personal privacy. While Canada is currently in the midst of mulling lawful access once again, at least the scope was far narrower than this. Even the US, home of the much despised DMCA didn't go this far. Even the French three strikes law required some action from rights holders. To date, this appears to be the worst ISP law proposal we've ever seen followed closely by Austrian newspapers wanting to use data retention to enforce copyright.

The law proposal will be debated in the Australian parliament in December.

 

16th August   

Palmed Off...

With a phone that snitches on its owner
Link Here

Palm Pre Palm Pre owner Joey Hess claims to have uncovered code within the phone's operating system which shows that the device is sending back information about his location and applications to Palm.

he software developer said that log files for the handset show that his phone has been sending data back to Palm on a regular basis.

Hess said that although the data was sent over a secure link, it contained information about his location, and a list of the applications installed on his handset. It showed how long he spent using those applications, and sent back crash data whenever applications unexpectedly quit.

Palm has responded to the criticism by saying that it takes the privacy of users very seriously , and that it provided Pre owners with a way to turn the phone's features on and off.

The company's privacy policy does state that it has the right to gather geographical data about phone usage to help with the development and provision of location-based services, but some tech experts are questioning why Palm needs to also gather information about application use, and why users were not explicitly told what was happening.

 

14th August   

Pirate Party UK Sets Sail...

A new political party created in the UK
Link Here

Pirate Party UK The UK Pirate Party has been officially registered at the Electoral Commission and is hoping to follow in the footsteps of its successful counterpart in Sweden. With all the recent controversy surrounding anti-piracy legislation and lawyers going after alleged file-sharers, the party has become necessity.

In June the Swedish Pirate Party shocked its critics and secured a seat in the European Parliament, with no less than 7.1% of the vote. The Pirates received more votes from those under 30 than any other party in Sweden, which went beyond all expectations.

This achievement motivated supporters of the Party's ideals in other countries to become active as well. Last month the Swiss Pirate Party was founded and the Canadians are mobilizing too.

Now the party can really start. It's time for us to tell the world that we exist, to recruit members, raise funds and gear up to fight the General Election, Pirate Party Chairman, Andrew Robinson told TorrentFreak: The officers and web team have built the framework that the party needs to get going, now it's time for the public to make things happen.

Join the party, tell the media about the party, tell your friends about the party, take part in policy and news debates on the forum, join our Facebook group, donate or set up a regular payment to provide financial support, set up a branch in your constituency, school or workplace, Robinson suggests, emphasizing that the success of Britain's newest party depends on its members.

Hoisted by their own Petard

Based on article from gamepolitics.com

Andrew Robinson, who heads the UK Pirate Party, spoke to PC Pro about his organization, its vision, and why the party's name is a problem:

There's approximately 7 million file sharers in this country - you're branding a huge percentage of this population criminals for doing something that doesn't have any proven implications. It's a ridiculous state of affairs... People who copy a movie are lumped in with people who steal cars.

Our copyright law is horribly outdated and its skewed one way because all the lobbying is on the side of big businesses...

We've had the [Pirate Party] name foisted on us by the Swedish party, but it's difficult. We need to point out that we're saying very sensible things, while the industry lobby is labelling us as pirates... We're trying to have a proper debate and when people actually listen to what we've got to say they'll realise we're being serious...

Update: Finland Join the Pirate Party

23rd August 2009. See article from torrentfreak.com

Finland's brand new Pirate Party was officially registered this week.

 

7th August   

In the Soup...

UK police arrest owner of Filesoup BitTorrent site
Link Here

Filesoup logo One of, if not the oldest BitTorrent communities still around today has been targeted by British police and anti-piracy officers.

The owner of FileSoup, one the most enduring sites since the introduction of the BitTorrent protocol, was arrested by police and denied his phone call and legal representation for more than seven hours.

After gaining a warrant eleven days earlier, on 27th July police backed up by the MPAA-funded UK anti-piracy group FACT conducted a raid on the home address of the owner.

Founded way back in 2003 UK based FileSoup is one of the original torrent sites and has built a solid reputation while keeping a surprisingly low profile, particularly considering its status.

The search warrant for the owner of FileSoup was issued under Section 109 of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 and authorized the gathering of any evidence related to the illegal distribution or file-sharing of copyright films. Notably, since 2005 FileSoup hasn't operated a tracker but links to metadata which links to material hosted elsewhere. It has never hosted any copyrighted content.

The owner was eventually released on police bail a little with his offence listed as Distribute Article Infringing Copyright. He must return to the police station in October.

The FileSoup site remains open.

 

6th August   

Revenge Shared...

Hackers target Romanian music industry website after first file sharing prosecution
Link Here

Romania flag Hackers have taken revenge on the music industry after Romania's first convicted file-sharer was given a heavy fine.

The industry claimed they had selected the individual at random, but hackers responded rather less randomly by causing the music industry website to blocked as malicious by both Google and Firefox.

The Romanian music industry represented by Uniunea Productorilor de Fonograme din România (UPFR) has claimed its first legal victory against one of the country's file-sharers. They allegedly used basic techniques to select an individual at random - who just happened to be sharing 66GB of music files.

The individual was ordered to pay the equivalent of a $4,100 fine this week. At the end of 2008, the average monthly income in Romania was just $450.

Those annoyed at the handing down of a heavy fine took rather less time to issue their punishment. In common with similar traditions all over the world, the UPFR music industry website was targeted by hackers in a revenge attack. It's not clear exactly what they did to it, but their actions caused the domain to become blocked as a malicious site by both Google and Firefox.

 

4th August   

Proportionate?...

$675,000 fine for sharing 30 songs
Link Here

RIAA logo Joel Tenenbaum has lost his trial against the RIAA and was ordered to pay $22,500 for each of the 30 songs he shared via Kazaa. Tenenbaum, who pleaded guilty to downloading and sharing files earlier this week, will be left paying off the $675,000 to the music labels for the rest of his life.

Tenenbaum, a graduate student from Boston admitted to downloading and sharing 30 songs in 2004, faced a fine up to $4.5 million - $150,000 per infringement. After a week long trial the jury eventually decided to award the RIAA $22,500 per song based on “willful infringement” mounting up to a total fine of $675,000 for Tenenbaum.

From the start it was clear that the only thing that the jury had to decide on would be the the size of the fine. The fair use defense was thrown out a few hours before the trial started, which shut down the only escape route left.

 

3rd August   

Update: Book Thieves...

Amazon sued for hacking into people's Kindles
Link Here  full story: Amazon Kindle Freakery...Amazon remotely delete purchased Kindle book

1984 on Kindle A school student is suing Amazon.com for deleting an e-book he purchased for his e-reader device without any prior warning.

Justin Gawronski, 17, was left confused after a his copy of George Orwell's 1984 , which he was reading for a school assignment, disappeared from his Kindle reader.

Both 1984 and Animal Farm were removed from customers' devices without warning or permission after Amazon realised the electronic copies were pirated.

Lawyers on behalf of Michigan student Gawronski and Antoine Bruguier, an adult reader in Milpitas, California, have now filed a class action lawsuit against the online company. The case seeks unspecified damages for all buyers of e-books that Amazon deleted from the Kindle as well as a ban on future deletions.

They argue that Amazon never disclosed to customers that it possessed the technological ability or right to remotely delete digital content purchased through the Kindle Store.

Bruguier complained to Amazon repeatedly after losing his copy of 1984, appealing in vain for that or an authorized edition to be restored to his Kindle, according to the lawsuit. I thought that once purchased, the books were mine, he wrote.

Jay Edelson, a Chicago lawyer who filed the lawsuit, said that Amazon's actions could have far-reaching consequences if allowed to stand: Amazon.com had no more right to hack into people's Kindles than its customers have the right to hack into Amazon's bank account to recover a mistaken overpayment.

Technology companies increasingly feel that because they have the ability to access people's personal property, they have the right to do so. That is 100 per cent contrary to the laws of this country.

 

1st August   

Update: Press Gang...

Copyrighting the news, even just 11 words of it
Link Here

European Court of Justice Amidst whingeing by the Associated Press over bloggers using its stories, Europe's highest court has whittled the line of potential copyright infringement down to just 11 words.

The bar was set by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in a legal dispute between the Danish media monitoring firm Infopaq and the country's newspaper industry body, Danske Dagblades Forening (DDF).

Infopaq would scan various newspapers using image-to-text software then process the files to identify certain keywords its clients wanted tracked. If such a keyword was found in the story, that word along with five words on either side were captured.

The company would then send its clients a report containing the captured snippets and information on where they were obtained.

Infopaq disputed a claim that the process requires consent from rightholders, but to no avail in the European Court.

Meanwhile, the Associated Press has been pushing the boundaries of fair use to go after websites that lift as few as 33 words. It would appear the AP now has some precedent to attack so long as it can convince national courts its stories qualify for protection.

AP Propose DRM system for its syndicated news articles

Based on article from rightpundits.com

The AP has come up with a new copyright protection system that will try to limit the evil bloggers and pirates from 'stealing' their content. It appears that the AP wants to become the RIAA of Internet news by policing who is using their materials and stealing their precious content.

The AP wants to use a DRM (Digital Right Management) tool to stop bloggers and Google News from copy and pasting and linking to their articles, ensuring that no one will ever read them. The system works by trying to put all their content into a digital container to stop Google and others from accessing their precious content.

The bigger point here seems to be, like the rest of the legacy media, the AP is attempting to perpetuate a system that is dying. They are desperately clinging to a business model that simply makes little sense any longer. If the AP were really smart they would implement a completely different kind of monetizing system. Instead of charging bloggers $3.50 per word, charge fees related to the readership of the blog. Think of the thousands of blogs that would also fork over such minimal amounts and how much the AP could make off micro-payments. This is a business model that would actually succeed. Instead, the AP will continue to cling to their old system of protecting their content.

 

1st August   

Update: A Shared Verdict...

Pirate Bay under duress in Sweden and Netherlands
Link Here  full story: Pirate Bay...Pirate Bay, Swedish file sharing site

Pirate Bay logo Film Studios led by Disney, Universal and Columbia have decided that the best way to deal with the filesharing site Pirate Bay is to kill it off for good.

Under the auspices of the MPAA, they have launched a new legal action in the Swedish courts aimed at closing down the site permanently. They say that despite the three founders - Peter Sunde, Fredrik Neij, and Gottfrid Svartholm Warg - having been sentenced to a year in the clink, they are nonetheless continuing their nefarious operations.

The suit also alleges that Reservella, the Seychelles-based company that The Pirate Bay founders insist owns the website, is in fact merely a front company owned by Neij. Naturally, the three former Pirate Bay principals deny this.

When Pirate Bay lost the earlier lawsuit brought by International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) and the entertainment companies it represents in the Swedish courts last April, the founders were also fined $3.6 million. However, Internet cafe company Global Gaming Foundry said in June it would buy Pirate Bay for $7.8 million and turn it into a legitimate operation. GGF has since had second thoughts and the MPAA has vowed to seize any money from the sale that might end up in the hands of the Pirate Bay founders.

Based on article from torrentfreak.com

The Dutch anti-piracy outfit BREIN has won its court case against The Pirate Bay. The Amsterdam court ruled that the site must cease all operations in The Netherlands within 10 days, or else pay penalties of 30,000 euros ($42,300) a person, per day.

BREIN's lawyer argued that The Pirate Bay is responsible for millions of copyright infringements every day, and that the site should therefore be blocked to visitors from The Netherlands.

 

27th July   

Update: First Strike...

Karoo end policy of disconnecting customers on the first suspected strike
Link Here  full story: International 3 Strikes Laws...File sharers threatened with loss of internet access

Karoo logo ISP Karoo, based in Hull, has changed its policy of suspending the service of users suspected of copyright violations.

The about face was made following a BBC story outlining the firm's practice.

Karoo issued a statement saying that it has been exceeding the expectations of copyright owners. The firm will now adopt a three strikes rule, in which suspected file-sharers will receive three written warnings before action is taken.

We have always taken a firm line on the alleged abuse of our internet connections, said Nick Thompson, director of consumer and publishing services, in the statement: It is evident that we have been exceeding the expectations of copyright owners, the media and internet users. So, we have changed our policy to move in more line with the industry standard approach.

Karoo - the only ISP in the area, which has no BT lines - long held a policy of suspending service of suspected file-sharers. In order to get their service restored, customers had to sign a document promising not to repeat the offence.

Andrea Robinson, a Karoo customer, told the BBC that a day after her service was cut off, she received a letter from the firm claiming that she had been using the peer-to-peer file-sharing service BitTorrent to download the film Terminator Salvation.

On calling Karoo, she was told to visit the company's offices to resolve the issue. They gave me a form to sign to get reconnected. The form basically said 'if I admit my guilt you'll reconnect me'. So I didn't sign it and walked out.

Jim Killock, executive director of the digital rights activists The Open Rights Group, told the BBC that it is totally unfair to disconnect people without notice: In fact, disconnection is something that should only even possibly be considered as a result of court action .

 

25th July   

Updated: The Kindle Book Burning Button...

Amazon forcibly deletes electronic books on customers devices
Link Here  full story: Amazon Kindle Freakery...Amazon remotely delete purchased Kindle book

1984 on Kindle Amazon the online book seller has forcibly deleted copies of George Orwell's 1984 and Animal Farm from customers' Kindles.

The ebooks were pirated copies sold for 99 cents by a company that had no rights to the material.

Amazon was able to remove the titles because the Kindle is configured to automatically sync up with the user's Bookshelf via the electronic book reader's WhisperNet wireless service.

When the company removed the unauthorized books from customers' accounts, they also disappeared from the Kindle.

Amazon then delivered a cryptic e-mail about what happened:

We recently discovered a problem with a Kindle book that you have purchased. We have processed a refund to the payment method used to acquire this book. The next time the wireless is activated on your device, the problematic item will be removed. If you are not in a wireless coverage area, please connect your device to a computer using your USB cable and delete the file from the documents folder.

Contrary to what the New York Times reported, the publisher did not change its mind, nor did Amazon cave to pressure. Rather, Amazon was notified that copyrighted material was being sold on the Amazon store without permission and it removed said material.

Instead of being honest about what happened -- that it sold unauthorized ebooks and has done so in the past -- Amazon only told customers that there was a problem. While removing such titles from a customer's Bookshelf and in turn deleting them from the Kindle may be standard policy, a lack of communication about what actually happened has led to a media firestorm that will surely last through the weekend. Amazon also could have offered customers a legitimate replacement copy of 1984 or Animal Farm and footed the difference, because in the end, this was Amazon's mistake.

Um sounds a nasty facility for censorship and control freakery has been built into Kindles. Surely it is only a matter of time before claims of libel or 'offence' will easily get Amazon reaching for their book burning button.

Update: Stupid Amazon

Amazon surely were stupid, they have lowered the perceived worth of their products now customers know that books aren't really theirs at all and can be taken away without notice.

25th July 2009. Based on article from shelf-life.ew.com

In an apology posted on Amazon.com, company founder and CEO Jeff Bezos fell on his sword over his company's deletion of unauthorized e-books from the Kindles of consumers who had already purchased them. Borrowing a rather loaded word from President Barack Obama, Bezos termed his company's preemptive actions stupid ”— as well as thoughtless and painfully out of line with our principles. Amazon's actions last week kicked up a firestorm in the media about the nature of e-book ownership and the specter of censorship by Amazon.

Bezos' announcement reads in full: This is an apology for the way we previously handled illegally sold copies of 1984 and other novels on Kindle. Our 'solution' to the problem was stupid, thoughtless, and painfully out of line with our principles. It is wholly self-inflicted, and we deserve the criticism we've received. We will use the scar tissue from this painful mistake to help make better decisions going forward, ones that match our mission.

 

20th July   

Buyers Beware...

Buyers of copy DVDs in Malaysia are liable to fines and jail time
Link Here

copy DVDs A Malaysian Police Chief, ACP Ahmad Sofi Zakaria advised the public to stop buying pirated DVDs or VCDs, warning that police will not compromise on the matter.

Those caught buying these face a hefty fine or could spend several years in jail. Many are unaware but action can be taken against them (for buying pirated DVDs or VCDs) under Section 18(4)(a) of the Film Censorship Act 2002, for having an illegal item, he said.

Those found guilty could either be fined up to RM30,000 or spend three years in jail, or both.

 

18th July   

Share On...

Innocent until proven guilty of copyright violation in Spain
Link Here

Spanish flag A judge in Spain has ruled peer-to-peer websites to be legal and presumed innocent until proven guilty of any copyright violation.

The judgment is another setback for film, music and gaming companies in Spain, which recently saw their push for a three-strikes graduated response and then internet cut-off for copyright violators shut down by government officials, following public protests.

The Spanish judge said user sharing for no profit does not breach copyright laws, reports TorrentFreak.

The ruling is part of an ongoing case where Spanish rights group SGAE (Sociedad General de Autores y Editores) has accused sharing site elrincondejesus.com of copyright violations.

As you know Elrincondejesus.com never had advertising (or has now), the owner said on his site: I'm innocent and the only thing that I have done is provided links to other sites, like thousands of search engines in the world.

The case isn't over yet, as the judge noted it's possible public distribution of some copyrighted files may have occurred, which would be illegal. But this must be proved by the rights groups with cold, hard facts, not claims based on assumptions regarding file sharing. A trial date has yet to be scheduled.

 

17th July   

Update: Mixed Bag...

New Zealand revives 3 strike law
Link Here  full story: International 3 Strikes Laws...File sharers threatened with loss of internet access

New Zealand flag The details of the revised 3 Strikes proposal have been released by the New Zealand government, and despite public demands that Internet disconnection be taken off the table, it still remains. The only change of substance addresses guilt upon accusation concerns, where ISPs and copyright holders previously determined copyright infringement, so that now the govt's own Copyright Tribunal makes the decision and metes out punishment.

The latest revision to Section 92a of the Copyright Act reads:

Phase 1- First Infringement and Cease and Desist Notice Procedure

Where a Rights Holder (RH) considers on reasonable grounds that there has been online copyright infringement of one or more of its works, RHs may invoke the section s92A procedure by sending a first infringement notice to an ISP. The notice will contain sufficient details to allow the ISP to identify the subscriber. This notice must then be forwarded by the ISP to the subscriber.

If there is further copyright infringement by that subscriber, a RH may send, via the ISP, a cease and desist notice. The subscriber will have an opportunity (30 days) to reply to either notice by way of a response notice directly to the RH with their name and contact details attached. Upon receiving a response notice, a RH will be required to accept or reject it and inform the subscriber accordingly.

Phase 2- Obtain Copyright Tribunal Order

Where a RH considers on reasonable grounds that there has been further (repeat) copyright infringement by a particular subscriber after a cease and desist notice has been sent, and the subscriber concerned has been provided with an opportunity to respond by way of a response notice, a RH may apply to the Copyright Tribunal to obtain an order requiring the ISP to provide the name and contact details of the alleged copyright infringer (the subscriber).

Phase 3- Copyright Tribunal

A RH may then register an infringement complaint with the Copyright Tribunal which will ensure that the infringement complaint complies with requirements in statute/regulation. A RH may then notify the subscriber that an allegation of repeat copyright infringement has been lodged against them. The subscriber will have an opportunity to respond to the allegation and to elect to proceed to mediation. The Copyright Tribunal will be convened unless agreed otherwise. The Copyright Tribunal, in addition to available relief by way of damages, injunctions, account of profits or otherwise, may consider ordering a subscriber to pay a fine or an ISP to terminate the subscriber's internet account.


The Internet Society of New Zealand (InternetNZ), a non-profit organization dedicated to unfettered access for all, says the latest proposal is a mixed bag that tries to combine the benefits of a notice and notice approach with the toxic remains of a termination regime. Also, issues of ISP definition and safe harbor do not appear to have been addressed.

 

16th July   

Offsite: Copies Better than the Originals...

The more Malaysia censors, the more DVD pirates thrive
Link Here

Copy DVDs Why is the public so willing to protect the pirates, who may be backed financially and logistically by organised crime? The pertinent short answer is the extremely low cost of acquiring near-flawless digital content but there is a long answer, an incisive element that enables the pirates to flourish despite being whacked hard by law enforcement raids: censorship.

...Read full article

 

11th July   

Stephen Conroy Internet Villain...

UK ISPA dishonours Australian minister for internet villainy
Link Here

ISPA logo The UK ISP trade association ISPA famously make awards to the internet Hero and internet Villain of the past twelve months.

These went respectively to the Featured Artists Coalition (FAC), for their work in recognising publicly that the focus of music companies should be the development of new business models for distributing content online, and to Stephen Conroy and the Australian Government for continuing to promote network-level blocking despite significant national and international opposition.

Unsurprisingly, no-one turned up to collect the internet Villain award. But collecting the Internet Hero award on behalf of Featured Artists Coalition, Billy Bragg urged greater co-operation between the music and internet industries.

FAC Chairman and Blur drummer Dave Rowntree added: I hope this shows that artists are willing to talk with ISPs about the challenges of adapting music industry business models to the digital age. We have to work together – the status quo is not good enough.

So is ISPA going soft on file-sharing? Of the 9 nominations in the Hero/Villain categories, one nomination for villainy went to France's President Nikolas Sarkozy, for his role in promoting draconian sanctions in respect of internet piracy (the "loi Hadopi").

A spokesman for ISPA confirmed that they do not condone unlawful file sharing. However, he said: We feel that disconnection and technical sanctions are disproportionate. We are very much in favour of working toward a better position than the present through the more pragmatic approaches that the FAC have come out with. We want to change the focus away from music companies calling for people to be cut from the internet.

 

10th July   

Update: Illjudged...

France revives 3 strike law by suggesting a 5 minute hearing in front of a judge
Link Here  full story: International 3 Strikes Laws...File sharers threatened with loss of internet access

France flag France's highest constitutional authority ruled in June that Internet access is a fundamental human right, killing the three-strikes provision in the so-called Hadopi anti-piracy legislation. Today the infamous anti-piracy bill is back and in its revamped form has just been adopted by the Senate. 3 Strikes is back on the table. Again.

The Constitutional Council had taken a similar stance to that of the European Parliament, deeming the proposed “3 strikes” regime for dealing with illicit file-sharers unconstitutional. They said that individuals must have a fair trial and striking an individual from the Internet is something only a judge can do after a hearing.

So now in modified form the bill is back. Moving the decision to disconnect file-sharers away from the Hadopi agency to the courts, the new version of the law addresses the objections of the Constitutional Council by presenting 3 strikes cases to a judge, who will fast-track decisions in around 5 minutes per case.

The new structure is as follows. When an individual is warned about an infringement for a third time, the Hadopi agency will report the offender to a judge. After a hearing the judge will have the power to cut the individual off from the Internet, issue a fine of up to 300,000 euros, or even hand out a 2 year jail sentence.

ISP account holders who find themselves accused over the infringements of a 3rd party could be found guilty of negligence , risking a maximum 1,500 euro fine and a 4 week disconnection.

The revamped bill was adopted today by the French Senate and in the next few weeks will head to the National Assembly for its adoption.

 

8th July   

Update: Phorm Dismissed...

BT and Virgin Media signal an end to interest in phorm
Link Here  full story: Behavioural Advertising...Serving adverts according to internet snooping

Phorm Shares in Phorm, the controversial online advertising group that tracks consumer behaviour, plunged more than 40% after BT said it has no immediate plans to use the company's technology.

We continue to believe the interest-based advertising category offers major benefits for consumers and publishers alike, said BT: However, given our public commitment to developing next-generation broadband and television services in the UK, we have decided to weigh up the balance of resources devoted to other opportunities.

Phorm's software has been dogged by controversy following news that BT ran two trials using it without seeking its customers' permission in 2006 and 2007. Tim Berners-Lee, the British founder of the internet, has also spoken out against Phorm.

Phorm said that it is now focused on its overseas business and has made strong progress in South Korea: We are engaged in more than 15 markets worldwide, including advanced negotiations with several major internet service providers (ISPs) .

The likes of Virgin Media and Carphone Warehouse are believed to be considering working with the group. However, Virgin Media released a statement suggesting that no deal was imminent. The company believes that interest-based advertising has some important benefits for consumers as well as website owners and ISPs but said it was a fast-changing market and had extended its review of potential opportunities.

 

7th July   

Shared Experience...

French man taken to cleaners for private use file sharing
Link Here

France flag A man who downloaded 12,591 music tracks, 426 movies and 16 complete TV-series has been sentenced in France.

The police searched the 55 year-old's house in connection with an unrelated matter and stumbled across his collection. The man was sentenced to 33,000 euros ($46,200) in damages and a 2 month suspended jail sentence.

During the April hearing the retired IT expert said in his defense that it took him a whole year to accumulate the collection by using eMule on the eD2k network, but it was intended for private, not commercial use. He also told the court that he believed he had been acting within the law.

Lawyers for 19 plaintiffs including the National Federation of Film Distributors, Sony, Paramount, Sacem and SCPP demanded between 1 and 2 euros compensation for each illicit MP3 and between 7 and 12.50 euros for each movie. It is believed that SCPP will collect the largest share of around 17,000 euros.

In a statement the man's lawyer said: There is stuff like this on all kids' computers right now, while pointing out that many of the files had been downloaded by the defendant's children.

 

3rd July   

Update: Linked to Copyright...

US Judge suggests banning bloggers from linking to newspaper sites
Link Here

Associated Press Those who wish to keep the internet free and open had best dust off their legal arguments. One of America's most influential conservative judges, Richard Posner, has proposed a ban on linking to online content without permission . The idea, he said in a blog post last week, is to prevent aggregators and bloggers from linking to newspaper websites without paying:

Expanding copyright law to bar online access to copyrighted materials without the copyright holder's consent, or to bar linking to or paraphrasing copyrighted materials without the copyright holder's consent, might be necessary to keep free riding on content financed by online newspapers from so impairing the incentive to create costly news-gathering operations that news services like Reuters and the Associated Press would become the only professional, nongovernmental sources of news and opinion.

 

2nd July   

Update: Shared Legitimacy...

Pirate Bay bought out by reformists
Link Here  full story: Pirate Bay...Pirate Bay, Swedish file sharing site

Pirate Bay logo After the announcement of torrent site The Pirate Bay being sold to Sweden's Global Gaming Factory, which are to be list on the Swedish stock market, it has been learnt that one of the mega-popular site's co-founders, Peter Sunde, has confirmed comprehensive changes, which might result in the iconic web service switching to a new business model.

The Pirate Bay is also thinking of stopping directly hosting torrents, which are used to connect file sharers with each other.

It should be noted that these announcements have come at a time when the possibility of stiff fines and jail terms to be imposed on the Pirate Bay founders looms large.

It is being predicted by many that it is a good thing for Pirate Bay to decentralize its torrent tracking service and hosting torrents across a range of third party services, since it could discourage any future attempts by the recording industry and Hollywood, to attack the BitTorrent file sharing service via legal means.

It is also being forecast that soon the Pirate Bay could become a legitimate pay-to-download service, going by an announcement from Global Gaming Factory CEO Hans Pandeya, which confirm that they would work with copyright owners to see that content providers and copyright owners get paid for content that is downloaded via the site.