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2010: April-June

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28th June   

Hot off the Press...

US court case to address copyright issues with respect to hot news
Link Here

Major US news organisations have filed papers with a New York court arguing that the controversial hot news doctrine should be preserved and that they should be able to sue anyone who republishes their news quickly.

Associated Press, Agence France-Presse, the New York Times, local paper giant Gannet and others have petitioned the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit asking that their views be taken into account when ruling on the issue in a case about financial information.

The hot news doctrine is the product of a 1918 US Supreme Court ruling which sought to allow AP to benefit from the investment it had made in sending reporters across the world to report on the First World War.

International News Service (INS) was copying AP's stories but copyright law could not be used to stop the practice because it covers the expression of an idea, not the idea or fact lying behind it.

The Supreme Court gave AP and other news-gatherers a right that was almost like an intellectual property right over facts. Fact-gatherers were given a period of time in which nobody else could report facts that it had uncovered. This was called the hot news doctrine.

Google and Twitter have also filed a brief to the court in the case arguing that the hot news doctrine is out of date and should not be maintained by courts.

...Read the full article


20th May   

Update: Party Invite...

Pirate Bay goes offline but soon returns
Link Here
Full story: Pirate Bay...Pirate Bay, Swedish file sharing site

After its previous bandwidth provider had to take the site offline due to concerns over an aggressive Hollywood injunction, The Pirate Bay is back in operation with a surprising new supplier. In a move claimed to stand up for freedom of expression , the Swedish Pirate Party became the site's new host.

Following an injunction obtained by several major Hollywood movie studios, the previous Pirate Bay bandwidth provider CB3ROB took the decision to take the site offline while it digested the legal implications.

That meant that for several hours The Pirate Bay, for the first time in many months, was taken offline. But it soon returned via the Pirate Party.

Today, on 18 May, the Swedish Pirate Party took over the delivery of bandwidth to The Pirate Bay, says the Party's Rick Falkvinge in a statement: We got tired of Hollywood's cat and mouse game with the Pirate Bay so we decided to offer the site bandwidth. It is time to take the bull by the horns and stand up for what we believe is a legitimate activity.

The Pirate Party say they will provide bandwidth to the site's homepage and search engine. The Pirate Bay is a search engine, and as such it is not responsible for the results, notes Falkvinge.


15th May

 Offsite: Opting Out of Privacy...

Link Here
Concerns about Facebook and privacy

See article from


9th May   

Update: TV Remote Control...

US film industry given permission to turn off analogue TV outputs
Link Here

The film industry has been allowed to block outputs on home television equipment so studios can offer first-run movies while preventing viewers from making copies.

Temporarily disabling the outputs will enable a new business model that wouldn't develop in the absence of such anti-piracy protection, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) said in an order.

The FCC order will allow the big firms for the first time to take control of a consumer's TV set or set-top box, blocking viewing of a TV program or motion picture, Gigi Sohn, president of Washington-based Public Knowledge, said in a statement.

The Motion Picture Association of America asked the FCC in 2008 for a waiver from rules against disabling video outputs so that its members could send movies over cable and satellite services using secure and protected digital outputs, according to the trade group's petition at the agency.


8th May   

Update: Copyright on Concerns...

Canada looks set to introduce copyright bill
Link Here
Full story: International 3 Strikes Laws...File sharers threatened with loss of internet access

Following pressure from the US Government, Canada is preparing to ram through a revamped copyright bill that will have disastrous consequences for consumers.

In 2008, Canadian lawmakers proposed a new anti-piracy bill dubbed C-61. The plans met great opposition from the public and were eventually wiped from the table later that year prior to the federal elections. Last year, the Government decided to consult the public on what they would want from a new copyright bill.

In that consultation the public made it clear that stricter copyright laws are not welcome. However, it seems that this has had very little effect as Canada's Prime Minister is about to announce a new , even more draconian law. Michael Geist, prof. E-commerce Law in Ottawa, described the bill as the most anti-consumer copyright bill in Canadian history.

The effects of a draconian copyright bill in Canada can be far reaching. Things Canadians take for granted, like copying your music from your computer to your music player and vice versa, can be deemed illegal with this new bill, Gary Fung of IsoHunt told TorrentFreak.

ISPs can be forced to handover private information of users on a whim without due process. They may be further encouraged to throttle P2P traffic, even for entirely legitimate uses like game files distribution. The new bill also is unlikely to provide fair exceptions for breaking DRM for purposes that doesn't violate copyright, which unfairly prohibits one's tinkering with electronics he owns, Gary added.

Gary's warnings are justified. Although it is not completely clear what the details of the new bill will be, it is expected that it will be the Canadian equivalent of the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act. This means that copyright takedown request become a censorship tool while consumers lose several fair use rights.


23rd April

 Offsite: Copy Police...

Link Here
Full story: ACTA Trade Restrictions...Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement
rubber gloved customs officerSecretive international copyright enforcement treaty finally revealed

See article from


11th April   

Not so Tough on Crime...

A Call for copyright infringing political parties to be disconnected from the internet
Link Here

There's a degree of irony in the fact that as the Government rushed the Digital Economy Bill through Parliament, the Labour and Conservative Parties have themselves been accused of copyright infringement.

Both parties have been told to stop using campaign posters depicting David Cameron as DCI Gene Hunt from Ashes to Ashes by Kudos, the production company that makes the series. Kudos says that neither party asked for permission to use the image from the show.

At the time of writing, Labour says it hasn't received Kudos's letter and the Conservatives have yet to comment. Nevertheless, Kudos's position is clear: it is their image and they were not asked for permission to use it.

I have no idea why Labour and the Conservatives did not respect Kudos's intellectual property in this case. Perhaps it was all a misunderstanding or perhaps they just didn't think about the copyright issues. Quite often a small action, such as making a poster, sharing an album or ripping a CD to an MP3 player, feels like something that happens way below the scope of such a lofty thing as copyright law.

If it were up to me, I would tolerate these little slips but the Labour Government – and their Conservative opposition – don't agree. They want to take measures to combat piracy and ensure that intellectual property is protected. I suggest they make examples of themselves.

What will it be? A public apology acknowledging that they infringed copyright and shouldn't have done so? Disconnection from the internet for the duration of the election campaign? I think we should get an answer.

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