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Google and Twitter have also filed a brief to the court in the case arguing that the hot news doctrine is out of date and should not be maintained by courts.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


24th June   

Offsite: Apple's Listening...

Rumours of an attack against iPhone unlocking and privacy compromised video calls
Link Here

An Apple employee (call him Alpha ) who works in the iPhone Development Department has leaked some information to us recently, most of which will come as a surprise to many. The amount of shocking information leaked is beyond the grasp of an individual and shows how far Apple and AT&T will go to lock their users and steal their information while they have no clue about it.

First off, we will divide the leaks into different topics in order of the communication that took place.

  • With iOS 4, AT&T locks all US iPhone owners to their network via regular OTA updates.
  • AT&T shipped some iPhone 4 early to verify their OTA update system.
  • Apple stealing user information via WiFi video call facility, FaceTime, which lacks encryption.
  • Some Apple employees who are aware of this situation are not updating to iOS 4.

...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...

Concerns about Facebook and privacy
Link Here

In a misguided effort to manage the roiling discontent about Facebook's privacy bait and switch tactics, Vice President for Public Policy Elliot Schrage volunteered to take questions from New York Times readers.

ITworld forbids me from using the words I'd normally employ to describe what came out of Schrage. Suffice it to say it was the most egregious display of corporate doublespeak this side of Microsoft.

If you needed another reason not to trust Facebook, Schrage provided several. Here's bald-faced lie #1. A reader asked why not make everything on Facebook opt in in other words, it's private unless the user decides to make it public. Here's Schrage's answer:

Everything is opt-in on Facebook. Participating in the service is a choice. We want people to continue to choose Facebook every day. Adding information uploading photos or posting status updates or like a Page are also all opt-in. Please don't share if you're not comfortable.

It's true that nobody's putting a gun to your head to join Facebook or post your naked cell photos pics (not yet, anyway). But once you do, most of your personal information your biography, interests, posts, friends, families, relationships, location, education, and more -- are shared with everyone by default. You have to go in and change the settings to make them private.

That's not opt-in model, that's an opt-out model. Either Schrage doesn't understand the difference (which would be bad) or understands it but hopes you don't (which is worse).

...Read the full article


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


19th April   

Update: 3rd Strike for Ireland...

High Court gives go-ahead for Irish 3 strikes arrangement
Link Here
Full story: International 3 Strikes Laws...File sharers threatened with loss of internet access

The High Court in Dublin has given the go ahead for the music industry and ISP Eircom to implement a 3 strikes-style regime for suspected file-sharers. The private arrangement between the industry and the ISP had been held up over a legal objection, but that has now been waved aside by a judge.

In February 2009, IRMA – which controls 90% of Ireland's recorded music and represents the labels EMI, Sony, Universal and Warner – reached a private agreement with Ireland's largest ISP, Eircom, which would see them implement a 3 strikes-style arrangement for dealing with alleged pirates.

A leaked documen provided background information on how the deal would operate: IRMA would supply IP addresses they believed to be connected with infringements to Eircom (collected by anti-piracy company, DtecNet) and the ISP would send warning notices to its customers who were allocated those IP addresses at the time of the alleged illicit file-sharing. Any customer receiving a third warning would be served with a termination notice and disconnected by Eircom.

However, the implementation of this groundbreaking agreement had been held up by a legal objection surrounding the legal standing of an IP address. But at the High Court in Dublin, Mr. Justice Charleton gave his ruling on the case and decided that an IP address is not personal data and gave the green light for the Eircom/IRMA 3 strikes arrangement to go ahead.

This announcement now paves the way for IRMA to go after other Irish ISPs to force them to implement the same type of arrangement.


18th April   

A Warning Shared...

File sharers targeted for extortion via malware
Link Here

A new type of malware infects PCs using Japanese file-share sites and publishes the user's net history on a public website before demanding a fee for its removal.

The trojan installs itself on computers using a popular file-share service called Winni, used by up to 200m people. It targets those downloading copies of games in the Hentai genre, an explicit form of anime.

The virus, known as Kenzero, is being monitored by web security firm Trend Micro in Japan. Masquerading as a game installation screen, it requests the PC owner's personal details.

It then takes screengrabs of the user's web history and publishes it online in their name, before sending an e-mail or pop-up screen demanding a credit card payment of 1500 yen (£10) to settle your violation of copyright law and remove the webpage.

Website Yomiuri claims that 5500 people have so far fallen victim.

Rik Ferguson, senior security advisor at Trend Micro said Interestingly we've seen a separate incident that focuses on European victims, he said.

A fictitious organization calling itself the ICPP copyright foundation issues threatening pop-ups and letters after a virus searches the computer hard drive for illegal content - regardless of whether it actually finds anything.

It offers a pretrial settlement fine of $400 (£258) payable by credit card, and warns of costly court cases and even jail sentences if the victim ignores the notice. However rather than take the money, the outfit sells on the credit card details, said Ferguson.

If you find you are getting pop-ups demanding payments to settle copyright infringement lawsuits, ignore them and use a free online anti-malware scanner immediately to check for malware, was his advice.

Update: Apprehended

29th May 2010. See  article from

Japanese police have arrested two individuals accused of spreading a nefarious piece of malware that stole personal information and posted it on the Internet.

The malware was reportedly spread via the Winny peer-to-peer file-sharing network posing as an adult-themed Hentai game. Upon installing the program, victims were asked to enter their name, date of birth, contact details and other personal information

At the same time, information such as browser bookmarks were being stolen from the users' computer. At this point afflicted users probably didn't realise anything untoward has occurred. They later they received an email, asking for a fee to be paid to have the information removed.

Over 5,000 PCs had been targeted by the two extortionists.


18th April   

A Shared Consultation...

RIAA and MPAA make their suggestions to stop file sharing
Link Here

Just days after the US Government acknowledged that the entertainment industries have misled the authorities with bogus piracy reports, the RIAA and MPAA are using those same statistics to convince the copyright czar to transform the Internet into a copyright police state.

The PRO-IP Act is a United States law that aims to toughen current anti-piracy measures.

As part of the Act, there is a public consultation.  For this consultation the RIAA and MPAA have now jointly submitted their suggestions, calling for a future without piracy.

As expected, the submission starts with bitter complaints about the massive losses the entertainment industries have to endure because of online piracy. The same old bogus studies and reports are cited, publications that were heavily criticized and labelled as inaccurate by the US Government earlier this week.

If the RIAA and MPAA had their way…

  • The public would be encouraged to install anti-piracy software on their computers which would monitor their network for copyright-infringing materials. They are most likely referring to the Digital File Check application that they've been plugging for a while.
  • ISPs would have to allow third parties to spy on the files that are transferred by their customers and check them against a reference database of fingerprints to check whether the files are infringing copyright or not.
  • Torrent sites and file-hosters would have to preemptively filter content that is uploaded to or indexed by their sites. The reasoning behind this suggestion is that the regular notice and takedown procedures are time consuming and ineffective because content quickly reappears.
  • Search engines, hosting companies, payment processors, advertising agencies, social networking sites and domain registrars would be encouraged to team up with copyright holders in order to prevent online piracy.
  • Consumers and websites that repeatedly infringe on the rights of copyright holders would lose their Internet access.


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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