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2011: Oct-Dec

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17th December   

Universal Censorship...

Universal seems to have an agreement with Google to remove any videos it wants from YouTube, and is not limited to those over which it has copyright claims
Link Here

Universal Music Group has suggested it has the power to make YouTube take down any video it wants, even if it doesn't own the content or the copyright, thanks to a secret agreement with Google.

The world's largest record company apparently exercised that power when it ordered the removal of a competitor's star-studded video, as well as a news report about the controversy.  The video features a song and endorsements from a dozen celebrities, including Kim Kardashian,, P. Diddy, Kanye West and Chris Brown.

The movie in question is called Megaupload Mega Song , a promotional video created by the Hong Kong-based file-sharing service Mega Upload. Record companies aren't impressed by the service and claim Mega Upload knowingly hosts pirated music and flouts international copyright laws.

For years, Universal has used the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to file take-down notices, requiring websites to remove copyrighted content owned by Universal. But in this case Universal have no rights to the Megaupload video content. The song is original and does not belong to Universal.

So Mega Upload sued the record company, alleging it acted outside the bounds of copyright law.

But Universal responded with a brief saying that their agreement with Google to remove YouTube videos is not limited to copyright claims.

For the moment the video is back on YouTube, but the legal action is continuing.


7th December   

Downloading like Clockwork...

Switzerland will not enact legislation to prevent file sharing
Link Here

One in three people in Switzerland download unauthorized music, movies and games from the Internet and since last year the government has been wondering what to do about it. This week their response was published and it was crystal clear. Not only will downloading for personal use stay completely legal, but the copyright holders won't suffer because of it, since people eventually spend the money saved on entertainment products.

In Switzerland, just as in dozens of other countries, the entertainment industries have been complaining about dramatic losses in revenue due to online piracy. In a response, the Swiss government has been conducting a study into the impact downloading has on society, and this week their findings were presented.

The overall conclusion of the study is that the current copyright law, under which downloading copyrighted material for personal use is permitted, doesn't have to change.

The government report concludes that even in the current situation where piracy is rampant, the entertainment industries are not necessarily losing money. To reach this conclusion, the researchers extrapolated the findings of a study conducted by the Dutch government last year, since the countries are considered to be similar in many aspects.

The report states that around a third of Swiss citizens over 15 years old download pirated music, movies and games from the Internet. However, these people don't spend less money as a result because the budgets they reserve for entertainment are fairly constant. This means that downloading is mostly complementary.

The other side of piracy, based on the Dutch study, is that downloaders are reported to be more frequent visitors to concerts, and game downloaders actually bought more games than those who didn't. And in the music industry, lesser-know bands profit most from the sampling effect of file-sharing.


25th November   

Asking the Impossible...

European Court of Justice disallows Belgian copyright group from demanding that ISP blocks peer to peer sharing
Link Here

The major Belgian ISP Scarlet can't be forced by a national court to block users from illegally sharing music and video files, the European Union's highest court has said.

EU law precludes the imposition of an injunction by a national court which requires an internet service provider to install a filtering system with a view to preventing the illegal downloading of files, the EU Court of Justice in Luxembourg said in a statement.

The court ruled that the filtering could infringe the rights of customers and their right to protect their own data. It could also mean that legal content was blocked.

Such an injunction could potentially undermine freedom of information since that system might not distinguish adequately between unlawful content and lawful content with the result that its introduction could lead to the blocking of lawful communications, the court said.

A Belgian court last year sought the EU top tribunal's guidance on whether forcing an ISP to stop illegal file sharing on its network is in line with the 27-nation bloc's rules. Belgian music-copyright group Sabam, started the legal fight over the use of so-called peer-to-peer software for file sharing.

In Belgium Scarlet is appealing a June 2007 Belgian court order to make it impossible for users to violate copyright laws, saying it would entail breaching customers' privacy rights.


13th November

 Offsite: Internet Snooping in the Name of IP Protection...

Link Here
European Court of Justice will soon decide whether the music industry can force ISPs to install invasive internet snooping devices

See article from


9th October   

Updated: Confusing Judgement...

Individuals and businesses cleared to subscribe to foreign EU satellite services but their still may be room for the Premier League to retain control over public showings
Link Here

The pub landlady Karen Murphy has won the latest stage of her fight to air Premier League games using a properly paid up foreign satellite TV service.

Karen Murphy previously had to pay nearly £ 8,000 in fines and costs for using the cheaper Greek Nova TV service in her Portsmouth pub rather than the expensive service provided by the Premier League and Sky.

But she took her case to the European Court of Justice who now say that national laws which prohibit the import, sale or use of foreign decoder cards are contrary to the Treaty of Rome and the freedom to provide services across EU borders.

The decision could trigger a major shake-up for the Premier League and its current exclusive agreements with Sky Sports and ESPN.

However, whereas the decision opens up opportunities for individuals to watch overseas broadcasts at home, it remains unclear whether games can be shown in pubs using foreign services, as the ruling also threw up a number of copyright issues.

It seems to be a situation somewhat analogous to playing copyright music at home or at a business premises. CDs can be freely bought and sold from shops across the EU, but businesses still need a licence to play that music in their premises to a wider audience.

However the judgement be very helfpful to private individuals, especially expats, wanting to subscribe to foreign services.

The ECJ said national legislation, which banned the use of foreign EU TV services, could not be justified either in light of the objective of protecting intellectual property rights or by the objective of encouraging the public to attend football stadiums .

However the court has ruled that although there is no copyright in the matches themselves, there is copyright in the branding around the football - the Premier League graphics, music and highlights. If those are there, pubs will still need the League's permission to show its matches.

It's now up to the UK High Court to interpret today's ruling, and that is not likely to happen for several months.

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