The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA )has been dealt a crucial blow after three European Parliament committees voted against it.
The treaty was rejected by committees responsible for overseeing its legality, economic impact and
ramifications on civil liberties.
The EU Committee on Legal Affairs (Juri), Committee on Civil Liberties (LIBE) and the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) have now all expressed opinions against ACTA . Their views will be
taken into account by the Committee on International Trade (INTA), which is due to make the final recommendation to the European Parliament.
The Open Rights Group welcomed the decision by the Juri, LIBE and ITRE committees to vote against ACTA.
Peter Bradwell said:
This is a strong signal that more and more MEPs recognise ACTA is so badly flawed, in so many ways, that it must be rejected.
Together the votes are a protest against an
unnecessarily imbalanced and ill-considered treaty. There is still a long way to go before ACTA is finally defeated.
The final vote in the European Parliament is in a month's time. We need to continue to convince more MEPs that
ACTA puts our privacy and freedom of expression at risk and is an affront to democratic principles.
Offsite Article: Why ACTA Lives Or Dies With The Vote In The European Parliament
The draconian ACTA agreement is coming to a global showdown. In the United States, Congress won't have a say in its ratification. In many small countries, citizens are rightfully furious. But it is in Strasbourg, in the
European Parliament's session on July 2-5, that ACTA will ultimately live or die.
The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) has now been rejected by four European
Parliament committees according to a press release issued by the European Union. The latest committee to urge the full parliament to reject the treaty is the Development Committee. In a vote of 19-to-one (three abstained), the Development Committee
recommended that Parliament reject the treaty.
The lead committee on the ACTA, the International Trade Committee, will vote on the treaty before it is scheduled to go before the full parliament on July 3rd.
The ACTA treaty is coming to its showdown two and a half weeks from today. The vote on the floor of the European Parliament is where the
treaty lives or dies. But the next important event takes place as early as this Thursday (21st June).
The European Parliament's International Trade Committee (INTA) has voted decisively to reject the controversial Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement
(ACTA) and is recommending that the treaty be rejected in next month's plenary vote.
This is the fifth European committee to reject ACTA, and the INTA has formally recommended that parliamentarians reject the treaty in July, which would
effectively kill it as it currently stands.
Many EU member states have held off on ratifying ACTA until after the European Parliament vote, although the Netherlands has already rejected it.
The treaty, originally proposed by Japan and the
US, has been over five years in the making and was formulated in a secretive manner before being presented to governments for their consideration. What's killing it is the popular support mobilized by anti-ACTA groups. But of course the reason for the
popular opposition is that the proposals are too draconian and weighed too heavily towards the wishes of the media industry.
Perhaps a more democratically created replacement treaty may find a more acceptable balance.
O2 is set to block its customers from accessing file-sharing site The Pirate Bay from today.
The move means customers of Be Broadband, a subsidiary of O2, will also be blocked from the site.
The ISP is the latest to fall in line following a
High Court order in April. In a statement, O2 said: "The main UK internet providers were ordered by the high court to block access to specific IP addresses and URLs used by The Pirate Bay website.
We have no
option but to comply with this order and will be doing so overnight.
Be Broadband posted a message about the blocking measures on its company blog. It said:
Our parent company was one of the named
ISPs so we are obliged to comply.
We wouldn't chose to do this voluntarily but we need to comply with UK laws just like any UK business. We're aware of the concerns voiced by members about the broader issue.
BT has become the latest and last major UK Internet provider to block subscriber access to The Pirate Bay. The ISP has gone further than other providers since it also restricts access to the new IP-addresses added by the deviant BitTorrent site in
recent weeks. Nevertheless, even these additional efforts were quickly neutralized. Immediately after the block kicked in Pirate Bay added a set of new IP addresses to allow BT subscribers access again, for now at least.
BT subscribers who try to
access Pirate Bay get an Error -- site blocked message.
A Pirate Bay insider told TorrentFreak that they can continue adding new addresses for years to come. For them, it's more a statement than anything else as there are already dozens of
proxy sites that allow users to access The Pirate Bay just fine.
The most frequently visited proxy in the UK, operated by the local Pirate party, is already among the top 600 sites in the UK. With the new block by BT it is expected to attract even
more visitors. In addition, the Pirate Party is picking up a few new members in the process.
Interestingly, the MPAA and other copyright holders have yet to demand similar measures from US Internet providers. But maybe that's coming up next.
In an important ruling involving parody productions, a federal appeals court affirmed yesterday that a South Park episode called What What (In the Butt) did not infringe on the YouTube video of the same
In the shadows of the criminal case against Megaupload, another popular cyberlocker is quietly ending its own legal dispute. DepositFiles has settled a million dollar lawsuit adult magazine publisher
Perfect 10 brought against them. Hat tip to Nick
Sky has become the latest ISP to implement the court order forcing it to block filesharing website The Pirate Bay.
Everything Everywhere (EE) and Virgin Media have already taken similar action, while the order has also been extended to BT, O2 and
The latter two of these three major broadband providers are still working to introduce the ban, while BT has requested more time to make the required arrangements.
Explaining its approach to protecting copyright, the pay TV giant
said it has invested billions of pounds in creating high-quality content for its customers and acknowledged the importance of protecting this material against piracy. Such protection makes sure that consumers continue to benefit from TV
programmes, movies and music both now and in the future, Sky stated.
After Google published their report last week on DMCA takedowns, the American music industry group, the RIAA, is determined to make out that Google is the problem, because almost 1.25 million removed links in one year wasn't enough, and it's all Google's
fault, despite the search giant having absolutely no hand in putting any of them online.
The RIAA is claiming that Google is not being proactive enough with alleged copyright infringements. Worse, it's claimed that Google are actively
hindering the RIAA, because they're not allowing the industry group free reign to have each and every suspect link terminated perpetually.
When Google published their report on DMCA takedowns last week, the RIAA was unimpressed. In fact, they were
so unimpressed by the average of ONLY 3,400+ links taken down each and every day, that they did what any well-connected lobby group would do -- it took to its blog and wrote a top-5 list of facts on why it's all Google's fault
O2 customers suspected of illegally sharing pornographic films made by Ben Dover Productions will begin receiving letters from the film-maker shortly.
The firm won a court order in March forcing O2 to pass on details of the owners of 9,124 IP
addresses linked to illegal downloads.
The High Court has now approved the text of the message that will be sent.
Julian Becker, the commercial director of the firm which is registered at Companies House as Golden Eye International said:
In our first letter we seek to find out more information regarding evidence of an infringement of our copyright. Depending on the response to our letters we will then decide our next action.
understood that recipients will be told what to do to negotiate a settlement, and will be warned that if they do not respond they could be found liable. They will be given 28 days to reply after the judge said that a 14 day limit requested by Ben Dover
was unreasonable . The firm was also told it could not specify compensation of £ 700 but should individually negotiate a settlement sum with each defendant. The judge added that a threat to tell users it would
ask the ISP to slow down or terminate your internet connection if they did not comply was unjustified.
Google has revealed that it was asked to remove 1.2 million web pages from its search results last month alone due to allegations of copyright infringement. This represents a massive jump in the number of requests; Google received a total of 3.3 million
takedown requests all of last year. And even that was a major spike from years prior.
Fred von Lohmann, Google Senior Copyright Counsel, wrote in a blog post:
These days it's not unusual for us to receive more
than 250,000 requests each week, which is more than what copyright owners asked us to remove in all of 2009. In the past month alone, we received about 1.2 million requests made on behalf of more than 1,000 copyright owners to remove search results.
These requests targeted some 24,000 different websites.
[W]e try to catch erroneous or abusive removal requests. For example, we recently rejected two requests from an organization representing a major entertainment company,
asking us to remove a search result that linked to a major newspaper's review of a TV show. The requests mistakenly claimed copyright violations of the show, even though there was no infringing content. We've also seen baseless copyright removal requests
being used for anticompetitive purposes, or to remove content unfavorable to a particular person or company from our search results.
Offsite Article: Media Industry Caught Abusing the System to Take Down Bad
When a movie's either just about to come out or already doing the rounds, people want to find out about it. Amazingly, Warner and their anti-piracy partners managed to undermine their own marketing campaign for Wrath of the
Titans with DMCAs sent to Google.
Through this DMCA takedown Warnerr requested the removal of the IMDb listing for their own
But it didn't stop there. Warner also asked Google to delist the official trailer on Apple along with the ones on Hulu, The Guardian and FilmoFilia. In addition, the studio asked for an article on BBC America to be removed
along with a listing on a site that helps people find theaters to watch the movie.
Warner issued a takedown for the IMDb listing for its own movie Happy Feet Two. They were in good company since Paramount Pictures, NBC Universal
and other rights holders did the same for IMDb information pages covering their content.
A plan for more restrictive copyright law in Hong Kong has sparked protests from artists, who say it will stifle free speech, criminalise satire and hurt the arts.
More than 1,700 artists have signed a petition urging the government to shelve
proposed amendments to the Copyright Act, while pro-democracy lawmakers have launched a filibuster campaign to delay its passage into law.
The proposed law will create an environment of fear and will lead artists to self-censor themselves,
performance artist and graphic designer Ger Choi, one of the organisers of the petition, told AFP.
Some petitioners claim the amendments are politically motivated, and stem from candidates in a March leadership poll being viciously and
humorously parodied on Facebook and blogs.
At present, copyright infringement occurs when the work causes significant damage to the copyright holder, but the government wants to broaden the rules to cover any re-use that could affect
prejudicially the owner. It also updates pre-internet law by criminalising any unauthorised communication of copyright works on the Internet.
The current Copyright Act already allows for fair dealing with a protected work
for education purpose or criticism, review and news reporting , as long as sufficient acknowledgement is made of the original material.
Another secretive copyright treaty being negotiated
22nd May 2012
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a massive trade agreement currently being negotiated amongst nine Pacific Rim countries in San Diego this week. Canada was recently extended an invitation, but its formal membership has yet to be approved by the
existing nine countries, including the United States.
Offsite Article: Inside the secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership Meet ACTA plus, and the people trying to stop it.
For a long time US DVDs and Blu-rays have included a 10s warning from the FBI about not copying disks. And of course no matter how many times you have read it, you cannot skip it or fast forward through it.
Well unfortunately the annoyance is
doubling. DVDs and Blu-rays from six major studios will now carry two unskippable, 10-second warnings. Immigration & Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations unit, now want their share of the opportunity to annoy viewers.
seems that they want to encourage viewers to seek out pirate copies where the wasteful 20s has been thankfully removed.
The Russian based Pirate Pay startup is promising the entertainment industry a pirate-free future. With help from Microsoft, the developers have built a system that claims to track and shut down the distribution of copyrighted works on BitTorrent.
Their first project, carried out in collaboration with Walt Disney Studios and Sony Pictures, successfully stopped tens of thousands of downloads.
Pirate Pay has developed a technology which allows them to attack existing BitTorrent swarms, making
it impossible for people to share files.
The idea started three years ago when the developers were building a traffic management solution for Internet providers. The technology worked well. It was able to stop BitTorrent traffic if needed, which
made the developers realize that they might have built the holy anti-piracy grail.
The company doesn't reveal how it works, but they appear to be flooding clients with fake information, masquerading as legitimate peers.
Last year Pirate Pay
received a $100,000 investment from the Microsoft Seed Financing Fund. Microsoft Russia's president praised the innovative idea, which his company would also be able to use in the future.
After 8 years the legal battle between Google and adult magazine publisher Perfect 10 has been put to rest. The latter accused the search giant of a variety of copyright infringement breaches which included Google's use of cached images. The case
has now been dismissed without the option for further appeal.
In 2004 Google was sued by Perfect 10. The adult publisher demanded a permanent injunction against Google to prevent it from copying and distributing thumbnails of its images, and to
stop the search engine from linking to websites where Perfect 10 content was hosted illegally.
Initially Perfect 10 scored a substantial victory as the court agreed with the adult company's position on Google's use of thumbnails. However, the
Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals later reversed this ruling stating that this utilization of thumbnails amounted to fair use.
What followed was a lengthy legal battle in which the adult company targeted Google with a wide range of secondary
liability claims. These claims were often supported by the MPAA and RIAA, and opposed by digital rights groups such as the EFF. After nearly 8 years of litigation and two failed requests for a Supreme Court review, the case continued at the District
Court where both sides accused each other of breaking the rules. Notable is Perfect 10's quite unconventional last-minute attempt to find more dirt on Google. Earlier this year the company called on the public to provide evidence that Google was aiding
or abetting copyright infringements. The publisher went as far as offering a $25,000 bounty, which is still listed on its website.
According to web site Geneva Lunch, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) quietly suffered another setback in Switzerland where the Swiss Federal Council said it would not sign the agreement.
The Federal Council noted that since
negotiations for the treaty concluded criticism of ACTA has continued to grow in a number of countries. The Federal Council went on to say that they are taking fears expressed about ACTA seriously because they concern fundamental liberties and
important legal provisions.
The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) will get a judicial review in
Europe's highest court, according to the Wall Street Journal. The European Commission has asked the European Court of Justice - the highest court in Europe, to review the treaty and make sure that it is compatible with current European treaties and the
Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.
The Court's opinion is vital to respond to the wide-ranging concerns voiced by people across Europe on whether ACTA harms our fundamental rights in any way, said John Clancy, the
spokesman for EU trade commissioner Karel de Gucht.
Living in a country that is not the U.S., Canada or the UK can be a pain sometimes, especially when it
comes to accessing online content. Many online services like Netflix geo-lock their Web site to only certain countries. People in, say New Zealand, can access these sites via proxy, but not everybody is tech savvy enough to take advantage of such
Enter FYX, a new ISP start up in New Zealand that's offering users the chance to access these geo-locked sites through their service as part of their basic service. It's a subsidiary of New Zealand ISP Maxnet, but
it's differentiated itself to perhaps keep its parent company out of legal trouble.
The new ISP's focus is on offering a much bigger Internet to New Zealanders -- the type of Internet the rest of the world have had access to
for years, said Chief Internet FYX-er Andrew Schick speaking to New Zealand's National Business Review.
NBR points out that Sky TV currently holds the rights to downloadable media like TV, film, etc in the country. It's not
only damaging the growth of local services, but it keeps out other services from competing against their monopoly. It's these kind of monopolies that users could get around with FYX.
The Court of The Hague has handed down another ruling that restricts access to The Pirate Bay website. The Court has forbidden the Dutch Pirate Party from linking to, operating or listing websites that allow the public to circumvent a local Pirate Bay
blockade. The political party is further ordered to shutdown its reverse proxy indefinitely and block Pirate Bay domains and IP-addresses from its generic proxy.
After two Dutch ISPs were ordered to censor The Pirate Bay earlier this year there
was an influx of visitors to Pirate Bay proxy sites. In an attempt to take these proxies offline the Hollywood funded anti-piracy group BREIN obtained an injunction against one of the sites and used this to convince others to shut down as well.
The list of secondary targets included the local Pirate Party, who initially refused to give in to the demands but were later ordered to take their reverse proxy offline by the court. The Pirate Party claimed that the case against them amounted to a restriction of their freedom of speech, and sued BREIN over the order.
The Court of The Hague then delivered its verdict, which confirms most of the earlier injunction. The Pirate Party is now forbidden from encouraging the public to circumvent the Pirate Bay blockade and from listing or hosting tools that can enable
others to do so. Should the Pirate Party fail to comply with the Court's ruling it faces fines of EUR5,000 per day to a maximum penalty of EUR250,000.
Pirate Party chairman Dirk Poot told TorrentFreak:
who where hoping for the law to come to the rescue of basic civil liberties, today must be a rough awakening. This ridiculously broad verdict allows BREIN to take down any site that is posting information that displeases their censors.
A first in Dutch law is that a judge has now also ordered a generic proxy to filter internet traffic as well. BREIN has created jurisprudence that will now allow them to come after any open proxy they have set their sights on.
Last week the UK High Court ruled that several of the country's leading ISPs must block subscriber access to The Pirate Bay. The decision is designed to limit traffic to the world's leading BitTorrent site but in the short-term it had the opposite
effect. Over the last few days The Pirate Bay has had 12 million more visitors daily than it has ever had before.
A site insider told TorrentFreak that this provided a golden opportunity to educate users on how to circumvent blocks: We should
write a thank you letter to the BPI. It's not possible to buy advertising articles from leading UK publications such as the BBC, Guardian and Telegraph, but The Pirate Bay news was spread across all of them and dozens beside, for free.
The news was repeated around the UK, across Europe and around the world reaching millions of people. The results for the site were dramatic.
Another thing that's good with the traffic surge is that we now have time to teach even more people how
to circumvent Internet censorship, the insider added.
Last Friday the UK High Court ruled that several of country's leading ISPs must censor The Pirate Bay website having ruled in February that the site and its users breach copyright on a
grand scale. The blocks, to be implemented by Sky, Everything Everywhere, TalkTalk, O2 and Virgin Media (BT are still considering their position), are designed to cut off all but the most determined file-sharers from the world's most popular torrent
In fact Virgin Media were the first off the blocks and have already started to block the site.
I don't suppose the security services will be very pleased that so many internet users are encouraged to use VPNs and proxies etc. They
will now be looking for needles in much larger haystacks with some of the barn lights going dark.
Update: Seeing Orange
10th May 2012. Thanks to James
As of 9th May, The Pirate Bay has been vetoed by Orange.
Here is a screenshot of what Pirate Bay visitors get to see via Orange.
Absolutely disgusted, a total violation of internet freedom and what it is meant for.
The UK High Court has ruled that several ISPs including Sky, Everything Everywhere, TalkTalk, O2 and Virgin Media must censor The Pirate Bay file sharing website.
The blocking process was established in law by the media industry action against the
Newzbin2 Usenet indexing site last year. A few weeks later a conglomerate of music labels filed a lawsuit against several Internet providers, demanding that they block subscriber access to The Pirate Bay.
Nine labels including EMI, Polydor, Sony,
Virgin and Warner said that The Pirate Bay infringes their copyrights and that several ISPs including TalkTalk and Virgin Media should implement a blockade under Section 97A of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act.
In February the High Court
agreed that The Pirate Bay and its users do indeed breach copyright on a major scale, and this decision has now been followed by a court order.
ISPs Sky, Everything Everywhere, TalkTalk, O2 and Virgin Media must censor The Pirate Bay website in
the weeks to come. A sixth ISP, BT, has asked for more time to consider its position.
The Open Rights Group says the court-ordered block represents the thin end of the wedge.
Blocking the Pirate Bay is pointless and dangerous. It will
fuel calls for further, wider and even more drastic calls for Internet censorship of many kinds, from pornography to extremism, ORG Executive Director Jim Killock said: Internet censorship is growing in scope and becoming easier. Yet it never has
the effect desired. It simply turns criminals into heroes.
John Wiley & Sons, one of the world's largest book publishers, is continuing its efforts to crack down on BitTorrent piracy. The company has now named several people who allegedly shared Wiley titles online, and is demanding a jury trial against
them. If these actually go ahead it will be the first time that BitTorrent-related evidence is tested in a US court.
Last fall, John Wiley and Sons became the first book publisher to go after BitTorrent users in the US.
In recent months
Wiley has filed more than a dozen mass BitTorrent lawsuits involving a few hundred John Doe defendants in total. The Does are all accused of sharing digital copies of titles including WordPress for Dummies, Hacking for Dummies and Day
Trading for Dummies.
As the battle over the DMCA's requirements and boundaries heats up, Google, Facebook, the EFF, Public Knowledge and now the MPAA have become involved in a copyright case currently being heard by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. Is it enough for a site
to perform takedowns when copyright holders demand them, or must it also take additional steps to remove repeat infringers?
Flava Works, Inc v. Gunter is an ongoing case involving an adult studio plaintiff and a user-submitted
video links/video embedding site.
It has become so important that some of the world's leading Internet companies such as Google and Facebook, rights groups such as the EFF and Public Knowledge, and the biggest entertainment
companies through the MPAA, have all become involved in the case.
First a little background. Marques Gunter owns a site called myVidster, a site designed for users to upload links and embed videos hosted on 3rd party sites. In
2010, adult studio Flava Works filed a copyright complaint against myVidster and 26 Doe users of its service.
Flava Works alleged that Gunter had failed to correctly police his site for infringement. Although Flava did not deny
that Gunter had responded to specific takedown requests, the company said that despite being made aware of them, Gunter had done nothing to stop a sample of 26 repeat infringers who continually reposted links to infringing material on the myVidster site.
The case has been plagued by confusion over the difference between hosting a video and embedding a video hosted by someone else.
For example, a key issue in the case is whether myVidster qualifies for a
safe harbor under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). To qualify for the safe harbor, a service provider is required to have a policy of terminating the accounts of repeat copyright infringers. Gunter apparently interpreted the DMCA as only
requiring him to terminate users who directly infringe copyright, and he believes that bookmarking (and, consequently, embedding) a video does not qualify as direct infringement. Hence, he didn't terminate users who bookmarked publicly available videos,
even if those videos infringed copyright.
Gunter said that most of the content are embeds which are hosted on external websites, [and] I would suggest contacting the websites that are hosting your content to help stop the
future bookmarking of it on myVidster.
If the Seventh Circuit adopts Judge Grady's---and the MPAA's---expansive interpretation of copyright liability, implications for the Internet economy could be far-reaching.
Numerous websites embed content from third parties they have not personally inspected. Under the theory articulated by Grady, and supported by the MPAA, these websites would be responsible for this content, exactly as if they had
stored it on their own servers. This could create a serious disincentive for sites to allow users to post embedded content, hampering the convenience and user-friendliness of the Web.
The cyber crime department of Russia's Interior Ministry says it intends to get tough on the country's ISPs when their customers share copyrighted or otherwise illegal material. Authorities say they are currently carrying out nationwide checks on ISPs'
local networks and could bring prosecutions as early as next month.
Having largely failed in their earlier bids to aggressively target individual file-sharers, in recent times copyright holders and authorities have been forced to look elsewhere
for someone to blame.
Worldwide lobbying efforts have borne fruit and now it's almost routine to see ISPs dragged into the debate on illegal file-sharing and treated as if they are the reason the problem exists, or at the very least that it's
their place to take responsibility.
In a few months millions of BitTorrent users in the United States will be actively monitored as part of an agreement between the MPAA, RIAA and all the major ISPs. Those caught sharing copyright works will receive several warning messages and will be
punished if they continue to infringe.
Starting this summer, the Center for Copyright Information (CCI) will start to track down pirates as part of an agreement with all major U.S. Internet providers.
Last year the parties agreed on
a system through which copyright infringers are warned that their behavior is unacceptable. After six warnings ISPs may then take a variety of repressive measures, which includes slowing down the offender's connection and temporary disconnections.
The new plan was announced under the name Copyright Alerts last year and will be implemented by all parties by July 12, 2012. As this deadline nears, the CCI today unveiled several key players who are going to lead the group. Unsurprisingly, the
Executive Board is exclusively made up of representatives from the RIAA, MPAA and the ISPs. There is no representation for internet users or consumer rights.
However, the no doubt powerless, Advisory Board does include public rights advocates
including Jerry Berman, the Chairman of the Internet Education Foundation and founder of the Center for Democracy and Technology, and Gigi Sohn, co-founder of Public Knowledge.