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2012: Oct-Dec

Melon Farmers: Watching censors watch what we watch
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  Eying More...

Golden Eye expands its remit to send out copyright enforcement demands

Melon Farmers
Link Here 28th December 2012

Old BaileyGolden Eye, a company associated with pornographic film-maker Ben Dover has revealed plans to extend its remit to chase suspected file sharers with demands for large sums of money.

The move follows a Court of Appeal ruling which overturned a previous block on Golden Eye offering its services to other rights holders. Golden Eye keeps about 75% of all payments.

Spokesman Julian Becker said he now planned to travel to the US to offer to enforce US firms' copyrights in the UK.

I look forward to travelling to adult conferences in Los Angeles and Vegas in early January to offer Golden Eye's services to other producers.

The court ruling brings to an end a legal dispute between Golden Eye and the Open Rights Group (ORG).

Becker said he now intended to contact alleged infringers - identified by internet addresses linked to file-sharing activities - in the New Year. Recipients will be told they are suspected of accessing one or several adult films via peer-to-peer networks and will be invited to negotiate a lump sum payment. Golden Eye had originally indicated it wanted to demand a 700 penalty, however this was blocked on the grounds that the sum was excessive .

The Open Rights Group expressed concern at the appeal's verdict:

Such a decision effectively means that someone who themselves has no interest in a claim can acquire personal details to obtain large sums of money.

In this case Golden Eye are not a firm of solicitors, and thus are not regulated in the same way solicitors are.


  Shared Continuum...

Netherlands parliament votes against a ban on file sharing downloads

Link Here 22nd December 2012

NetherlandsIn recent weeks the Netherlands has been discussing how to tackle file sharing. A download ban was put on the political agenda, but the House of Representatives has struck down this plan. Downloading remains legal, and in exchange rightsholders will be compensated through a private copying tax on various media storage devices.

A majority of the house accepted a motion that would take the plan off the table, and further ensured that the right to make copies for personal use should not be restricted.

However, the entertainment industry isn't being left out in the cold. Presently, copyright holders in the Netherlands are compensated through a piracy tax on blank media such as CDR media and writable DVDs. In October it was decided that this piracy tax will be extended to a variety of other media storage devices such as tablets, smartphones, USB-drives, PCs and Laptops. The money that's collected, up to 5 euro per device, will be distributed to copyright holders.


  File Shifting...

Consumers given more copyright freedom

Link Here 21st December 2012

dept business innovation skills logoChanges to create greater freedom to use copyright works such as computer games, paintings, photographs, films, books, and music, while protecting the interests of authors and right owners, have been announced by Business Secretary Vince Cable. These form part of the Government's response to creating a modern, robust and flexible copyright framework.

New measures include provisions to allow copying of works for individuals' own personal use, parody and for the purposes of quotation. They allow people to use copyright works for a variety of valuable purposes without permission from the copyright owners. They will also bring up to date existing exceptions for education, research and the preservation of materials.

The Government has consulted extensively on these proposals, through the process of the Hargreaves Review, a formal consultation and numerous discussions with stakeholders and industry representatives. It has considered all responses very carefully, which have helped develop and refine the proposals including the balance between exceptions and licensing, before finalising these measures.

Business Secretary, Vince Cable said:

"Making the intellectual property framework fit for the 21st century is not only common sense but good business sense. Bringing the law into line with ordinary people's reasonable expectations will boost respect for copyright, on which our creative industries rely.

"We feel we have struck the right balance between improving the way consumers benefit from copyright works they have legitimately paid for, boosting business opportunities and protecting the rights of creators."

In his review of intellectual property and growth, Professor Hargreaves made the case for the UK making greater use of these exceptions, which are allowed under EU law. In response to a consultation earlier this year, the Government will make changes to:

  • Private copying - to permit people to copy digital content they have bought onto any medium or device that they own, but strictly for their own personal use such as transferring their music collection or eBooks to their tablet, phone or to a private cloud;
  • Education - to simplify copyright licensing for the education sector and make it easier for teachers to use copyright materials on interactive whiteboards and similar technology in classrooms and provide access to copyright works over secure networks to support the growing demand for distance learning handouts for students;
  • Quotation and news reporting - to create a more general permission for quotation of copyright works for any purpose, as long as the use of a particular quotation is "fair dealing" and its source is acknowledged;
  • Parody, caricature and pastiche - to allow limited copying on a fair dealing basis which would allow genuine parody, but prohibit copying disguised as parody;
  • Research and private study - to allow sound recordings, films and broadcasts to be copied for non-commercial research and private study purposes without permission from the copyright holder. This includes both user copying and library copying;
  • Data analytics for non-commercial research - to allow non-commercial researchers to use computers to study published research results and other data without copyright law interfering;
  • Access for people with disabilities - to allow people with disabilities the right to obtain copyright works in accessible formats where a suitable one is not already on the market;
  • Archiving and preservation - to allow museums, galleries, libraries and archives to preserve any type of copyright work that is in their permanent collection which cannot readily be replaced; and
  • Public administration - to widen existing exceptions to enable more public bodies to share proactively third party information online, which would reflect the existing position in relation to the use of paper copies.

These changes could contribute at least 500m to the UK economy over 10 years, and perhaps much more from reduced costs, increased competition and by making copyright works more valuable.

In addition the Government will introduce a new, non-statutory system for clarifying areas where there is confusion or misunderstanding on the scope and application of copyright law. Copyright notices will issued by the Intellectual Property Office. These notices are intended to clarify, but not make new law.


  A Pants Take Down Order...

Victoria's Secret Parody Campaign Fights Takedowns

Link Here 19th December 2012

love consent logo On December 4, journalists received a press release from Victoria's Secret about its new campaign for the holidays. It announced that PINK, the underwear line marketed towards high school and college students, was going to set aside slogans like Sure Thing and Unwrap Me on its underwear for ones supporting female empowerment and a culture of consent, aiming with phrases like Ask First and Respect to normalize and make sexy the idea that sex should always start with explicit consent. The website for the new PINK Loves CONSENT campaign,, went up and soon had over 50,000 visitors. Support for the campaign rocketed through social networks.

But, as a number of people guessed, the campaign wasn't by Victoria's Secret at all. Early the next morning, feminist group FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture claimed responsibility for the campaign, thrilled with the viral discussion about rape culture and consent it had sparked.

Victoria's Secret then sent a letter to FORCE's hosting provider demanding that it take down and a related site. The letter claimed the now-obvious and well-publicized parody infringed multiple Victoria's Secret trademarks and copyrights. That evening, in the midst of a social media campaign to promote sex-positive values during the Victoria's Secret fashion show, Twitter suspended the campaign's Twitter handle, @LoveConsent, with no explanation. Facebook left the PINK Loves CONSENT page up but appeared to remove it from search results.

The site was only down briefly as FORCE moved to a different hosting provider and the Twitter account was back up by December 7, but the outage had disrupted the campaign as it was targeted at a fashion show held during the outage.

These takedowns highlight, once again, the weakest link problem that plagues Internet speech. Individuals and organizations rely on service providers to help them communicate with the world (YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, etc.). A copyright complaint to an intermediary generally triggers a virtually automatic takedown, because the intermediary has a strong interest in complying with the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) and preserving its safe harbor from copyright liability. A trademark complaint directed to one of those providers can also mean a fast and easy takedown given that those service providers usually don't have the resources and/or the inclination to investigate trademark infringement claims. Moreover, because there is no counter-notice procedure, the targets of an improper trademark takedown have no easy way to get their content back up.

Fortunately, PINK Loves CONSENT appears to have recovered. Both the website and the Twitter account are back up and promoting new stunts, with one small change: the site's Important Copyright Notice now links to the Wikipedia entry on fair use.


 Offsite Article: BPI To UK Pirate Party: Shut Down Your Pirate Bay Proxy...

Link Here 30th November 2012  full story: Internet Blocking File Sharing in UK...High court dictates website block
Party Leader Loz Kaye says issues such as censorship are at the core of why the Pirate Party exists and they will stand up and fight for Internet users. Thanks to Nick

See article from


 Offsite Article: Blind Injustice...

Link Here 24th November 2012
German court holds proxy server of encrypted traffic liable for illegal content

See article from


 Offsite Article: But Does It Copy Macrovision, I Mean, Run Linux?...

Link Here 19th November 2012
Microsoft demands that PC motherboard manufacturers lock out operating systems other than Microsoft's

See article from


 Update: Shared Ruling...

Finnish Supreme Court rules in favour of a mandatory block of the Pirate Bay

Link Here 13th November 2012  full story: Pirate Bay...Pirate Bay, Swedish file sharing site

Finland flagThe Finnish supreme court has rejected a case from an ISP fighting an enforced ban of file-sharing website The Pirate Bay.

It marks the end of a long court battle between ISP Elisa and copyright bodies in the country.

ISP Elisa was one of the few ISPs in Europe to resist calls to ban The Pirate Bay.

In May 2011 the Finnish copyright information and anti-piracy centre, along with the IFPI, the group representing the global music industry, filed a lawsuit requesting the ban.

Elisa refused, but when the district court ordered it to block the domain names and IP addresses of the site, it began its censorship. But it also launched an appeal, initially rejected by the Court of Appeal and now by the Supreme Court.


 Offsite Article: Justice Not Seen to be Done...

Link Here 3rd November 2012
Porn producers awarded obscenely high damages from man who uploaded 10 films

See article from


  Focused on Fair Copyright Evidence...

Consumer Focus ask the MPAA to get their act together

Link Here 3rd November 2012

consumer focus logoConsumer Focus, the statutory consumer organisation in England, Scotland and Wales, has written to the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) raising concerns about the Digital Economy Act and the methods used by the MPAA to gather evidence of copyright infringement.

In an open letter, Consumer Focus notes that a 2008 trial warning letter scheme was found to have a 16% error rate, with more than 2000 people receiving warning letters incorrectly.

Consumer focus makes a number of recommendations for improving evidence gathering techniques, many stemming from a report by security expert Dr Richard Clayton. These include:

  • Evidential transparency: Natural justice demands that Internet subscribers should have access to the same evidence that copyright holders used to determine that there appears to have been a copyright infringement, and this includes the evidence gathering process used.
  • Hygiene checks, to ensure that IP harvesting systems consistently record not only IP addresses, but also the time of an alleged infringement .
  • A doctrine of perfection , whereby the failure of an ISP to match an IP address to a subscriber account at the time of an alleged infringement should trigger an investigation into the cause of this error .


  Link Tax...

The internet has diminished the value of news. Google is asked to compensate European news organisations

Link Here 1st November 2012

 Offsite Article: Pirate Bay Blocked in Ireland...

Link Here 25th October 2012
The Pirate Bay is no longer accessible for customers of the Irish Internet provider UPC. The block has come as a total surprise, as court proceedings appear to have been progressing under the radar.

See article from


 Offsite Article: Territorial Control...

Link Here 23rd October 2012
Kindle user says that Amazon deleted whole library without explanation

See article from


 Offsite Article: BPI Kicks Ass...

Link Here 23rd October 2012  full story: Internet Blocking File Sharing in UK...High court dictates website block
Media Companies ask UK ISPs to block file sharing sites Fenopy, H33t and Kickass Torrents.

See article from


  An Education in Blunderbuss Censorship...

1.5 million blogs taken down to remove one 5 year old article

Link Here 17th October 2012

edublogs logoA row over a web article posted five years ago has led to 1.5 million educational blogs going offline.

The Edublogs site went dark for about an hour after its hosting company, ServerBeach, pulled the plug. The hosting firm was responding to a copyright claim from publisher Pearson, which claimed one blog had been illegally sharing information it owned.

The offending article was first published in November 2007 and made available a copy of a questionnaire, known as the Beck Hopelessness Scale, to a group of students. The copyright for the questionnaire is owned by Pearson, which asked ServerBeach to remove the content in late September.

Edublogs investigated and marked the blog entry as blocked, but unfortunately the disputed article was also maintained in a cache. After a repeat request from Pearson, ServerBeach shut down the entire site. In comments given to tech news site Ars Technica, ServerBeach defended its actions saying it had had to shut Edublogs because, as a hosting firm, it had no way to exert control over individual blogs.


 Offsite Article: Us and Them...

Link Here 14th October 2012
US film producer Harvey Weinstein has criticised Apple and Google for making content available under the guise of free internet. Video-sharing sites like YouTube, he said, were doing a massive disservice to the film industry.

See article from


 Offsite Article: Facebook Copyright Takedown: Justice or Injustice?...

Link Here 9th October 2012  full story: Facebook Censorship...Facebook quick to censor
An alleged copyright infringer has his fan page removed by Facebook. But the story highlights the lack of transparency in Facebook's policy regarding its handling of infringement claims.

See article from


 Offsite Article: File-Sharing for Personal Use Declared Legal in Portugal...

Link Here 4th October 2012
Anti-piracy group action backfires as petition is turned down and results is a positive affirmation of file sharing rights

See article from


 Offsite Article: Shared Action...

Link Here 2nd October 2012  full story: Pirate Bay...Pirate Bay, Swedish file sharing site
Dozens of file sharing sites taken down after Swedish police raid web hosting company PRQ. The Pirate Bay is down despite denials that the site was not affected by the raid

See article from


 Offsite Article: EU Court Asked To Rule On Legality Of Downloading From File Sharing Sites...

Link Here 2nd October 2012
People in the Netherlands have been allowed to make personal copies of CDs etc as a levy on blank media compensates artists. A court now asks how this arrangement extends to copying via the internet

See article from


  Shared Penalties...

Japan introduces piracy penalties for illegal downloads

Link Here 1st October 2012

Japan flagJapan-based internet users who download copyright infringing files face up to two years in prison or fines of up to two million yen ($25,700; 15,900) after a change to the law.

Such activity has been illegal since 2010, but until now had not invoked the penalties.

In Japan illegal uploads of copyright infringing music and videos carry a maximum 10 year prison sentence and a 10 million yen fine.

In theory the new download punishments can be enforced if a user is found to have copied a single pirated file.