Archive for the ‘copyright’ tag
Kim Dotcom Makes Another Plea For Legal Relief As U.S., UK, Canada Attorneys General Converge Down Under
Kim Dotcom and his legal team are seizing the moment of a meeting of attorneys general from the U.S., UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand in Auckland to bring more attention to his legal fight with the U.S. government, which wants to extradite Dotcom from New Zealand and try him for copyright violations related to his now-defunct Megaupload venture. Robert Amsterdam, a high-profile lawyer known for human rights cases and the legal defense of political and business leaders who was appointed in January to help Dotcom’s case, has also now published a white paper detailing his take on Dotcom’s legal position.
But while Dotcom’s legal team attempts to take a white-paper higher ground, Dotcom is also taking a no-holds-barred approach as well. As Reuters reports, Dotcom is offering a prize of $500 the best film of the U.S. Attorney General, Eric Holder, while his Dotcom’s own Megaupload theme song plays in the background.
Holder is currently visiting Auckland, New Zealand, along with the AG’s from the UK, Dominic Grieve, and Canada, Rob Nicholson, who are meeting with Australia’s AG Mark Dreyfus and Christopher Finlayson of New Zealand. On the agenda is also a meeting with the Strategic Alliance Group, which brings together policing agencies from the five countries — the FBI; the Australian Federal Police; the UK’s Serious Organised Crime Agency; the New Zealand Police; and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. The case of Dotcom, who is resident in New Zealand, will inevitably come up. Megaupload is accused of costing film studios and music labels some $500 million in missed revenues, and responsible for some $175 million in “criminal proceeds.”
While the Megaupload case continues, Dotcom has busied himself with the launch of Mega, a new file sharing site and cloud-storage service that debuted in January of this year. He’s also preparing an online music and entertainment service called MegaBox; in March, Dotcom said Megabox could launch in the next six months.
The white paper penned by Amsterdam and Ira P. Rothken, another member of Dotcom’s legal team as well as that of Megaupload, brings the focus of Dotcom’s defense down to three main points (the full white paper’s embedded below):
1. There is no provision in U.S. law for “secondary” copyright infringement in criminal law, in which the person operating the delivery method is prosecuted along with the individual posting material in violation of copyright. Previous cases have only concerned civil cases, Amsterdam and Rothken write.
2. Megaupload was also used for a lot of legitimate purposes, and so should therefore be protected under the so-called “Sony doctrine,” which accepts that any online service is subject to misuse.
3. They also claim that in fact Megaupload cooperated with copyright owners “millions of times” (over 15 million, they say) by taking down content when it was flagged by them, and that infringement was no wilful. “The company’s subjective belief that it was operating within the law (even if it turns out to have somehow been wrong in that regard) should by itself be enough to negate the criminal willfulness requirement, especially considering the novel nature of the prosecution’s legal theory.”
Whether or not any of this holds water, it’s also interesting to see that Dotcom is on some level looking to distance himself from those who have used Megaupload in the past.
This is a change in tactic from a person that up to now has appealed to those same people to continue to support him throughout all of his many legal and publicity battles against the likes of the MPAA and its leader Christopher Dodd. Mega’s CEO, Vikram Kumar, said earlier this month that Mega is on track to reach 6 million monthly users this month. That’s still a far cry from where Megaupload was at its peak, with 60 million registered users, 50 million daily visits and accounting for about 4% of total internet traffic (according to figures provided by Dotcom’s team).
A judge ordered that Craigslist cannot sue PadMapper and 3Taps for using its data under copyright protections, but the apartment listings site and its data collector still face claims that it violated the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.
PadMapper gained popularity in 2012 for its apartment search app which overlaid vacancy listings over a Google Map to show the exact location. It worked well — I used it during my own apartment hunt — allowing you to sort by the regular renting details: price, number of bedrooms and bathroom, location, and more. When Craigslist blocked its data access, PadMapper founder Eric DeMenthon said it felt “dickish” to go against Craigslist’s wishes, but that he found a “legally kosher” way to do so and felt making renters’ lives easier was more important.
After Craigslist sued the company and 3Taps (which provided the legally kosher data access) in July 2012, it quickly changed its terms of service to say that Craigslist has exclusive rights to your listings and thereby, they can’t be posted anywhere else. It backtracked on this, however, when the community raged.
“Craigslist has threatened scores of startups and established firms with copyright claims over user content posted to its site,” 3Taps wrote in a blog post, “Justice Charles R. Breyer … put an end to further sham litigation by dismissing Craigslist assertions that it held exclusive licenses and copyright over user generated postings submitted to its site.”
But the argument that 3Taps violated the Computer Fraud and Abuse act by continuing to access Craigslist data after the company took measures to block that access still seems to hold water in U.S. district court Judge Breyer.
3Taps countersued Craiglist in August 2012, a suit that still stands. The battle of the apartment listings rages on.
Filed under: Business
Copyright, DMCA, and public interest: House Judiciary Committee to conduct ‘comprehensive review’ of U.S. copyright law
Copyright law in the U.S. was created in 1790, edited in 1831, updated in 1909 for “motion pictures,” and extended to unpublished works in 1976. Which means, according to the current Register of Copyright Maria Pallante, who leads the U.S. Copyright Office, that it is high time for an update.
“We always love it when law is brought up to speed with technology,” Josh Mendelsohn of Silicon Valley’s political advocacy organization Engine.is. “Hopefully we’ll get some some good legislation out of it.”
The review is welcomed by those looking for more freedom and less corporate control over the very stuff of our culture: digital content.
“This is great news for groups like my own, the EFF, and Public Knowledge,” Sina Khanifar, who led the White House cellphone unlocking petition drive and sees this as an opportunity to address the DMCA at the same time. “We’ll be pushing strongly for comprehensive Section 1201 reform via a grassroots campaign at FixtheDMCA.org. The DMCA’s unintended consequences on our rights to modify and repair the electronics we buy, and to remix and make fair use of copyright content could easily be fixed as part of a larger Copyright reform act.”
Whether that actually happens is subject to long months of debate and discussion. But Rep. Goodlatte said in a press release that “there is little doubt” the current copyright system is challenged by new technology, and that a wide review of copyright laws — and related enforcement mechanisms — is needed.
That’s precisely what Pallante, who had testified before the House Judiciary Committee last month, said in a recent lecture on the state of copyright law. She also addressed the need for reviewing the DMCA and its application. Corporations have used the DMCA to take down links, because the DMCA says that content-sharing and social services are responsible for the content their users post.
“The next great copyright act must … serve the public interest,” she wrote. “It must confirm and rationalize … the ability of authors and their licensees to control and exploit their creative works, whether content is distributed on the street or streamed from the cloud.”
The public interest part sounds hopeful to those who want greater freedom for users when it comes to digital content and digital devices — not so much the control and exploitation bits. But those two sides, of course, will form the basis of the battleground.
“We know the movie and music industries have been spending lots of resources on this,” Engine’s Mendelsohn told me, referencing two combatants likely to be on the control side at the coming hearings. “But we in the tech community have spent a lot of time on this as well, and now we are part of the process.”
“There is much work to be done,” Rep. Goodlatte said.
TorrentFreak is reporting that links to Cory Doctorow’s book, Homeland, are being shut down after a DMCA request by Fox. Why is Cory’s Creative Commons licensed book that is available for free being attacked? It kind of sounds like it could be a copy of Homeland, the TV series, so they shut it down.
Homeland is available on multiple sites, including Doctorow’s own, and is also available on some torrent sites. The takedown notice names a number of Fox’s own properties, including Homeland, as well as ripped copies of Hitchcock, Life Of Pi, and It’s Always Sunny In Philadelpia.
Apparently Cory himself replied to the DMCA takedown, saying to TorrentFreak: “I think you can safely say I’m incandescent with rage. BRING ME THE SEVERED HEAD OF RUPERT MURDOCH!”
Obviously both of these instances are cases of an overzealous robot hunting down potentially infringing content. However, given Doctorow’s tendency towards copyfighting, it’s a bit funny that his CC-licensed books are being so zealously attacked.
Legally troubled Megaupload creator Kim Dotcom will launch his new music-focused venture Megabox this year, Dotcom said early Monday morning on Twitter.
Dotcom has been vigorously fighting government charges related to copyright infringement charges since January. His incredibly popular file-sharing service Megaupload was shut down in by U.S. and New Zealand authorities as part of a massive sting operation against sites that allegedly enabled copyright infringement. A recent video shows the absurdly forceful raid performed on Dotcom’s house as part of the sting.
Despite being in the middle of a legal case that could end up with Dotcom in prison, he is still working hard to open a new disruptive web-based music service. This will be called Megabox, and he claims it will “allow artists to sell their creations direct to consumers and allowing artists to keep 90% of earnings,” Dotcom wrote in a December guest post to TorrentFreak. You can see a photo teaser of Megabox above.
On top of launching a new music service, Dotcom is cooking up something else. On Twitter, he indicated that something that people have been waiting for is coming and it will be “better” and “faster.” Dotcom writes:
I know what you are all waiting for. It’s coming. This year. Promise. Bigger. Better. Faster. 100% Safe & Unstoppable.
The tweet suggests Megaupload will relaunch this year as well, but we’ve got no details except for the tweet. No doubt the consistently vocal Dotcom will let the world know when his service hits the web.
Megabox photo: Kim Dotcom/Instagram
Filed under: media
Google says that YouTube isn’t going to somehow solely escape its new “pirate penalty.” Any popular site may be OK, as the penalty works off of more than pure copyright infringement reports. Nuances in calculating the penalty should save popular user-generated content sites, the…
Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.
Google has announced that it will soon penalize sites that are repeatedly accused of copyright infringement. But one site in particular doesn’t need to worry: Google’s own YouTube. It has a unique immunity against the forthcoming penalty. The penalty — which we’ve dubbed the…
Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.
Google’s waters are about to become a bit more unfriendly to pirates.
The search giant announced today that it’s tweaking its algorithm to reflect a new variable: copyright takedown notices. Now, if Google notices that a website has been a big copyright offender, the site could get bumped down in Google search results.
Google gets a lot of requests from Hollywood and the record industry to remove infringing content from its search listings. According to Google vice president Amit Singhal, the company received 4.3 million notices in the last month alone — so copyright holders are clearly stepping up their game.
Google, however, would rather do things its own way, which is why the company is making this shift in its most important product.
But while the move is sure to have negative effects on piracy, Google’s focus isn’t on pirates at all. For Google, the more important result is that users get the information they want quicker and with less fuss. Clamping down on piracy, the company says, is just a side effect of that.
The move will also make it harder for copyright holders to argue that Google isn’t doing enough to target the bad guys, which certainly helps things as well. In a statement to AllThingsD, RIAA CEO Cary Sherman praised the decision, calling it “an important step in the right direction.”
Filed under: search
(Founder Stories) Aereo’s Chet Kanojia Urges Entrepreneurs To “Go For The Difficult Problems” [TCTV]
In the latest installment of Chris Dixon’s Founder Stories, the Hunch co-founder sits down with Chet Kanojia, the founder and CEO of the controversial startup, Aereo. In attempting to bring together over-the-air television with the Internet, the company has drawn the ire of the big broadcast networks, like NBC, ABC, CBS, all of whom are convinced that Aereo is violating copyright law.
Aereo takes content beamed over the free airwaves and redistributes the broadcasters’ signals to Internet-connected devices using mini-antennae stored in data centers. Unlike cable companies, Aereo doesn’t pay retransmission fees for the copyrighted content, arguing it doesn’t have to.
As the two continue their conversation in the video above, topics flow away from the controversy. Kanojia talks to Dixon about how he has grown as a leader, what he was doing before Aereo and wraps the interview by urging entrepreneurs to “go for the difficult problems.”
Make sure to watch the clip for additional insights and watch part I of this interview here.
Past episodes of Founder Stories featuring the founders of TripAdvisor, Kayak, Warby Parker, Kickstarter, ZocDoc and many other companies are here.
When police raided Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom’s home in January, there were questions as to why one man charged for copyright infringement warranted so much force. Now we have video of the absurd raid featuring a helicopter, dogs, and semiautomatic rifles.
Dotcom has become a bit of an Internet folk hero because of his tribulations and is vigorously fighting government charges related to copyright. His file-sharing service Megaupload was shut down in January by U.S. and New Zealand authorities as part of a massive sting operation against sites that allegedly enabled copyright infringement.
Besides showing the unnecessary force used on Dotcom and his property, the video above also features Dotcom testifying about the raid. He says the FBI had already locked down servers related to the Megaupload charges before the raid, so there was no risk of Dotcom deleting evidence that it would later use in court.
The raid was later ruled partially illegal, but New Zealand authorities are trying to overturn that ruling.
Filed under: mobile