ACTA and SOPA – looks bad

ACTA, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, is a punishing, secretly negotiated copyright treaty that could send ordinary people to jail for copyright infringement. ACTA would establish a new international legal framework that countries can join on a voluntary basis and would create its own governing body outside existing international institution. ACTA has been negotiated in secret during the past few years.

Sounds somewhat worrying to me. ACTA has several features that raise significant potential concerns for consumers’ privacy and civil liberties for innovation and the free flow of information on the Internet legitimate commerce. What is ACTA? document gives details on the agreement. The EU will soon vote on ACTA.

La Quadrature ACTA web page says that ACTA would impose new criminal sanctions forcing Internet actors to monitor and censor online communications. It is seen as a major threat to freedom of expression online and creates legal uncertainty for Internet companies. For some details read La Quadrature’s analysis of ACTA’s digital chapter.

La Quadrature du Net – NO to ACTA video (one side of the view):

The Free Software Foundation (FSF) has published “Speak out against ACTA“, stating that the ACTA threatens free software by creating a culture “in which the freedom that is required to produce free software is seen as dangerous and threatening rather than creative, innovative, and exciting.

ACTA has been negotiated in secret during the past few years. It seem that nobody can objectively tell us what ACTA is going to do. You should oppose it for this exact reason. What exactly it will do is so multi-faceted and so deeply buried in legal speak it requires a book or two to explain.

If you don’t like this you need to do something on that quick. The European Parliament will soon decide whether to give its consent to ACTA, or to reject it once and for all. Based on the information (maybe biased view) I have read I hope the result will be rejection.

Another worrying related thing is Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). The bill expands the ability of U.S. law enforcement and copyright holders to fight online trafficking in copyrighted intellectual property and counterfeit goods. The bill would authorize the U.S. Department of Justice to seek court orders against websites in U.S. and outside U.S. jurisdiction accused of infringing on copyrights, or of enabling or facilitating copyright infringement. Proponents of the bill say it protects the intellectual property market. Opponents say it is censorship, that it will “break the internet”, cost jobs, and will threaten whistleblowing and other free speech.

I don’t like this SOPA plan at all, because the language of SOPA is so broad, the rules so unconnected to the reality of Internet technology and the penalties so disconnected from the alleged crimes. In this form according what I have read this bill could effectively kill lots of e-commerce or even normal Internet use in it’s current form. Trying to put a man-in-the-middle into an end-to-end protocol is a dumb idea. This bill affects us all with the threat to seize foreign domains. It is frankly typical of the arrogance of the US to think we should all be subject their authority.


  1. Tomi Engdahl says:
    BBC: ISPs Should Assume Heavy VPN Users are Pirates

    In a submission to the Australian Government on the issue of online piracy, the BBC indicates that ISPs should be obliged to monitor their customers’ activities. Service providers should become suspicious that customers could be pirating if they use VPN-style services and consume a lot of bandwidth, the BBC says.

    The BBC begins by indicating a preference for a co-operative scheme, one in which content owners and ISPs share responsibility to “reduce and eliminate” online copyright infringement.

    In common with all rightsholder submissions so far, the BBC wants to put pressure on ISPs to deal with their errant subscribers via a graduated response scheme of educational messages backed up by punitive measures for the most persistent of infringers.

    “ISPs should warn any alleged copyright infringers through a graduated notification system that what they are doing is illegal and, at the same time, educate them about the law, the importance of copyright to funding content and services they enjoy and where they can access the material they want legally. However. if the consumers do not abide by the notifications then more serious action may need to be taken,”

    VPNs are pirate tools

    “Since the evolution of peer-to-peer software protocols to incorporate decentralized architectures, which has allowed users to download content from numerous host computers, the detection and prosecution of copyright violations has become a complex task. This situation is further amplified by the adoption of virtual private networks (VPNs) and proxy servers by some users, allowing them to circumvent geo-blocking technologies and further evade detection,” the BBC explain.

    “It is reasonable for ISPs to be placed under an obligation to identify user behavior that is ‘suspicious’”

  2. Tomi Engdahl says:
    Libraries may digitize books without permission, EU top court rules
    Copying the work to a USB stick is also allowed, but only if the rights holder gets paid, the CJEU said

    September 11, 2014, 6:19 AM — European libraries may digitize books and make them available at electronic reading points without first gaining consent of the copyright holder, the highest European Union court ruled Thursday.

    The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ruled in a case in which the Technical University of Darmstadt digitized a book published by German publishing house Eugen Ulmer in order to make it available at its electronic reading posts, but refused to license the publisher’s electronic textbooks.

    Under the EU Copyright Directive, authors have the exclusive right to authorize or prohibit the reproduction and communication of their works, the CJEU said. However, the directive also allows for exceptions or limitations to that right, it said.

    “This option exists notably for publically accessible libraries which, for the purpose of research or private study, make works from their collections available to users by dedicated terminals,” it added.

    “The right of libraries to communicate, by dedicated terminals, the works they hold in their collections would risk being rendered largely meaningless, or indeed ineffective, if they did not have an ancillary right to digitize the works in question,” the court said.

    However, libraries cannot permit visitors to use the terminals to print out the works or store them on a USB stick, the CJEU said.

    The library could however permit the users to print or store the works on a USB stick if fair compensation is paid to the rights holder, the CJEU said.

  3. Tomi Engdahl says:
    Bugging out: How rampant online piracy squashed one insect photographer
    Most copyright holders are individuals; most infringers are businesses. Things are broken.

    Here is a true story about how copyright infringement costs my small photography business thousands of dollars every year.

    Or, maybe it isn’t. It could also be a true story of how copyright infringement earns me thousands of dollars every year. I can’t be sure. Either way, this is definitely the story of how copyright infringement takes up more of my time than I wish to devote to it. Copyright infringement drains my productivity to the point where I create hundreds fewer images each year.

    It’s true that every once in a while Hollywood twists together enough tattered legal threads to hang some poor schlub for torrenting Scary Movie 12 or whatever. But such cases are statistical anomalies. A great deal of content on the Internet, perhaps even most content, is uploaded in violation of copyright law. Nothing bad happens to the infringers most of the time.

    To recap—Copyright: great! Internet: great! Where the two intersect, what could possibly go wrong?
    The perpetual battle

    For a concise idea of what could go wrong, let me indulge in a list of recent venues where commercial interests have used my work without permission, payment, or even a simple credit:

    Billboards, YouTube commercials, pesticide spray labels, website banners, exterminator trucks, t-shirts, iPhone cases, stickers, company logos, eBook covers, trading cards, board games, video game graphics, children’s books, novel covers, app graphics, alt-med dietary supplement labels, press releases, pest control advertisements, crowdfunding promo videos, coupons, fliers, newspaper articles, postage stamps, advertisements for pet ants (yes, that’s a thing), canned food packaging, ant bait product labels, stock photography libraries, and greeting cards.

  4. Tomi Engdahl says:
    Trans-Pacific Partnership May Endanger World Health, Newly Leaked Chapter Shows

    WikiLeaks has released an updated version of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) chapter on intellectual property. The new version of the texts, dated May 2014, show that little improvement has been made to sections critics say would hurt free speech online. Further, some of the TPP’s stipulations could have dire consequences for healthcare in developing nations.

    The TPP may endanger world health, newly leaked chapter shows

    Some of the most-criticized passages are, however, now absent from the leaked version of the texts. WikiLeaks notes, for example, that surgical method patents had been removed. “Doctors’ groups said this was vitally important for allowing doctors to engage in medical procedures without fear of a lawsuit for providing the best care for their patients,” the organization said.

    Nearly all of the changes proposed by the U.S. advantage corporate entities by expanding monopolies on knowledge goods, such as drug patents, and impose restrictive copyright policies worldwide. If it came into force, TPP would even allow pharmaceutical companies to sue the U.S. whenever changes to regulatory standards or judicial decisions affected their profits.

    Professor Brook K. Baker of Northeastern University School of Law told the Daily Dot that the latest version of the TPP will do nothing less than lengthen, broaden, and strengthen patent monopolies on vital medications.

    “Proposed language makes it easier to get successive, secondary patents on minor changes to or new uses of existing medicines and patent term extensions that increase pricing discretion and monopoly profits on vital medicines, but at the cost of reduced access to poor and uninsured patients,” said Baker, a senior policy analyst for Health GAP (Global Access Project).

    One proposal seen for the first time in the latest TPP draft concerns the use of biological medical products, or biologics, which are medicinal treatments derived from biological sources and include many new cancer treatments and vaccines.

    “Public health systems in many countries cannot afford the $100k-plus price tags on most of these new cancer drugs, certainly most people worldwide cannot afford them on their own,” Public Citizen’s Peter Maybarduk, director of Global Access to Medicines Program, told the Daily Dot. “This means that people in need of treatment will suffer and, in too many cases, die, until affordable biosimilars can be brought to market.”

  5. Tomi Engdahl says:
    Updated Secret Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) – IP Chapter (second publication)

    WikiLeaks Release of Secret Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) – Second Release

    Intellectual Property Chapter for All 12 Nations with Negotiating Positions (May 16 2014 consolidated bracketed negotiating text)

  6. Tomi Engdahl says:
    After More Than Two Years, Google Finally Releasing New “Pirate Update” To Fight Piracy

    After recent criticism it’s not doing enough to fight piracy, Google moves to update its long-neglected filtering system.

    In August 2012, to stem accusations that it doesn’t do enough to fight piracy, Google released what’s known as the Pirate Update, a system that penalized sites deemed to be violating copyright laws. Next week, Google is finally going to refresh that system to catch new offenders and release others that may have cleaned up their acts.

    Google announced the new Pirate Update — call it Pirate Update 2 — will come out next week, along with new ad and editorial formats it says may help stem piracy.

    What Is The Pirate Update?

    The Pirate Update — similar to other updates like Panda or Penguin — works like a filter. Google processes all the sites it knows about through the Pirate filter. If it catches any deemed to be in violation, those receive a downgrade.

    Anyone caught by this filter is then stuck with a downgrade until the next time it is run, when, presumably if they’ve received fewer or no complaints, they might get back in Google’s good graces. We don’t really know how that works yet, though, because Google has never rerun the Pirate Update filter.

  7. Tomi Engdahl says:
    ISPs handbagged: BLOCK knock-off sites, rules beak
    Historic trademark victory, but sunset clause applies to future blocks

    The UK’s biggest ISPs must block websites that flog knock-off goods, after a successful High Court case brought by luxury goods firm Richemonte, the first time trademark pirates have been blocked in the EU.

    Judge Arnold did agree with David Allen Green (aka the blogger “Jack of Kent”) for the Open Rights Group that the block should contain information about who asked for the block, and “that affected users should have the right to apply to the Court to discharge or vary the order”.

    He also agreed the blocks should have a “sunset clause”, which he thinks should be two years.

    VPN blocking

    Arnold had to balance the EU InfoSec Directive, limiting liability for service providers, with the EU E-commerce Directive which protects trade.

    “Each of the techniques described above can readily be circumvented by users who have a little technical knowledge and the desire to do so,” Arnold added.

    Blocks are ineffective against VPN users. However, there’s no burden under Article 3(2) of the Enforcement Directive on rightsholders to establish that they’ll reduce overall infringement — merely that they can be effective against a rogue trader. Arnold agreed with ISPs that effectiveness was as an important factor in deciding on proportionality.

    And they’re cheap — one ISPs put the cost at £3,600 per website per year, while Sky and BT’s cost estimates are in the same region. ISPs who blocked sites were briefly attacked (via DDOS or malicious DNS poisoning) but the reprisals weren’t repeated.

  8. Tomi Engdahl says:
    EU Court Rules Embedding YouTube Videos Is Not Copyright Infringement

    “The Court of Justice of the European Union has ruled that embedding a copyrighted YouTube video in your site is not copyright infringement.”

    Embedding Is Not Copyright Infringement, EU Court Rules
    By Ernesto
    on October 25, 2014

    The Court of Justice of the European Union handed down a landmark verdict this week. The Court ruled that embedding copyrighted videos is not copyright infringement, even if the source video was uploaded without permission.

    One of the key roles of the EU’s Court of Justice is to interpret European law to ensure that it’s applied in the same manner across all member states.

    This week the Court of Justice issued a landmark ruling on one such case that deals with a crucial and integral part of today’s Internet. Is it legal to embed copyrighted content without permission from the rightsholder?

    While EU law is clear on most piracy issues, the copyright directive says very little about embedding copyrighted works. The Court of Justice, however, now argues that embedding is not copyright infringement.

    The full decision has yet to be published officially by the Court’s website but TorrentFreak has received a copy (in German) from the defendants’ lawyer Dr. Bernhard Knies, who describes it as a landmark victory.

    The Court argues that embedding a file or video is not a breach of creator’s copyrights under European law, as long as it’s not altered or communicated to a new public. In the current case, the video was already available on YouTube so embedding it is not seen as a new communication.

    “The embedding in a website of a protected work which is publicly accessible on another website by means of a link using the framing technology … does not by itself constitute communication to the public within the meaning of [the EU Copyright directive] to the extent that the relevant work is neither communicated to a new public nor by using a specific technical means different from that used for the original communication,” the Court’s verdict reads.

    The Court based its verdict on an earlier decision in the Svensson case, where it found that hyperlinking to a previously published work is not copyright infringement. Together, both cases will have a major impact on future copyright cases in the EU.

  9. Tomi Engdahl says:
    EFF Rates Which Service Providers Side With Users

    The Electronic Frontier Foundation has issued a report grading online service providers for how well they side with users over intellectual property disputes. They looked at sites like YouTube, Imgur, tumblr, and Twitter.

  10. Tomi Engdahl says:
    Twitter and Etsy get high marks in report card on copyright and free speech

    When it comes to balancing creative rights on the internet, companies like Twitter and Pinterest play an important role as middlemen. How are they performing?

  11. Tomi Engdahl says:
    YARR! Pirates walk the plank: DMCA magnets sink in Google results
    Spaffing copyrighted stuff over the web? No search ranking for you

    Advert slinger Google has said it’s started burying websites that help people illegally download copyrighted stuff.

    The web giant claimed today it sinks pro-piracy sites way down its search results – yes, beyond page two, the grim wastelands of the web. It’s hoped this may dissuade people from seeking out pirated movies, games, TV and so on, until they discover torrenting or Netflix.

    Google already tosses out links to pages from its results if it receives a takedown request from a copyright owner. Now it’s tweaked its algorithms to lower a site’s placement in the rankings if its pages are routinely DMCA’d

    “In addition to removing pages from search results when notified by copyright owners, Google also factors in the number of valid copyright removal notices we receive for any given site as one signal among the hundreds that we take into account when ranking search results,”

    “Consequently, sites with high numbers of removal notices may appear lower in search results.”

    The company said that while it works with copyright owners to keep pirated content off its services, the best way to stem the flow of piracy is to provide users with better streaming media and on-demand services.

  12. Tomi Engdahl says:
    EFF asks for the right to revive “abandoned” online games
    DMCA exemption would allow “dead” games to live on through legal, third-party servers.

    While playing the original versions of classic games on aging original hardware can sometimes be difficult, it’s at least typically possible. That’s not the case for many online games, which are functionally inoperable once the developer or publisher decides to shut down the official servers that provide the only way for players to communicate with each other. Unofficial hobbyist projects that try to create new servers for these abandoned games could run afoul of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and its ban on “the circumvention of access control technologies.”

    The Electronic Frontier Foundation wants to change that. In an official exemption request (PDF) filed with the Library of Congress this week, the nonprofit advocacy group asks that users be allowed to modify access controls and online authentication checks in legally obtained games “when the [game] servers authorized by the developer are permanently shut down.” In this way, those users can access third-party servers in order to regain “core functionality” that is no longer available through the defunct official servers.

    The EFF gives the specific example of Nintendo’s Mario Kart games, which used a proprietary protocol to communicate with Nintendo’s servers before Nintendo shut those servers down for the Wii and DS. Reverse-engineering that protocol could be considered “circumvention” in the DMCA’s current broad prohibitions, as could modifying the game’s code to allow for connection to new, non-Nintendo servers.

  13. Tomi Engdahl says:
    Are open Wi-Fi network bods liable for users’ copyright badness?
    EU top court asked to make ruling

    The EU’s highest court has been asked to rule on whether commercial providers of free and open Wi-Fi networks can be held liable for copyright infringement carried out without their knowledge by a user of their network.

    A court in Munich has asked the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) to provide it with guidance on how to interpret laws contained in the EU’s E-Commerce Directive which concern third party liability for unlawful activity over electronic communication networks.

    “The Munich court has asked the CJEU to determine whether non-private providers of Wi-Fi hotspots can be held ‘liable for disturbance’,” Zollner said. “This is a concept of German law that equates to a breach of duty of care. A record label in Germany has argued that an entrepreneur is liable for disturbance by operating an open, free-to-use Wi-Fi network that was used, it has claimed, to infringe its copyright.”

  14. Tomi Engdahl says:
    New Euro digi chief says he WILL consider an EU-wide copyright law
    But sets ridiculously tight timeframe for it, say sources
  15. Tomi Engdahl says:
    Anti-Piracy Firm Rightscorp On The Brink of Bankruptcy?

    Rightscorp, a prominent piracy monitoring firm that sends settlement requests for Warner Bros. and other copyright holders, may soon go out of business. The publicly listed company is losing millions of dollars per year and says it desperately needs a fresh cash injection to survive.

    rightscorp-realFor years the entertainment industries have been complaining that online piracy hurts their revenues.

    This problem has motivated people to start anti-piracy companies such as Rightscorp, a company that uses standard DMCA takedown requests to send settlement offers to alleged copyright infringers.

    Despite teaming up with prominent names such as Warner Bros. and BMG, the company hasn’t been able to turn a profit.

    One of Rightscorp’s problems is that they can only reach a fraction of U.S. Internet subscribers. Most large ISPs, including Comcast, have thus far refused to forward their settlement demands.

  16. Tomi Engdahl says:
    Ubisoft found a creative way to screw with gamers who steal Far Cry 4

    Generally-speaking, it’s a bad idea to yell “I totally just stole something from you!” as you’re sprinting out the door of a store, with pilfered goods. Yet people on social media are doing just that.

    In a novel approach to fighting game piracy, Ubisoft decided to make a field of view (FOV) slider, something that players could access only if they downloaded a day one patch for the game. They could only download the day one patch if they bought the game legitimately. Therefore, anyone complaining about not having the FOV slider has outed themselves as having pirated Far Cry 4.

  17. Tomi Engdahl says:
    Kim Dotcom Regrets Not Taking Copyright Law and MPAA “More Seriously”

    Kim Dotcom has spoken out about his long battle over copyright with the U.S. government and his regrets about the events that have led to his arrest ahead of his bail breach hearing on Thursday that could see him return to jail in New Zealand. “Would I have done things differently? Of course. My biggest regret is I didn’t take the threat of the copyright law and the MPAA seriously enough,”

    Kim Dotcom: I Regret Not Taking Threat of Copyright Law and MPAA More Seriously

  18. Tomi Engdahl says:
    Megaupload overlord Kim Dotcom: The US HAS RADICALISED ME!
    Now my lawyers have bailed ‘cos I’m TOTALLY BROKE

    Megaupload founder, wannabe politician and wanted man Kim Dotcom has spent all of his money trying to avoid extradition to the US to face online piracy charges.

    The internet entrepreneur told the unBound Digital conference in London yesterday that fighting the law and attempting to launch his political career had wiped out all of the millions he earned when Megaupload was at the height of its filesharing power.

    “My legal team has recently resigned because I ran out of money after spending $10 million to try and defend myself. They [The US government] have certainly managed to drain my resources… and without lawyers I’m defenceless so they use that opportunity to try to get my bail revoked,” he said.

  19. Tomi Engdahl says:
    UK music industry seeks review of law allowing fans to copy music

    The UK music industry is seeking a judicial review of new legislation allowing music fans to make copies of legally-purchased music, arguing that musicians must be compensated as a result of lost sales.

    The Musicians’ Union, the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors and industry body UK Music are taking legal action over the government’s new copyright legislation, which came into force on 1 October.

    “We fully support the right of the consumer to copy legally bought music for their own personal and private use, but there must be fair compensation for the creators of the music,” said Vick Bain, chief executive of Basca.

    The governmenthas scrapped a law that made it technically illegal for music fans to download a legally-purchased CD onto a laptop, smartphone or MP3 player.

  20. Tomi Engdahl says:
    Music publishers finally pull the trigger, sue an ISP over piracy
    Lawsuit says Cox blew off copyright notices from two Rightscorp clients.

    BMG Rights Management and Round Hill Music have sued Cox Communications for copyright infringement, arguing that the Internet service provider doesn’t do enough to punish those who download music illegally.

    Both BMG and Round Hill are clients of Rightscorp, a copyright enforcement agent whose business is based on threatening ISPs with a high-stakes lawsuit if they don’t forward settlement notices to users that Rightscorp believes are “repeat infringers” of copyright.

    There’s little precedent for a lawsuit trying to hold an ISP responsible for users engaged in piracy. If a judge finds Cox liable for the actions of users on its network, it will have major implications for the company and the whole cable industry. It’s one thing to terminate an account on YouTube, but cable subscribers can pay well over $100 per month—and BMG and Round Hill claim that they’ve notified Cox about 200,000 repeat infringers on its network.

  21. Tomi Engdahl says:
    Officials seize 292 domain names to protect consumers during holiday season

    The holiday season is rife with online rip-offs. In a move to protect consumers, law enforcement officials have seized 292 domain names for sites that allegedly were selling counterfeit goods.

    The sites were being used to illegally sell counterfeit merchandise including luxury goods, sportswear, electronics, pharmaceuticals and pirated goods like movies and music, Europol said Monday.

    The European Union’s law enforcement agency coordinated the seizure with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the U.S. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and 25 law enforcement agencies from 19 countries.

    Law enforcement officials have working since August on tips from trademark holders that led to the seizure of the domains. They are now in the custody of the governments of the countries involved in the operation, Interpol said. Visitors will not be able to access the related sites and will on some occasions see a banner message notifying them that copyright infringement is a crime.

  22. Tomi Engdahl says:
    UK MP Says ISPs Must Take Responsibility For Movie Leaks, Sony Eyes North Korea

    the recent IP advisor to Prime Minister David Cameron has laid some of the blame for the recent Sony hack at the feet of ISPs.

    As the fallout from the Sony hack continues, who is to blame for the leak of movies including Fury, which has been downloaded a million times? According to the UK Prime Minister’s former IP advisor, as ‘facilitators’ web-hosts and ISPs must step up and take some blame.

    ISPs Must Take Responsibility For Sony Movie Leaks, MP Says

    As the fallout from the Sony hack continues, who is to blame for the leak of movies including Fury, which has been downloaded a million times? According to the UK Prime Minister’s former IP advisor, as “facilitators” web-hosts and ISPs must step up and take some blame.

    Last week’s massive hack of Sony Pictures could hardly have been more high-profile and if reports thus far are to be believed, damage to the company could be significant.

    As first reported here on TF, following the hacks last week several unreleased Sony movies leaked online. Fury, featuring Brad Pitt, was by far the highest profile and today we can confirm that the title has been downloaded by BitTorrent users more than a million times.

    Mike Weatherley MP, the recent IP advisor to Prime Minister David Cameron, has published several piracy reports including one earlier in the year examining the advertising revenue on pirate sites. He believes that companies with no direct connection to the hack or subsequent leaks should shoulder some blame.

    “Piracy is a huge international problem. The recent cyber-attack on Sony and subsequent release of films to illegal websites is just one high-profile example of how criminals exploit others’ Intellectual Property,”

    “Unfortunately, the theft of these films – and their subsequent downloads – has been facilitated by web-hosting companies and, ultimately, ISPs who do have to step-up and take some responsibility.”

  23. Tomi Engdahl says:
    The Pirate Bay Goes Down Worldwide
    By Ernesto
    on December 9, 2014

    The Pirate Bay is suffering worldwide downtime today, most likely due to technical issues. The problem appears to be a little more widespread than usual as several other torrent related websites are down too, including EZTV, Torrage and the Istole tracker.

    Swedish Police Raid The Pirate Bay, Site Offline
    By Andy
    on December 9, 2014

    Police in Sweden carried out a raid in Stockholm today, seizing servers, computers, and other equipment. At the same time The Pirate Bay and several other torrent-related sites disappeared offline. Although no official statement has been made, TF sources confirm action against TPB.

  24. Tomi Engdahl says:
    Australia to block piracy sites if Big Content asks nicely in court
    ISPs and Big Content told to self-regulate in six months, or have the job done for them

    Australia will join the ranks of nations that ask local internet service providers block access to sites suspected of illegally distributing copyrighted material.

    The nation’s attorney-general George Brandis and communications minister Malcolm Turnbull today revealed their intention to “amend the Copyright Act, to enable rights holders to apply for a court order requiring ISPs to block access to a website, operated outside of Australia … that can be shown to be primarily for the purpose of facilitating online copyright infringement.”

    In other words, Australians aren’t going to be allowed to anchor in the Pirate Bay for much longer.

  25. Tomi Engdahl says:
    Strict New “Copyright Law” Forces End Of Google News In Spain
    Law to take effect on January 1, Google move essentially preempts it.

    Google has decided to shut down Google News in Spain. This drastic step will occur next week and is the result of a recently passed Spanish law that would have compelled Google to pay licensing revenues to Spanish publishers if their content appeared in Google News — even headlines.

    Some Spanish publishers, including newspaper group AEDE, had tried to turn Google into a source of mandatory licensing revenue through an ill-conceived copyright and anti-piracy law that would have required fees for even the smallest bits of content in Google News.

    The law is slated to go into effect on January 1, 2015. Google’s preemptive move will not affect traditional search results where news content will still appear.

    The Spanish law followed in the wake of a similar failed attempt in Germany to extract licensing revenues from Google. In Germany Google had asked news publishers to sign liability waivers in order to have their “snippets” included in Google News. However the Spanish law goes further and makes it effectively impossible for individual publishers to waive their copyright licensing “rights” under the new statute — even if they disagree with the law.

    Google’s decision means that not only will there be no more News in Spain but there will be no Spanish news publisher content in any other Google News edition, including other Spanish speaking countries.

  26. Tomi Engdahl says:
    Pirate Bay towed to
    Isohunt claims to have tossed copy of Pirate DB into a lifeboat
  27. Tomi Engdahl says:
    MPAA belittles Google’s anti-piracy efforts, leading to schism

    A massive schism has formed between the Motion Picture Association of America and Google after the MPAA belittled Google’s anti-piracy efforts in such a way that the latter has severed ties with the organization.

    However, Google executives expecting a pat on the back from the MPAA instead received a slap in the face when the organization released a statement that implicated the search engine in having a role in online piracy itself. A press release said that the MPAA was “glad to see Google acknowledging its role in facilitating access to stolen content,” a move that infuriated the search company to no end.

  28. Tomi Engdahl says:
    Russell Brandom / The Verge:
    Stolen Sony emails reveal scheming by MPAA, movie studios against Google in “Project Goliath” and their fight against piracy at the expense of the open web — Project Goliath: Inside Hollywood’s secret war against Google — What is “Goliath” and why are Hollywood’s most powerful lawyers working to kill it?

    Project Goliath: Inside Hollywood’s secret war against Google
    SOPA was just the beginning

    MPAA Prepares to Bring Pirate Site Blocking to the U.S.
    By Andy
    on December 11, 2014
    C: 249

    The MPAA is in discussions with the major movie studios over ways to introduce site blocking to the United States. TorrentFreak has learned that the studios will try to achieve website blockades using principles available under existing law. Avoiding another SOPA-style backlash is high on the agenda.

  29. Tomi Engdahl says:
    Pirate Bay Responds to The Raid, Copies and The Future
    By Ernesto
    on December 15, 2014
    C: 214

    The Pirate Bay crew has broken its silence for the first time since the site was knocked down hard by a raid in Sweden last week. The people behind the site are still considering their options and have no concrete comeback plans yet. Nevertheless, they encourage the public to keep the Kopimi spirit alive.

    For more than a decade The Pirate Bay’s been the bastion of uncensored information. Until the raid on some of its critical infrastructure last week, the site never had more than three days of downtime.

    The big remaining question on everyone’s minds right now is whether the site will make a comeback, and if so, how long this will take.

    The TPB crew have remained awfully quiet and haven’t commented on the raid in public, but today “Mr 10100100000″ breaks the silence in order to get a message out to the world.

    “We were not that surprised by the raid. That is something that is a part of this game. We couldn’t care less really,” Mr 10100100000 informed TF through an encrypted channel.

    “We have however taken this opportunity to give ourselves a break. How long are we supposed to keep going? To what end? We were a bit curious to see how the public would react.”

    “Will we reboot? We don’t know yet. But if and when we do, it’ll be with a bang,” Mr 10100100000 says.

    “The people behind TPB are like one big collective mind. There are no leaders nor any one in charge. About 30-50 people from all over the world pitch their ideas against each other and whatever comes out of that is what will be the fate of TPB.”

  30. Tomi Engdahl says:
    Kent Walker / Google Public Policy Blog:
    Google concerned by reports that MPAA is secretly working with studios to resurrect SOPA — The MPAA’s Attempt to Revive SOPA Through A State Attorney General — We are deeply concerned about recent reports that the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) led a secre

    The MPAA’s Attempt to Revive SOPA Through A State Attorney General

  31. Tomi Engdahl says:
    Russell Brandom / The Verge:
    Sony leaks reveal how Hollywood aims to achieve SOPA-style DNS blocking under existing laws

    Sony leaks reveal Hollywood is trying to break DNS, the backbone of the internet
    A leaked legal memo reveals a plan for blacklisting pirate sites at the ISP level

  32. Tomi Engdahl says:
    Movie industry’s evil plan to destroy the internet is going precisely nowhere
    Yes, it would damage the DNS; no, it’s not going to happen

    As well as finding out that Jennifer Lawrence earns less than her male counterparts, movie execs are self-important a-holes and Sony has a password policy that a baby could break, it turns out that the movie company is also seeking to DESTROY THE INTERNET with a ten-page legal memo.

    The memo [PDF], written by outside law firm Jenner & Block in August this year, looks into whether ISPs can be pressured into removing links to pirate content by using the legal language around telecommunications.

    The memo concludes that previous lines of thinking Sony has explored were going nowhere, but proposes an alternative that could achieve the same thing – namely, force ISPs to act against reports of infringement.

    That has caused an online outcry that Sony’s “secret plan” is “trying to break the domain name system” and destroy the “core workings of the internet”.

    And now for the real world …

    The reality is, however, that it has almost zero chance of success and here’s why in three simple bullets:

    It tries to twist the workings of the DNS into language that doesn’t reflect what it actually does. To its credit, the memo notes that it is stretching credibility. But since any DNS expert would be willing to explain in some depth why the effort is wrong, it’s unlikely to get far.
    Even if Hollywood could find a judge to agree with this interpretation, it would be immediately appealed and amicus briefs would fly in from Google, ICANN, the IETF and just about anyone who has any credibility about how the internet actually works. It would also reinvigorate the anti-SOPA and PIPA folk and that didn’t work out so well for the IP lobby last time.
    It wouldn’t actually work. Even if ISPs agreed to change their DNS tables, and even if people didn’t simply use another DNS lookup system, then the way DNS software works means that the name servers that kept giving backing error messages would be simply ignored.

    The advantage of having gone through effectively the same proposal – messing with the DNS – in SOPA, is that there is extensive documentation about why this is a bad idea and wouldn’t work.

    Probably the best comes from Paul Vixie, who as the person that wrote the software that much of the DNS runs on – BIND – knows a thing or two about the internet.

    And so, while the legal memo, theoretical though it was and written with caveats though it was, wanted to actually work to force ISPs to bring down websites (and it would be entire website too, not just pages or files in the domain), then it needed to start this first step:

    Go to an IETF meeting and persuade the technical community to develop a new DNS code that would enable an access block to specific domain(s)

    This would be unlikely to go over well, for obvious reasons


  33. Tomi Engdahl says:
    Ernesto / TorrentFreak:
    The Interview sees over 750K estimated torrent downloads in first 20 hours of availability; release of film exclusively in the US a possible driving factor — The Interview Is A Pirate Hit With 200k Downloads (Updated) — Facing a “terrorist” threat theaters all around the U.S. backed away from showing The Interview last week.

  34. Tomi Engdahl says:
    The Open Bay helps launch 372 ‘copies’ of The Pirate Bay in a week, becomes GitHub’s most popular project

    isoHunt, the group now best known for launching The Old Pirate Bay, has shared an update a week after debuting The Open Bay. The Pirate Bay, the most popular file sharing website on the planet, still isn’t back following police raids on its data center in Sweden, but its “cause” is very much alive.

    The Open Bay, which lets anyone with “minimal knowledge of how the Internet and websites work” deploy their own version of The Pirate Bay online, is becoming an open source engine of The Pirate Bay website, the group told VentureBeat in an email. “The fate of Open Bay is now in the hands of worldwide community.”

  35. Tomi Engdahl says:
    Sony Hack Reveals MPAA’s Big ‘$80 Million’ Settlement With Hotfile Was a Lie

    Sony Hack Reveals That MPAA’s Big ‘$80 Million’ Settlement With Hotfile Was A Lie

    For years, we’ve pointed out that the giant “settlements” that the MPAA likes to announce with companies it declares illegal are little more than Hollywood-style fabrications. Cases are closed with big press releases throwing around huge settlement numbers, knowing full well that the sites in question don’t have anywhere near that kind of money available. At the end of 2013, it got two of these, with IsoHunt agreeing to ‘pay’ $110 million and Hotfile agreeing to ‘pay’ $80 million. In both cases, we noted that there was no chance that those sums would ever get paid. And now, thanks to the Sony hack, we at least know the details of the Hotfile settlement. TorrentFreak has been combing through the emails and found that the Hotfile settlement was really just for $4 million, and the $80 million was just a bogus number agreed to for the sake of a press release that the MPAA could use to intimidate others.

    Of course, all of this is just for show. You can safely assume that none of the much lower $4 million went back to any content creators. Instead, it’s likely it got plowed back into the MPAA’s vast “anti-piracy” machine

  36. Tomi Engdahl says:
    Ernesto / TorrentFreak:
    Canadian ISPs and VPN services now have to forward copyright infringement notices to pirating subscribers or face damages of up to $10K —
  37. Tomi Engdahl says:
    Ernesto / TorrentFreak:
    Netflix Cracks Down on VPN and Proxy “Pirates” — Due to complicated licensing agreements Netflix is only available in a few dozen countries, all of which have a different content library. — Some people bypass these content and access restrictions by using VPNs or other circumvention tools that change their geographical location.

    Netflix Cracks Down on VPN and Proxy “Pirates”
    on January 3, 2015

    Netflix is starting to block subscribers who access its service using VPN services and other tools that bypass geolocation restrictions. The changes, which may also affect legitimate users, have been requested by the movie studios who want full control over what people can see in their respective countries.

  38. Tomi Engdahl says:
    Ernesto / TorrentFreak:
    Canadian ISPs and VPN services now have to forward copyright infringement notices to pirating subscribers or face damages of up to $10K — Canadian ISPs and VPNs Now Have to Alert Pirating Customers — After years of public and private discussions, Canada started implementing a new copyright law in recent years.
  39. Tomi Engdahl says:
    Canadian Anti-Piracy Firm Caught Infringing Copyright

    Canipre, a Montreal-based intellectual property enforcement firm, yesterday issued a press release announcing an infringement monitoring program designed to take advantage of the Canada’s new copyright notice-and-notice system. Yet a new report indicates that the company may itself be engaged in copyright infringement,

    Glass Houses and Throwing Stones: Why a Canadian Anti-Piracy Firm May Need to Send Itself Copyright Infringement Notices

  40. Tomi Engdahl says:
    Porn Companies Are Going After GitHub

    Porn production companies are currently engaged in a scorched earth copyright infringement campaign against torrenting sites with URLs containing specific keywords—say, “thrust” or “glob-watcher.” GitHu​b, a popular site for coders that allows professionals and hobbyists to create open source software together, is getting caught in the crossfire.

    Several Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) complaints filed to G​oogle by companies representing various porn companies in the last month alone have resulted in dozens of legitimate GitHub URLs being removed from the search engine’s results, Tor​rentFreak first reported.

    “an anti-piracy service flagged GitHub after finding pages with links to torrent sites”

    Among the offending URLs were GitHub support pages, entire code repositories, and user profile pages.

    According to Janczuk, removing GitHub pages from Google’s search results could harm the open source software community by reducing its visibility online.

    “Removal of GitHub content or reduction of its visibility would have a substantial impact on companies or individuals participating in the open source model,” Janczuk sad in an email, “since high visibility of [open source software] content is frequently part of a marketing strategy.”

    Janczuk also had no clue that his GitHub page was being targeted by DMCA spammers. “I was blissfully unaware of this,” he said. After our conversation, Janczuk told me, he notified Google of its mistake.

  41. Tomi Engdahl says:
    Canadian Copyright Notice-and-Notice System: Citing False Legal information

    Canada’s new copyright notice-and-notice system has been in place for less than a week, but rights holders are already exploiting a loophole to send demands for payment citing false legal information. E

    The notice falsely warns that the recipient could be liable for up to $150,000 per infringement when the reality is that Canadian law caps liability for non-commercial infringement at $5,000 for all infringements.

    New Canadian Copyright Laws Require ISPs To Retain, Share Illegal Download Info

  42. Tomi Engdahl says:
    Mike Masnick / Techdirt:
    Chilling Effects DMCA archive decides to pull copyright removal notice pages from search engines, deletes whole domain from Google, probably by mistake

    Chilling Effects On Chilling Effects As DMCA Archive Deletes Self From Google

    Over the weekend, TorrentFreak noted that the website Chilling Effects had apparently removed itself from Google’s search index after too many people complained.

    Meanwhile, Chilling Effects founder, Wendy Seltzer, seems to insist that this was an implementation mistake and that the team never meant to remove the whole domain

    So it’s a little unclear what happened here. You’d think the folks at the Berkman Center and associated with Chilling Effects know how to properly set up a robots.txt file if they want to just exclude certain pages.

    Either way it seems like a massive blow for transparency, and in many ways is a “chilling effect” of its own. It’s no secret that many legacy copyright system supporters absolutely hate Chilling Effects and the transparency it brings. Sandra Aistars, of the Copyright Alliance, referred to the site as “repugnant” in Congressional testimony just a few months ago. Yes, providing transparency on censorship is “repugnant.” Says a lot about the Copyright Alliance, doesn’t it?

    Others have made similar statements in the past. A few years ago, a lawyer tried to block Google from forwarding DMCA takedown notices to Chilling Effects, arguing that passing along those notices makes Google “potentially liable for the infringement” in passing on the notices. Others have argued that the takedown notices themselves are subject to copyright and have tried to block them from appearing on Chilling Effects.

    The concern, they claim, is twofold:

    First, the details in the takedown notice often demonstrate where infringing content actually is. That’s especially true for notices to Google or Twitter

    The second concern, as put forth by Aistars, is that people issuing DMCA takedown notices are sensitive little flowers, and publishing the fact that they’re trying to take down content opens them up to harassment and abuse.

    Neither of these arguments survives much scrutiny. The idea that anyone is trawling through Chilling Effects seeking unauthorized content is fairly unlikely.

  43. Tomi Engdahl says:
    YOU. Your women are mine. Give them to me. I want to sell them
    YouTube’s copyright killjoy bots amok

    This is the risk you take if you insist on uploading your wife to YouTube.

    Be prepared for a sorry tale of sex, lies, videotape and attempted copyright theft.

    Now this friend of mine and his wife – both scarily smart but, y’know, a bit kuh-razy in their down time – were larking about with some recording equipment and video-editing software, and thought it might be a laugh to see if they could produce some ASMR material. Faster than you could knead a knuckle into the back of a neck, they bashed out a few short-and-cute psychedelic video samples and uploaded them to YouTube.

    The next thing they know, YouTube has slapped them with an official notification that a company has claimed the copyright on their video. Er, what?

    More specifically, a company representing another bunch of creative types had decided that my friends – let’s just call them “David” and “Heidi” to protect their identity – had nicked their content in the production of their ASMR videos. This came as quite a surprise, since these videos were composed of Heidi’s unique vocal talents set to original, random computerised backgrounds produced on the fly by David using Final Cut Pro X animation generators.

    Content ID MIGHT be a clever piece of software. There’s just no evidence to support that

    In the event, all my friend had to do was respond to the claim and it was settled within 24 hours. It was a simple mistake on the part of the claimant. No worries, all smiles, glad to get it sorted, etc.

    Then it happened again, a different company trying their luck to claim copyright another of my friends’ videos. Once again, they responded and managed to get the claim rescinded on the same day. What the heck is going on?

    It’s like this. YouTube provides recognised copyright owners with a tool called Content ID that helps them profile their own content and hunt for unauthorised copies across the YouTube servers. When it finds a match, it flags a message on the user’s YouTube channel to say that it has identified copyright content in the allegedly offending video, giving the user the opportunity to respond or take the video down.

    Here’s the first problem: Content ID might be a clever piece of software but it is also thick as shit. Comparing the videos above, the only common feature is that there are gradient colours in the background. Duh, me see pink, me see purple, me see match. Ker-Ching! Content ID, he catch pirate!

    Here’s the second problem: when a user responds to the claim, the message isn’t sent to YouTube but to the copyright claimant.

    Getting used to this by now, David fired off his response – “it’s my wife’s voice, it’s Final Cut Pro X generating the visuals” – but this time there was no apology and withdrawal of the claim. Instead, INgrooves simply confirmed the claim by return, whereupon my friends’ YouTube channel automatically got slapped down with a naughty-boy strike. Three strikes and you’re kicked off YouTube.

    David tried to complain and received a second automatic rejection by INgrooves. At this stage, there appears to be no appeal. YouTube assumes that if the alleged copyright owner reconfirms the claim after the user’s response, the claim must be valid.

    By making its erroneous claim and ignoring the user response, the company effectively took over ownership of David and Heidi’s work, before plonking their own monetisation scheme onto it and, one assumes, they had the potential to earn pocket money from it themselves.

    The fact remains that INgrooves stole my friend’s wife and sold her for profit on YouTube. Does this mean if I upload some holiday videos, they will try to steal my children and sell them too?

    Wonky? You deal in video copyright! How can you do that without actually LOOKING at the videos you claim have been pirated?

  44. Tomi Engdahl says:
    Pirate Bay Won’t Make A Full Comeback, Staff Revolt
    on January 27, 2015


    According to insiders The Pirate Bay will slim down its operations for the planned comeback. The new version of the site is expected to operate without former admins and moderators, who have responded furiously to the decision. Many key staffers have left the ship to launch their own TPB.

    The Pirate Bay is expected to launch a trimmed down version without room for the dozens of moderators and admins who looked after the site over the past decade.

    WTC-SWE says that they are in possession of a TPB backup which will be used to revive the old site in full.

  45. Tomi Engdahl says:
    Canada, Japan Cave On Copyright Term Extension In TPP

    Last month, there were several Canadian media reports on how the work of Ian Fleming, the creator of James Bond, had entered the public domain.

    The term of copyright in Canada (alongside TPP countries such as Japan and New Zealand) is presently life of the author plus an additional 50 years

    Those countries now appear to have caved to U.S. pressure as there are reports that they have agreed to extend to life plus 70 years as part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

  46. Tomi Engdahl says:
    File-Sharing Icon RapidShare Shuts Down

    RapidShare, once the most popular file-hosting service in the Internet, has announced that it will shut down next month. The company doesn’t cite a reason for the surprising shutdown, but losing the majority of its users in recent years after the implementation of tough anti-piracy measures is likely to be connected.

    Founded in 2002, Swiss-based RapidShare was one of the first and most popular one-click file-hosting services on the Internet.

    Like most sites of this nature, RapidShare was frequently used by people to share copyright-infringing material. It was a relationship that got the company into trouble on various occasions.

    Hoping to clear up its image the company made tremendous efforts to cooperate with copyright holders and limit copyright infringements.

    The anti-piracy measures seemed to work, but as a result RapidShare’s visitor numbers plunged. The dwindling revenues eventually cost most of RapidShare’s employees their jobs.

    “Kindly note that RapidShare will stop the active service on March 31st, 2015.”

    The demise of RapidShare marks the end of an era. Half a decade ago RapidShare was listed among the 50 most-visited sites on the Internet, with hundreds of millions of page-views per month, but in a just a few weeks it will be gone.


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