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:
    Why the Beatles’ bootleg 1963 album is coming to iTunes Tuesday

    Two words: Copyright expiration. And then there’s the money.

    To Mathis, it’s all about what he sees as the losing battle Apple (AAPL), still wedded to Steve Jobs’ theory that people want to own their music, is waging with Pandora, Spotify, Google Play and the rest of streaming music services.

    The truth is both simpler and more cynical. Copyright protection on the 59 hitherto unreleased songs — two hours of outtakes, BBC recordings and demos (track list below) — expires at the end of the December, 50 years after they were recorded.

    But thanks to a November revision of European Union intellectual property laws, copyright protection of released songs is extended to 70 years. If Apple Corps, which owns the copyrights, didn’t make these recordings available for sale, every Beatles collector with bootleg MP3 files could legally put out their own album.

    As the BBC reported:

    Bob Dylan’s record label rushed out 100 copies of an album last year containing early TV performances
    Officially called The 50th Anniversary Collection, it carried a subtitle which explained its true purpose: The Copyright Extension Collection, Vol. 1.

  2. Tomi Engdahl says:
    Kim Dotcom Ratted Out Rival File-Sharing Sites, Court Documents Claim
    By David Kravets

    Three months before federal authorities shuttered Megaupload and indicted its top seven executives, the file-sharing site’s founder, Kim Dotcom, urged PayPal not to do business with rival sites because of their “criminal activity,” according to a 200-page document Virginia federal prosecutors unveiled today.

    If true, the revelation, one of countless the authorities noted in their filing, adds a touch of irony to a long-stalled criminal prosecution of what U.S. authorities have said is “among the largest criminal copyright cases ever brought by the United States.”

    It’s not the first time Dotcom, who is in New Zealand fighting extradition charges to the United States, has undermined his rivals.

    Eighteen months before Megaupload’s operators were indicted in January 2012, the company complied with a secret U.S. search warrant targeting five of its users, who were running their own file-sharing service using Megaupload’s infrastructure, according to interviews and court documents.

    The June 24, 2010 warrant to search the Megaupload servers in Virginia (.pdf) was part of a U.S. criminal investigation into NinjaVideo, which was piggy-backing on Megaupload’s “Megavideo” streaming service. Though the feds had already begun quietly investigating Megaupload months before, in this case the government treated Megaupload as NinjaVideo’s internet service provider, serving Megaupload with the warrant and asking them to keep it quiet.

    Megaupload kept the warrant a secret and turned over information on the alleged NinjaVideo operators, as well as database information on the 39 pirated movies detailed in the warrant. The NinjaVideo probe led to the indictment of the five top NinjaVideo administrators, including founder Hana Beshara, on charges similar to those now faced by Dotcom and other Megaupload operators.

    Megaupload says it’s innocent of the federal criminal copyright charges, was acting as an internet service provider and is immune to its customers’ activities under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. The government claims Megaupload does not enjoy the so-called DMCA “safe harbor” protection because it accuses Megaupload of failing to remove content at the request of rightsholders, an accusation and others that Megaupload disputes.

  3. Tomi Engdahl says:
    Empirical Copyright: A Case Study of File Sharing and Music Output

    In copyright, we are guided by a simple intuition: More revenue leads to more original works. But the relationship between revenue and creative output is not so simple. Broadening copyright in order to increase the revenue associated with any given work may ensure the expected profitability, and hence the creation, of additional works at the margins.

    Broader copyright may thus entail a trade-off between two marginal effects: More original works from new authors along one margin, but fewer original works from the most popular existing authors along a second.

    If the second effect outweighs the first, then more revenue may lead to fewer original works. Conversely, less revenue may lead to more original works.

    While this may seem radically counterintuitive, it also happens to be true.

    I show that the sharp decline in music industry revenue that paralleled the rise of file sharing was associated, ceteris paribus: (i) with fewer new artists entering the market; but (ii) also with more hit songs, on average, by those new artists who did enter.

    Thus, for the music industry, the rise of file sharing and the parallel decline in revenue has meant the creation of more new music.

  4. Tomi Engdahl says:
    Court: ISP Subscribers Not Liable For Pirating Family Members

    Germany’s Supreme Court has just handed down a landmark ruling on the liability of Internet subscribers in copyright disputes. Overturning an earlier decision by a lower court the Federal Court of Justice said that an account holder could not be held liable for piracy carried out by an adult family member if he had no reason to believe any was being carried out.

    Copyright holders – especially those conducting troll-like operations – would like to create the impression that everything that happens on an Internet connection is the bill payer’s responsibility.

    This notion, if it were true, would make their lives very simple. By holding the Internet subscriber responsible, infringement ‘fines’ could be sent to households safe in the knowledge that the person’s name they have on file could not escape liability.

    Fortunately this is not the case in most Western legal systems which generally require the actual infringer to be held responsible, unless the bill payer was complicit in some way.

  5. Tomi Engdahl says:
    Viewing Pirated Streams is Not Illegal, German Govt Says

    The controversial RedTube case in Germany has provoked an interesting response from the Ministry of Justice. Although it says the question will ultimately be answered by the European Court, the Ministry says that it believes the mere viewing of copyright infringing streams is not illegal under current law.

  6. Tomi Engdahl says:
    Meta search engines may infringe database rights: EU Court of Justice
    Really. You’re dodging my car-searching site while searching for cars on it?

    Operators of websites in the EU that allow users to search for content on other sites and then display the information on their own site may be in breach of intellectual property laws as a result of a recent ruling by the EU’s highest court.

    In a judgment issued last month, the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) said that aggregators’ re-utilisation of data in this way can, in certain circumstances, be a breach of content owners’ database rights.

  7. Tomi Engdahl says:
    Corporations Abusing Copyright Laws Are Ruining the Web for Everyone

    Picture this somewhat typical scenario: Before breakfast, you use WordPress to write your morning blog post, which includes a screen shot of a movie you saw last night, along with your thoughts about the film. During your workday, a colleague shows you a viral YouTube parody of a popular music video (found via a Google search). On your lunch break, you shop for a new book on Amazon, which you buy after reading a few reader reviews that include short quotations from the book. After work, you take pictures of your Brooklyn loft replete with Obey art posters and post them to Airbnb, hoping to rent it out for the week you’re visiting family. At night, you catch up on an episode of Downton Abbey that you recorded to your DVR earlier in the week.

    Whether you know it or not, each one of these activities is made possible by the legal term “fair use.” It’s an indispensable part of our lives, enabling many of the websites and services we use daily or depend on for our livelihoods. Fair use also happens to be an exception to content owner’s rights under copyright law.

    By allowing limited use of copyrighted material for things like criticism, review, commentary, parody, or just personal non-commercial use, fair use has a widespread and often invisible impact on today’s social internet. Yet its very ubiquity means it’s often taken for granted by individuals — and the internet companies who benefit from it.

    This is worrying because fair use is under threat, and one of the culprits is the DMCA takedown notice that provides copyright owners an easy tool to remove content they claim to be unlawfully posted. Copyright owners send these notices to web companies who host content; the companies must then remove the content or risk legal liability themselves. Meant to promote the quick removal of impermissible copyright infringement, the DMCA system works well in many cases.

  8. Tomi Engdahl says:
    Judge: IP-Address Does Not Prove Copyright Infringement

    A federal judge in Washington has issued a key order in one of the many ongoing mass-BitTorrent piracy lawsuits in the United States. The judge ruled that a complaint from the “Elf-Man” movie studio is insufficient because the IP address evidence does not prove that an account holder is guilty of copyright infringement.

  9. Tomi Engdahl says:
    China cuffs 60,000 pirates in 2013 crackdown
    Claims to have cracked cases worth £17 BEEELION

    Police in China arrested just shy of 60,000 people suspected of copyright abuses last year, in cases worth 173 billion yuan (£17bn).

    A total of 59,222 perps involved in 55,180 cases were cuffed in 2013, according to Ministry of Public Security stats revealed by state-run newswire Xinhua.

    Some 1,260 criminal networks were crushed and more than 90 million tonnes of pirated goods confiscated.

    The government periodically releases such stats to show how serious it is about cracking down on intellectual property abuse, although there’s little way of independently verifying them.

    However, there’s definitely a greater political will these days to improve China’s woeful record on piracy and counterfeit goods.

  10. Tomi Engdahl says:
    Prince Targets Facebook Users in $22m Live Concert Piracy Lawsuit

    International superstar Prince is back on the copyright warpath, yet again targeting individuals who are quite possibly some of his biggest fans. In a lawsuit filed in the Northern District of California, Prince is chasing down fans who found links to his live concerts and posted them on Facebook and blogs. The unlucky 22 individuals, 20 of whom are yet to be identified, face a damages claim of $22 million.

    “The Defendants in this case engage in massive infringement and bootlegging of Prince’s material,” the lawsuit reads.

    While it’s clear by now that Prince doesn’t share the same opinions as the Grateful Dead or Nine Inch Nails on bootlegs, for once a file-sharing site isn’t in the cross hairs. The lawsuit says that the defendants used Facebook and Google’s Blogger “to accomplish their unlawful activity”, either by running fanpages or blogs and linking to live concert recordings without permission.

    “Prince has suffered and is continuing to suffer damages in an amount according to proof, but no less than $1 million per Defendant,” the lawsuit reads.

  11. Tomi Engdahl says:
    Dutch court rules that IP blocks are ineffective against piracy, unblocks The Pirate Bay!tMgnC

    The Court of Appeals in The Hague, Netherlands has today ruled that two ISPs operating in the country no longer have to block access to The Pirate Bay, as doing so was an ineffective measure against piracy.

    “ In applying the case law from the European Court of Justice (ECJ), the Court of Appeal held that an access provider is not under an obligation to take measures that are disproportional and/or ineffective,”

    rights holders like the MPAA and BPI will have to find a different approach to curb the piracy that they say is costing them dearly.

  12. Tomi Engdahl says:
    Antivirus Software Starts Blocking Pirate Websites

    Popular Russian anti-virus vendor Dr. Web has rolled out a new feature that prevents users from visiting allegedly copyright infringing URLs. The company is accepting takedown requests from copyright holders, and blocking access to pirated files when claims are considered legitimate.

    For years the MPAA and RIAA have been warning people not to visit The Pirate Bay and other sites where pirated files are traded. These sites pose a threat to the public, they argue, and Russian anti-virus vendor Dr. Web agrees.

    The new feature, which is included in the latest release of Dr.Web 9.0, is the first of its kind. Unlike other blocklists Dr. Web’s database of pirate URLs is built based on reports from copyright holders.

    “Antivirus products have a built-in web-filtering system, therefore it’s no problem to block URLs. In the parental control module many malicious URLs have already been blocked for years,” Sharov tells TF.

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  14. Tomi Engdahl says:
    That’s a lot of pirating: 68% of Europeans download or stream movies for free

    A study from the European Commission finds huge numbers of people streaming and downloading movies for free.

    The report’s authors don’t distinguish between legal and illegal downloading and streaming: They say that they avoided the word piracy “in order to maximize responses…Some rights owners permit free downloads and streaming, some films are freely available on services such as YouTube and Vimeo, and others may come from legal catch-up services.”

  15. Tomi Engdahl says:
    REVEALED: MPAA’s latest anti-piracy move accidentally, completely screws Hollywood studios

    Pando has learned that visual effects industry workers plan a mass demonstration against the major studios’ ongoing efforts to offshore post production work. That offshoring has led to the slow collapse of the American FX industry at the very moment digital effects have become a central ingredient in entertainment products.

    The fight between the studios and the tech wizards who actually make movies possible is not new.

    And here’s the twist: It is a weapon the MPAA itself created in its own desperate attempt to prevent Internet piracy.

    An upcoming documentary on the offshoring situation in Hollywood puts the number of firms lost at a whopping 21, including some of the industry’s highest profile companies.

    The Visual Effects Society summed it up by saying “the amazing irony is that while 47 of the top 50 films of all time are visual effects driven and billions of dollars of profits are generated yearly, the actual people who create the work are becoming an endangered species in California.” Variety boiled it down to a simple headline: “Foreign Incentives Help Crush Once-Booming F/X Biz in U.S.”

    With political power players like the MPAA so invested in offshoring, the decimated visual-effects industry hasn’t had much recourse.

    On the face of it, that esoteric legal argument from the MPAA seemed unremarkable — since the failure of SOPA, the movie industry has tried everything it can to protect its bottom line. Yet, Lay’s lawyers soon realized that the MPAA’s legal position had enormous implications for offshored post-production workers.

    If, as the MPAA insists, movies should be recognized as imports then so too should post-production work. That means visual effects work would be subject to the same subsidy-busting provisions which previously were primarily applied to physical goods like steel and lumber.

    In other words, emboldened by the MPAA’s filing, the visual effects workers are now in a position to use the big studios’ own arguments to compel the government to slap trade tariffs on those studios’ own productions in high-subsidy countries.

    With its own grounding in digital commerce, Silicon Valley has an obvious interest in how digital goods are classified. Underscoring that, Google has weighed in on the same obscure 3-D printing case, perhaps in an effort to legitimize its own current or future offshoring practices.

  16. Tomi Engdahl says:
    A Win For Fair Use After Record Label, Copyright Lawyer Settle

    An Australian record label that threatened to sue one of the world’s most famous copyright attorneys for infringement has reached a settlement with him.

    The settlement includes an admission that Lawrence Lessig, a Harvard Law School professor, had the right to use a song by the band Phoenix.

    Liberation Music says it will also pay Lessig for the harm it caused. The amount is confidential under the terms of the agreement

    Liberation Music agreed to adopt new policies around issuing takedown notices.

  17. Tomi Engdahl says:
    Top EU Court Backs Internet Bootlegging Ruling
    Decision Could Raise Costs for Internet Service Providers

    The European Union’s highest court said on Thursday that Internet service providers may have to block access to websites that infringe copyrights.

    The ruling, which confirms an opinion last year from the European Court of Justice’s advocate general, could raise costs for Internet service providers in the 28-country EU, but leaves leeway for national courts to decide on the best course of action to fight copyright violations.

  18. Tomi Engdahl says:
    Attempt to cut off illegal websites’ advertising revenue

    Websites offering illegal copyrighted material could see their advertising revenue cut under a new initiative.

    Police have created an online database of websites “verified” as being illegal.

    Top piracy sites generate millions of pounds thanks to advertising.

  19. Tomi Engdahl says:
    ISPs’ pirate-choking blocking measures ARE effective – music body
    Says BitTorrent use down 11% in EU lands suffocating access

    High Court orders dished out to telcos in the UK and elsewhere in the European Union demanding that they block access to sites serving pirated content have helped to decrease access to BitTorrent trackers, a music industry body has claimed.

    The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry published its annual report on digital music (PDF) on Monday. It said that file-sharing had dropped by 11 per cent in the countries where such measures were imposed on ISPs, based on figures from comScore/Nielsen.

  20. Tomi Engdahl says:
    Pirate Bay’s Longest Surviving Torrents Turn 10 Years Old

    Exactly ten years ago a Pirate Bay user uploaded a torrent linking to “Top Secret Recipes” ebooks. Today, this torrent is the oldest surviving torrent file on the notorious torrent index. The book torrent beats an Italian teen’s homevideo and the Linux documentary “Revolution OS” which were uploaded one and two days later respectively.

  21. Tomi Engdahl says:
    UK Police Force Shutdown of Sports Torrent Network
    By Andy
    on April 21, 2014

    The City of London Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit has forced the shutdown of a popular, if not the largest, sports-focused torrent site. A staff member at The Sports Torrent Network, a tracker popular with fans on both sides of the Atlantic, informs TF that in the face of threats closure was the only option.

    Many sites subsequently reported receiving letters from PIPCU, the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit, warning that their operations had been scouted and deemed to be infringing.

    While most sites ignored the warnings, some inevitably felt the pressure and decided to quit while they were ahead.

  22. Tomi Engdahl says:
    Pirate Bay’s 10 millionth upload: Colour us shocked, a SMUT FLICK
    P2P badboys show online piracy is alive and humping

    Currently, there are around three million files available on Pirate Bay

  23. Tomi Engdahl says:
    So far, so SOPA: Web campaigners to protest world’s biggest ever free trade deal
    Worries over increased censorship despite stalled talks

    Internet activists are planning a major on- and offline protest at what has been described as a “secretive, SOPA-like” agreement being hammered out as the world’s largest economies attempt to agree the world’s biggest ever free trade deal.

    They argue the pact will lead to greater web censorship, even though talks between the US and Japan stalled this week.

    The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) has been in the pipeline since 2010 and involves liberalising agreements on trade and other issues between stakeholders including the US, Canada, Chile, Mexico, Peru, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Malaysia, Brunei, Singapore and Vietnam.

    Unfortunately, we thought this type of wholesale internet censorship died after our historic victory against SOPA. But it looks like some of the worst parts of SOPA have found their way into the TPP.

  24. Tomi Engdahl says:
    SunnComm to sue ‘Shift key’ student for $10m
    Alleges DMCA violation, damage to its reputation

    SunnComm has threatened Princeton PhD student Alex Halderman with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) for exposing a key weakness in the company’s latest CD copy protection technology, MediaMax CD3.

    The company said today it will take legal action against Halderman for revealing how MediaMax CD3 can be bypassed by holding down a Windows PC’s Shift key when a protected disc is inserted.

    Doing so temporarily disables Windows’ Autorun facility – which many Reg readers have turned off anyway, they tell us – which prevents a small installation app from being launched off the CD.

    Bypassing Autorun allows full access to the CD’s songs.

    SunnComm today said the paper was “erroneous” and contains “false conclusions”.

    SunnComm claims Halderman broke the law by revealing the name of the driver the app installs.

    Bypassing Autorun by holding down the Shift key is a documented feature, after all.

    “I hardly think that telling people to push shift constitutes trafficking in a (copy-protection technology) circumvention device,”

  25. Tomi Engdahl says:
    Trans Pacific Partnership still stalled
    Japan, Congress could find themselves at odds with White House

    In spite of optimistic official rhetoric from the White House, Japan seems to be the latest speed-bump on the road to the controversial Trans Pacific Partnership trade treaty.

    The treaty has been criticised for advocating criminal penalties for copyright infringement, exporting an American “big pharma” agenda on drug patents, investor-state dispute procedures allowing companies to sue governments over local regulation – and for the secrecy surrounding the treaty text.

    Mainichi notes that the deadline for the TPP has been pushed back to an undefined date in 2014.

  26. Tomi Engdahl says:
    Dotcom Thanks RIAA and MPAA for Mega’s Massive Growth, the cloud storage company founded by Kim Dotcom, has seen the number of uploads triple in the past six months. Mega users now upload a total of half a billion files per month. According to Kim Dotcom, the MPAA and RIAA deserve some credit for the unprecedented growth.

    Acting on a lead from the entertainment industry, the U.S. Government shut down Megaupload early 2012.

    Exactly a year later Kim Dotcom made a comeback with a new file-storage venture. Together with several old colleagues and new investors, Mega was launched. The new service, which has a heavy focus on privacy and security, has expanded ever since.

    This morning Dotcom posted an image showing how user uploads have increased more than 300% over the past six months. The graph doesn’t specify the scale, but the New Zealand-based entrepreneur told TF that the service now processes over half a billion uploads per month.

    That’s more than 10,000 files per minute….

    “We are experiencing massive growth. We can’t add new servers and bandwidth fast enough,” Dotcom tells us.

  27. Tomi Engdahl says:
    Megaupload calls for a halt to mafiaa cases against it
    Whoa, remember the Fifth Amendment

    LAWYERS WORKING for Kim Dotcom’s Megaupload have petitioned a US court to halt the movie industry cases against it.

    The lawyers have invoked the Fifth Amendment in court papers, and have asked a US District Court in Virginia to put the brakes on cases brought by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), and prevent individual rights from being infringed.

    “A stay is warranted here to avoid burdening the Fifth Amendment rights of the individual defendants,” it reports, citing the court filing.

    “During pleading, discovery, and trial, these individual defendants cannot be forced to risk implicating themselves in the crimes alleged in the Criminal Action in order to provide a defense to Megaupload in the civil case.”

  28. Tomi Engdahl says:
    The Biggest Filer of Copyright Lawsuits? This Erotica Web Site

    Adult-film companies are not the only ones that face piracy made possible by Internet file-sharing, and the Fields weren’t the first to consider legal action.

    A handful of adult-film companies had also filed copyright-infringement lawsuits against suspected online thieves, and the Fields decided to try it themselves. To identify thieves, the Fields hired outside computer investigators who tracked I.P. addresses where their movies were being illicitly shared via BitTorrent, a file-sharing program. (Using BitTorrent is different from visiting a video-streaming site like YouTube. A BitTorrent user not only downloads a movie but his or her computer automatically uploads a tiny piece of that movie for other file sharers—a process that makes BitTorrent users who view pirated movies liable for copyright infringement.) In February, 2012, the Fields filed their first suits against suspected pirates.

    By 2013, subscriptions had declined to below fifty thousand. The Fields ramped up their annual production budget to around two million dollars, hoping to lure more subscribers with fresher material. They started to post new films on nearly every day. still had tens of thousands of fans shelling out money for its movies. Quietly, the Fields were also making some extra money in another way: by becoming the biggest filer of copyright-infringement lawsuits in the nation. In the past year, their company Malibu Media LLC has filed more than thirteen hundred copyright-infringement lawsuits—more of these cases than anyone else, accounting for a third of all U.S. copyright litigation during that time, according to the federal-litigation database Pacer—against people that they accuse of stealing their films on the Internet.

  29. Tomi Engdahl says:
    Son of ACTA pours fuel on IP trade fire
    Leaked Transatlantic treaty text suggests USA wants in on Europe’s energy supply

    Activists are mobilising against another international trade treaty, with the TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) negotiations between America and the EU starting to cause angst.

    Negotiating texts of the treaty began leaking earlier this year, and that has given policy analysts time to look under the skin of what’s proposed – and consequently has led to fears that TTIP resembles ACTA shambling out of its grave and yelling for brains.

    “natural gas exports from the U.S. to the EU would be automatically deemed in the public interest and export licenses automatically granted”.

    Another article, C(2), the Sierra Club believes, would end the current ban on crude oil exports from the US

    However, the European Commission has said that it intends there to be no harmonisation between US and EU intellectual property laws.

  30. Tomi Engdahl says:
    Pirate Bay co-founder arrested in Sweden to serve copyright violation sentence

    (Reuters) – One of the founders of file-sharing website Pirate Bay has been arrested in southern Sweden to serve an outstanding sentence for copyright violations after being on the run for nearly two years, Swedish police said on Saturday.

    Peter Sunde had been wanted by Interpol since 2012 after being sentenced in Sweden to prison and fined for breaching copyright laws.

  31. Tomi Engdahl says:
    US-EU Trade Agreement Gains Exaggerated, Say 41 Consumer Groups, Economist

    “The main claims about likely economic gains from concluding the US-EU trade agreement TAFTA/TTIP, billed as a ‘once-in-a-generation prize,’ are increasingly under attack. BEUC, representing 41 consumer organizations from 31 European countries, has written a letter to the EU Trade Commissioner responsible for the negotiations, Karel De Gucht, complaining about his ‘exaggeration of the effects of the TTIP,’ and ‘use of unsubstantiated figures regarding the job creation potential.

  32. Tomi Engdahl says:
    “You could be liable for $150k in penalties—settle instead for $20 per song”
    Growing copyright cop Rightscorp hopes to be a profitable alternative to “six strikes.”

    Call them “RIAA-lite.”

    Six years after the US recording industry stopped seeking money from file-sharers, a new company is now preparing technology that could flood the Internet with “hundreds of millions of notices” to alleged copyright infringers.

    Rightscorp, the company behind the campaign, already sends out thousands of notices to users, while making big promises to investors—and not-so-subtle threats to Internet Service Providers. The company’s whole strategy is based on telling ISPs that they’re likely to face a high-stakes copyright lawsuit if they don’t forward the notices that Rightscorp creates.

    It works like this: users accused by Rightscorp are found via IP addresses appearing in BitTorrent download swarms. If ISPs agree to forward Rightscorp’s notices—and an increasing number of them are doing so—the users get notices that they could be liable for $150,000 in damages. Unless, that is, they click on a provided link and agree to settle their case at a low, low price. Typically, it’s $20 per song infringed.

    Rightscorp is a small company, with just seven full-time employees, but it’s growing fast.

    Since Rightscorp splits its settlement cash 50/50 with its clients, those numbers mean that Internet users paid up almost $750,000 last year over its notices.

  33. Tomi Engdahl says:
    Web browsing is copyright infringement, publishers argue
    Thankfully, European top court rules against the publishers’ “irrational” claims.

    Europeans may browse the Internet without fear of infringing copyrights, as the EU Court of Justice ruled Thursday in a decision that ends a four-year legal battle threatening the open Internet.

    In this week’s case, the court slapped down the Newspaper Licensing Agency’s (NLA) claim that the technological underpinnings of Web surfing amounted to infringement.

    The court ruled that “on-screen copies and the cached copies made by an end-user in the course of viewing a website satisfy the conditions” of infringement exemptions spelled out in the EU Copyright Directive.

    “In our view, [the temporary copying] exception is designed to protect ISPs and telecoms companies when they’re transmitting data from A to B in networks.”

    “Despite the ruling, one cannot overstate how irrational this case was to begin with. It’s hard to believe the question at stake was whether browsing the Internet is legal or not,”

  34. Tomi Engdahl says:
    MPAA Strikes Anti-Piracy Deal With Torrent Client Creator

    The company behind the world’s most popular torrent client has struck an anti-piracy deal with the MPAA. Xunlei, a company backed by Google, will implement a content recognition system, ensure that MPAA content is properly licensed, and educate users on the effects of online copyright infringement.

  35. Tomi Engdahl says:
    Kim Dotcom: You give me proof of govt corruption in my case, I give you MEELLIONS
    Megaupload man: $5m for dirty on those trying to ‘destroy me’

    Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom is offering a $5m bounty to anyone who can prove corruption by the Feds or Hollywood studios to help him defend against the online piracy case against him.

  36. Tomi Engdahl says:
    You can’t break copyright by looking at something online, Europe’s top court rules

    It may seem obvious, but it’s a ruling that puts to rest a genuine debate in Europe over the limits of copyright law.

    Internet users who look at copyrighted material online aren’t breaking copyright by doing so, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) declared on Thursday.

    Before you splutter “Well duh” at your screen, note that this judgement finally ends a very long-running and somewhat stupid legal debate over rights relating to online newspaper clippings. This is a useful ruling that will apply across the EU, much to the chagrin of certain publishers.

  37. Tomi Engdahl says:
    WordPress hits false DMCA takedown with demand for $10k
    Sues for compensation

    BLOGGING OUTFIT WordPress is standing up for one of its users who lost content to a Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown request and demanding $10,000 in damages.

    Torrentfreak reports that the blog provider believes it can prove that the takedown notice was false, and wants satisfaction in the courts.

    The company has already spoken out against censorship and the reach of DMCA takedown requests, and last autumn it reported two bogus takedown requests and rallied its users against them.

    “[The] fraudulent takedown notice forced WordPress to take down Hotham’s post under threat of losing the protection of the DMCA safe harbor.”

    The website is asking for $10,000 in compensation for Hotham

  38. Tomi Engdahl says:
    LEAKED EU copyright doc reveals ‘unfair contracts’ crackdown
    Euro copyright chief: ‘No great upheavals’ just yet

    Europe’s competition authority could open up an examination of unfair copyright contracts, according to the region’s copyright chief.

    She told us that the infinite assignment of rights that authors must agree to in most EU countries to get their work published was what she had in mind.

    In the digital era, freelance authors and photographers in many members states have been asked to assign their rights to an intermediary in “infinite” deals. By contrast, copyright can’t be assigned at all in Germany.

    Infinite contracts were disturbing and the Commission could explore fair contracts, she told El Reg.

    In response to questions Martin-Prat said the Commission had to examine all areas of copyright or face unwelcome decisions by the European Court, which was keen on the single market principles being upheld. The examples she cited – the two biggest cases in recent years – were the Premier League and UsedSoft vs Oracle.

    The UsedSoft verdict permitted a legally acquired piece of software to be resold in some circumstances; the Premier League outlawed nation states from banning TV decoder cards used to decrypt and view copyrighted TV transmissions.

  39. Tomi Engdahl says:
    MPAA Issues Overly Broad Takedown Of Little Used Reddit Film Community; Creates Much Bigger Reddit Film Community
    from the do-they-have-any-streisand-movies-available? dept

    Oh that wacky MPAA. Earlier this week, TorrentFreak noted that the MPAA issued a massively overbroad DMCA takedown to Google, asking it to remove an entire subreddit from its search results.

    Google didn’t take it out of its search results, but the resulting publicity from the bogus takedown attempt… suddenly made r/FullLengthFilms a hell of a lot more popular.

  40. Tomi Engdahl says:
    Hollywood Director Slams “Pathetic” Anti-Piracy Crusade

    Movie director Lexi Alexander wants to “occupy Hollywood” by bridging the gap between pirates and filmmakers. Sporting a banner to free Pirate Bay founder Peter Sunde, Alexander says that the criminalization of file-sharing is “pathetic”, while calling out the losses claimed by the MPAA as “bullshit”.

    With her support for the Pirate Bay founder who’s currently locked up in a Swedish prison, Alexander hopes to reach out to the “other side” with whom she shares a common goal.

    Alexander is not a fan of the anti-piracy crusade the MPAA and other groups are waging against file-sharers. The massive losses that are claimed due to piracy are “bullshit” according to her. In fact, she believes that piracy may do more good than harm.

  41. Tomi Engdahl says:
    Single European Copyright Title On the Horizon

    “It has been 13 years after the last harmonization effort of copyright within the European Union and this period might soon be over.”

  42. Tomi Engdahl says:
    Global protest calls for canning SOPA-by-stealth treaty’s IP bits
    Trans-Pacific Partnership lashed by Wikimedia Foundation and Internet Archive, among others

    Fears about the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) have surfaced again, with a pair of open letters calling on negotiators to remove provisions applying to intellectual property.

    The TPP is a treaty being negotiated among Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States, and Vietnam. Controversially, the treaty’s full text has not been released for public scrutiny: citizens of the negotiating nations have generally been told the treaty is in their best interests and they therefore needn’t ask too many questions.

    The first is that the TPP is thought to contain provisions a lot like those contained in the hated, and ultimately defeated, Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). The second is that the USA likes to harmonise its relationships, so if the TPP gets up it will be a way for the USA to bring SOPA to the world, by stealth.

    Thankfully, US President Obama recently suggested that the TPP’s text will be released to the public in November.

  43. Tomi Engdahl says:
    Artist uses DMCA to remove criticism of his impossibly shaped female characters
    Randy Queen takes issue with Tumblr posts using images from his Darkchylde series.
  44. Tomi Engdahl says:
    U.S. Court Grants Order to Wipe Pirate Sites from the Internet
    By Ernesto
    on August 18, 2014

    A U.S. federal court in Oregon has granted a broad injunction against several streaming sites that offer pirated content. Among other things, the copyright holder may order hosting companies to shut down the sites’ servers, ask registrars to take away domain names, and have all search results removed from Google and other search engines.

    The entertainment industries often complain that they have virtually no means to target pirate sites, especially those run from overseas.

    This grim outlook isn’t shared by the operators of ABS-CBN, the largest media and entertainment company in the Philippines, who filed a lawsuit against several unauthorized streaming sites at a District Court in Oregon.

    To stop the sites from operating as quickly as possible the media company requested a temporary restraining order. This was done under seal without the knowledge of the defendants, as ABS-CBN feared that they would otherwise switch domain names and continue operating as usual.

    “Absent a temporary restraining order, Defendants will be able to completely erase the status quo by transferring the benefits of their prior illegal activities to new websites,” the company argued.

    In short, ABS-CBN requested power to take the sites offline before the owners knew that they were getting sued, and without a chance to defend themselves. While that may seem a lot to ask, Judge Anna Brown granted the request.

  45. Tomi Engdahl says:
    Google Asked to Remove 1 Million Pirate Links Per Day

    For the first time ever Google is now processing an average of one million removal requests per day. The new record follows an upward trend with copyright holders reporting more and more allegedly infringing search results in an effort to deter piracy.

    In the hope of steering prospective customers away from pirate sites, copyright holders are overloading Google with DMCA takedown notices.

    These requests have increased dramatically since Google began making the data public. A few years ago the search engine received just a few dozen takedown notices during an entire year, but today it processes millions of allegedly infringing links per week.

    Last week Google was asked to remove more than 7.8 million results

    The massive surge in removal requests is not without controversy. It’s been reported that some notices reference pages that contain no copyrighted material, due to mistakes or abuse, but are deleted nonetheless. Google has a pretty good track record of catching these errors, but since manual review of all links is unachievable, some URLs are removed in error.

    Google says it’s doing its best to address the concerns of copyright holders. Last year the company released a report detailing the various anti-piracy measures it uses. However, according to some industry groups the search giant can and should do more.

  46. Tomi Engdahl says:
    British man sentenced to nearly three years in prison for movie piracy
    Authorities caught Fast and Furious 6 uploader via his profile on a dating site.

    Danks bragged that he was the first person in the world to seed the illicit recording, which he recorded from the back of a local cinema in May 2013. His upload was downloaded around 700,000 times.

    The film’s distributor, Universal Pictures, argued to the judge that Danks’ upload cost the company about £2.5 million. Danks had also sold DVD copies of the movie

    Danks was arrested only six days after he’d uploaded the video, and two days later he wrote on Facebook, “Seven billion people and I was the first. F*** you Universal Pictures.”

    The judge was particularly harsh on Danks because of his cavalier attitude. “This was bold, arrogant, and cocksure offending,”

  47. Tomi Engdahl says:
    The police are WRONG: Watching YouTube videos is NOT illegal

    You. Yes, you. Reading this now. You’re reading this on a website where potential TERRORISTS operate. Aren’t you scared? Why haven’t you clicked away? You support this form of terrorism, don’t you, you evil human being.

    The above is what the Metropolitan Police would have you believe about El Reg, after police press officers claimed last week that watching the video of US photojournalist James Foley being murdered by an Islamic extremist could be a crime.

    A statement issued by the London police force late on Wednesday said: “We would like to remind the public that viewing, downloading or disseminating extremist material within the UK may constitute an offence under Terrorism legislation.”

    The police response was instructive. According to the fuzz, anyone caught watching such videos will not be arrested for that alone – but the police would definitely use that information against them if they got the chance.

    Fine, but exactly what law would watching a YouTube video infringe?
    the Met couldn’t answer. They couldn’t answer because there is no criminal offence of watching videos.

    The original police statement might, as some have speculated, have been a well-intentioned but misguided attempt to reduce the amount of traffic to the video

    “People need reliable and accurate public information, and they have the right to expect it from the well-funded PR departments of UK police forces.”


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