The Library Copyright Alliance has sent a letter to Reps. Howard L. Berman and Howard Coble expressing concern over the chilling effect of Section 104 of the PRO IP Act on the use of orphan works by libraries. By way of example, they note that a library that made 100 letters from World War II soldiers in 1945 available on its Website could potentially face up to $15,000,000 in statutory damages.
Archive for the 'Copyright' Category
Canadian Industry Minister Jim Prentice didn't introduce a DMCA-style copyright bill yesterday, and there is speculation that this due to increasing protests against the bill.
According to "Industry Canada Holds Off on Copyright Reform Bill," Prentice said that the: "bill would not be tabled [introduced] in the House until such time as myself and the minister of Canadian Heritage, Status of Women and Office Languages are satisfied."
Read more about it at "'Canadian DMCA' Delayed, Protestors Cautiously Optimistic," "Canadian Netroots Rise Up Against Tory Copyright Plans," "CBC on the Canadian DMCA Delay," and "Prentice's Moment."
Noted copyright lawyer William Patry, who is Google's Senior Copyright Counsel and who is the author of the seven-volume Patry on Copyright, has published a trenchant analysis of the PRO IP bill ("What Does It Mean to Be Pro-IP?"). (Note that Patry indicates in his blog that:"The views in this blog are strictly mine and should not be attributed to Google Inc.")
Here's an excerpt:
This provision [SEC. 104. COMPUTATION OF STATUTORY DAMAGES IN COPYRIGHT CASES] is one of the most gluttonous in the whole bill. It seeks to expand radically the amount of statutory damages that can be recovered, and in cases where there are zero actual damages. The provision is intended to benefit the record industry but will have terrible consequences for many others; the provision has nothing to do with piracy and counterfeiting; instead it seeks to undo rulings in the 2000 MP3.com litigation, a decidedly non-piracy or counterfeiting case, instead involving the use of digital storage lockers. Under the original MP3.com decision, where a CD had twelve tracks, there was only one award of statutory damages possible. Under the bill, there may be 25: there would be 12 for each track on the sound recording, 1 for the sound recording as a whole, and 12 for each musical composition. Under this approach, for one CD the minimum award for non-innocent infringement must be $18,750, for a CD that sells in some stores at an inflated price of $18.99 and may be had for much less from amazon.com or iTunes. The maximum amount of $150,000 then becomes three million, seven hundred and fifty thousand dollars per CD. Now multiple that times a mere ten albums, and one gets a glimpse at the staggering amount that will be routinely sought, not just in suits filed, but more importantly in thousands for cease and desist letters, where grandmothers and parents are shaken down for the acts of their wayward offspring. These private non-negotiable demands don’t see the light of day, but they have resulted in "settlements" wherein ordinary people have paid abnormal amounts of money rather than be hauled into court and thereby incur costs that will bankrupt them. One only wishes Congress would hold a hearing on this practice.
The International Federation of Phonographic Industries has sent a letter to European ISPs asking them to filter unlicensed audio files based on digital fingerprints, to block "objectionable" peer-to-peer downloading services, and to block "infringing" Websites.
Read more about it at "IFPI's European Christmas List: Content Filtering and P2P Blocking" and "Music Industry Pressures EU Politicians for Filtered Internet."
House Copyright Bill Would Stiffen Penalties and Create New White House/DOJ Intellectual Property UnitsPosted in Copyright, Digital Copyright Wars on December 7th, 2007
In the U.S. House of Representatives, Reps. John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI), Lamar Smith (R-TX), Howard Berman (D-CA), and nine other House members have introduced the "Prioritizing Resources and Organization for Intellectual Property Act of 2007" (PRO IP).
Here's an excerpt from the press release:
Specifically, the PRO IP bill does the following:
- Titles I and II strengthen the substantive civil and criminal laws relating to copyright and trademark infringement.
- Title III of the legislation establishes the Office of the United States Intellectual Property Enforcement Representative (USIPER), in the Executive Office of the President, to enhance nationwide and international coordination of intellectual property enforcement efforts.
- Title IV provides for the appointment of intellectual property officers to work with foreign countries in their efforts to combat counterfeiting and piracy.
- Title V of the legislation authorizes the creation of a permanent Intellectual Property Division within the Department of Justice. The purpose of the new IP Division is to improve law enforcement coordination. This is accomplished, in part, by transferring the functions of the existing Computer Crime and Intellectual Property section (CCIPs) that relate to intellectual property enforcement to the new IP Division. In addition, Title V provides DOJ with new resources targeted to improve IP law enforcement, including local law enforcement grants and additional investigative and prosecutorial personnel. It also requires that DOJ prepare an annual report that details its IP enforcement activities.
Read more about it at "Congress' Copyright Reform: Seize Computers, Boost Penalties, Spend Money"; "Major Copyright Bill Boosts Penalties, Creates New Agency"; and "Piracy Law Unveiled in Washington."
Florian Bösch is organizing a petition drive to put Switzerland's new DMCA-style copyright law to a referendum at the No Swiss DMCA website. Only 50,000 signatures are needed, but they must be collected before January 24, 2008.
Read more about it at "DMCA-Style Laws Coming to Canada, Switzerland"; "Swiss DMCA Coming Down—50,000 Signatures Needed to Unmake It"; "Swiss DMCA Petition—50,000 Signatures Will Kill Switzerland's Copyright Law"; and "Swiss DMCA Quietly Adopted."
Slashdot reports that the Motion Picture of Association of America has removed the MPA University Toolkit software from the software's website after Matthew Garrett contacted the MPAA's ISP indicating that the software violated the GNU GPL. Garrett had attempted to contact the MPAA directly, but it was unresponsive. Currently, only Toolkit documentation remains on the website.
Michael Geist, Canada Research Chair of Internet and E-commerce Law at the University of Ottawa, has posted "The Canadian DMCA: What You Can Do," which presents 30 ways that Canadians can fight upcoming DMCA-style copyright legislation. It also includes a YouTube video on this topic.
There are persistent reports that the Canadian government will introduce copyright legislation that is modeled on the U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act as soon as next week.
Read more about it at "Canada Moves to Reform Copyright Protection"; "Canada's Coming DMCA Will Be the Worst Copyright Yet"; "Canada’s Copyright Law Is Stronger and Better than U.S.'s"; "Copyright Choices and Voices"; "DMCA-Style Laws Coming to Canada, Switzerland"; and "A New Copyright Law Is Coming."
The Washington Post reports that the Motion Picture of Association of America is trying to persuade universities to utilize its new MPA University Toolkit, which uses Snort and ntop to provide detailed internal network use statistics that may identify possible copyright infringers.
Security experts have determined that, in its default configuration, the MPA University Toolkit sets up a Web server that provides use statistics to any Internet user unless it is blocked from doing so by a firewall. There is a user/password option, but network administrators are not prompted to set it. Moreover, the software "phones home" to the MPAA upon setup, providing the organization with the IP address of the server.
Read more about it at "MPAA University 'Toolkit' Raises Privacy Concerns."
The French Ministry of Culture has proposed a number of measures to deal with illegal downloading on the Internet, including a controversial proposal to terminate accused pirates' Internet access after two downloading violations.
Here's an excerpt from "French Gov't Plans to Disconnect Content Pirates":
The government has won agreement for its latest proposals from the French media industry, which will implement the watermarking measures and make legal downloads of films more widely and rapidly available. Albanel signed the agreement Friday with TV channels, Internet service providers (ISPs), and groups representing filmmakers, authors and musicians rights groups.
In return for the support of these organizations, the government will create a new agency to monitor Internet traffic for the presence of watermarked files and handle complaints from rights holders. Anyone whose Internet connection is used to download such files could receive an official warning from their ISP. A second offense could result in their contract with the ISP being terminated and their name being added to a registry of offenders.
The U.S. Copyright Office has published a completely updated version of Copyright Law of the United States and Related Laws Contained in Title 17 of the United States Code. Freely available in HTML or PDF formats, the updated document includes "all amendments enacted through the end of the second session of the 109th Congress in 2006."