Anonymous hackers jailed for cyber attacks
Data Protection , Internet , Privacy / February 2013
UK

PRIVACY / COMPUTER CRIME Internet   A student and a church volunteer have been jailed for carrying out cyber attacks with the hacking group Anonymous, including one online assault that cost the payments giant PayPal at least £3.5m. The attacks targeted anti-piracy and financial companies between August 2010 and January 2011. Christopher Weatherhead, a Northampton University student, was sentenced to 18 months in prison on Thursday for his part in distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks on PayPal, Visa and Mastercard in December 2010. Judge Testar also sentenced Ashley Rhodes, 28, to seven months in prison for his part in the activities of the self-styled “hacktivist” group. Rhodes, a church volunteer from Camberwell, south London, sighed and leant his head on the back wall of the dock as his jail term was read out at Southwark crown court. A third man, Peter Gibson, 24, was given a suspended six-month prison sentence for his part in the Anonymous attacks. The sentencing of a fourth man, Jake Burchall, 18, was adjourned. The Ministry of Sound estimated the cost of the attack on its sites as £9,000, while the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry’s costs were more than £20,000 and the British Phonographic Industry’s…

The Pirate Bay and The Pirate Party face actions in Eire and the UK
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / January 2013
Ireland
UK

COPYRIGHT Record labels, internet   Efforts by the Irish record industry to force internet service providers in the country to block access to The Pirate Bay have reached the Commercial Court in Dublin. The Irish Recorded Music Association has launched proceedings against net firms UPC, Imagine, Vodafone, Digiweb and Hutchison 3G seeking a web-block injunction forcing the named ISPs to stop their customers from accessing the controversial file-sharing websites. In the UK, the BPI has threatened to pursue legal action against five members of the national executive of the Pirate Party and its head of IT over the proxy link it operates providing easy access to The Pirate Bay. The BPI wrote to Pirate Party Leader Loz Kaye last month asking that he stop operating the TPB proxy.  After an initial refusal, the record label trade body is preparing to issue proceedings. The move promoted the Pirate Party to disable the proxy. The Pirate Party have also pulled their legal battle fundraiser campaign. http://torrentfreak.com/pirate-party-shuts-down-pirate-bay-proxy-after-legal-threats-121219/

Article Link: Making Cents
Artists , Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / January 2013
UK
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet, record labels, artistes   Damon Krukowski of Galaxie 500 and Damon & Naomi breaks down the meagre royalties currently being paid out to bands by streaming services and explains what the music business’ headlong quest for capital means for artists today: “Since we own our own recordings, by my calculation it would take songwriting royalties for roughly 312,000 plays on Pandora to earn us the profit of one–one— LP sale. (On Spotify, one LP is equivalent to 47,680 plays.) “, This is a fascinating expose and highlights Spotify’s dash for growth which benefits the shareholders in Spotify, but questions if musicians will ever benefit under business models divorced from music itself. http://pitchfork.com/features/articles/8993-the-cloud/

Has Japan’s new download law pushed record sales down?
Copyright , Internet / December 2012
Japan

COPYRIGHT Internet   As of the 1st Octobet 2012 in Japan,  it has been an offence to knowingly download copyright material without permission with punishments extending to a 2 million yen fine and prison terms of up to two years. With only 1 download in 10 legal in Japan according to industry figures the move seemed a step forward – except it seems Japanese consumers have stopped buying music – with a massive 68% prompting some commentators to ask if Japan’s new law has had a negative effect on sales. http://en.rocketnews24.com/2012/11/05/a-month-after-japans-strict-new-download-law-comes-into-effect-survey-suggests-that-consumers-are-spending-less-than-ever-on-music/

Pandora issue proceedings against ASCAP, but is fighting to keep the Internet Radio Fairness Act on track
Copyright , Internet , Music Publishing / December 2012
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet, music publishing   Pandora, the American streaming music service, has issued legal proceedings in the USA on the basis that the rates currently being offered by ASCAP, the US collecting society are unfair, because they are not as favourable as those offered to traditional broadcasters like Clear Channel which have recently moved into the online music space. Arguing that Clear Channel have an advantage as it can negotiate the royalties they pay for their online services at the same time as negotiating music publisher fees for their FM networks, via the Radio Music Licensing Committee, the move comes after direct negotiations had failed. However, in the world of sound recordings, the collection societies are fighting back with the news that SoundExchange, the non-profit organisation that represents record labels and recording musicians, has launched its opposition to the Internet Radio Fairness Act, highlighting a letter signed by 125 artists who oppose Pandora’s plan to cut artists’ pay when music is played over Internet radio. The open letter, which has over 40 Grammy winners and includes Kiss, Dead Kennedys, Missy Elliot, Pink Floyd, Megadeath, Robert Plant, Don Henley, Billy Joel, Maroon 5, Martha Reeves, David Sanborn, Ne-Yo, Common and Roger…

YouTube got smarter – says YouTube
Copyright , Internet / November 2012
EU
UK
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet   YouTube says that it has been steadily improving its ability to manage content, especially infringing content, and the company has now showcased some major changes resulting from this process – some which will please content owners, some of which will please YouTube users. Starting with the latter, YouTube has now implemented an appeals process for material taken down via the “Content ID” system, YouTube’s own copyright protection system. Content ID enables some 3,000 approved rights holders to upload videos to a central reference database, where they are digitally fingerprinted. There are some 500,000 hours logged. When YouTube detects content with a fingerprint match but uploaded by someone else, it enables the rights holders to automatically take it down, or place ads on it. Now the system has been updated with YouTube saying: “Users have always had the ability to dispute Content ID claims on their videos if they believe those claims are invalid. Prior to today, if a content owner rejected that dispute, the user was left with no recourse for certain types of Content ID claims (eg monetize claims). Based upon feedback from our community, today we’re introducing an appeals process that gives eligible users a…

EMI v Re-Digi begins
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / November 2012
EU
USA

COPYRIGHT Record labels, internet   A Manhattan court has begun hearing the legal challenge to the right to sell digital music files as “used” goods. The case centres on how copyright law for physical goods applies to digital products. EMI has brought the case against ReDigi, a site that allows users who’ve legally purchased music in digital form to sell it on to somebody else. Users can only sell songs they’ve bought from iTunes or ReDigi itself: they can’t sell tracks they have ripped from a CD. Re-Digi claims the service must be legal because of the US ‘first sale’ doctrine. The major labels disagree. They argue that the first-sale doctrine only applies to physical music products, saying that when a CD changes hands no actual mechanical copy is made of the songs or recordings contained on the disk, whereas when an MP3 is transferred from one PC to another a copy does take place. EMI’s attorney Richard Mandel said: “You are selling and distributing recordings. In order to do that, you have to make a copy and that is a violation of the reproduction right of the Copyright Act”. But Gary Adelman, representing ReDigi, countered: “There is no copy…

Why No One Knows How Much Money Musicians Are Making Now
Copyright , Internet / November 2012
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet ARTICLE LINK:    “In the digital music era, complicated and outdated copyright law as well as private negotiations have made it difficult see how much is really going back to the people making music”: This interesting US article looks at how the ‘streaming’ revolution is now producing real revenues – but ask the question – who is actually getting paid what, and what do recording artists actually end up with? http://www.buzzfeed.com/atmccann/why-no-one-knows-how-much-money-musicians-are-maki

ProMusic website re-launched
Copyright , Internet / November 2012
EU
Russia
UK
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet   IFPI, the organisation representing the international recorded music industry worldwide, has welcomed the latest in a series of rulings by Russian courts against Kontakte, the country’s leading social networking site that facilitates the mass distribution of copyright infringing music. The Arbitration Court of St Petersburg and Leningrad ordered vKontakte to pay damages of 550,000 roubles (€13,718) to SBA Gala Records, an independent Russian record label and licensed distributor for EMI Music’s international repertoire, for its role in facilitating the illegal distribution of 11 unlicensed sound recordings online.  vKontakte enables any user to upload files containing copyright infringing music to its social networking platform, then offers its other users the opportunity to search for the tracks and the ability to stream them, and download them using apps and browser extensions. It is Russia’s most popular online entertainment platform with more than 110 million registered users and is one of the top 50 most visited sites in the world. The IFPI have also announced the re-launch of the newly redesigned www.pro-music.org website – a simple information resource for anyone looking to find out more about legitimate digital music services and copyright law across the world. First launched in 2003, Pro-Music was created by…

Pandora boss details streaming payments
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet, record labels, music publishers   Tim Westergren, the boss of US-based interactive radio service Pandora, has revealed how much certain artists are earning from their play on his service – or rather how much they are paying. Whether or not artistes have seen any or much of the money as yet remains to be seen. Westergren said that “For over two thousand artists Pandora will pay over $10,000 dollars each over the next twelve months  and for more than 800 we’ll pay over $50,000” and noted that with some specific recording like Coldplay, Adele, Wiz Khalifa and Jason Aldean Pandora is already paying over $1 million each and  that payments for Drake and Lil Wayne are fast approaching a $3 million” annually. Pandora licences all of its rights via collective licensing organisations (in the US, ASCAP and BMI for the music rights and SoundExchange for the recordings) rather than labels and publishers direct. Westergren said “It’s hard to look at these numbers and not see that internet radio presents an incredible opportunity to build a better future for artists. Not only is it bringing tens of millions of listeners back to music, across hundreds of genres, but it…

Grooveshark launches artist monetisation service
Copyright , Internet / November 2012
EU
UK
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet, Technology   Controversial streaming music service Grooveshark –  currently undergoing some major revisions including better playlisting options, and new sharing and recommendation tools, qill also introduce artist-managed profiles. These will allow artists to set up their own profile on the Grooveshark platform, adding and removing tracks, communicating with fans, and posting blogs. Whilst basically offering the same artist profile functionality as MySpace and Facebook Grooveshark will be that users will be encouraged to make donations to artists they like via the Flattr micro-payment system. Users can put a set some of money into their Flattr account, and then tag which artists they would like to share that cash with. As all four of the major labels are currently suing Grooveshark it is unlikely any artists signed to EMI, Universal, Sony or Warners will be featured.

The Pirate Bay heads for the clouds
Copyright , Internet / November 2012
Sweden

COPYRIGHT Internet   The Pirate Bay has shifted its entire operations so that it is now  “hosted in the cloud”, which basically means its data and code is shared on servers across the world which seemingly makes it impossible for the authorities in any one jurisdiction to seize the controversial file-sharing site’s servers and take it offline, as happened in 2006 when Swedish authorities seized machines, although the site was down for only 24 hours before being hosted elsewhere. http://torrentfreak.com/pirate-bay-moves-to-the-cloud-becomes-raid-proof-121017/

Warners face fine for violating young fans’ privacy
Internet , Privacy , Record Labels / November 2012
USA

PRIVACY Internet, record labels   The Federal Trade Commission is proposing to issue a civil penalty against a unit of Warner Music Group Corp. The penalty will cost the major $1 million for violating a child privacy law in the operation of fan websites for artists including Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato and Rihanna – the websites were actually run by subsidiary Artist Arena. Commissioner Edith Ramirez revealed the proposed settlement in a speech in New York on Wednesday at the annual meeting of the Children’s Advertising Review Unit, a self-regulatory group for the advertising industry. A judge will need to confirm the settlement. Artist Arena still run the BieberFever website. “BieberFever.com got off to a bad start … and things got worse from there,” Ramirez said in prepared remarks. The site required visitors to input birthdates and other personal information, and required visitors under 13 to submit a parent’s email address for confirmation, according to a complaint filed  in U.S. District Court in New York, where Warner Music Group is based. But after a month of operation, it let underage visitors register and pay for membership without sending an email to the child’s parents, the complaint said. The actions violated the…

Willis highlights download ownership issue
Copyright , Internet / October 2012
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet   Bruce Willis is said to be considering legal action against technology giant Apple over his desire to leave his digital music collection to his daughters having discovered that, like anyone who has bought music online, he does not actually own the tracks but is instead ‘borrowing’ them under a licence. Most purchasers do not bother to read the details of the terms and conditions they agree to when buying an album, but the small print makes it clear that music bought through iTunes should not be passed on to others – Willis he is keen to be able to hand it on legitimately to daughters Rumer, Scout and Tallulah and one approach he is reportedly considering is to ask his legal team to establish family trusts as the “holders” of his downloaded music. Another option is to support ongoing legal action in five US states to give downloaders more rights to do what they want with their music. Similar problems apply to the digital books that millions download to electronic reading devices such as Amazon’s Kindle. Solicitor Chris Walton told news.com : “Lots of people will be surprised on learning all those tracks and books they have…

MyVidster not liable for copyright infringement
Copyright , Internet / October 2012
Netherlands
UK
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet   In a 7th Circuit Court of Appeals decision given by Justice Richard Posner, myVidster.com has been cleared of copyright infringement. The site, which allows users to engage in “social bookmarking,” which involves internet users sharing hyperlinks to online materials in which they may share a mutual interest in, is primarily a site to exchange links to pornographic material. As Judge Posner noted, there was other material available on the site and a family filter does exclude porn, but the site itself does not infringe copyright. In the District Court the plaintiff, porn company FlavaWorks, was granted an injunction after claiming that 300 of its videos had been linked too. On appeal Judge Posner acknowledged that FlavaWorks was being wronged, and that myVidster may even have encouraged subscribers to circumvent FlavaWorks’ pay wall.  However, the Judge was of the opinion that in order to have copyright infringement, someone has to make a copy.  And nobody at myVidster.com was actually making a copy – it was such facilitating links from those who had illegally uploaded a copy of Flavaworks videos – to those who then illegally downloaded a copy. Nor could the display of the video be considered a…

Another day, another adjustment of file sharing damages
Copyright , Internet / October 2012
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet   What do these figures have in common? 4,500, 222,000, 1,920,000, 54,000, 1,500,000, 54,000, 222,000? Well, they are all dollar sums of money firstly offered as a settlement and then awarded as damages in the US courts against Jammie Thomas-Rassett for file sharing music online. The first sum is the settlement offered to Rasset-Thomas by the Recording Industry Association of America for illegal file sharing. The second sum of $222,000 is the initial award the court made against Thomas-Rassett for illegally sharing 24 songs. That case resulted in a re-trial and the two biggest sums represent subsequent jury awards, and the two awards of $54,000 represent judicial adjustments of those awards. The final sum is the sum decided upon by a three judge appellate court, rejecting Rassett-Thomas’ argument that that the award was excessive and violated her right to due process under the US Constitution. Judge Steven Colloton, giving the unanimous decision for the 8th Circuit, said that the award of $222,000 was “not so severe and oppressive” to violate the Constitution. In a separate case, in August the 1st Circuit reinstated a $675,000 judgment against Joel Tenenbaum, a former Boston University student, for 30 charges of illegal downloading….

Innocence of the act is no defence
Copyright , Internet / October 2012
France

COPYRIGHT Internet   It seems that a 40-year-old Frenchman who was summoned to court in France under the French anti piracy ‘HADOPI’ three strikes legislation for illegally downloading pirated music, has found himself on the receiving end of a conviction – even though it was his wife who illegally downloaded the two Rihanna songs in question. PC World report that Alain Prevost was fined for failing to secure his Wi-Fi network after Prevost self-incriminated himself by admitting he knew his wife illegally downloaded the songs. Under French law the “three strikes” are as follows: first, an email message is sent to the alleged offender: Secondly if the alleged offender illegally downloads copyrighted material again within the next six months, a certified letter is sent to the alleged offender: Thirdly if the alleged offender does not stop downloading illegally within one year from the receipt of that letter, the offender’s Internet Service Provider (ISP) is required to suspend their Internet access. According to TorrentFreak, content owners have identified a total of three million French IP addresses associated with piracy since October 2010. Of these three million IP addresses identified, 1.15 million were eligible for a first strike, 102,854 eligible for a…

Piracy cost the UK music industry £340 million in the first six months of 2012
Copyright , Internet / October 2012
UK

COPYRIGHT Internet   New research has shown that more than £340million worth of songs were illegally downloaded in the UK in the first half of 2012, and the data from the Digital Music Index produced by analysts Musicmetric shows that moves to make ISPs block The Pirate Bay has had little impact, with downloaders moving to other illegal platforms. Manchester topped the list of most illegal downloads per capita, with 1.3m in six months, closely followed by Nottingham and Southampton, while London came 20th. The most popular downloads were albums by Ed Sheeran, Rizzle Kicks and Rihanna, although in retiree hotspot Bournemouth the most popular record was The Discography of the Eagles. More than twice as many albums are downloaded illegally in the UK as are bought via legitimate digital services like iTunes, With over 33 million albums were downloaded from unlicensed sources via BitTorrent file-sharing in the first six months of the year, during which time 14.8 million digital albums were sold. http://www.thecmuwebsite.com (17 September 2012)

Google demotes potentially infringing sites
Copyright , Internet / September 2012
EU
UK
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet   Google has taken a significant step against online piracy after saying it would alter its search algorithms to favour websites that offered legitimate copyrighted movies, music and television. Google said that beginning next week its algorithms would take into account the number of valid copyright removal notices sites have received and  sites with multiple, valid complaints about copyright infringement may appear lower in Google search results …….. like YouTube for example ….. no, I made the last bit up. The move is set against growing disquiet about whether or not “safe harbour” really is appropriate in the digital age – and this initiative is clearly on Google’s terms, BUT it is a move forward for content owners. Google’s Senior Vice President Engineering Amit Singhal said in a post on Google’s official blog “We aim to provide a great experience for our users and have developed over 200 signals to ensure our search algorithms deliver the best possible results. Starting next week, we will begin taking into account a new signal in our rankings: the number of valid copyright removal notices we receive for any given site. Sites with high numbers of removal notices may appear lower in…

Grooveshark app back on Google
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / September 2012
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet, record labels   Grooveshark’s Android app has reappeared in Google’s app store, over a year after it was evicted from the official Android app platform, seemingly because of pressure put on the web giant by the major music companies. Universal, Sony and Warners are currently suing Grooveshark for enabling copyright infringement. EMI is suing the service for non-payment of a promissory note, having previously licensed its material to the streaming service. Grooveshark insists it operates a takedown system in line with the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act, so is fully legal http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2409040,00.asp

Why is digital music more expensive in Australia?
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / September 2012
Australia

COPYRIGHT Record labels, internet   By Catherine Lee, writing for the IPKat Why is digital music more expensive in Australia? This question is currently being considered by the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Infrastructure and Communications. On 24 May 2012 the Committee resolved to inquire into IT price discrimination, following a request from the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy. The often given example is that the Apple iTunes store in the United States sells most albums at between US$9.99 and US$12.99, whereas in Australia those same albums are sold for AU$16.99 or higher. In recent times, under the currency exchange rates, the value of the US and Australian dollars has almost been equal. Eighty-one written submissions were received by the due date of 6 July 2012. The first public hearing was held in Sydney on 30 July 2012, with the following organisations were invited to make ora submissions: Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA), Australian Publishers Association (APA), Australian Performing Rights Association (APRA), the Australasian Mechanical Copyright Owners Society (AMCOS), Choice (consumer group), the Australian Retail Association (ARA) and the Communications Alliance. Some of the more interesting comments were as follows: The AIIA, represented by Suzanne Chambers, suggested the…

IFPI welcomes closure of Demonoid
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / September 2012
EU
Mexico
UK
Ukraine
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet, record labels   IFPI, which represents the recording industry worldwide, has welcomed the closure of the Demonoid bitTorrent service, which they say was a significant channel for the distribution of infringing content worldwide. IFPI made a number of complaints about the unlicensed service, which repeatedly infringed the rights of its member record companies.  In response, INTERPOL coordinated international efforts that saw the site closed down and its servers seized by police in Ukraine and a criminal investigation launched into its owners in Mexico resulting in a number of arrests and seizure of assets.  IFPI assisted INTERPOL, the Division of Economic Crimes (DEC) in the Ukrainian police and the investigative arm of the Attorney General of Mexico (PGR). “International police cooperation is the key to ensuring that the illegal activities of transnational organised criminals are stopped at every opportunity,” said John Newton head of  INTERPOL’s Trafficking in Illicit Goods Sub-Directorate. “ In this instance police forces on different sides of the world worked together with INTERPOL and the music industry to successfully disrupt the distribution chain for illicit digital music products.” www.ifpi.org

BPI takedown notice causes anger
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / September 2012
UK

COPYRIGHT Internet, record labels   Commenting on the recent jailing of surfthechannel.com boss Anton Vickerman for four years in the Newcastle Crown Court, the IPKat makes the wise point that there is a degree of symmetry within the two camps which oppose each other in the battle between rights owners and those who campaign for liberalisation of copyright law.  Just as a small number of vindictive and heavy-handed actions by or on behalf of copyright owners forfeit considerable sympathy for the legitimate and reasoned case for copyright protection, and so too do the reckless and arrogant conduct of a few people distract attention from the serious case that is made for reducing that level of protection. A good example of a rather embarrassing own goal by content industries, here by the recorded music industry, was the DCMA takedown notice issued by the BPI (British Phonographic Industry) and Universal against a less than flattering REVIEW of the latest Drake album ‘Take Care’ – asking Google to remove the review and one other from it’s listings. The writer of the About.com review, Henry Adasom, accused Drake’s label Universal of ordering the takedown for ‘copyright infringement’ saying the notice “Makes absolutely no sense….

Tenenbaum damages upheld
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / September 2012
USA

COPYRIGHT Record labels, internet   The latest stage in the Joel Tenenbaum saga has resulted in another court loss for the self confessed file sharer after a federal appeals court upheld the award of damages of $675,000 previously made by a jury. Tenenbaum was accused of illegally downloading 31 songs from a file-sharing Web site and distributing them, and was sued by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) on behalf of the major record labels in the USA. US District Court Judge Rya W. Zobel rejected Tenenbaum’s request for a new jury trial, saying jurors had appropriately considered the evidence of Tenenbaum’s actions — downloading and distributing files for two years despite warnings — and the harm to the plaintiffs and noted that the penalty is at the low end of the range for wilful infringement and below the limit for even non wilful infringement, and thus was not excessive. Although having been previously refused a Supreme Court hearing, Tenenbaum’s attorney Charles Nesson said that he plans a further appeal. http://news.cnet.com/8301-13578_3-57499519-38/court-affirms-$675000-penalty-in-music-downloading-case/

Beastie Boys fight back against ads
Artists , Copyright , Image Rights , Internet / September 2012
USA

COPYRIGHT / IMAGE RIGHTS Artistes, advertising   CMU Daily reports that the Beastie Boys have filed a lawsuit against Monster Energy Drink, claiming that the company used their music in videos and downloads without permission. The lawsuit reportedly claims that the band’s music was used in a number of online videos – the first of which was posted five days after the death of the band’s Adam Yauch – and also in an MP3 download featuring a 23 minute mix of the band’s music. The use of the band’s name in these promotions too, say the band, incorrectly implied that they had granted permission. It was also revealed t that Yauch’s will prohibited the use of his music, name or likeness in any advertising following his death – although some US commentators have said the hand written provision may not be valid http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/adam-yauchs-will-prohibits-use-of-his-music-in-ads-20120809 and http://www.forbes.com/sites/deborahljacobs/2012/08/13/part-of-beastie-boy-adam-yauchs-will-banning-use-of-music-in-ads-may-not-be-valid/

Spotify faces patent claim from Nonend
Internet , Patents / September 2012
USA

PATENTS Internet   Dutch technology company Nonend Inventions NV has issued proceedings in the US against Spotify, claiming that the streaming music platform is infringing a number of its patents. In the lawsuit, Nonend, which says it specialises in peer-to-peer and online streaming technology, accuses Spotify of “making, using, offering to sell, and selling streaming music services to users which incorporate methodologies that infringe” it’s intellectual property.  The streaming service is yet to respond to Nonend’s litigation. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-08-17/spotify-sued-by-nonend-over-technology-for-music-sharing.html

Google face record US fine for cookie crimes
Internet , Privacy / September 2012
USA

PRIVACY Internet   Google will pay a record $22.5 million civil penalty to settle US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) charges that it lied to users of Apple’s Safari Internet browser when it told them it would not place tracking “cookies” or serve targeted ads to those users. The actions violating an earlier privacy settlement between the company and the FTC, struck last October. According to the FTC’s complaint, Google specifically told Safari users that the browser was set by default to block third-party cookies, and would continue to do so as long as they didn’t change their settings. In addition to the penalty, Google also must disable all the tracking cookies it had said it would not place on consumers’ computers. “The record-setting penalty in this matter sends a clear message to all companies under an FTC privacy order,” said Jon Leibowitz, chairman of the FTC. “No matter how big or small, all companies must abide by FTC orders against them and keep their privacy promises to consumers, or they will end up paying many times what it would have cost to comply in the first place.” Google have not admitted any wrongdoing. http://www.dmwmedia.com/news/2012/08/09/google-settles-with-ftc-for-record-22-5m-over-privacy-breaches

New Zealand three-strike law results in 50% decrease in infringement
Copyright , Internet / August 2012
New Zealand

COPYRIGHT Internet   By Iona Harding, The 1709 Blog Recent statistics from New Zealand’s Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT) claim to show that since New Zealand’s “Skynet Act” three-strike law (previously reported on the 1709 blog here), was implemented in September 2011, the number of illegally viewed films in the top 200 online has dropped from 110,000 to 50,000, i.e. by just over 50%. However, according to FACT, there has been no discernible progress since. These submissions, made to the Economic Development Ministry were released under the Official Information Act. As promising as a 50% decrease in infringement sounds, this blogger can’t help but wonder what it really means: are more Kiwis simply flying under the radar?   How does the three-strike law work? The three-strike law in New Zealand grants rightsholders the power to request that internet service providers (ISPs) issue up to three warning notices to consumers alleged to be illegally using copyright protected content. Rightsholders are required to pay the ISPs a processing fee of $25 to issue a notice. After the third notice, users face a claim before the New Zealand Copyright Tribunal, which can issue fines of up to $15,000 (approximately GBP 7,500 or USD 12,000)….

Italian fiscal police arrest website operator
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / August 2012
Italy

COPYRIGHT Record labels, internet   The former operator of Italianshare.net, one of Italy’s largest unlicensed music services, has been arrested by the country’s fiscal police on suspicion of selling a database containing his users’ email and IP addresses. IFPI, which represents the recording industry worldwide, has welcomed the move which highlights the illegal business models behind some well-known unlicensed music services. Italianshare.net and four affiliated websites were originally closed down in November 2011, following action by the Guardia di Finanza (GdF).   The authorities then investigated the ways in which the illegal businesses had generated revenue, leading to today’s arrest made by officers from the Tax Police Force of Agropoli. Investigators found that the operator had made an estimated €580,000 through a mixture of charging for advertising revenues, seeking donations from users and selling the database containing those users’ email and IP addresses to several advertisers. The operator of the site now faces charges of breaching data privacy, facilitating copyright infringement, forgery, fraud and tax  evasion.  It is believed he has avoided  €83,000 in VAT payments and created false invoices totalling an estimated €100,000 as part of a tax fraud.  He will also face heavy administrative fines for the distribution of copyrighted…

Publishers was US Vevo money
USA

COPYRIGHT Music publishing, internet David Israelite, CEO of US’s National Music Publishers Association (NMPA), has called for a number of changes to the way the US music publishing business runs, both in the way publishers licence digital rights, and in the way American copyright law applies to digital licensing and the way collecting organisations operate. In particular the NMPA boss was critical of American record labels who are utilising contract clauses to avoid giving publishers their share when they are paid by online video sites, in particular VEVO, which includes major labels Sony and UMG amongst shareholders. In February indie publisher Matt Pincus said his company was receiving no income from the booming music video service, because in the US VEVO had deals with the record companies (including Sony and UMG) that put the obligation to pay publishing royalties onto the labels, rather than paying royalties direct to the publishers – and the labels used contract clauses relating to promotional videos to say that the payment of song writing royalties could be avoided. An unhappy Israelite took this a stage further saying  “Today you have VEVO talking about reaching $150 million in revenue and wanting to grow to $1 billion, and a large amount…

Trolls unmasked by mum
India
UK

INTERNET Technology, Criminal Law, Data Protection The High Court has ordered that Facebook must reveal the IP addresses of internet ‘trolls’ who abused a woman user after she posted comments supporting failed X-factor contestant Frankie Cocozza. Nicola Brookes (45) received more than 100 ‘vicious and depraved’ messages, and trolls then set up a fake profile in her name and image– spamming Cocozza’s 98,000 online fans and seemingly suggesting that Brookes wanted to lure young girls.  Some messages falsely described her as a drug dealer, a prostitute, a paedophile and known child abuser, and others attempted to ‘befriend’ young girls. Her home address and personal email address were published. Sussex Police did not successfully intervene in Ms Brookes’ case, but Liam Stacey, received a 56 day prison sentencing after tweeting racist abuses about Bolton Wanderer footballer Fabrice Muamba after he collapsed with a heart attack during a premiership match against Tottenham Hotspur in March. Ms Brookes still uses Facebook. Solicitors Bains Cohen agreed to take the case pro bono and Rupinder Bains said Facebook had not contested the Norwich Pharmacal  action, and had agreed to hand over the information within six weeks. In India global hacking movement Anonymous has called for…

Cookie Update: Simkins’ Early Warning 14/06/2012 – A tough cookie to crack – update on implied consent
Data Protection , Internet , Privacy / July 2012
EU
UK
USA

DATA PROTECTION, PRIVACY Internet, Technology Following on from Simkins earlier report (http://www.simkins.co.uk/ebulletins/LJAuktoughcookie.aspx), the ICO’s grace period for cookie compliance came to an end on 26 May 2012. The ICO has now also revised its guidance on the use of cookies. http://www.ico.gov.uk/for_organisations/privacy_and_electronic_communications/the_guide/cookies.aspx The revisions consist of new commentary on the scope for reliance on implied consent. The ICO acknowledges that implied consent can be a valid means of obtaining the user’s informed consent – especially in the case of analytics cookies, where implied consent may be a more practical and user-friendly means of obtaining consent. If the site operator is to rely on implied consent, the user must take some kind of step (such as visiting a website, navigating to a certain page, or clicking on a particular button) from which the user’s consent to the setting of cookies can reasonably be inferred. Simply visiting a website is not enough to imply consent on its own: there must be a sufficient indication that the user understands and agrees that, in addition to providing content or services, the site operator may store cookies on the user’s device. Implied consent depends, therefore, on providing the user with clear and readily available information about…

5 UK ISPS ordered to block The Pirate Bay
Copyright , Internet / June 2012
UK

COPYRIGHT Internet   The High Court yesterday has issued orders requiring five internet service providers to block access to The Pirate Bay file sharing site. The five ISPs are Sky, Everything Everywhere, TalkTalk, O2 and Virgin Media.  BT, previously ordered to block Newzbin, was included in the application by record label trade body the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) but had asked for more time (a ‘few more weeks’) to consider it’s response so was not included in the blocking orders. Welcoming yesterday’s web-blocking orders, Geoff Taylor, Chief Executive of the BPI said “The High Court has confirmed that The Pirate Bay infringes copyright on a massive scale. Its operators line their pockets by commercially exploiting music and other creative works without paying a penny to the people who created them. This is wrong – musicians, sound engineers and video editors deserve to be paid for their work just like everyone else” adding “Sites like The Pirate Bay destroy jobs in the UK and undermine investment in new British artists”.  Loz Kaye from The Pirate Party had a different take saying “Site blocking isn’t the solution to anything – it’s just censorship, and ineffective censorship at that. It’s laughably easy to…

YouTube v GEMA goes to appeal
Germany
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet, music publishing Following the German court ruling last month in the long running dispute between YouTube and Germany’s music rights collecting society GEMA, both parties have appealed the decision. YouTube was held liable under the principle of Storerhaftung (disturbance liability – secondary liability for contributing to someone else’s breach of third party rights and was issued with a permanent injunction to take down a number of songs GEMA administers and ensure those songs do not appear on YouTube in the future Whilst YouTube seems more than safe under the US’s Digital Millennium Copyright Act and has a ‘takedown’ system for removing unlicensed content, the German courts have taken a firmer approach and seem to want YouTube to be more proactive in removing infringing material. YouTube will argue that their takedown system is already sophisticated and available to all content owners and that more onerous filtering and removal obligations would not only damage the Google platform, but also other websites and services: YouTube spokesperson Mounira Latrache said “The ruling to implement [more] filtering would be damaging for innovation and freedom of expression online”. GEMA has also filed papers seeking further clarification of  the rights of its members to protect their content online. It…

An IP address is not a person
Copyright , Internet / June 2012
Finland
Germany
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet, Technology In the USA, Judge Magistrate Gary Brown (US District Court, Eastern District of New York) has gone to great lengths to explain why an IP address is not the same as a person and cannot be used to bring claims against alleged copyright infringers. In the USA Mass-BitTorrent lawsuits have been “dragging on for more than two years” and involve more than a quarter million potential illegal downloaders. The copyright owners who start these cases generally provide just an IP-address as evidence of the infringement and as the identity of the ‘John Doe’ infringer. The court is then asked to grant a subpoena, allowing the claimant to require an Internet Service Provider for the personal details of the alleged offenders. Judge Brown is of the opinion this is a “waste of judicial resources” and that the argument that IP-addresses can identify the alleged infringers is very weak with Judge Brown saying “The assumption that the person who pays for Internet access at a given location is the same individual who allegedly downloaded a single sexually explicit film is tenuous, and one that has grown more so over time” adding “An IP address provides only the location at…

Neelie says ACTA is doomed
Copyright , Internet / June 2012
EU
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet Neelie Kroes, the European Commissioner for the Digital Agenda has said that the Anti Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) , signed by almost all EU member states – but not all – is likely to follow the US’s SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) into the dustbin of failed legislation saying “We have recently seen how many thousands of people are willing to protest against rules which they see as constraining the openness and innovation of the internet” adding “there is a strong new political  voice, and as a voice for openness, I welcome it even if I do not always agree with everything it says on every subject … we are now likely to be in a world without SOPA and ACTA”. ACTA is currently awaiting review by the Court of Justice and EU Trade Commissioner Karel de Gucht had urged the EU Parliament to delay any formal ratification of ACTA until that happened, but it now looks like the whole process has stalled as member states (even those who had previously signed up) lose the political will to move the Agreement forward. In the USA, critics of the U.S. government’s antipiracy efforts have new ammunition to support claims…

MP3 Tunes files for bankruptcy
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / June 2012
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet, record labels MP3tunes, the cloud locker music service that has been engaged in a long and costly lawsuit with EMI, has filed for bankruptcy in federal court in San Diego. In court papers, it listed $7,800 in assets and $2.1 million in liabilities. MP3tunes was founded by Michael Robertson, the web entrepreneur who in the 1990s was one of the first to turn digital music into a big business, with MP3.com. Last year, the Southern District of New York District Court held that the MP3tunes’ model did not violate copyright itself and was protected by the ‘safe harbour’ provisions of the DCMA – but the company, a number of executives and Mr. Robertson personally faced liability for individual songs uploaded without permission and for ‘contributory infringement’. EMI appealed the ruling, and hearings were scheduled to begin next week. In a statement, an EMI spokesman noted that despite the bankruptcy, Mr. Robertson was still a defendant in the case – a potentially damaging claim as EMI have alleged Robertson personally loaded infringing material onto the service. Robertson told C-Net: “Four and a half years of legal costs and we’re not even out of trial. MP3tunes has no choice but…

Supreme court refuses Tenenbaum appeal
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / June 2012
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet, record labels The US Supreme Court has refused to hear the Joel Tenenbaum case in a case brought by the Recording Industry Association Of America’s which resulted in a win for the RIAA and damages of  $675,000 awarded by the jury for illegally sharing 30 songs online. The damages were then reduced 90% by the trial judge Nancy Gertner on constitutional grounds but the appeals court subsequently criticised the judge’s process, and reinstated the $675,000 damages sum. Tenenbaum’s legal advisor Charles Nesson hoped to persuade the Supreme Court that his client’s damages were indeed unconstitutionally high and that Judge Gertner was correct when reducing the award. But the Supreme Court declined to hear Nesson’s arguments, meaning Team Tenenbaum will have to continue to fight the damages sum in the lower courts, which could involve several more hearings and appeals yet. Tenenbaum has said publicly that he (unsurprisingly) doesn’t have $675,000, and has previously suggested he’d have to bankrupt himself if that figure stood. http://articles.boston.com/2012-05-22/metro/31802695_1_copyright-joel-tenenbaum-downloading-music  and  http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/325282  

Mega boss won’t reveal passwords without assurances
Copyright , Internet / June 2012
New Zealand
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet   CMU Daily reports that MegaUpload founder Kim ‘Dotcom’ Schmitz is refusing to give New Zealand police the passwords to encrypted data that they seized from his home earlier this year unless they agree to give him access to the digital files too. Dotcom’s lawyers have complained that they are being denied access to that data, which is hindering their efforts to defend the Mega chief against America’s attempts to extradite him to face criminal charges in the US.

Hadopi claims 50% drop in French piracy
Copyright , Internet / May 2012
France

COPYRIGHT Internet A new report on the effectiveness of the French three-strikes ‘Hadopi’ anti-piracy law claims that it had managed to cut Internet piracy in half in 2011. Well I imagine it would, as it’s from the Hadopi office itself, and as Torrentfreak points out the Report is “conveniently written in English so it can be used by lobbyists all around the world”, The Report says that “Benchmarking studies covering all of the sources available shows a clear downward trend in illegal P2P downloads. There is no indication that there has been a massive transfer in forms of use to streaming technologies or direct downloads.” The report goes on to cite a variety of statistics ranging from a 29 percent decrease in visits to “pirate” sites in 2011, to a 66 percent drop in illegal file-sharing traffic in France in the same period. Impressive figures indeed, and Hadopi correlates this to the French three-strikes law. However there is no corresponding rise in digital sales in France and Torrentfreak asks “[if] the entertainment industry has claimed that digital piracy is the main cause for the gradual decline in revenues …… one would expect that the revenues are soaring, right? But they’re not”…

Gooveshark faces more woes
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet, record labels There is more trouble ahead for Grooveshark the popular streaming service that in one way or another has run afoul of every major record label. EMI Music, the only major record label to license its music to Grooveshark, has now sued the company in New York State Supreme Court, saying that the service owes $300,000 plus interest for non-payment on a promissory note having paid $150,000 from the alleged $450,000 due. As a result, EMI says, it has terminated its licensing agreement with Grooveshark. In a statement, Grooveshark said: “Grooveshark was recently forced to make the difficult decision to part ways with EMI due to EMI’s currently unsustainable streaming rates and EMI’s pending merger with Universal Music Group, which we consider monopolistic and in violation of antitrust laws. To date, Grooveshark has paid over $2.6 million to EMI, but we have yet to find sustainable streaming rates.” Grooveshark has an estimated  35 million users, and argues that its service is legal under the terms of the Digital Copyright Millennium Act, which i simple terms gives ”safe harbor” to sites that host third-party material if they comply with takedown notices from copyright holders. Grooveshark is facing a…

Australia’s iiNet decision comes down firmly in favour of ISPs
Copyright , Internet / May 2012
Australia

COPYRIGHT Internet Australia’s High Court -the nation’s highest – has given a clear ruling that internet service providers are not liable for authorising copyright infringement by making their services available to people who do infringe copyright. In case case originally brought by rights group AFACT, the High Court unanimously dismissed the appeal in the case and the Court observed that iiNet had no direct technical power to prevent its customers to infringe copyright in the appellants’ films. Rather, the extent of iiNet’s power to prevent its customers from infringing the appellants’ copyright was limited to an indirect power to terminate its contractual relationship with its customers. Further, the Court held that the information contained in the AFACT notices, as and when they were served, did not provide iiNet with a reasonable basis for sending warning notices to individual customers containing threats to suspend or terminate those customers’ accounts. For these reasons, the Court held that it could not be inferred from iiNet’s inactivity after receiving the AFACT notices that iiNet had authorised any act of infringement of copyright in the appellants’ films by its customers. The unanimous decision distinguished the Kazaa case (where the Kazaa P2P site was successfully pursued…

US appeals court reverses Viacom v Google decision to allow Viacom’s action
Copyright , Internet / May 2012
USA

COPRIGHT Internet The 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals has reversed (Thursday 4th April) the June 2010 lower court ruling from Judge Louis Stanton in favour of YouTube which resulted from the $1 billion lawsuit filed by Viacom, the English Premier (football) League and others in 2007 to stop users posting of clips from programmes like the Daily Show and SpongeBobSquarePants amongst 79,000 copyrighted works on the YouTube platform. YouTube seemed to put a positive spin on the decision with a YouTube spokeswoman said in an e-mailed statement: “All that is left of the Viacom lawsuit that began as a wholesale attack on YouTube is a dispute over a tiny percentage of videos long ago removed from YouTube. Nothing in this decision impacts the way YouTube is operating.” Viacom, in a statement, said the appeals court “delivered a definitive, common sense message to YouTube: intentionally ignoring theft is not protected by the law.” http://www.csmonitor.com/Innovation/Latest-News-Wires/2012/0405/Appeals-court-reinstates-Viacom-lawsuit-against-Google-s-YouTube and more on other developments here http://www.the1709blog.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04/after-fight-are-youtube-and-viacom.html

German court gives partial victory to GEMA in case against YouTube
Copyright , Internet / May 2012
Germany

COPYRIGHT Internet In a provisional victory for content owners a court in Hamburg on Friday ordered Google to install filters on its YouTube service in Germany to detect and stop people from gaining access to material for which they do not own the rights. The case was brought by German music collection society GEMA. The judge, Heiner Steeneck, agreed in his ruling that Google was not directly responsible for the uploaded material: YouTube will only liable for copyright infringing videos uploaded by its users where the portal does not follow certain control and behavioural duties. Only after the portal owners have been alerted of the copyright infringement will the duty to block the video without delay and to commit to measures that are suitable to prevent further right infringements. There was, however, no duty for YouTube to control and check all videos that had already been uploaded to the platform. “This is a victory along the way to what will be a very important case,” Peter Hempel, a spokesman for GEMA, saying “This case, when it is eventually decided, will set a precedent for the legal responsibilities of online platform operators such as Google in Germany.” The judge rejected a request…

Is it legal to sell digital downloads?
UK
USA

COPRIGHT Internet, record labels ARTICLE LINK: More on the recent debate about the legality of consumers re-selling digital downloads they have purchased (currently being tested in the US courts in the ‘Re-Digi’ case) here from a UK perspective with reference to the new European Consumer Rights Directive and a potential revised definition of ‘tangible goods’? http://www.computeractive.co.uk/ca/consumer-rights/2142389/legal-sell-digital-downloads

Final agreement on new digital rates
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet, music publishing More than two decades after the first song went online, a mechanical royalties settlement has been reached that acknowledges some of the new business models digital music has spawned. The newly reached deal pretty much keeps existing rates for CDs and downloads, but it also adds five new categories. Three trade groups were signatories to the settlement, which now goes forward for approval by the U.S. Copyright Royalty Board: the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA) and Digital Media Association (DiMA). If approved, which is expected, the agreement will run from 2013 TO 2017.  The five new bands of royalties apply to paid locker services; free cloud storage that comes with a purchased download; mixed bundles of content such as streamed music in a mobile phone package; services with a limited amount of interactivity; and music that comes in a combined package, like a free download with purchase. The current rate for downloads and CDs stays at 9.1 cents and 24 cents for ringtones. http://www.the1709blog.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04/new-us-agreement-for-digital-and-mobile.html

Red Alert for the Pirates
Copyright , Internet / May 2012
Netherlands

COPYRIGHT Internet It looks like the principles behind SABAM v Netlog and more importantly SABAM v Scarlet might be tested soner rather than later – and the testing might be done by none other than the Pirate Party in the Netherlands who have been taken to task by anti-piracy grup BREIN. The Scarlet decision by the ECJ (on a referral from the courts in Belgium) decided inter alia that the fundamental rights enshrined in EC Directives (2000/31, 2001/29, 2004/48, 95/46 and 2002/58) must be interprested as precluding an injunction made against an internet service provider which requires it to install a system for filtering all electronic communications …. which applies to all customers indiscriminatly. Netlog similarly held that a filtering system that would require the owner to carry out general minitoring of information stored on its servers would be prohibitedby Artivle 15(1) of the E-Commerce Directive. In the Pirate Party case, The Dutch rights group had successfully secured a web-block injunction against the Pirate Bay itself January, on the ground that the Pirate Bay was liable for the copyright infringement many of its users undertook. The injunction named two internet service providers, Ziggo and XS4ALL, and BREIN is now pursuing…

Kiwi third strikes are out
Copyright , Internet / May 2012
New Zealand

COPYRIGHT Internet New Zealand’s ‘three strikes’ legislation which was introduced last September and which sees alleged Kiwi file-sharers monitored, warned, and eventually punished for their infringements has now reached the final phase  with the first so-called ’3rd strike’ issued. The ‘enforcement’ notices were delivered on behalf of the music industry although commentators noted that even after more than 6 months, their movie industry counterparts are yet to send even one initial warning. Internet users who are discovered uploading copyright material are first sent two warnings via their ISP. On receipt of a third, under the “Skynet” legislation, copyright holders can take the Internet account holder to the Copyright Tribunal where they face hefty fines. The Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment Act 2011 had a tortuous path before implementation. Argument, counter-argument and intense lobbying from the copyright industries preceded its introduction in September last year. NZ ISPs TelstraClear and Orcon have both confirmed that they have sent third and final “enforcement” warnings to customers, delivered on behalf of RIANZ. The alleged music pirates now have a week from the date of the notice to lodge a dispute. Failure to do so could lead the individual to be referred to the Copyright…