Google fined for blocking FCC investigation
Internet , Regulation / May 2012
USA

MEDIA REGULATION Internet, Technology The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has fined Google $25,000 for hampering an investigation into whether the company’s Street View mapping team illegally collected data from Wi-Fi networks. Though clearing Google in the investigation, the FCC said the company “deliberately impeded and delayed the bureau’s investigation by failing to respond to requests for material information and to provide certifications and verifications of its responses.” http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/16/technology/fccs-google-case-leaves-unanswered-questions.html

Spain’s anti-piracy law “may already be obsolete”
Copyright , Internet / April 2012
Spain

COPYRIGHT Internet Reuters report that Spain’s new anti-piracy laws – the so called ‘Sinde’ web blocking law and procedures may be having little effect with users switching away from websites providing links to copyrighted material, which were targeted by the law, towards peer-to-peer or content-sharing services instead. It seems that the closure of the MegaUpload site has simply accelerated the trend, and many of the pirates have simply re-directed their activity towards peer-to-peer platforms to access copyrighted material. Such platforms are not covered by the new legislation and have been protected in Spanish courts provided they are “not for profit”. About half of Spanish adults admit to having downloaded audiovisual content from the Internet for free, according to a poll by the state-run CIS public opinion surveyor. Microsoft has confirmed that users of its instant messaging app are now being stopped from sharing links to The Pirate Bay, though the IT firm says the block has been instigated because of malware fears rather than any bid to block Bay-enabled copyright infringement. A spokesman for the company told The Register: “We block instant messages if they contain malicious or spam URLs based on intelligence algorithms, third-party sources, and/or user complaints. Pirate…

Guardian cloud concern
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / April 2012
USA

COPYRIGHT Record labels, internet   There is an interesting blog in the Guardian online titled “Behind the music: Why artists mustn’t be drawn into an MP3 site’s legal fight which marries up the right of termination being actively pursued by a number of musicians and songwriters to reclaim copyrights from record labels and music publishers in the USA (the right to reclaim recordings 35 years old – notice must be filed within two years of the termination date) and the legality of so called digital cloud lockers – in particular EMI’s claim against web entrepreneur Michael Robertson’s MP3Tunes. Its all at http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/musicblog/2012/mar/02/artists-mp3-site-legal-fight?newsfeed=true

News from the digital sphere
Copyright , Internet / April 2012
Canada
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet There are now a plethora of online services offering legal ways to listen to music, but I was interested to see the announcement that new music service Turntable.fm has reached a deal with all four of the major record labels (EMI, Sony-BMG, Universal and Warners) allowing it to “to leave the legal gray zone it had been operating in and expand into international markets.”  One of the reasons I was interested is because Turntable offers a ‘twist’ on the usual music services, its  not a streaming service like Pandora or Spotify,  but really is a social platform,  allowing users to create an online ‘room’ in which they can the programme and ‘DJ’ for other users – so the DJ actively picks his or her own music Seth Goldstein, the company’s chairman, told his audiuence at the South by South West convention in Austin, Texas, “Basically this means we’re legitimate,” Mr. Goldstein said. “There are no eggshells, no wondering whether or not what we’re doing is viable as it relates to rights holders.” The company already had agreements with the main two US music publisher ad songwriter collection societies, ASCAP and BMI Mr. Goldstein said Turntable’s audience had started…

Bollywood rejoice!
Copyright , Internet / April 2012
India

COPYRIGHT Internet The High Court in Calcutta, India, has responded to a complaint from music industry trade body IMI by ruling that access to 104 alleged copyright-infringing music websites must be blocked at ISP level. India’s Internet service providers will utilize DNS and IP-based blocking as well as “deep packet inspection” to block access to the sites which include coolgoose.com, songs.pk and bollywood-hits.com. Frances Moore, chief executive of worldwide recording industry rights group IFPI said “”This decision is a victory for the rule of law online and a blow to those illegal businesses that want to build revenues by violating the rights of others” adding  “It highlights the importance the Indian courts place on the creative industries and their contribution to the economy. The court ruled that blocking is a proportionate and effective way to tackle website piracy. The Indian government should build on this progress by moving forward legislation to effectively tackle all forms of digital piracy to enable the country’s digital music market to reach its full potential.” With a large proportion of music sales in India tied to the movie industry both sectors will no doubt be pleased with the court’s actions. “There is a lot to be…

Pirates take to the skies
Copyright , Internet / April 2012
EU

COPYRIGHT Internet As Pirate Bay co-founder Carl Lundstrom prepares to serve his four month prison sentence under house arrest in Sweden, it seems the current Pirate Bay organisers are planning to put copies of their database onto servers in the sky – on “small airborne drones” connected to the mobile internet – that would have to be literally “shot down” to take the site offline.  A blog post by a certain MrSpock that appeared on the Swedish site on Sunday said: “We can’t limit ourselves to hosting things just on land anymore. These Low Orbit Server Stations (LOSS) are just the first attempt. With modern radio transmitters we can get over 100Mbps per node up to 50km away. For the proxy system we’re building, that’s more than enough. This way our machines will have to be shut down with aeroplanes in order to shut down the system. A real act of war.” http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/03/19/pirate_bay_loss_drones/

Latino star latest to launch digital royalty claim
USA

COPYRIGHT / CONTRACT Record labels, internet Popular Latina music star Graciela Beltran has filed a class action complaint (Case # CV121002) in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California against EMI Music, Inc. The case arises out of the alleged failure of EMI to pay the full royalty rates to artists such as Ms. Beltran on revenue generated from the licensing of digital downloads and/or ringtones. Beltran’s attorney Joshua C. Ezrin of Audet & Partners, LLP said “From the information we have received, it appears EMI has failed to pay Ms. Beltran and its other artists the amount owed on the licensing of songs for digital downloads and ringtones,”  adding “Graciela Beltran is bringing this action to ensure all artists are properly paid for their work.” The Temptations have also joined a long group of heritage acts disputing their royalties, here with Universal, but elsewhere this month we comment on the proposed agreed settlement between Sony and a number of artistes in a class action. The Temptations are basing their claim on the precedent set in the FTB (‘Eminen’) case, successfully brought against Universal. And at South by South West in Austin Texas Gloria Gaynor suggested…

UK ISPS should adopt a voluntary blocking code
Copyright , Internet / March 2012
UK

COPYRIGHT Internet   A group of content owners that includes the British Recorded Music Industry (BPI), Motion Picture Association (MPA), Producers Alliance for Cinema and Television (PACT), The Premier League and the Publishers Association have said that Internet search engines that operate in the UK could stop publishing links to websites that are deemed to be substantially infringing copyright under plans. The groups have proposed a voluntary code of practice for search engines in a move to get them to do more to prevent online copyright infringement. If adopted, the code would also require search engines to relegate sites that repeatedly link to pirated material in their rankings and conversely boost links to other “licensed” sites under a new “certification” scheme suggesting search engines should prioritise legal sites when consumers are clearly using search engines “trying to access digital content to download or stream, rather than simply looking for information” using search terms such as ‘torrent’, ‘download’, ‘free’ and ‘rip’ when eg combined with an artiste, song or an album name. The content owners would also like to see search engines stop promoting pirate websites or placing ads on those sites from selling keyword advertising related to piracy terminology as…

Google COULD face legal action from record labels
USA

COPYRIGHT / COMPETITION Internet, record labels TorrentFreak reports that the recording industry is considering filing a lawsuit against Google for allegedly abusing its dominant market position to distort the market for online music saying “Industry groups including IFPI and the RIAA want Google to degrade links to ‘pirate’ websites in its search results” and that “IFPI has obtained a ‘highly confidential and preliminary legal opinion’ to see if they can force Google to step up its anti-piracy efforts though a lawsuit” – with the IFPI saying  “Google continues to fail to prioritize legal music sites over illegal sites in search results, claiming that its algorithm for search results is based on the relevance of sites to consumers” explaining “With a view to addressing this failure, IFPI obtained a highly confidential and preliminary legal opinion in July 2011 on the possibility of bringing a competition law [antitrust] complaint against Google for abuse of its dominant position, given the distortion of the market for legitimate online music that is likely to result from Google’s prioritizing of illegal sites.” So it seems whether the legal action will actually be launched is a matter of whether or not Google will come to the table…

IP and Media in the Digital Age conference
Copyright , Internet / March 2012
UK

CONFERENCE All areas Increasingly the population is turning to online and digital methods to consume media. This has led to a proliferation of ways in which intellectual property rights can be abused, which is particularly demonstrated by the increase in illegal download websites and peer to peer software. However, the entertainment industry has begun to fight back, with Hollywood winning a High Court case against BT forcing them to block the website Newzbin2. This case is likely to be followed by the music industry as they plan to take on the website Pirate Bay. With this emerging case law it is essential that you keep up to date with the competing issues being fought out in the courts, as well as understanding the complexities of new online business models. To be held on 23rd March 2012 in Central London, Butterworths’ IP and Media in the Digital Age conference will provide a comprehensive analysis of new approaches to protecting intellectual property rights. Join our expert speaker panel to discuss the following critical issues: Understand the implications of Hollywood’s High Court win requiring BT to block the website Newzbin2 Discuss what ‘communication to the public’ means in today’s digital environment Explore the…

Apparently Veoh Isn’t Dead Enough For Universal Music; Asks For Rehearing of Its Bogus Copyright Lawsuit
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / March 2012
EU
UK
USA

COPYRIGHT Record labels, internet ARTICLE LINK: An interesting take on the Universal v Veoh litigation and some thoughts on why (despite Veoh’s victory) UMG initiated the action and indeed continue with an appeal. …. despite Veoh’s demise. http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20120126/02350517545/apparently-veoh-isnt-dead-enough-universal-music-asks-rehearing-its-bogus-copyright-lawsuit.shtml

IFPI welcomes Russian ruling on unlicensed streaming platform
Copyright , Internet / March 2012
Russia
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet The IFPI has welcomed what it calls a “landmark ruling” by a Russian court that internet company vKontakte’s music service is liable for copyright infringement. The commercial (“Arbitrazh”) Court of Saint Petersburg ruled that the social networking site with an unlicensed music service is illegally offering unlicensed music to its users. vKontakte is Russia’s most popular online entertainment platform. It has over 110 million registered users and over 33 million users per day, and is one of the top 50 most visited sites in the world. The case against vKontakte was brought by SBA Publishing and SBA Production, members of the Gala Music Group in Russia. The cases were based on vKontakte making Gala’s music compositions and sound recordings available without licensing agreements. The unlicensed vKontakte music service allows streaming of music from an extensive catalogue of Russian and international sound recordings and encourages software developers to create apps for illegal downloading of content via vKontakte. The IFPI says that several further cases are pending. Reacting to the judgment, IFPI CEO, Frances Moore, said: “This is a very important ruling for Russia. It shows that sites like vKontakte cannot build a business on making music available without licences…

Pirate Bay founders lose final appeal
Copyright , Internet / March 2012
EU
Sweden
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet The defendants in the Pirate Bay trial, who were appealing their custodial sentences to Sweden’s Supreme Court, have now exhausted their options in Sweden after the Court refused to hear the final appeal. Two of the founders and the funder of The Pirate Bay, Peter Sunde and Fredrik Neij and Carl Lundström, were found guilty of copyright infringement for their former roles at the Pirate Bay in 2009. A third founder, Gottfrid Svartholm Warg, had already been refused future appeals for failing to attend his first appeal hearing on the ground of somewhat unspecified illness. Whilst their custodial sentences had been reduced on appeal that seems to be as far as the Swedish courts will go. Lundstrom’s legal team said “This ruling is absurd. I am disappointed that the court is so uninterested to dissect and look through all the legal comings and goings in one of the world’s most watched court cases of all time”. News then emerged that the current operators of The Pirate Bay, presumably in response to MegaUpload’s recent enforced demise, and possibly fearing the US authorities might use Supreme Court ruling to justify taking action against its .org domain, which is administered by the…

The Pirate Bay blocked in the UK
Copyright , Internet / March 2012
UK

COPYRIGHT Internet Mr Justice Arnold, sitting in the Chancery Division, England and Wales, has given judgment in the case brought against TPB in Dramatico Entertainment Ltd & others v British Sky Broadcasting Ltd & others and this is how Music Week saw the ruling: “The UK record industry has today claimed a major victory in its fight against the Pirate Bay – with the High Court recognising that the site’s owners and users are operating illegally. Claimants represented by the BPI – including Dramatico, EMI, Polydor, Rough Trade and Warner – argued that the UK’s leading six Internet Service Providers should block the filesharing site. Defendants including BT, TalkTalk, Sky and Virgin Media did not attend the hearing and were not represented. Mr Justice Arnold ruled that “both users and the operators of TPB infringe the copyrights of the Claimants (and those they represent) in the UK”. He added (para81) “In my judgment, the operators of TPB do authorise its users’ infringing acts of copying and communication to the public. They go far beyond merely enabling or assisting. On any view, they ‘sanction, approve and countenance’ the infringements of copyright committed by its users. But in my view they also purport to grant users…

Top Techno Tubes in Takedown Trouble
Artists , Copyright , Internet / March 2012
Italy
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet, artistes I don’t know that much about the world of electronic music but I was sent an interesting read about a chap in the USA called Modular Punk who allegedly managed not only to copy, rename, re-brand and release fifteen tracks actually produced by Italian DJ and techno producer Alex De Stefano, he also copyrighted said tracks in the USA and claimed ownership of such. Perhaps unsurprisingly, said Mr M Punk (real name Felipe Cersosimo, aged 27) had a JD in Intellectual Property and International law apparently from the American University, Washington College of Law, and for a few weeks had ‘his’ tracks out on sale, distributed by his own label and distributors Dark Digital Underground, Iris Distribution and Perfection Recordings and he even managed to get them onto all major digital distribution platforms (including iTunes) and even got the onto the Billboard, MTV Meteor and MySpace techno charts. So, a now very peeved De Stefano tried to take action and a number (but not all) of the digital outlets removed the offending tracks BUT of course Mr Punk had those very annoying copyrights registered in the USA and so what ensued then appears to be a battle…

SOPA is not censorship says RIAA Chief
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / March 2012
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet, record labels Cary Sherman boss of the Recording Industry Association Of America has hit out at Wikipedia and its allies with a response in the New York Times to last month’s day of protests against the proposed SOPA and PIPA anti-piracy bills saying that the campaign was founded on a number of ‘mistruths’ and “Since when is it censorship to shut down an operation that an American court, upon a thorough review of evidence, has determined to be illegal? When the police close down a store fencing stolen goods, it isn’t censorship, but when those stolen goods are fenced online, it is? Wikipedia, Google and others manufactured controversy by unfairly equating SOPA with censorship”. A recent Columbia University survey found, in fact, that 70 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds said they had bought, copied or downloaded unauthorized music, TV shows or movies, compared with 46 percent of all adults who’d done the same. CMU Daily 9th February 2012

Where next for EU copyright law revisions?
Copyright , Internet / March 2012
EU

COPYRIGHT Internet The IPKat reports that the European Commission has announced that it will be taking a look at ‘take down’ procedures within the different countries of the EU which variously operate under the E-Commerce Directive which sets up the liability regime of Intermediary Service Providers depending on the different types of activities provided — i.e. acting as a mere conduit, catching or hosting, and provides the basis for a “notice and action” procedure but does not establish one as such. Each country has therefore acted upon its own criteria in that matter. As a result, while the internet is ubiquitous, Europe is fragmented in terms of procedures and remedies to block or remove illegal content. The Commission will review the IP Enforcement Directive in parallel to this initiative. The adoption process for this initiative will be keenly watched since it will surely trigger passionate debates between rightholders, ISPs and civil society who have differing and often opposing views, especially with regard to the following aspects of a notice and action procedure: requirements for the notice, the possibility to submit a counter-notice by the alleged infringer, the timeframe for blocking or taking down the unlawful content, liability for providing wrongful notices…

SOCA takedown pulls no punches
Copyright , Internet / March 2012
UK

COPYRIGHT Internet RnBXclusive.com , the British music blog that posted, amongst other things, links to unlicensed music files, has been shut down by the Serious Organised Crime Agency.  The website currently hosts a SOCA statement that says the UK government agency has taken control of the domain, and that the individuals behind the website have been “arrested for fraud”. The SOCA statement also notes: “The majority of music files that were available via this site were stolen from the artists. If you have downloaded music using this website you may have committed a criminal offence which carries a maximum penalty of up to ten years imprisonment and an unlimited fine under UK law”. The UK authorities’ previous criminal action against a similar website, Oink, was unsuccessful.  The arrests are not under the Copyright Designs & Patents Act 1988, but appear to be for the criminal charge of conspiracy to defraud. The SOCA ‘takeover’ is quite bizarre actually. I would never have thought a UK court would imprison someone for 10 years for illegally downloading and when I went online to check the site today (after it was closed) and my own IP address was noted, dated and timed and the…

Spanish courts ignore Sinde principles
Copyright , Internet / March 2012
Spain

COPYRIGHT Internet Spanish court has found another internet service free from liability for the actions of its users, holding that Cinetube, which redirects  web-users to film files online (the  majority of which are unlicensed), free from liability for copyright infringement. Spanish courts have generally not been willing to hold such websites liable, especially if they are not run for profit. The landmark ruling in Spanish law involves the P2P file sharing service Sharemula, again found free from liability, although that case was distinguished in another more recent Spanish case where the operator of a file-sharing links service who profited from ad sales and SMS services was found liable. However, Spain is on the brink of a major change with the proposed implementation of the “Sinde” law and whilst currently subject to a challenge in the country’s Supreme Court, Cinetube is known to be high up on the target list of the content industries, who hope the new web-blocking law will overrule past precedents and enable them to force ISPs to block access to websites that link to illegal content. http://www.billboard.biz/bbbiz/industry/legal-and-management/spanish-court-dismisses-case-against-major-1006189552.story

Hadopi enters first round of the ‘third strike’phase
Copyright , Internet / March 2012
France

COPYRIGHT Internet   Hadopi, the French authority responsible for the protection of content owner’s rights on the Internet, has revealed that it has now sent its first batch of files of Internet users suspected of illegally downloading films and music protected by copyright law to the French public prosecutor’s office. The public prosecutor’s office must now decide whether or not to instigate legal proceedings against the repeat offenders as the final [art of the French ‘Three strikes’ or graduated response programme. All of those accused will already have had a warning email and if they continued to infringe, a further  letter sent by registered post and email. Punishment includes a fine of EUR1,500 (USD1,971) and the initial suspension of the individual’s Internet account for a period of up to a month. All decisions are made by a court. At the end of December, 822,014 Internet users had been sent a first warning, 68,343 had received the “second strike”, the registered letter, and 165 repeat offenders had been placed under investigation. In January 2011 research showed that despite the new law, 49% of French internet users continued to illegally download music and films. http://www.tax-news.com/news/Frances_Hadopi_Submits_First_Case_Load_For_Prosecution____54049.html

ACTA runs into belated European opposition
Copyright , Internet / March 2012
EU

COPRIGHT Internet   Having been referred to the ECJ, ACTA is in the news after digital campaign organisation Avaaz handed the European Parliament a petition with the names of over two million people who have backed an online call for a rethink of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement. ACTA has already been signed by a majority of EU member states but not by the EU itself nor some five member states including The Netherlands and Germany. The Treaty has already been denounced by the French MEP, Kader Arif, the rapporteur for ATCTA who was charged with compiling background information on the Treaty and who resigned his position saying “I want to denounce in the strongest possible manner the entire process that led to the signature of this agreement”, while the European Parliament’s current President, Martin Schulz, said he didn’t think ACTA was “good in its current form”. Now the Scottish MEP who will oversee the treaty’s passage through the European legislature, David Martin, has also said he is concerned that ambiguities in the agreement could have negative consequences telling reporters “I have no interest in criminalising individual consumers. I think you have to distinguish between the consumer and the producer of…

Entertainment lawyers lunch, Ek talks big on streaming, Branca adds to the fun, student gets the cheers!
Copyright , Internet / March 2012
EU
Sweden
UK
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet, Technology Is streaming really the future of the music industry? Will it be the saviour of record labels? I doubt it very much myself, but is a dang good approach if you are Daniel Ek, boss of Spotify. Now less than seven months after launching his digital music service in the US, Ek found himself rubbing elbows with the “upper echelon” of record industry executives who have descended on Los Angeles for this Sunday’s Grammy Awards and the 28-year-old Swedish entrepreneur addressed a ballroom full of entertainment attorneys  telling them all about the brave new world of digital music and boldly predicting  that revenue from streaming services such as Spotify will in two years return as much revenue to the industry as iTunes does today. Since launching its service in 2008, the Stockholm-based company says it has has remunerated more than $200 million, roughly 70% of its revenue, to labels and publishers. It has also grown into a valuable company with a tie in to Facebook (and making Ek a darn sight more money than the music industry – and artistes!) “The value of music is not $15 billion,” an estimate of annual music sales, Ek told his audience at the Grammy…

Merlin settles for indies
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / March 2012
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet, record labels   The global independent music rights agency Merlin has settled its long running copyright infringement claim on behalf of its members against the now defunct peer-to-peer service LimeWire.  The settlement was reached out-of-court subsequent to a lawsuit filed by Merlin in July 2011. Merlin’s settlement follows the major record labels’ announcement that they reached a $105 million out-of-court settlement with LimeWire in May 2011.  Merlin’s members’ claims against LimeWire were settled for an amount commensurate with the major record labels’ settlement, taking into account the aggregate market shares of the Merlin members relative to the major labels’ shares and costs of action. Merlin’s members’ market share in the US is around 10%. Merlin will pay out the proceeds of the settlement to its members shortly. Labels such as Epitaph, Merge, Warp, Yep Roc/Red Eye, Naïve, Naxos, Tommy Boy, One Little Indian, Kontor, Secretly Canadian, Beggars Group, [PIAS] Group,!K7, Sub Pop, Domino and Koch/E1 are all members of Merlin. Charles Caldas, Merlin CEO said: “It is deeply satisfying to announce this settlement today. The exclusion of independents from past major settlements such as Kazaa was a key factor in the formation of Merlin, and I am proud…

A bauble for Bon Bon – rapper does have a reputation but it isn’t greatly damaged rules Aussie court
Australia
USA

COPYRIGHT / MORAL RIGHTS / CONTRACT Artistes, internet   This (again!) from the ever wonderful IP Kat: Question: what do you get if you cross an American rap artist with a digruntled Australian tour promoter and a song with the title ‘We No Speak Americano’? Answer: a moral rights dispute. If you have been on the dance-floor in recent times as many times as this Kat has, it would have been virtually impossible for you to miss hearing ‘We No Speak Americano’. This ditty, released in February 2010, was created by Australian duo Yolanda Be Cool and producer DCUP by sampling the 1956 Italian song ‘Tu vuò fà l’Americano’ (by Renato Carosone). This release soared to No 1 in the charts in many discerning nations and featured prominently in a number of Best Songs of 2010 lists. The combined song was further sampled in November 2010 by American rapper Armando Perez (stage name ‘Pitbull’) for the Spanish-language track  Bon Bon’ in his fifth studio album, Armando (the ‘Bon Bon Song’). Jamie Fernandez is a prominent DJ and live music promoter in Perth, Western Australia. Fernandez goes by the name DJ Suave and operates a website at http://www.suaveproductions.com.au (the ‘Suave Website’).Pitbull Perez was due to come to Australia to perform…

EU and US approve Google’s Motorola acquisition
Competition , Internet / March 2012
EU
USA

COMPETITION Internet, Technology The European Commission has approved Google’s $12.5 billion acquisition of Illinois-based handset-maker Motorola Mobility. The deal, first announced in August, will give Google the hardware to go along with its popular Android smartphone operating system. In its ruling, the competition (antitrust) regulator said the acquisition “would not significantly modify the market situation in respect of operating systems and patents for these devices.” The U.S. Department of Justice simultaneously announced it has closed its investigation of this acquisition in the USA. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-17021933

Big Brother IS watching you
Internet , Privacy / March 2012
EU
UK
USA

PRIVACY Internet, Technology Apple has moved to quell a growing storm over privacy saying that it would ban apps for the iPhone or iPad that collected personal data from users without their prior approval. The move follows revelations that services were collecting personal data including contact email addresses, contract telephone numbers. Path, a social networking app apologised after a researcher discovered it had uploaded his iPhone contacts to its servers. Other offending services included Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare and Yelp.  Twitter said it would make it more clear it collected the contact data and stored it for up to 18 months. Facebook said that when it collected data it made this quite clear. But Google has been accused of bypassing Apple’s privacy settings on Apple devices to track internet browsing habits, implementing new codes to override privacy settings on iPhones and iPads. Google has now disabled to code and said no personal information was collected. Remember, these firms are in control of the future of the internet. Frightening!  (The Times, February 17th 2012, p8).

IP and Media in the Digital Age conference
Copyright , Internet / February 2012
UK

CONFERENCE All areas Increasingly the population is turning to online and digital methods to consume media. This has led to a proliferation of ways in which intellectual property rights can be abused, which is particularly demonstrated by the increase in illegal download websites and peer to peer software. However, the entertainment industry has begun to fight back, with Hollywood winning a High Court case against BT forcing them to block the website Newzbin2. This case is likely to be followed by the music industry as they plan to take on the website Pirate Bay. With this emerging case law it is essential that you keep up to date with the competing issues being fought out in the courts, as well as understanding the complexities of new online business models. To be held on 23rd March 2012 in Central London, Butterworths’ IP and Media in the Digital Age conference will provide a comprehensive analysis of new approaches to protecting intellectual property rights. Join our expert speaker panel to discuss the following critical issues: Understand the implications of Hollywood’s High Court win requiring BT to block the website Newzbin2 Discuss what ‘communication to the public’ means in today’s digital environment Explore the regulatory…

Spain implements web blocking law
Copyright , Internet / February 2012
Spain

COPYRIGHT Internet   The BBC reports that the Spanish Parliament has implemented the somewhat controversial Sinde law. The legislation, which had already been enacted into law, will make it easier for content owners to target copyright infringing websites from March 2012 onwards. The legislation was initially criticised for being ‘US influenced’ and, like ‘three strikes’ Law Hadopi in France, because it lacked any provision for scrutiny by the courts. The latter point has been rectified and the legislation creates a government body with powers to force internet service providers to block sites. The Intellectual Property Commission will decide whether it wants to take action against an infringing site or the ISPs and websites providing links to infringing content and the case will then be passed to a judge to rule on whether the site should be shut down, this judicial process being completed within seventy two hours. A report commissioned by a coalition of Spain’s rights-holders suggested that piracy in Spain cost legal content rights owners $6.8 billion in the first half of 2010 alone, claiming 97.8% of all music consumption and 77%  of movie downloads in Spain were illegal. Illegal downloading in Spain constitutes around 45% of internet use…

Obama administration responds to SOPA blocking debate
Copyright , Internet / February 2012
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet Victoria Espinel, Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator at the Office of Management and Budget, Aneesh Chopra, U.S. Chief Technology Officer, and Howard Schmidt, Special Assistant to the President and Cybersecurity Coordinator for National Security Staff, have respondd to two petions against the proposed Stop Online Piracy Act by blogging this as the official White House response to the “VETO the SOPA bill and any other future bills that threaten to diminish the free flow of information” petition (the bold text is in the White House post): Right now, Congress is debating a few pieces of legislation concerning the very real issue of online piracy, including the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), the PROTECT IP Act, and the Online Protection and Digital ENforcement Act (OPEN). We want to take this opportunity to tell you what the Administration will support—and what we will not support. Any effective legislation should reflect a wide range of stakeholders, including everyone from content creators to the engineers that build and maintain the infrastructure of the Internet. While we believe that online piracy by foreign websites is a serious problem that requires a serious legislative response, we will not support legislation that reduces freedom of expression,…

Irish Three strikes works ‘incredibly well’ – but will it spread?
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / February 2012
Ireland

COPYRIGHT Internet, record labels   The battle for the heart and soul of copyright in recorded music continues in Ireland, where The Irish Times (“EMI Records launches action against State over anti-piracy order”, by Carol Madden) reports on further legal action to prevent unauthorised music downloads.  According to this article: “The Irish arm of multinational music group EMI has launched a High Court action against the State as part of its bid to stop the illegal downloading of music. The Government recently pledged to issue an order to allow copyright holders to compel internet service providers (ISPs) to block access to websites that they consider are engaged in piracy. However, EMI Records (Ireland) remains unhappy with what it perceives to be foot-dragging on the part of the Government in tackling this issue. It is concerned that the matter could be delayed again, and that even if a statutory instrument is issued, its contents may not be satisfactory. Chief executive Willie Kavanagh … said yesterday that EMI asked the Government to show them the forthcoming instrument, but it has not yet received it, “leading me to believe it’s unlikely to satisfy the music industry’s requirement for injunctive relief”. … [In] 2010, … EMI and a number of…

IFPI Digital Music Reports says its growth – but is it good news?
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / February 2012
China
EU
Japan
USA

COPYRIGHT Record labels, internet   The IFPI’s Digital Music Report 2012 has just been published and headline figures from the record industry’s global trade body show Major international music services which include streaming services like Spotify are now in 58 countries, up from 23 in January 2011 Digital music revenues are up 8 per cent to US$5.2 billion The IFPI say that anti-piracy action has made an impact in France, New Zealand with the US to follow in 2012 but the IFPI says that piracy and the ‘legal environment’ remain a problem The IFPI say that consumers are benefitting from a widening choice of services for experiencing digital music. In 2011, subscription services expanded and linked with new partners to reach new audiences. Meanwhile cloud technology is helping transform the way fans manage and store their music. Global revenues to record companies grew by an estimated 8 per cent to US$5.2 billion in 2011 – a faster rate than 2010 – with strong consumer demand for both single track downloads (up 11 per cent by volume), digital albums (up 24 per cent by volume) and fast-expanding subscription services. The number of users paying to subscribe to a music service leapt…

New US Report says pre-1972 sound recordings should be ‘Federalized’
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / February 2012
USA

COPYRIGHT Record industry, Internet   A Report from the US Copyright Office has recommended that all pre-1972 sound recordings become subject to US Federal Law. They are currently protected by state law. The move, if implemented, would open up a number of new opportunities, not least in making life easier for libraries and archivists who preserve old recordings.  Commercial use remains an issue though: with internet radio stations though, the move would expose the stations to paying royalties for using pre-1972 sound recordings to SoundExchange who currently do not (or cannot) always collect under state laws for the public performance right. The Copyright Office Report makes no comment on the position that no royalty is due to SoundExchange for US works from pre 1972 (unlike foreign works which are covered), but if pre-1972 works were to be covered, they would then need to be registered at the US Copyright Office. Some suggest that ‘Federalization’ of pre-1972 recordings would clear up all ambiguities and actually make it easier for internet based radio companies and streaming services to licence works. Terrestrial stations are exempt from performance royalties in the USA and there is no equivalent PPL ‘needletime’ payment for soudrecording use as…

Content owners play “keepy uppie” in technology races
Copyright , Internet / February 2012
EU
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet, Technology The music, film and television industries’ recent successes in fighting illegal file sharing by promoting both legislative change and winning court decisions such as Newzbin2 and the recent Dutch Courts decision to block access to The Pirate Bay are all well and good for content owners, but in the fast moving world of the internet things don’t stay still for long and news now reaches the 1709 Bog that The Pirate Bay will start linking by default to ‘magnet’ rather than BiTorrent downloads in what only can be seen of as a move to avoid detection. Whilst BitTorrent links will still be available (being the currently preferred option for downloaders, both legal and illegal), they will be a secondary option for the time being. The magnet system makes user and file identification even harder and it is expected that The Pirate Bay will now phase out traditional BitTorrent file-sharing.  And controversial US streaming platform Grooveshark, no stranger to this blog and currently facing legal actions from all four major record labels, has just launched a new HTML5 app making it easier for music fans to access the service on their smartphones. Grooveshark had already launched apps for…

EMI launches ReDigi action
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / February 2012
USA

COPYRIGHT Record labels, internet   EMI has filed a lawsuit against digital track reseller ReDigi, alleging that the company’s plans to enable the selling of “used’’ digital music constitutes copyright infringement. On its website, ReDigi claims that the marketplace that it created to resell digital music is as legal as someone reselling an album to a used-record store. “Once you sell a song, you no longer have access to it,’’ the company says on the site. “This is how ReDigi stays legit, and how you now have access to an incredible marketplace where rights long accepted in the physical world may now be applied to digital goods.’’ http://bostonglobe.com/business/2012/01/07/emi-sues-cambridge-digital-music-reseller/bwemnUEMuWS6k9GKkJINdI/story.html and see http://www.musiclawupdates.com/?p=427

UK student faces extradition to the USA on infringement charges
Copyright , Internet / February 2012
UK
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet   A UK student faces extradition to the USA after District Judge Quentin Purdy ruled that the extradition could go ahead at Westminster Magistrates Court. Richard O’Dwyer, a 23 year old studying at Sheffield Hallam University faces charges relating to his ‘TV Shack’ website that allegedly linked to infringing films and television programmes that could be found on other internet sites. No infringing material was held on the site although allegedly after it was closed down for the first time, O’Dwyer simply re-started it the next day and made substantial financial returns from selling advertising on the site.   District Judge Purdy ruled that “there are said to be direct consequences of criminal activity by Richard O’Dwyer in the USA, albeit by him never leaving the North of England” adding “such a state of affairs does not demand a trial here if the competent UK authorities decline to act and does, in my judgment, permit one in the USA”. O’Dwyer’s lawyer, Ben Cooper, said the matter would be appealed to the High Court. In a completely separate action Christopher Tappie, a retired businessman, who faces extradition to the USA on charges of conspiring to sell batteries used in Iranian…

Megaupload bosses arrested in New Zealand raid
Copyright , Internet / February 2012
New Zealand
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet, film, television   Reuters report that Kim Dotcom (Kim Schmitz, a 37 year old German national) the Megaupload boss, has been arrested by police in New Zealand and that the US Government has shut down the content sharing website which recently featured on this Blog. It can hardly have escaped anyone’s notice that the actions come against the background of heated debate over the proposed SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (Protect IP Act) legislation in the USA but Reuters report that a US Justice Department official said the timing of the arrests was not related to the battle inside and outside  Congress. Schmitz lives in New Zealand and it appears that some 70 police officers  raided 10 properties and also arrested the website’s chief marketing officer, Finn Batato, 38, chief technical officer and co-founder Mathias Ortmann, 40 (both German nationals)  and Dutch national Bram van der Kolk, 29, who is also a New Zealand resident. Alongside these arrests, NZ police seized several million dollars worth of assets and NZ$10 million from financial institutions. The Organised & Financial Crime Agency New Zealand said they would work with US Authorities to enable extradition proceedings to proceed. Those arrested…

MegaSong sparks mega row
USA

COPYRIGHT / CENSORSHIP Internet, record labels This story has been rumbling for while now but the ‘Mega Song’ dispute is taking all sorts of twists and turns. Let’s start at the beginning: MegaUpload is a file sharing platform that produced a video for what we will call the ‘Mega Song’ featuring numerous big name artistes such as Will.i.am, Chris Brown and Macy Gray all, well, ‘bigging up’ MegaUpload. This was posted up on YouTube. So far, so good. But it didn’t stay on YouTube for long as Universal Music Group (UMG) took umbrage and had it taken down under YouTubes takedown procedures (or so we thought).   MegaUpload founder Kim Dotcom (ermmm, that’s actually not his real name, its Schmitz, but wouldn’t it be great if it was) responded insisting his company had permission from all of the artists involved and owned all copyright in the track. He then said he was launching an action against UMG for improper use of the USA’s Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Universal firstly (and seemingly) said that their actions were correct as they were acting on behalf of one of their recording artistes featured in the MegaSong who had not given their consent to be…

Mixed results for content industries in Spain and Ireland
Copyright , Internet / January 2012
Ireland
Spain

COPYRIGHT Internet An attempt by the Spanish record industry to sue the provider of file-sharing technologies in Spain has failed. All four majors joined with Promusica to sue Pablo Soto and his MP2P company, which distributes various file-sharing clients, including Blubster, Piolet and Manolito P2P. Paszt rulings have led to an approach that individuals sharing copyright content online do not infringe if the users are not profiting from their actions. The Spanish music industry hoped that if they could prove MP2P was profiting from activities that were detrimental to their business that might be a strong enough case in itself (similar arguments have had some success in the Italian courts) but it wasn’t to be. According to El Mundo, a Spanish court has now ruled that Soto and his companies provide a neutral technical function, and that there is no liability for any sort of infringement. Spain’s Sinde Law will provide a system through which rights owners can have copyright infringing websites blocked. Whilst approved by the country’s parliament, implementation of the Sinde Law has been delayed by an election and now a change of government in Spain. Eircomm’s voluntary the ‘three-strike’ anti-file-sharing system being operated by Eircom has been…

IFPI – Google, could do better in USA – Baidu: no longer on the naughty step in China
Copyright , Internet / January 2012
China
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet The International Federation Of The Phonographic Industry and the Recording Industry Association Of America have published an overview of Google’s efforts to stop its various platforms – including the search engine, YouTube, the Android app store and Google’s advertising network from assisting music pirates, either by providing exposure or direct revenue. The overview relates to pledges made by Google on these issues in December last year, and whilst the IFPI accepts that there is  much to be commended, it  concludes that the web giant has much still to do to make good on its commitments. The IFPI report says : “While Google has taken some modest steps to deal with copyright infringement online, the promises made by Google remain unfulfilled. Despite its steps, the simple fact is that Google continues to both receive financial benefits from sites and applications that engage in piracy and place artificial road blocks in rights holders’ efforts to protect their content online, contrary to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act”. The IFPI paper also plays down Google’s claim at a recent congressional hearing in the US that it had invested $60 million in the last year to crack down on violations of its advertising…

US Government seemingly blunders in takedown farce
Copyright , Internet / January 2012
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet An attempt by the US Department of Homeland Security to take down an alleged infringing hip-hop website has become somewhat of an embarrassment according to CNET. The US Government officials initially trumpeted the seizure of the music blog, Dajaz1.com  and 81 others as an example of the law prevailing over pirates. Attorney General Eric Holder warned at the time that “intellectual property crimes are not victimless,” and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) director John Morton proclaimed that “today, we turn the tables on these Internet thieves.” But problems became apparent when Dajaz1’s editor, who’s known as Splash, showed The New York Times e-mail messages from record label employees sending him unreleased songs. ICE had claimed that the music was “unauthorized.” Things went from bad to worse when ICE then apparently pressed to keep all matters confidential, filing all the court documents under seal. Attorney Andrew Bridges whi represents Dajaz1 said “They kept getting extension after extension from the court under seal without showing me any papers whatsoever,” The RIAA remains convinced the site was infringing saying that ‘for a year and a half we monitored the site where its operators had uploaded content to unauthorized file sharing services where the recordings could be freely downloaded …. Dajaz1 profited…

Universal lose Veoh appeal
Copyright , Internet / January 2012
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet The USA’s Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has handed down its decision in UMG v Veoh, a case addressing copyright liability for ISPs that host infringing works. By way of background, Veoh operates a publicly accessible website that enables users to share videos with other users. UMG is one of the world’s largest recorded music and music publishing companies. In addition to producing and distributing recorded music, UMG produces music videos. Although Veoh has implemented various procedures to prevent copyright infringement through its system, users of Veoh’s service have in the past been able, without UMG’s authorisation, to download videos containing songs for which UMG owns the copyright. UMG responded by filing suit against Veoh for direct and secondary copyright infringement in 2007. Two years later, the US District Court for the Central District of California granted summary judgment to Veoh after determining that it was protected by the DMCA “safe harbor” limiting service providers’ liability for “infringement of copyright by reason of the storage at the direction of a user of material that resides on a system or network controlled or operated by or for the service provider.” 17 U.S.C. §512(c). UMG appealed the decision and made several…

Italian Courts find ‘active hosting liability’ for ISPs
Copyright , Internet / January 2012
Italy

COPYRIGHT Internet Our good Friend from the City University, Dr. Enrico Bonadio, has kindly sent us details of the link to a brief case note which Enrico co-authored with his colleague Mauro Santo, and which has been published in the Journal of Intellectual Property Law & Practice. As Enrico explains “It is a comment of two decisions of the Court of Milan in case of copyright liability of Internet Service Providers: In June and September 2011 the Court of Milan released two interesting decisions in the field of liability of Internet Service Providers for copyright infringement committed by their users. In particular, the Court found that the Internet Service Providers Italia On Line and Yahoo! Italia were liable for copyright infringement in connection with the uploading of several videos on their platforms and that they could not rely on the hosting provider exemption under the E-Commerce Directive. The two decisions are particularly interesting as the Court of Milan ‘created’ from scratch a new category of internet service provider liability: so-called active hosting liability.” This is the SSRN link: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1977431

Hard Cheese for content owners in the cantons
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / January 2012
Switzerland

COPYRIGHT Internet, record labels, film industry Torrentfreak reports that the Swiss Government has decided that downloading music and movies will stay legal With an estimated one in three of the Swiss population admitting to downloading content without permission, Swiss policy will now be that downloading for personal use WILL be legal since people eventually spend the money saved on entertainment products. The Swiss government has been conducting a study into the impact downloading has on society and their findings and the overall conclusion of the study is that the current copyright law, under which downloading copyrighted material for personal use is permitted, doesn’t have to change. The Report notes that whilst the photocopier, audio cassette tape and VCR were all excellent and efficient copying devices, the internet has an added ‘bonus’- the world wide web offers near instant and global distribution of copies at the click of a button. The Report, which favours the option of putting technology to good use instead of taking the “repressive” approach says “Every time a new media technology has been made available, it has always been “abused”. This is the price we pay for progress. Winners will be those who are able to use…

First ‘three strikes’ warnings go out in New Zealand
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / December 2011
New Zealand

COPYRIGHT Internet, record labels The Copyright notices have been sent to internet services providers in New Zealand, with Telecom confirming it received 42 infringement notices. The notices were all sent out by the Recording Industry Association of New Zealand (RIANZ). Of the 42 notices received by Telecom, 35 were for the download of songs by Rhianna, six were for Lady Gaga tunes and one was for UK recording artist Taio Cruz. ISP TelstraClear has also confirmed that it received 27 notices from RIANZ, although the company would not say what copyrighted material the notices covered. Again, Internet provider Orcon received its first copyright notices, two months after controversial anti-piracy laws came into effect. The “three strikes” law requires internet companies to issue warning notices to customers suspected of illegally downloading copyright content – such as movies or music – if a rights holder requests it. After a third notice, rights holders can bring a case before the Copyright Tribunal, which can fine an offender up to $15,000. The law was passed in April and came into effect on September 1st 2011. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10763131

STOP starts a war of words
Copyright , Internet / December 2011
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet New cross party US legislation, The STOP Online Piracy Act, has set off heated arguments both for and against the new proposals. The entertainment industry is broadly on one side, supporting the law’s provisions. Against are an array of groups including advocates on behalf of individual and civil liberties, the technology industry and other pressure groups. The Bill was introduced by House Judiciary Committee chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas). The draft legislation is set out as a bill “To promote prosperity, creativity, entrepreneurship, and innovation by combating the theft of U.S. property, and for other purposes.” SOPA (HR 3261) is an attempt to tackle websites and addresses that violate U.S. copyright laws but have no physical presence in the country. They key is to make offending sites invisible to US internet users – and to strangle their income. It requires Internet Service Providers block access to offending sites, and ensure search engines omit them from results. It will also require credit card and other financial services to block payments to them, and US firms from advertising with them. But opponents say that what SOPA doesn’t do is require is any kind of verification that the site is actually infringing…

Phonepayplus joins fight against online piracy
Copyright , Internet / December 2011
UK

COPYRIGHT Internet PhonepayPlus, the body that regulates premium rate services (PRS) in the UK, is working with the City of London Police and IFPI, which represents the recording industry worldwide, to proactively prevent online copyright infringement. Under the arrangement, PhonepayPlus will be informed of named websites that are selling unlicensed music so it can inform the trade bodies representing phone paid services who will then distribute the details to their members.  This ensures individual phone paid operators will be aware of the illegal nature of any unlicensed websites that may approach them to provide payment services. Where PhonepayPlus is asked directly by IFPI or CoLP to assist with their investigations or preventative activity in relation to pirated music downloads offered using PRS, PhonepayPlus will act on such requests to the full extent of their powers. The details of these unlicensed services will be obtained by IFPI anti-piracy investigators who will supply the City of London Police’s Economic Crime Directorate with evidence of illegal downloads made from infringing sites.  The police will review this evidence and if a case is proven against a service they will notify PhonepayPlus of its details. Police officers have passed on the details of 24 infringing…

EMI v MP3 case judge clarifies his position
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / December 2011
USA

COPYRIGHT Record labels, internet The judge who oversaw EMI’s litigation against Michael Robertson and his MP3tunes.com service has responded to EMI’s response it submitted to his original ruling where he held that operating (or using) an MP3 locker wasn’t in itself an infringement of copyright and that MP3’s services were covered by the DCMA’s safe harbour provisions, providing MP3tunes.com operated a takedown system, blocking uses from sharing links to unlicensed content whenever a copyright owner complained although  Judge William Pauley was critical about the way MP3tunes.com’s takedown system operated, and of the fact Robertson himself had posted links to clearly unlicensed content.  EMI responded by asking the judge to reconsider some points, where the company argued he had got it wrong, and also to consider more fully what the deal was with pre-1972 recordings which are covered by state laws rather than federal law, and therefore arguably not subject to the DMCA safe harbor provisions. Pauley’s response rejects all of the major’s criticisms. On the pre-1972 issue, Judge Pauley says the safe harbor principles of the DMCA apply to all copyright works in America, oblivious of age, and even when the copyright protection comes from state and not federal law. …

RIAA wants DCMA clarity from Congress
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet, recorded music The USA’s The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DCMA) has been criticised by many for being slanted far too much in favour of content providers, with the underlying suspicion that film, television, publishing and recording companies were effective in influencing the passage of the Bill. But now the Recording Industry Association of America is taking issue with the DCMA – or rather the US Court’s interpretation of the legislation – saying judges are far too favourable to Internet Service Providers, websites and even consumers. Jennifer Pariser, the RIAA’s litigation chief, told a US law conference: “I think Congress got it right, but I think the courts are getting it wrong,” adding “I think the courts are interpreting Congress’ statute in a manner that is entirely too restrictive of content owners’ rights and too open to [Internet] service providers. “We might need to go to Congress at some point for a fix,” Pariser added. “Not because the statute was badly drafted but because the interpretation has been so hamstrung by court decisions.” RIAA President Cary Sherman complained that the DMCA “isn’t working for content people at all” saying “You cannot monitor all the infringements on the Internet. It’s simply…

Saban looks for download compensation
Copyright , Internet / December 2011
Belgium

COPYRIGHT Internet Torrrentfreak reports that the Belgian music royalty collecting agency SABAM has said that it will bill Internet Service Providers for allowing subscribers to play and download copyrighted songs. SABAM claims it is entitled to charge ISPs for compensation for illegal downloading by their users based on existing 1994 copyright law, and is demanding 3.4% percent of the monthly fee paid by subscribers. The legislation provides that authors should be paid for any “public broadcast” of a song – although whether a download is a ‘public broadcast’ is a moot point. In a recent blog o 1709 (4th October) we examined the US position, where the Courts have recently held that a download is NOT a public performance of a recorded work. Belgian ISPs, who are also involved in a longstanding legal battle with Sabam over a network piracy filter (Sabam v Tiscali), believe the demands of the music rights group make little sense with Torrentfreak reporting Belgacom spokesperson saying “It’s their interpretation of the law, but that is not legally justified http://torrentfreak.com/music-rights-group-bills-internet-providers-for-piracy-licence-11110/