US Copyright bringing new meaning to ‘long arm of the law’
Copyright , Internet / October 2007

COPYRIGHT Internet ARTICLE LINK  An Australian man who had never been to the US (or ever even owned a passport) is, thanks to US copyright laws, currently serving a 15-month sentence in a US jail. Hew Griffiths was convicted by a Federal Court in Virginia back in June of this year for being a ring leader of DrinkOrDie (DOD) an underground software piracy network, but the case is interesting because he never actually set foot in the United States nor actually profit from his copyright infringing activities. See’Long+Arm+of+the+Law‘

US court rules that ‘making available’ files for downloading is infringement; Atlantic v Howell
Copyright , Internet / October 2007

COPYRIGHT Internet A US District Judge has ruled that making recordings available on a peer-2-peer file swapping network constitutes infringement of copyright. This case involved a defendant called Jeffrey Howell who had his home IP address turned over to the court by Cox Communications, the Howells’ broadband provider. A number of members f the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) then hired Media Sentry Services to look into the contents of the Howell’s shared folder on tier two computers. There the firm found 2,329 MP3 tracks, many of which were later identified as works copyrighted by the plaintiff record labels. Mr. Howell’s defences were that (1) he was at work at the time MediaSentry detected his shared folder at home, so he wasn’t really the person distributing the files at the time; (2) he legally purchased all the tracks in that shared folder; (3) those files had originally been in a non-shared folder, but some hacker probably found a way of moving them into the shared folder. None of these succeeded and Judge Neil Wake held that under federal law, Judge Wake wrote, “Distribution of copyrighted material need not involve a physical transfer.” Then citing US code, he added, “‘[T]he…

Bertelsmann settle final Napster claim
Copyright , Music Publishing / October 2007

COPYRIGHT Music Publishing Bertelsmann AG has agreed to pay US music publishers, led by the Harry Fox Agency, $130 million to settle a copyright infringement case brought on by the German media giant’s deal with the Napster P2P service. BMG owner Bertlesmann and venture capital fund Hummer Winblad were targeted as they had both provided funding to the P2P firm in its final phase, mainly in a bid to help the Napster chiefs develop a legitimate royalty paying P2P. If approved by a federal judge, the deal announced Friday by the National Music Publishers Association and BMG would end the four-year lawsuit that accused Bertelsmann of contributing to Napster’s copyright infringement as an original investor — before the online music company changed its business model and became a recognised distributor of licensed music via paid downloads. That deal allowed Bertelsmann to end its involvement in a copyright infringement suit with the other major labels. Bertelsmann has made similar deals with other record labels amounting to $154 million. In all the deals, the company does not admit to any wrongdoing. Napster eventually was shuttered by U.S. courts in 2002 over copyright violations but has attempted to re-establish itself as a legitimate…

Court challenge to US copyright term extension
Copyright / October 2007

COPYRIGHT All Areas ARTICLE LINK:  Summit Daily has reported on the decision of the US 10th Circuit Court of Appeals which has ordered the District Court to examine s.514 of the Uruguay Round Agreements Act under the First Amendment (freedom of speech) as it changed ” the traditional contours of copyright protection in a manner that implicates plaintiff’s right to free expression.” and see

Zimbabwe pirates avoid prosecution
Copyright , Record Labels / October 2007

COPYRIGHT Record labels Against a background of economic collapse and rampant piracy the Zimbabwe Music Rights Association has written to the Ministry of Justice and Parliamentary Affairs complaining about some Bulawayo public prosecutors who allegedly said they were unable to enforce the Copyright and Neighbouring Act. The Anti Piracy Organisation (APOZ) has also voiced concern over the way some courts were handling piracy cases in the country. In the letter dated July 30, 2007 to the Secretary for Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Mr David Mangota, the Music Rights Association said efforts in fighting piracy were being frustrated at all levels and was now praying for the ministry’s intervention in this regard. Citing 15 cases of suspected pirates who were arrested in Bulawayo in June and were released because the prosecutors allegedly said according to the new law, the music association had no mandate to represent musicians. In its statement to the International Federation of Phonographic Industries APOZ states that between January and June this year 13,842 pirated DVDs were seized.

Oldies groups go to court to challenge ‘truth in music’ law but promoter held in contenpt for using Drfiters name
Artists , Trade Mark / October 2007

TRADE MARK Artists ARTICLE LINK  The first legal challenge to one of the seventeen states who have passed the so called ‘Truth in Music’ law has been launched by a music promoter. The law aims to protect heritage acts and stop consumers being ripped off by imposter bands. At the same time a New Jersey judge has found the same music promoter in contempt of court for continuing to use the name of a famous oldies group, the Drifters, in defiance of an 8 year old court order. US District Judge Dickinson R. Debevoise termed Larry Marshak’s promotion of an offshoot of The Drifters titled The Elsbeary Hobbs Drifters as “an elaborate shell game.” Judge Debevoise held that Marshak, his relatives and business associates violated a 1999 injunction banning the use of the Drifters name “or any other name that would be confusingly similar to the Drifters.” Marshak has been in dispute with Faye Treadwell, wife of the former Drifter’s manager George Treadwell and owner of the Drfiters trade mark for over thirty years. It is companies linked to Marshak who have launched the challenge against state Attorney General Anne Milgram. Marshak and his associates, including his wife and sister-in-law, have promoted…

Licensing Act criticised by Local Authority
Licensing , Live Events / October 2007

LICENSING Live event industry Councillors have expressed their concerns over the provisions of the Licensing Act 2003 after the small three day Echo music festival went ahead under the provisions of the Act by using a Temporary Event Notice (TEN). TENS were introduced to streamline the licensing of small one off events. This event was held on private farmland. Neither the Local Authority nor local residents are entitled to object to a TEN under the current legislation – only the police can object on grounds of preventing crime and disorder and then only within 48 hours of receiving the notice. This type of licence can only be used for numbers not exceeding 499 persons – including staff and performers. With Echo, the council did serve a pre-emptive noise abatement order on festival organisers. Comments from councillors included that neighbours were unhappy at not being consulted and were worried about traffic, noise and safety and that the Act was “yet again, another example of this ridiculous legislation introduced by this Government.”

Amy Winehouse settles songwriting claim
Copyright , Music Publishing / October 2007

COPYRIGHT Music publishing Songwriter and producer P*Nut has reached a settlement with Amy Winehouse people regarding the song ‘He Can Only Hold Her’, which appears on her album ‘Back To Black’. P*Nut, real name John Harrison, had claimed that he co-conceived the song with Winehouse while working with the singer in early 2006. P*Nut will now be credited as a songwriter alongside Winehouse, Richard Poindexter and Robert Poindexter and will receive share of songwriting royalties. Source: UnLimited/CMU

Ex Snow Patrol bassist brings legal action
Artists , Contract / October 2007

CONTRACT Artists Snow Patrol’s former bassist Mark McClelland has announced that he is issuing legal proceedings in the High Court against the rest of the band for songwriting royalties and gig earnings dating back to 2005 and beyond, including those from the band’s breakthrough album ‘Final Straw’ and last year’s ‘Eyes Open’. McClelland left the band alleging creative differences. Source UnLimited/CMU

Dutch close DVD pirate plant
Copyright / October 2007

COPYRIGHT Film & TV Officers from the Dutch Fiscal and Economic Police (FIOD-ECD) are dismantling a pirate disc factory after a raid.  The action in the city of Velddriel has led to the seizure of pirate discs and manufacturing equipment, as well as the arrest of the one suspect who was present. The raid followed a complaint by the Dutch anti-piracy group BREIN, who had been alerted to the problem by enforcement officers from IFPI, the body that represents the recording industry worldwide, who had monitored activity at the clandestine plant. Officials seized a DVD press set up to make pirate copies of films including Die Hard 4.0, Ocean’s Thirteen, Evan Almighty and Fantastic Four: The Rise of the Silver Surfer.  The seized press had a capacity to manufacture 900 DVDs per hour.  Forensic examination by IFPI suggests this press comes from a legitimate DVD plant that had previously been declared bankrupt. Officers also discovered discs which formed part of an order for thousands of pirate CDs featuring a compilation of chart music.  Pirate discs from the plant have not been sold through legitimate channels, but by individuals in schools, workplaces, bars or on the street.  BREIN estimates that such organised piracy accounts for…

In the Wild West of the Internet, Prince calls in the sheriff
Copyright , Internet / October 2007

COPYRIGHT Internet Prince has hired UK company Web Sheriff in a move to “reclaim the Internet” and he is preparing to file lawsuits against YouTube, eBay and The Pirate Bay, for allegedly encouraging copyright violations, Prince plans to file suit in both the United States and the U.K., and has hired a Swedish law firm to take action against The Pirate Bay, the BitTorrent tracking site, Web sheriff’s John Giacobbi said that “In the past couple of weeks, we have removed about 2,000 infringing clips from YouTube,” Giacobbi said. “We get them down and the next day, there are 100 or 200 more. Their business model is built on making money off other people’s creative work.” Hani Durzy, a spokesman for eBay said the company has programs in place to help rights holders protect their property. Prince’s action against YouTibe owner’s Google is not without precedent, Google and YouTube already face a $1 billion lawsuit filed earlier this year by media-conglomerate Viacom and a class-action suit filed by a group that includes several professional European sports leagues. Google has always said that it obeys copyright laws. The company maintains that the safe harbour provisions in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act…

Judgment of the Court of First Instance in Case T-201/04
Competition / October 2007

COMPETITION Technology, software Microsoft Corp. v Commission of the European Communities The Court of First Instance has essentially upheld the European Commission’s decision finding that Microsoft had abused its dominant market position although the Court has annulled certain parts of the decision relating to the proposed appointment of a monitoring trustee holding that this has no basis in community law. On 23 March 2004 the European Commission adopted a decision finding that Microsoft had infringed Article 82 of the EC Treaty by abusing its dominant position by engaging in two separate types of conduct. The Commission also imposed a fine of more than EUR 497 million on Microsoft. The first type of conduct found to constitute an abuse consisted in Microsoft’s refusal to supply its competitors with ‘interoperability information’ and to authorise them to use that information to develop and distribute products competing with its own products on the work group server operating system market, between October 1998 and the date of adoption of the decision. By way of remedy, the Commission required Microsoft to disclose the ‘specifications’ of its client/server and server/server communication protocols to any undertaking wishing to develop and distribute work group server operating systems. The second type of…

eDonkey servers taken offline
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / October 2007

COPYRIGHT Internet, record labels Legal steps by the record industry in France, Germany and the Netherlands have cut off more than one million users of the one of the largest P2P networks – no doubt to the huge annoyance if music fans. Seven servers on eDonkey were shut down this week after court injunctions in Germany. This follows on from similar eDonkey server closures in Netherlands and France. eDonkey is a peer-to-peer file sharing network widely used to swap copyright infringing music files.  The eDonkey network relies on servers for its effective operation and eDonkey servers are run by one or more individuals using software to enable users to find other users connected to the same server that have files the user wants to download. A series of legal actions by national groups of the International Federation of Phonographic Iindustries, representing the recording industry, have forced many eDonkey servers offline, significantly reducing the effectiveness and reach of the network.  In the last few weeks the number of eDonkey users worldwide has been reduced by more than a million, knocking an estimated third of users off the network.  Fresh actions will continue to target the remaining eDonkey servers. The new actions against…

Germany makes personal copying illegal
Copyright / October 2007

COPYRIGHT All areas The German government has approved an update to its copyright law that essentially makes it illegal to make copies of movies and music, even for personal use. Set to take effect in 2008, the law will make it a crime to copy DVDs and CDs, in addition to IPTV and TV broadcasts, without permission. The country’s Green Party and consumer advocates lobbied for an exemption for personal uses, but to no avail.

Will radio income save the labels?
Copyright , Record Labels / October 2007

COPYRIGHT Record labels and radio ARTICLE LINK By Steve Gordon at the Register Whilst sound Exchange collects for the digital use of sound recordings (maters owned usually by labels) a quirk in US law means there is no equivalent to PPL (Phonographic Performance Limited) collecting for the public performance of tracks. Is this going to change? See

Premier League wants law to tighten defences
Copyright , Internet / October 2007

COPYRIGHT Television, internet ARTICLE LINK By Roger Blitz, Financial Times Having joined the fights against YouTube, the UK’s Premier League (FAPL) is now asking the UK Government to shake-up of copyright law amid concerns the government needs to do more to protect the increasingly valuable media rights the sport’s top flight is attracting – recent deals included UK TV deals with Sky and Setanta worth £1.7 billion, overseas deals worth £625 million and £400 million for mobile and internet rights. The League are concerned that the police, Customs and Excise and Trading Standards are not ‘exercised’ by copyright infringement and are also concerned that news services routinely use clips of football matches without payment under fair dealing (fair use) provisions in UK copyright law. See the FT article at Other stories on FAPL see: More join infringement class action against YouTube and Google (Music Law Updates September 2007), MPS v Murphy: The legality of pubs using foreign satellite signal goes to the High Court (May 2007), MPS v Murphy : The Greek Nova TV signal is held to be a UK broadcast (April 2007) and the ARTICLE DoesSky have an enforceable a monopoly on live premiership football in the UK? (FACT v Gannon, MPS…

New Nominet Consultation On An Important Change To Its Dispute Resolution Service
Internet , Trade Mark / October 2007

TRADE MARK Internet ARTICLE LINK By Susan Barty and Phillip Carnell CMS Cameron McKenna Nominet, the domain name registry for all .uk domain names, held an open consultation last year on reforming the Dispute Resolution Service (the “DRS”). In light of the responses to the original consultation, Nominet produced a paper which suggested a number of changes to the DRS. One of the proposed changes is the introduction of a default transfer system, which would provide an automatic transfer of domain names in the event a response to a DRS complaint is not received from the domain name registrant. See

New United Kingdom Intellectual Property Office Rules Affect Owners Of European Community And Certain International Trademark Applications And Registrations
Trade Mark / October 2007

TRADE MARK All areas ARTICLE LINK Article by Mintz Levin Intellectual Property Section Beginning October 1, 2007, the United Kingdom Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO), which covers the countries of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, will change its trademark examination practice with regard to prior-filed trademark applications and registrations.