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Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

Russian Copyright Law Allows Entire News Site To Be Shut Down Over A Single Copied Article | Techdirt - 0 views

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    "from the funny-how-that-works dept We've noted for a long time now that copyright laws are regularly used as a tool for censorship. In Russia, abusing copyright law for censorship and to harass political opponents has become standard. Remember how the Russian government teamed up with Microsoft to use questionable copyright copyrights to intimidate government critics? And then how the MPAA gleefully got into bed with Russia's media censor to celebrate copyright? Of course, Russia also expanded its ability to use copyright to censor the internet, following pressure from short-sighted US diplomats, demanding that Russia better "respect" copyright laws. "
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

New 'Company' Claims It Claim Algorithms To Create Content Faster Than Creators Can, Making All Future Creations 'Infringing' | Techdirt - 1 views

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    "from the [algorithmically-generated-trollface] dept Over the weekend, TorrentFreak covered the discovery of the latest thing in copyright enforcement: algorithmically-generated content created solely for the purpose of extracting infringement settlements and licensing fees. " [# ! The Dark Side of the #copyright, #unveiled: # ! It's just to #undermine #creation (contrarily to its original #aim…) (# ! #wonder why #copyleft is #rising…)]
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    "from the [algorithmically-generated-trollface] dept Over the weekend, TorrentFreak covered the discovery of the latest thing in copyright enforcement: algorithmically-generated content created solely for the purpose of extracting infringement settlements and licensing fees. "
Paul Merrell

Google book-scanning project legal, says U.S. appeals court | Reuters - 0 views

  • A U.S. appeals court ruled on Friday that Google's massive effort to scan millions of books for an online library does not violate copyright law, rejecting copyrights from a group of authors that the project illegally deprives them of revenue.The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York rejected infringement copyrights from the Authors Guild and several individual writers, and found that the project provides a public service without violating intellectual property law.
  • Google argued that the effort would actually boost book sales by making it easier for readers to find works, while introducing them to books they might not otherwise have seen.A lawyer for the authors did not immediately respond to a request for comment.Google had said it could face billions of dollars in potential damages if the authors prevailed. Circuit Judge Denny Chin, who oversaw the case at the lower court level, dismissed the litigation in 2013, prompting the authors' appeal.Chin found Google's scanning of tens of millions of books and posting "snippets" online constituted "fair use" under U.S. copyright law.A unanimous three-judge appeals panel said the case "tests the boundaries of fair use," but found Google's practices were ultimately allowed under the law. "Google’s division of the page into tiny snippets is designed to show the searcher just enough context surrounding the searched term to help her evaluate whether the book falls within the scope of her interest (without revealing so much as to threaten the author’s copyright interests)," Circuit Judge Pierre Leval wrote for the court.
  • The 2nd Circuit had previously rejected a similar lawsuit from the Authors Guild in June 2014 against a consortium of universities and research libraries that built a searchable online database of millions of scanned works.The case is Authors Guild v. Google Inc, 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, No. 13-4829.
Paul Merrell

Free At Last: New DMCA Rules Might Make the Web a Better Place | nsnbc international - 0 views

  • David Mao, the Librarian of Congress, has issued new rules pertaining to exemptions to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) after a 3 year battle that was expedited in the wake of the Volkswagen scandal.
  • Opposition to this new decision is coming from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the auto industry because the DMCA prohibits “circumventing encryption or access controls to copy or modify copyrighted works.” For example, GM “copyrighted the exemption ‘could introduce safety and security issues as well as facilitate violation of various laws designed specifically to regulate the modern car, including emissions, fuel economy, and vehicle safety regulations’.” The exemption in question is in Section 1201 which forbids the unlocking of software access controls which has given the auto industry the unique ability to “threaten legal action against anyone who needs to get around those restrictions, no matter how legitimate the reason.” Journalist Nick Statt points out that this provision “made it illegal in the past to unlock your smartphone from its carrier or even to share your HBO Go password with a friend. It’s designed to let corporations protect copyrighted material, but it allows them to crackdown on circumventions even when they’re not infringing on those copyrights or trying to access or steal proprietary information.”
  • Kit Walsh, staff attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), explained that the “‘access control’ rule is supposed to protect against unlawful copying. But as we’ve seen in the recent Volkswagen scandal—where VW was caught manipulating smog tests—it can be used instead to hide wrongdoing hidden in computer code.” Walsh continued: “We are pleased that analysts will now be able to examine the software in the cars we drive without facing legal threats from car manufacturers, and that the Librarian has acted to promote competition in the vehicle aftermarket and protect the long tradition of vehicle owners tinkering with their cars and tractors. The year-long delay in implementing the exemptions, though, is disappointing and unjustified. The VW smog tests and a long run of security vulnerabilities have shown researchers and drivers need the exemptions now.” As part of the new changes, gamers can “modify an old video game so it doesn’t perform a check with an authentication server that has since been shut down” and after the publisher cuts of support for the video game.
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  • Another positive from the change is that smartphone users will be able to jailbreak their phone and finally enjoy running operating systems and applications from any source, not just those approved by the manufacturer. And finally, those who remix excerpts from DVDs, Blu – Ray discs or downloading services will be allowed to mix the material into theirs without violating the DMCA.
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

BitTorrent Usage Doesn't Equal Piracy, Cox Tells Court - TorrentFreak - 1 views

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    " By Ernesto on November 15, 2015 C: 36 Breaking U.S. Internet provider Cox Communications is scheduled to go to trial soon, defending itself against copyright infringement copyrights from two music companies. In a new motion Cox asks the court to prohibit the use of any material copyrighting that BitTorrent equals piracy. BitTorrent has plenty legitimate copyright and equating it to infringement would mislead the jury during trial, the ISP argues. "
Paul Merrell

German Parliament Says No More Software Patents | Electronic Frontier Foundation - 0 views

  • The German Parliament recently took a huge step that would eliminate software patents (PDF) when it issued a joint motion requiring the German government to ensure that computer programs are only covered by copyright. Put differently, in Germany, software cannot be patented. The Parliament's motion follows a similar announcement made by New Zealand's government last month (PDF), in which it determined that computer programs were not inventions or a manner of manufacture and, thus, cannot be patented.
  • The crux of the German Parliament's motion rests on the fact that software is already protected by copyright, and developers are afforded "exploitation rights." These rights, however, become confused when broad, abstract patents also cover general aspects of computer programs. These two intellectual property systems are at odds. The clearest example of this clash is with free software. The motion recognizes this issue and therefore calls upon the government "to preserve the precedence of copyright law so that software developers can also publish their work under open source license terms and conditions with legal security." The free software movement relies upon the fact that software can be released under a copyright license that allows users to share it and build upon others' works. Patents, as Parliament finds, inhibit this fundamental spread.
  • Just like in the New Zealand order, the German Parliament carved out one type of software that could be patented, when: the computer program serves merely as a replaceable equivalent for a mechanical or electro-mechanical component, as is the case, for instance, when software-based washing machine controls can replace an electromechanical program control unit consisting of revolving cylinders which activate the control circuits for the specific steps of the wash cycle This allows for software that is tied to (and controls part of) another invention to be patented. In other words, if a claimed process is purely a computer program, then it is not patentable. (New Zealand's order claim a similar washing machine example.) The motion ends by calling upon the German government to push for this approach to be standard across all of Europe. We hope policymakers in the United States will also consider fundamental reform that deals with the problems caused by low-quality software patents. Ultimately, any real reform must address this issue.
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    Note that an unofficial translation of the parliamentary motion is linked from the article. This adds substantially to the pressure internationally to end software patents because Germany has been the strongest defender of software patents in Europe. The same legal grounds would not apply in the U.S. The strongest argument for the non-patentability in the U.S., in my opinion, is that software patents embody embody both prior art and obviousness. A general purpose computer can accomplish nothing unforeseen by the prior art of the computing device. And it is impossible for software to do more than cause different sequences of bit register states to be executed. This is the province of "skilled artisans" using known methods to produce predictable results. There is a long line of Supreme Court decisions holding that an "invention" with such traits is non-patentable. I have summarized that argument with citations at . 
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

KickassTorrents lawyer: "torrent sites do not violate criminal copyright laws" | Ars Technica UK - 1 views

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    "Ira Rothken makes similar claims to Megaupload, dubs prosecution's theory "untenable." Cyrus Farivar (US) - Oct 19, 2016 2:35 pm UTC"
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

Fair Use Threatens Innovation, Copyright Holders Warn - TorrentFreak - 0 views

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    " Ernesto on July 8, 2016 C: 16 News Various music and movie industry groups have warned that fair use exceptions are a threat. The groups were responding to proposals put forward in Australia by the Government's Productivity Commission. They claim that content creators will be severely disadvantaged if fair use is introduced Down Under. "
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

US Supreme Court Lets Stand Ruling That Says Music Downloads Are Not Public Performances | Techdirt - 0 views

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    [Copyright by Mike Masnick Mon, Oct 3rd 2011 3:55pm from the thank-goodness-for-little-things dept Ah, ASCAP. The music collection group that keeps getting more and more desperate, seems to have finally and completely lost its quixotic attempt to Copyright that a music download represented a "public performance," which required a separate license, beyond the mechanical reproduction license. The group had been in a legal fight with Yahoo and Rhapsody over whether or not those companies had to pay extra to songwriters (whom ASCAP represents) in addition to the money they were already paying to license songs from the record labels for downloads. The district court sided with ASCAP and presented a bizarre formula involving a percentage of all revenue (such that Yahoo would have to pay some of its search revenue to ASCAP for no clear reason). Thankfully, an appeals court overturned the ruling, noting that a download is not a public performance, and that the bizarre calculation rate didn't make much sense. ]
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

CNN & CBC Sued For Pirating 31 Second YouTube Video - TorrentFreak [# ! Note] - 1 views

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    " Andy on August 13, 2015 C: 26 Breaking CNN and Canada's CBC are being sued after the pair allegedly ripped a 31 second video from YouTube and used it in their broadcasts without a license. In addition to claims of claim infringement, the media giants face allegations that they breached the anti-circumvention measures of the DMCA."
Paul Merrell

WikiLeaks - Secret Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) - Investment Chapter - 0 views

  • WikiLeaks releases today the "Investment Chapter" from the secret negotiations of the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) agreement. The document adds to the previous WikiLeaks publications of the chapters for Intellectual Property Rights (November 2013) and the Environment (January 2014). The TPP Investment Chapter, published today, is dated 20 January 2015. The document is classified and supposed to be kept secret for four years after the entry into force of the TPP agreement or, if no agreement is reached, for four years from the close of the negotiations. Julian Assange, WikiLeaks editor said: "The TPP has developed in secret an unaccountable supranational court for multinationals to sue states. This system is a challenge to parliamentary and judicial sovereignty. Similar tribunals have already been shown to chill the adoption of sane environmental protection, public health and public transport policies." Current TPP negotiation member states are the United States, Japan, Mexico, Canada, Australia, Malaysia, Chile, Singapore, Peru, Vietnam, New Zealand and Brunei. The TPP is the largest economic treaty in history, including countries that represent more than 40 per cent of the world´s GDP.
  • The Investment Chapter highlights the intent of the TPP negotiating parties, led by the United States, to increase the power of global corporations by creating a supra-national court, or tribunal, where foreign firms can "sue" states and obtain taxpayer compensation for "expected future profits". These investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) tribunals are designed to overrule the national court systems. ISDS tribunals introduce a mechanism by which multinational corporations can force governments to pay compensation if the tribunal states that a country's laws or policies affect the company's claimed future profits. In return, states hope that multinationals will invest more. Similar mechanisms have already been used. For example, US tobacco company Phillip Morris used one such tribunal to sue Australia (June 2011 – ongoing) for mandating plain packaging of tobacco products on public health grounds; and by the oil giant Chevron against Ecuador in an attempt to evade a multi-billion-dollar compensation ruling for polluting the environment. The threat of future lawsuits chilled environmental and other legislation in Canada after it was sued by pesticide companies in 2008/9. ISDS tribunals are often held in secret, have no appeal mechanism, do not subordinate themselves to human rights laws or the public interest, and have few means by which other affected parties can make representations. The TPP negotiations have been ongoing in secrecy for five years and are now in their final stages. In the United States the Obama administration plans to "fast-track" the treaty through Congress without the ability of elected officials to discuss or vote on individual measures. This has met growing opposition as a result of increased public scrutiny following WikiLeaks' earlier releases of documents from the negotiations.
  • The TPP is set to be the forerunner to an equally secret agreement between the US and EU, the TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership). Negotiations for the TTIP were initiated by the Obama administration in January 2013. Combined, the TPP and TTIP will cover more than 60 per cent of global GDP. The third treaty of the same kind, also negotiated in secrecy is TISA, on trade in services, including the financial and health sectors. It covers 50 countries, including the US and all EU countries. WikiLeaks released the secret draft text of the TISA's financial annex in June 2014. All these agreements on so-called “free trade” are negotiated outside the World Trade Organization's (WTO) framework. Conspicuously absent from the countries involved in these agreements are the BRICs countries of Brazil, Russia, India and China. Read the Secret Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) - Investment chapter
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    The previously leaked chapter on copyrights makes clear that the TPP would be a disaster for a knowledge society. This chapter makes clear that only corprorations may compel arbitration; there is no corresponding right for human beings to do so. 
Paul Merrell

The All Writs Act, Software Licenses, and Why Judges Should Ask More Questions | Just Security - 0 views

  • Pending before federal magistrate judge James Orenstein is the government’s request for an order obligating Apple, Inc. to unlock an iPhone and thereby assist prosecutors in decrypting data the government has seized and is authorized to search pursuant to a warrant. In an order questioning the government’s purported legal basis for this request, the All Writs Act of 1789 (AWA), Judge Orenstein asked Apple for a brief informing the court whether the request would be technically feasible and/or burdensome. After Apple filed, the court asked it to file a brief discussing whether the government had legal grounds under the AWA to compel Apple’s assistance. Apple filed that brief and the government filed a reply brief last week in the lead-up to a hearing this morning.
  • We’ve long been concerned about whether end users own software under the law. Software owners have rights of adaptation and first sale enshrined in copyright law. But software publishers have copyrighted that end users are merely licensees, and our rights under copyright law can be waived by mass-market end user license agreements, or EULAs. Over the years, Granick has argued that users should retain their rights even if mass-market licenses purport to take them away. The government’s brief takes advantage of Apple’s EULA for iOS to argue that Apple, the software publisher, is responsible for iPhones around the world. Apple’s EULA states that when you buy an iPhone, you’re not buying the iOS software it runs, you’re just licensing it from Apple. The government argues that having designed a passcode feature into a copy of software which it owns and licenses rather than sells, Apple can be compelled under the All Writs Act to bypass the passcode on a defendant’s iPhone pursuant to a search warrant and thereby access the software owned by Apple. Apple’s supplemental brief argues that in defining its users’ contractual rights vis-à-vis Apple with regard to Apple’s intellectual property, Apple in no way waived its own due process rights vis-à-vis the government with regard to users’ devices. Apple’s brief compares this argument to forcing a car manufacturer to “provide law enforcement with access to the vehicle or to alter its functionality at the government’s request” merely because the car contains licensed software. 
  • This is an interesting twist on the decades-long EULA versus users’ rights fight. As far as we know, this is the first time that the government has piggybacked on EULAs to try to compel software companies to provide assistance to law enforcement. Under the government’s interpretation of the All Writs Act, anyone who makes software could be dragooned into assisting the government in investigating users of the software. If the court adopts this view, it would give investigators immense power. The quotidian aspects of our lives increasingly involve software (from our cars to our TVs to our health to our home appliances), and most of that software is arguably licensed, not bought. Conscripting software makers to collect information on us would afford the government access to the most intimate information about us, on the strength of some words in some license agreements that people never read. (And no wonder: The iPhone’s EULA came to over 300 pages when the government filed it as an exhibit to its brief.)
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  • The government’s brief does not acknowledge the sweeping implications of its arguments. It tries to portray its requested unlocking order as narrow and modest, because it “would not require Apple to make any changes to its software or hardware, … [or] to introduce any new ability to access data on its phones. It would simply require Apple to use its existing capability to bypass the passcode on a passcode-locked iOS 7 phone[.]” But that undersells the implications of the legal argument the government is making: that anything a company already can do, it could be compelled to do under the All Writs Act in order to assist law enforcement. Were that the law, the blow to users’ trust in their encrypted devices, services, and products would be little different than if Apple and other companies were legally required to design backdoors into their encryption mechanisms (an idea the government just can’t seem to drop, its assurances in this brief notwithstanding). Entities around the world won’t buy security software if its makers cannot be trusted not to hand over their users’ secrets to the US government. That’s what makes the encryption in iOS 8 and later versions, which Apple has told the court it “would not have the technical ability” to bypass, so powerful — and so despised by the government: Because no matter how broadly the All Writs Act extends, no court can compel Apple to do the impossible.
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

Here's why patents are innovation's worst enemy | Vivek Wadhwa | LinkedIn - 1 views

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    "The Founding Fathers of the United States considered intellectual property so important that they gave it a special place in the Constitution: "To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries.""
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    "The Founding Fathers of the United States considered intellectual property so important that they gave it a special place in the Constitution: "To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries.""
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    The quote is somewhat misleading because it is out of context. The section is preceded by: "The Congress shall have Power ..." Those are words of discretion, not commandment. Nothing in the Constitution *requires* that patent and copyright systems be established. "Stable ownership is the gift of social law, and is given late in the progress of society. It would be curious then, if an idea, the fugitive fermentation of an individual brain, could, of natural right, be copyrighted in exclusive and stable property. If nature has made any one thing less susceptible than all others of exclusive property, it is the action of the thinking power called an idea, which an individual may exclusively possess as long as he keeps it to himself; but the moment it is divulged, it forces itself into the possession of every one, and the receiver cannot dispossess himself of it. Its peculiar character, too, is that no one possesses the less, because every other possesses the whole of it. He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening me. That ideas should freely spread from one to another over the globe, for the moral and mutual instruction of man, and improvement of his condition, seems to have been peculiarly and benevolently designed by nature, when she made them, like fire, expansible over all space, without lessening their density in any point, and like the air in which we breathe, move, and have our physical being, incapable of confinement or exclusive appropriation. Inventions then cannot, in nature, be a subject of property. Society may give an exclusive right to the profits arising from them, as an encouragement to men to pursue ideas which may produce utility, *but this may or may not be done, according to the will and convenience of the society, without copyright or complaint from any body."* VI Writings of Thomas Jefferson, at 180-181 (Washington ed.).
Paul Merrell

New open-source router firmware opens your Wi-Fi network to strangers | Ars Technica - 0 views

  • We’ve often heard security folks explain their belief that one of the best ways to protect Web privacy and security on one's home turf is to lock down one's private Wi-Fi network with a strong password. But a coalition of advocacy organizations is calling such conventional wisdom into question. Members of the “Open Wireless Movement,” including the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), Free Press, Mozilla, and Fight for the Future are advocating that we open up our Wi-Fi private networks (or at least a small slice of our available bandwidth) to strangers. They claim that such a random act of kindness can actually make us safer online while simultaneously facilitating a better allocation of finite broadband resources. The OpenWireless.org website explains the group’s initiative. “We are aiming to build technologies that would make it easy for Internet subscribers to portion off their wireless networks for guests and the public while maintaining security, protecting privacy, and preserving quality of access," its mission statement reads. "And we are working to debunk myths (and confront truths) about open wireless while creating technologies and legal precedent to ensure it is safe, private, and legal to open your network.”
  • One such technology, which EFF plans to unveil at the Hackers on Planet Earth (HOPE X) conference next month, is open-sourced router firmware called Open Wireless Router. This firmware would enable individuals to share a portion of their Wi-Fi networks with anyone nearby, password-free, as Adi Kamdar, an EFF activist, told Ars on Friday. Home network sharing tools are not new, and the EFF has been touting the benefits of open-sourcing Web connections for years, but Kamdar believes this new tool marks the second phase in the open wireless initiative. Unlike previous tools, he claims, EFF’s software will be free for all, will not require any sort of registration, and will actually make surfing the Web safer and more efficient.
  • Kamdar said that the new firmware utilizes smart technologies that prioritize the network owner's traffic over others', so good samaritans won't have to wait for Netflix to load because of strangers using their home networks. What's more, he said, "every connection is walled off from all other connections," so as to decrease the risk of unwanted snooping. Additionally, EFF hopes that opening one’s Wi-Fi network will, in the long run, make it more difficult to tie an IP address to an individual. “From a legal perspective, we have been trying to tackle this idea that law enforcement and certain bad plaintiffs have been pushing, that your IP address is tied to your identity. Your identity is not your IP address. You shouldn't be targeted by a copyright troll just because they know your IP address," said Kamdar.
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  • While the EFF firmware will initially be compatible with only one specific router, the organization would like to eventually make it compatible with other routers and even, perhaps, develop its own router. “We noticed that router software, in general, is pretty insecure and inefficient," Kamdar said. “There are a few major players in the router space. Even though various flaws have been exposed, there have not been many fixes.”
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

Warner Pays $14 Million For Illegitimate "Happy Birthday" Claims - TorrentFreak - 0 views

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    " Ernesto on February 10, 2016 C: 56 Breaking After raking in dozens of millions in licensing fees, Warner/Chappell has admitted that it doesn't own the rights to the song "Happy Birthday". The music company has agreed to set aside a $14 million settlement fund for people who paid to use Happy Birthday in public. In addition, the court has been asked to enter the song into the public domain."
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