Friday 1 August 2014

The CopyKat - kanga, manga, panda, anger and propaganda

The Drum tells us that the much hunted but still active Pirate Bay has extended itself to mobile phones, with an app that lets smartphone users browse the website (famous for its ever changing URLs) and download content straight to their smartphone. The site’s interface is now "fully suitable for people to access pirated content on-the-move" - so expect renewed crackdowns from the entertainment industry and governments around the globe.

TechDirt says that despite the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) coming out with a set of proposals that were "actually pretty good, including things like introducing fair use to Australia", Attorney General, George Brandis, has "decided to only listen to Hollywood". TechDirt points to "a telling discussion" when Senator Scott Ludlam asked Brandis "if he had consulted any consumer rights groups or other copyright experts concerning his copyright plans, and Brandis refused to answer, instead getting angry and insisting that Hollywood's interest is the public interest. Brandis also claimed -- totally incorrectly -- that Australia, home to the Kangaroo, has no laws against online piracy" and is "the worst offender of any country in the world when it comes to online piracy." says "The [Australian] government will rely on flawed copyright industry claims and free trade agreements to justify proposals to overturn the High Court’s iiNet decision and develop a new internet censorship regime for internet service providers, a draft discussion paper reveals."  The July 2014 Discussion Paper can be found here.

Way way too many peeps at this Cabinet meet?
In the wake of the CJEU's decision in Public Relations Consultants Association Ltd v Newspaper Licensing Agency Ltd and Others (case C‑360/13) which held that browsing and viewing articles online does not require authorisation from the copyright holder, The PRCA has rejected an offer of a meeting with the Copyright Licensing Agency because it says it falls short of the terms it called for. It seems the PRCA had actually called for meeting, after the PRCA canvassed its members on the CLA’s Trial Media Consultancy Licence, brought in last November, which can cost "in excess of £1,480 a year." The PRCA’s survey found that a majority of its members thought the fees were unjustified and proposed a meeting with the CLA’s board to discuss the concerns. James Bennett, head of development at the CLA, wrote to the PRCA to say: "It is my remit to ensure that new licence products meet the needs of our customers, so I will be chairing the meeting for CLA. Andrew Greenan will also attend. Please let us know who will be attending for PRCA and which of your members will be accompanying you - 2 or 3 members should be adequate to represent your members views?" But a rather angry sounding PRCA rejected the offer and accused the CLA of "downplaying" the issue by limiting the people who could attend. 

The Japanese government is launching a major campaign to fight back against the blatant infringement of 'anime' movies and cartoons - particularly in China. The Cultural Affairs Agency estimates that losses due to Chinese pirate sites alone have amounted to at least ¥560 billion in the past year. The government, along with an industry group  including 15 anime production companies and publishers, will begin send requests to delete illegal anime and manga postings to some 580 alleged violators that the government has identified. “We want to create a scheme that allows overseas fans to enjoy Japanese works legally and without worries (for violation) and enables profits from them to be paid to anime production companies and publishers” a Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry official said. 

A case that slipped by: back in June the Hamburg District Court (25b C 431/13 and 25b C 924/13) ruled that under certain conditions commercial wireless local area network (WLAN) operators in hotels and holiday apartments cannot be held liable for their guests using the WLAN connection to upload movies illegally to filesharing websites - here where guests could use the Internet temporarily by using a password and confirming that they "assume liability for all actions taken" and that they were aware that "alleged abuse can result in legal actions". In the apartment, the host indicated compliance with German law and referred to internet use.
Here users illegally uploaded movies to a filesharing website. The Hamburg District Court stated that the WLAN operators could not be held liable as perpetrators or accomplices with regard to a liability in tort since the privilege rule of Section 8(1) of the Telemedia Act(1) for service providers applied. The court affirmed that the defendants who had enabled internet access via WLAN networks had to be considered as access providers and were thus services provider in the sense of Section 8 of the act. Since none of the exceptions mentioned in Section 8(1) had been fulfilled, the defendants could not be held liable for the copyright infringement of the guests. The court further stated that even if Section 8 did not apply, the defendants could not be held liable with regard to inspection and monitoring duties (known as liability for interference). The court further found that – without any proof of the measure's effectiveness – it was unnecessary to block certain ports, as it seemed unreasonable to demand actions which carry a risk that access to legal services might be disabled or that the connection performance becomes considerably limited in general. In this regard, the court acknowledged the importance of an undisturbed internet connection for the accommodation businesses. More here

David Bitkower, Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney Generalfrom the US Department Of Justice (Criminal Division) has  told Congress that the penalty for operating an illegal streaming operation should be reclassified from the current misdemeanour level to a felony, because infringing streaming sites are becoming one of the most serious threats to the copyright industries. 

Pirate Bay co-founder Peter Sunde, has filed a another complaint about his current incarceration in the mid-level security facility Västervik Norra, saying the prison authority has failed to arrange a meeting between him and a representative of the Church Of Kopimism, which as Eleonora reported some time ago is, in Sweden, recognised as a religious group. Kopimism has as a central tenet the right to file-share and the Church of Kopimism is a religious organisation with roots which go back to 2010. The community of Kopimi requires no formal membership, although the Church is said to count around 3,000 members: Sacred symbols are CTRL+C and CTRL+V. Sunde says ""The board of spiritual care doesn't have any representative for the Kopimist faith with whom they cooperate and therefore the Prison and Probation Service should provide permission for electronic contact with representatives from the Kopimist faith to believers". So a religious need to be back on the internet then Peter? Sunde, who avoid incarceration for a number of years had previously been on the run for two years, complained he should have been held in a low security unit for his eight month prison term. 

The City of London Police (Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit) has started placing banner advertisements on websites believed to be offering pirated content illegally. The messages, which will appear instead of paid-for ads, will ask users to close their web browsers. The move comes as part of a continuing effort to stop piracy sites from earning money through advertising. Police said the ads would make it harder for piracy site owners to make their pages look authentic and  PIPCU boss Andy Fyfe said: "This new initiative is another step forward for the unit in tackling IP crime and disrupting criminal profits. Copyright infringing websites are making huge sums of money through advert placement, therefore disrupting advertising on these sites is crucial and this is why it is an integral part of Operation Creative". Engadget opines "UK copyright police hit piracy sites where it hurts: their wallets". More here.

A federal judge has awarded Black Eyed Peas songwriter $1 million in costs and attorney's fees for successfully defending  a claim that the band had infringed copyright in their2009 hit, "I Gotta Feeling." Judge Josephine Staton awarded another $1.3 million in attorney's fees to the band's producer David Guetta, and $50,000 to the artiste's record labels Interscope and UMG. Brian Pringle sued the band members in 2010, claiming the Black Eyed Peas had ripped off elements of a dance version of his 1999 song "Take a Dive."

America's Alliance Of Artists And Recording Companies which "provides a music royalty, generated by the sales of automobile infotainment systems, blank CDs, personal audio devices, media centres, and satellite radio devices that have music recording capabilities, to its 300,000+ members worldwide" is in dispute with the car industry in America. It claims that Ford and General Motors are in breach of the 1992 Audio Home Recording Act by placing hard drives in their cars that, amongst other things, allow users to rip music onto the disk for in-car enjoyment, without paying a levy to the AARC under the provisions of the  Audio Home Recording Act - although the 1999 case between the RIAA and Diamond Multimedia Systems may yet prove a major hurdle to any claim (180 F.3d 1072 (9th Cir. 1999).

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