YouTube’s DMCA decision and the campaign to morph victims into villains

YouTube’s will pay for some of its users because it protects the bottom line

According to a story in today’s NY Times, the folks at YouTube are ready to pony up cash to support some of its users “fair use” claims in court.
“YouTube said on Thursday that it would pick up the legal costs of a handful of video creators that the company thinks are the targets of unfair takedown demands. It said the creators it chose legally use third-party content under “fair use” provisions carved out for commentary, criticism, news and parody.”

You’ve probably read a lot about “fair use” lately.  It’s the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s mantra and if the folks there had their way, pretty much everything and anything would be considered “fair use.”  Fair use an important legal doctrine and when applied properly (criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, or research) is not an infringement of copyright.  However, these days, too often is used as a disingenuous defense for copyright theft.

The tech-funded campaign to turn villains into victims

When a court recently ruled that a snippet of a Prince song was indeed “fair use” in the notorious Dancing Baby case it gave a boost to efforts to use fair use as a cudgel against rights holders who legitimately assert their rights using the DMCA takedown process. Note that the actual video at the center of this case was reposted after the uploader sent a counter-notice. The only reason the case ended up in court was because the uploader, Stephanie Lenz, filed suit and the only reason she did so was because she was bankrolled by the EFF.  The EFF saw it as an opportunity to advance its Google-funded agenda. Continue reading →

Google’s continued do-si-do around its piracy pledge

Google pretends to fight piracy

Google continues to dodge responsibility for its role in promoting online piracy

This past week members of the House Judiciary Committee traveled to California to hold a pair of roundtable discussions on the future of copyright.  On Tuesday committee members were in Santa Clara, the heart of Silicon Valley, and on Wednesday traveled to Los Angeles to hear from a variety of stakeholders discussing everything from overhauling an out-dated U.S. Copyright Office to DMCA circumvention for tractor repairs.
Though I wasn’t at the LA event, I read with great interest a report in Variety by Ted Johnson that documented an exchange between Google’s legal director for copyright, Fred von Lohmann and Richard Gladstein, founder of Film Colony…von Lohmann’s posturing on Google’s piracy problem is nothing new, but it is worth pointing out how his statements are carefully crafted to dovetail with Google’s own (vague) propagandistic promises. Continue reading →

Will Buckley works to unite artists and fix a broken DMCA

Stop Piracy

A conversation with Will Buckley about artists' rights and efforts to update the DMCA

Will Buckley, is the founder of Fare Play a non-profit educational organization supporting the rights of individuals to control the digital distribution and sale of their copyrighted work.  He’s spent the past five years working to bring creators together and inspire them “to become evangelists for their lives and careers.”  

Continue reading →

Google hopes to see more Green with new YouTube Red

YouTube Red not RedTube

YouTube Red’s new subscription streaming service offers consumers (and pirates) ad free content to watch (and steal).

YouTube has decided to enter the subscription streaming fray with the announcement yesterday of its new (ad-free) premium channel, YouTube Red.  Despite the unfortunate choice of a name —similar to a rather notorious porn site that has both the word “red” and “tube” in its title– YouTube is hoping its new endeavor will catch some of the ad-free streaming mojo enjoyed by the popular subscription based offerings of Netflix, HULU, and Amazon Prime.  And, like the others, YouTube will develop its own slate of “YouTube Originals.” Continue reading →

In supporting Aurous, EFF dismisses musicians’ right to earn a living

Aurous piracy app

EFF comes to new music piracy app’s defense

By now many have heard the news that a much-anticipated “Popcorn Time” for music launched this week.  Dubbed “Aurous,” the new app goads users into downloading the app with the catchline,  Enjoy music how you want to for free.”  Unfortunately, as we all know, music is not free to create, nor should it be free to consume.

Andrew Sampson, developer of Aurous, claims his app is legal and compares its functionality to that of Google’s search engine.  Of course we all know what Google’s record has been when it comes to linking to pirated content.  Sampson told Billboard:
We’re pulling content from sources that are licensed. From a legal standpoint, what we’re doing is okay. All files are streamed from legitimate sources — we don’t host anything. We only share cached results over peer-to-peer… Continue reading →

Piracy rates drop in Australia thanks to streaming and new laws

IP Awareness Foundation piracy report

Piracy rates decrease 4% overall

Some positive news on the piracy front from Australia in a report just released by the Intellectual Property Awareness Foundation.  The study finds that Australian piracy rates (among those 18 to 64)  have decreased 4% in the past year.
Following the report’s release some of the headlines focused on new streaming services like Netflix as the reason for the decrease, but IP Awareness Executive Director Lori Flekser says other factors like the high-profile Dallas Buyers Club lawsuit, and legislation allowing blocking of pirate sites and a soon-to-be-enforced requirement that ISPs send customers “copyright infringement” warnings if they download pirated content. Continue reading →

Does Trans Pacific Partnership deal mean global online piracy will face the music?

Trans Pacific Partnership

Justice Department’s IP enforcement move and agreement reached in TPP talks

Some important news on the online piracy front today.  First, it appears that the U.S. Justice Department announced a new “collaborative” strategy to tackle (global) online piracy.  From the press release:

Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch announced today that the Justice Department will launch a new collaborative strategy to more closely partner with businesses in intellectual property enforcement efforts and will award over $3.2 million to ten jurisdictions to support state and local task forces in the training, prevention, enforcement and prosecution of intellectual property theft and infringement crimes.
“The digital age has revolutionized how we share information, store data, make purchases and develop products, requiring law enforcement to strengthen our defenses against cybercrime – one of my top priorities as Attorney General,” said Attorney General Lynch. “High-profile instances of hacking – even against large companies like Sony and Target – have demonstrated the seriousness of the threat all business face and have underscored the potential for sophisticated adversaries to inflict real and lasting harm.”
Continue reading →

Copyright au courant for Friday, October 2nd.

Keith Kupferschmid

Copyright Alliance’s new CEO takes over October, 1st.

First up in important copyright news, the Copyright Alliance’s new CEO Keith Kupferschmid takes the helm. Mr. Kupferschmid takes the reins from Sandra Aistars who has moved on to a new leadership role at George Mason University School of Law as both a professor and director of the  law school’s Arts & Entertainment Advocacy Program.

I’d like to take a moment to thank Sandra for all her hard work on behalf on indie artists, filmmakers, musicians and more.  Without her unwavering guidance these past few years, there’s no doubt in my mind that our rights as creators would have been further undermined.  Working in the trenches in Washington, and being the target of anti-copyright activists online, is not an easy job, but it’s one which Sandra handed with professionalism and grace.  I’m excited to see what she has planned for her new venture with George Mason University of Law and wish her all the best.

Continue reading →

Are more advertisers hopping aboard the anti-piracy bandwagon?

ad sponsored piracy

Is online ad industry becoming more accountable?  Yep, but there’s still (much) more to be done.

Some good news on the ongoing fight against ad sponsored piracy.  Today, Group M, a major player in global media investment announced efforts to ensure that their media partners become certified providers of, or follow anti-piracy advertising guidelines established by the Trustworthy Accountability Group’s (TAG). Continue reading →

Copyright au courant for Monday, September 21st.

Kim Dotcom Pirate King Our pirate pal Kim Dotcom is back in the news as a hearing for his extradition to the United States to face charges of copyright infringement, racketeering, and money laundering was held Monday in New Zealand:
Big car, big chair, big black outfit means a grand entrance at court for America’s target. –NZ Herald
Continue reading →

Dancing around DMCA Takedowns on YouTube


Court’s language on “fair use” won’t change fight against online piracy

Indie filmmakers and musicians who find their work uploaded to YouTube without permission are probably pretty familiar with sending DMCA notices to Google.  I know I am.  I also know that the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeal’s decision in the EFF’s infamous  “Dancing Baby” lawsuit will have ZERO impact on how I approach sending those notices moving forward. Continue reading →

Why don’t advertisers demand better from YouTube?

Ads for Chile's Restaurant and Aria Resort appear on clip of WDBJ murder.

Major brands’ billions allow YouTube to cash in on crap

Earlier this month I wrote a post asking why major companies allowed YouTube to place their ads adjacent to video clips of the WDBJ-TV that took place on during a morning show live shot.  The on-air murders were horrific and its bad enough to find YouTube cashing in on them by placing ads for the likes of Amazon, Netflix and others along side the clips.  What I didn’t know when I wrote the post was exactly how clueless advertisers are with regard to how their ad dollars are spent on YouTube. Continue reading →