Category: Law

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

YouTube will pay copyright court costs for a few users–not because it’s right–but to protect Google’s 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.

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

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.

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Will Buckley works to unite artists and fix a broken DMCA

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.”  

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

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…

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Piracy rates drop in Australia thanks to streaming and new laws

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.

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