Another Apple patent is in the spotlight tonight, after the United States Patent and Trademark Office has preliminarily rejected all 20 claims of Patent No. 7,844,915, or the so-called “pinch to zoom” patent.
Instagram said today that it has the perpetual right to sell users’ photographs without payment or notification, a dramatic policy shift that quickly sparked a public outcry.
The new intellectual property policy, which takes effect on January 16, comes three months after Facebook completed its acquisition of the popular photo-sharing site. Unless Instagram users delete their accounts before the January deadline, they cannot opt out.
A leading Australian Internet service provider has pulled out of negotiations to create a warning notice scheme aimed at reducing online piracy. iiNet, the ISP that was sued by Hollywood after refusing to help chase down alleged infringers, said that it can’t make any progress with righthsolders if they don’t make their content freely available at a reasonable price. The ISP adds that holding extra data on customers’ habits is inappropriate and not their responsibility.
Depending on how you see it, a Luxembourg Company or Patent Troll by the name Arendi S.A.R.L. is suing Apple for patent infringement on three counts. They’ve already had some success suing Dell and Microsoft and now they’re homing in on Apple. This time around, Arendi is claiming that Apple is infringing on three of their patents yet without specificity. In other words, they’re “blanketly” stating that Apple’s every product infringes their patents and they’ll argue it claim by claim.
A non-practising entities with a patent on a single mouse click, the very definition of a troll.
So, all in all, especially considering the upset endured by the little girl and her family, this week’s events have been a disaster for the copyright lobby in Finland.
Almost universally the cash demands made to the girl’s father are being viewed as MAFIA-like extortion tactics. Furthermore, the fact that CIAPC can get the police to jump over a single album download has the Finnish public looking on in disbelief. Officers’ time could be spent on much more serious issues, surely?
Additionally, IP address evidence has been shown to be as flimsy as ever – unless of course CIAPC magically knew they were targeting a child and in which case they fully deserve the ‘bully’ label bandied around this week. One of these scenarios is true, and it’s a loss / loss situation for the copyright lobby whichever way you cut it.
Finally, the artist who was being ‘protected’ by this action has seen her reputation damaged by it instead. Aside from scaring little girls, and using the police for a small and private matter, this is perhaps the biggest travesty of all.
Add this all together and what you have here is a 9-year-old martyr who doesn’t know how important she is. She’s sad today because she doesn’t have a laptop, but tomorrow is another day and her suffering will not be in vain.
Because the public are angry, politicians will be nervous too, and uncooperative politicians are bad news for tougher copyright law. But in the short term anyone sent a “pay-up-or-else” letter from CIAPC (if they even dare to send any more) will be thinking long and hard about paying. The chances of the police coming next time must be slimmer than last week.
Evidence has emerged showing the Department of Homeland Security served a search warrant on Mr Dotcom’s file-sharing company Megaupload in 2010 which he claims forced it to preserve pirated movies found in an unrelated piracy investigation.
The 39 files were identified during an investigation into the NinjaVideo website, which had used Megaupload’s cloud storage to store pirated movies.
When the FBI applied to seize the Megaupload site in 2012, it said the company had failed to delete pirated content and cited the earlier search warrant against the continued existence of 36 of the same 39 files.
Mr Dotcom said Megaupload co-operated with the US Government investigation into copyright pirates NinjaVideo and was legally unable to delete the 39 movies identified in the search warrant.
Mr Dotcom said: “We were informed by (the US Government) we were not to interfere with the investigation. We completely co-operated.
“Then the FBI used the fact the files were still in the account of the … user to get the warrant to seize our own domains. This is outrageous.”
He said the revelation was the first insight into the FBI’s case against Megaupload and it showed bad faith on the part of the US Government. “Immediately we hit the jackpot – the first little piece of paper is this super-jackpot.”
New Zealand’s district court has ordered the FBI to provide documents relating to its investigation through an order for discovery. It was currently being appealed.
“I understand why the US is working so hard to appeal the discovery decision.”
Whistleblowers closely involved with the now-defunct Encompass Australasia program allege paedophile clergy were diagnosed with a ”mood disorder” so they could be treated at Sydney’s Wesley Private Hospital and meet private health insurance criteria.
A well-placed source aware of the status of some clergy treated by Encompass Australasia between 1997 and 2008 said he believed several did not have a mood disorder but were ”cold and calculating criminals” who bragged about their exploits with children to others while at the hospital.
”Some of these people were not mentally ill, in my opinion. They were criminals who knew exactly what they had done and were proud of their achievements,” said the source, who asked not to be named for fear of being sacked. ”People who should have been in Long Bay Jail were still living in the community.”
An anti-piracy company has found itself in the middle of a huge controversy. CIAPC, the company that had The Pirate Bay blocked by ISPs in Finland, tracked an alleged file-sharer and demanded a cash settlement. However, the Internet account holder refused to pay which escalated things to an unprecedented level. In response, this week police raided the home of the 9-year-old suspect and confiscated her Winnie the Pooh laptop.
Apple blocks Samsung sales. Samsung blocks Apple sales. Apple ban overturned. Samsung ban lifted. On any given day it’s hard to keep track of which company’s smartphones, tablet computers or other products are temporarily banned in which countries.
And it’s not just Apple and Samsung which are at each other’s throats – it seems that every week brings new stories of alleged patent infringement involving companies ranging from household names like HTC to more obscure outfits like VirnetX. (In case you’re wondering, Apple was recently ordered to pay $368 million to Connecticut-based VirnetX after a US court ruled that its Facetime video chat tool infringed two of VirnetX’s patents).
A recent study found that if every software producing firm in America wanted to check just the new software patents issued in a given year, about two million patent attorneys working full time would be needed to do the job.
So, late Friday, we reported on how the Republican Study Committee (the conservative caucus of House Republicans) had put out a surprisingly awesome report about copyright reform. You can read that post to see the details. The report had been fully vetted and reviewed by the RSC before it was released. However, as soon as it was published, the MPAA and RIAA apparently went ballistic and hit the phones hard, demanding that the RSC take down the report. They succeeded. Even though the report had been fully vetted and approved by the RSC, executive director Paul S. Teller has now retracted it, sending out the following email to a wide list of folks this afternoon:
From: Teller, Paul
Sent: Saturday, November 17, 2012 04:11 PM
Subject: RSC Copyright PB
We at the RSC take pride in providing informative analysis of major policy issues and pending legislation that accounts for the range of perspectives held by RSC Members and within the conservative community. Yesterday you received a Policy Brief on copyright law that was published without adequate review within the RSC and failed to meet that standard. Copyright reform would have far-reaching impacts, so it is incredibly important that it be approached with all facts and viewpoints in hand. As the RSC’s Executive Director, I apologize and take full responsibility for this oversight. Enjoy the rest of your weekend and a meaningful Thanksgiving holiday….
Paul S. Teller
U.S. House Republican Study Committee
The idea that this was published “without adequate review” is silly. Stuff doesn’t just randomly appear on the RSC website. Anything being posted there has gone through the same full review process. What happened, instead, was that the entertainment industry’s lobbyists went crazy, and some in the GOP folded.
While serial self-publicist Kim Dotcom was re-igniting the submarine cable debate in New Zealand, the Electronic Frontiers Foundation’s (EFF’s) case trying to recover files on behalf of a former Megaupload user Kyle Goodwin took a new twist.
The EFF has been in court trying to gain access to the servers seized by the Feds last year, when the Megaupload saga began. Access to the servers, they have argued, is necessary to help establish Goodwin’s case that his files should be returned.
In a filing that the EFF says should “terrify” users of any cloud service, the government is arguing that Goodwin’s property rights aren’t sufficient to demand access to the servers.
The government arguments are that Goodwin cannot demonstrate any “ownership” over the servers, since he merely paid for a service. Moreover, while conceding that Goodwin might have the right to assert his copyright, that is “not sufficient to establish that he has an ownership interest in the property that is the subject of his motion – the copies of his data, if any, which remain on Carpathia’s servers”.
While it seems to have the capacity, as stated by the EFF, to chill the cloud computing market, it’s an interpretation of intellectual property rights that would also be unwelcome in Hollywood. Content owners would hardly welcome a determination that the existence of a copy of data isn’t necessarily sufficient to establish ownership rights over that data.
Sweden has The Pirate Bay founder Gottfrid Svartholm in solitary confinement, locked up for 23 hours a day, says his mother. Svartholm was convicted of helping people to break copyright law by creating and running the file sharing website.
Two months ago, he was arrested in the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh, after the court sentenced him to one year behind bars in absentia. Shortly after the detention, Svartholm was extradited to Sweden.
Via email, the website vice.com corresponded with Kristina Svartholm, Gottfrid’s mother, regarding her son’s detention. Kristina has organized an email address to which fans, supporters can send letters to Svartholm in prison.
The co-founder’s mother said that “the prosecutor has claimed that Gottfrid could destroy evidence, disturb the investigation, and even commit crimes if he wasn’t being held in custody with these restrictions… I wish to point out that there are two more persons involved in the same hack thing that he is suspected of now. Both have been kept in custody earlier, but both are free now, presumably free to do whatever they wish. This makes the need for ‘solitary confinement’ even more puzzling.”
- Het verdrag ter bestrijding van namaak (ACTA) krijgt in de huidige vorm geen steun.
Translation: the treaty on the fight against infringement of copyright (ACTA) will not be supported in its current form [by the new Dutch government].
The US Copyright Office has published the latest exceptions to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and it’s good news for phone jailbreakers and video remixers, who are now legal – well, until 2015, at least.
The terms of DMCA lockdowns are reviewed every three years, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is claiming victory after it successfully petitioned for exemptions in the current round of changes.
In particular, the EFF asked that owners of smartphones, tablets, and games consoles should be allowed to do what they like with the devices they purchase, changing the operating system or software to suit themselves. In a partial victory for those owners, the Copyright Office ruled that smartphones can legally be jailbroken, which is good news for modders. But if you own a fondleslab, you’re out of luck.
“The Register concluded that the record did not support an extension of the exemption to ‘tablet’ devices,” the ruling said. “The Register found significant merit to the opposition’s concerns that this aspect of the proposed class was broad and ill-defined, as a wide range of devices might be considered ‘tablets,’ notwithstanding the significant distinctions among them in terms of the way they operate, their intended purposes, and the nature of the applications they can accommodate.”
If you buy e-books from Amazon and want to engage in a bit of digital civil disobedience—by stripping the files’ DRM and making sure that Amazon can’t deny you access—we’re about to show you how. Yes, many parts of the Internet have known about this technique for some time now, but we feel that it bears mentioning again here.
Over the past week, the tech world has been abuzz with news that—surprise, surprise—Amazon can remotely wipe any Kindle, at any time, for effectively any reason. (The company did it before, ironically, with George Orwell’s 1984, back in 2009.)
Curiously enough, step one doesn’t include “don’t buy from them in the first place!”
Next month the file-sharing habits of millions of BitTorrent users in the United States will be monitored as part of an agreement between the MPAA, RIAA, and all the major ISPs. To guarantee the accuracy of the evidence that will be used for the accusations the parties agreed to hire an impartial and independent technology expert. However, their commitment to this promise is now in doubt as the hired experts have turned out to be a former RIAA lobbying group.
in Finland aloitanut Netflix uses amateur efforts translated subtitles without permission.
DivX Finland share tekstityksiään online for free, but the sides of the license terms of the texts for commercial purposes is prohibited.
But don’t you dare try to copy something Netflix doesn’t want you to copy!
Recent research supports view that patent troll activity is rising — costing America a fortune in wasted legal fees and lost jobs
In September 2012 Panama passed a new copyright law (Bill 510). The bill is a result of negotiations in the Panama–United States Trade Promotion Agreement. The new law gives the Panamanian copyright office (General Department of Copyright, DGDA) the power to fine those found to have violated copyright through file-sharing, and hand out fines of $100,000 ($200,000 on second offense); the offenders have fifteen days to defend themselves before being arrested. The fines would be kept by the copyright office, which has the right to use them for salary bonuses, with none of them passed to the copyright holders. The copyright infringers however may still be separately sued by the copyright holder. If found guilty, the copyright infringers also have to pay for a press announcement where they plead guilty of Internet piracy. The 2012 has also limited the applications of fair use in Panama.
These companies are willing to shove 1,000 attorneys down your throat if you share music, but won’t even respond to a legal order about actual music theft and piracy.
For the sake of a $120 paper, ServerBeach was more than willing to drop a $75,000/year customer.
A series of what are claimed to be leaked training manuals show that AT&T will get a lot more aggressive with its customers over suspected internet piracy, beginning this November.
The documents, allegedly obtained by TorrentFreak, say that AT&T will contact customers who have been identified as pirates by copyright owners. The firm will then give users six strikes, with a variety of methods of censure, if they are accused of breaking copyright law.
AT&T’s six strikes scheme is similar to that run by the French government under the name Hadopi, although the French system is seems tougher – it only allows for three strikes. So far the Gallic scheme has sent out over a million emails warning internet users who have been suspected of piracy. That country’s government has spent around €12m a year since 2010 on the agency, which employs 60 copyright police.
The net result of all that effort is that no one has been prosecuted under the scheme, and peer-to-peer use in France actually went up after it was started. The new French administration is now considering cutting the scheme as a waste of taxpayer money, although Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein loves it. ®
The shadow of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) is back in Europe. It is disguised as CETA, the Canada-European Union and Trade Agreement. As reported by EDRI, a rather strange and surprising e-mail was sent this summer from the General Secretariat of the Council of the European Union to the Member States and the European Commission. The e-mail explained that the criminal sanctions provisions of the draft CETA are modeled on those in ACTA.
Dear entertainment industry – if you insist long enough that the only way to stop you is with pitchforks and the invention made by Dr Guillotine, there will be a point where we will oblige.
Earlier this week District Court Judge Liam O’Grady denied Megaupload’s request to drop the company from the indictment. The judge, however, noted that the cyberlocker could ask for a temporary dismissal until it is decided whether the U.S. Government can serve Megaupload. This ruling surprised Kim Dotcom and his legal team, who quickly filed a new motion pointing out that they already made this request during a hearing in July.
For over two thousand artists Pandora will pay over $10,000 dollars each over the next 12 months (including one of my favorites, the late jazz pianist Oscar Peterson), and for more than 800 we’ll pay over $50,000, more than the income of the average American household. For top earners like Coldplay, Adele, Wiz Khalifa, Jason Aldean and others Pandora is already paying over $1 million each. Drake and Lil Wayne are fast approaching a $3 million annual rate each.
Previous reports suggested that the income from streaming services was negligible. That seems to be changing.
Hoping to curb the ever-increasing piracy figures in Portugal, local anti-piracy outfit ACAPOR reported the IP-addresses of 2,000 alleged file-sharers to the Attorney General last year. This week the Portuguese prosecutor came back with a ruling and decided not to go after the individuals connected to the IP-addresses. According to the prosecutor it is not against the law to share copyrighted works for personal use, and an IP-address is not enough evidence to identify a person.
Today the United States Patent and Trademark office granted the domain name registrar a patent for “announcing a domain name registration on a social website”.
One of the reasons why we live in such an innovative society is that we’ve (for the most part) enabled a permissionless innovation society — one in which innovators no longer have to go through gatekeepers in order to bring innovation to market. This is a hugely valuable thing, and it’s why we get concerned about laws that further extend permission culture. However, according to the former Register of Copyrights, Ralph Oman, under copyright law, any new technology should have to apply to Congress for approval and a review to make sure they don’t upset the apple cart of copyright, before they’re allowed to exist. I’m not joking. Mr. Oman, who was the Register of Copyright from 1985 to 1993 and was heavily involved in a variety of copyright issues, has filed an amicus brief in the Aereo case (pdf).
These are the reasons why we get so nervous when Google cranks up its “automation” at the insistence of Hollywood. The collateral damage is very real.
What kind of precedent would it set if companies were found to be infringing just by hosting other companies’ applications?