Items tagged with Copyright

Last July, Nintendo went nuclear over ROM sites that were giving people access to pirated versions of classic Nintendo games. The first two sites that Nintendo took legal action against were LoveROMS.com and LoveRetro.com; both owned by the same people. The legal action against the two websites resulted in smaller ROM sites shutting down, out of fear they would be next on Nintendo's hit list. The legal action against LoveROMS.com and LoveRetro.com is now over as Nintendo, and the site owners Jacob Mathias and his wife have decided to settle the case. It seems that Mathias and his wife knew there was no fighting the Nintendo legal machine and entered into a negotiation to stave off a lengthy... Read more...
In a groundbreaking move, the Library of Congress and US Copyright Office have proposed new rules that will give consumers the ability to legally hack the DRM of electronic devices to repair or maintain those devices. The devices these proposed rules would cover and legalize the hacking of include smartphones, voice assistants, tractors, cars, smart home appliances, and other devices. These proposed rules will be a major win for the right to repair movement. Devices that can be legally hacked would have to be "lawfully acquired" meaning that the proposed rules wouldn't make it legal to hack the DRM of stolen devices. Rules would also stipulate that the hacking of DRM is legal only for "maintenance"... Read more...
Last month the EU tried to overhaul its old copyright law and step into the modern age. The problem was that the law as crafted and supported by many musicians was very overreaching to most. The copyright rules would have placed the responsibility on websites for checking for copyright infringements and forced those websites to pay to link to news stories. Basic linking is what the internet lives on and it is done on literally every website out there. The controversial regulation has now been defeated in a European parliament in a vote that came down 318-278. The legislation was known as the Copyright Directive and it had two highly contested sections including Articles 11 and 13. Article 11... Read more...
The European Union's Legal Affairs Committee (JURI) voted in favor of draft legislation that would overhaul Europe's copyright rules. However, the concern from several Internet pioneers, civil liberties groups, and others who oppose the legislation fear that it will ultimately be a tool for surveillance and essentially wreck the web as we know it today, even though those favoring the legislation may have good intentions. Lawmakers are trying to protect the interest of copyright holders. However, one of the provisions (Article 13) would require companies like Google to create an automatic filter for every piece of online content that is uploaded in the EU, to check the content for copyright violations.... Read more...
If you're a devout Google Images user, you may have already noticed a subtle, but very obvious change made over the past day. It used to be that when you found an image you liked, you could click on it, and then use the "View Image" option to see only that image. If you wanted to see the rest of the website, you had to use another option, "Visit Site". In a stealth update, Google decided to remove the View Image option, which means that if you find an image you like, you will have to visit the website and find the image yourself. This could be seen as a way to promote more traffic to websites that are hosting the images, or at least reduce the risk of copyrighted or otherwise protected images... Read more...
The developers behind Star Citizen, the much hyped and still unreleased space trading and combat video game, are facing a lawsuit filed by Crytek over the use of its CryEngine game engine. Cloud Imperium Games (CIG) and Roberts Space Industries (RIS), both of which were co-founded by Chris Roberts, creator of the Wing Commander series, are each listed as defendants in the lawsuit. Crytek's claim is that it licensed its game engine to CIG at a below market rate in return for prominently displaying its trademark in Star Citizen and related marketing materials. Since then, CIG and RSI announced a switch from CryEngine 3 to Amazon's Lumberyard software. However, that's not Crytek's beef, or at least... Read more...
Movie studios and content creators have taken a step towards crushing the add-on scene (or at least the illegal aspect of it) surrounding Kodi, a free and open-source media player developed by the XBMC Foundation. The Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment, which is led by the MPAA and includes Netflix, Amazon, Disney, Warner Brothers, and several others among its members, has been sending cease and desist letters to certain add-on developers. This is a move that actually began earlier this year, with Dish Network filing multi-million dollar lawsuits against the TVAddons repository and Kodi add-on ZemTV. As a result, several add-on developers decided to leave the scene rather than face potentially... Read more...
Sony has a reputation for being feisty when it comes to its PlayStation hardware, especially when users try to mod things. Nobody knows that better than George Hotz, the infamous PlayStation 3 modder who was sued by Sony for jailbreaking the console (the two reached a settlement in 2011). Fast forward to today and Sony is on a mission to keep its PlayStation 4 console locked down. That not only includes trying to remove every instance of of the PS4's software development kit (SDK) from the web, but also terminating any discussions on it, or so it seems. It all started a few weeks ago when version 4.5 of the PS4 SDK was leaked online by a hacker known as "KromeMods." SDKs include a wealth of information... Read more...
The way we rent, purchase, and watch movies at home is constantly changing. More recently, the shift has been from physical media to online streaming, and before that the market transitioned from video rental stores to kiosks like Redbox. Those still exist and are legal, unlike the crop of movie kiosks that have popped up in Ethiopia. These new kiosks transfer movies to USB flash drives for pennies on the dollar. It is actually a nifty idea, at least the part about transferring movies to flash drives for watching at home. But it's also one that would never fly here in the United States because it would be difficult for media companies to maintain copyright control. And so it will never be, at... Read more...
A jury decided that Cox Communications should have to pay BMG $25 million for not doing more to prevent its subscribers from illegally downloading and sharing copyrighted music files. The award is less than a quarter of the maximum amount Cox could have been fined, though it's a huge blow to the ISP nonetheless. BMG took Cox Communications to court over allegations that it essentially ignored the illegal activity occurring on its network. It also took issue with the ISP failing to address repeat offenders by not sending notices to pirates or taking any action to stop some of them from sharing copyrighted songs through BitTorrent applications. "Cox not only knowingly provides the means by which... Read more...
Internet service providers (ISPs) and music labels alike are keeping a close eye on the outcome of a lawsuit BMG filed against Cox Communications. Following a week of trial hearings, BMG has asked the court to confirm that Cox failed to disprove that it's responsible for illegal sharing of copyrighted music that occurs on its network. If Cox is held responsible, it could face a fine of more than $200 million. That proposed amount takes into consideration 1,397 copyrighted songs that are part of the suit, each of which carries a maximum $150,000 in damages. All tallied, it comes to precisely $209,550,000, assuming a max penalty in each instance. BMG's lawsuit claims that tracking company Rightscorp... Read more...
YouTube is an amazing service for a huge number of reasons, but if there's one thing that's not fun about it, it's the ever-existing threat of a company taking legal action against you because of a video upload. We see this happen all of the time, and often, users don't even know what they're actually allowed to upload. Uploading a song or parody, for example, is a hit-or-miss endeavor: you may get away with it or simply have the company monetize it on its own; or, if you catch a particular company on a bad day, you may wake up to a disabled video and a hit against your account. Some might argue that anyone who uploads a video should know whether or not they're allowed to, but as we've seen in... Read more...
The line couldn't be any more divided between politicians and consumer groups over a controversial anti-piracy bill passed in Australia. Called the Copyright Amendment (Online Infringement) Bill of 2015, the measure is intended to thwart illegally downloading and sharing copyrighted film and TV shows by requiring ISPs to block access to certain sites.To do that, a rights holder would have to take the issue to a Federal Court judge and convince him or her that an online location's "primary purpose" is to facilitate copyright infringement. If the judge agrees, Australian Internet providers would have to comply with the subsequent court order to restrict access to the location in question."This... Read more...
HBO has in the past taken a rather nonchalant approach to piracy, even at times taking the surprisingly refreshing viewpoint that millions of illegal downloads can be viewed as a "compliment of sorts" and that it comes with the territory of "having a wildly successful show on a subscription network." The thing is, if you poke the bear too many times, it's going to react, so nobody should be shocked that HBO is sending out DMCA notices to Game of Thrones pirates. On the surface, it appears HBO is fed up with all the illegal downloads. Season 5 of Game of Thrones saw its first episode downloaded more than 100,000 times in just three hours, which ballooned to over a million within 18 hours.... Read more...
Just like nearly every other site on the web, piracy portals survive on advertising revenue -- the people running these sites have bills to pay too. With that in mind, entertainment conglomerates have figured out it might be easier to cut so-called "rogue" sites off at the knees rather than chase after individual file sharers, and one way to do that is by attacking their revenue stream. Interestingly enough, there are some big names with conflicting interests doling out doubloons to pirate sites through ad impressions, including Sony.Yes, Sony -- the same company that was recently hacked for the gazillionth time over "The Interview," a comedy that went straight to streaming and saw only a limited... Read more...
Ever since the Sony hack was unveiled, it's been clear that the movie studios haven't given up on SOPA, but an analysis of the MPAA's collective actions on the anti-piracy issue have unveiled plans that go far beyond simply sponsoring legislation or advocating for particular positions. Now, Google has announced it will fight to dismiss lawsuits filed by Mississippi's Attorney General Jim Hood, alleging that the AG in that state is acting as a paid, sponsored lackey of the movie industry.  Understanding Project Goliath The collision between the MPAA and Google arises from a fundamental disagreement over what Google's role should be when it comes to piracy prevention and what powers... Read more...
Having supposedly spent $10 million in legal fees since his arrest in New Zealand two years ago, Kim Dotcom now says he's broke, leaving him without legal representation as U.S. authorities try to have him extradited. If that happens, he'll face a some heavy charges, including racketeering, conspiring to commit copyright infringement, and money laundering.The [U.S. authorities] have certainly managed to drain my resources and dehydrate me, and without lawyers I am defenseless," Dotcom said during a conference in London, via a video link. "They used that opportunity to try and get my bail revoked and that's what I'm facing."Image Source: Flickr (Sam Churchill)Dotcom was arrested in 2012 when police... Read more...
The US Copyright Office has just issued a draft of a massive update to its practices guide, and some of its updated information couldn't be more timely. By now, you've probably heard of the battle that ensued between a photographer and Wikimedia over a photo that a female macaque took herself. The photographer believed he was within his rights to establish a copyright on the resulting photos, whereas Wikimedia believed that the monkey owned the photo. USCO's views don't entirely align with either stance, but things are cleared up in a new section of the guide entitled "The Human Authorship Requirement". Part of it states: "Because copyright law is limited to 'original intellectual conceptions... Read more...
In what qualifies as one of those, 'Are you freaking serious?' moments, the Alliance of Artists and Recording Companies (AARC) is suing auto makers Ford and GM for selling cars with technology to rip music from CDs. The feature that has the AARC in a tizzy is called Jukebox, which records songs from CDs to the infotainment system's hard drive, a feature that's been available on Ford vehicles since at least 2011. AARC is a non-profit organization representing more than 300,000 music artists. Like the RIAA, these types of copyright organizations have largely turned a blind eye to ripping music for personal use, so long as the tracks aren't being shared, traded, sold, and so forth. However, AARC... Read more...
The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) is showing no signs of slowing down when it comes to wiping the web of links that participate in or encourage piracy. Just the opposite, the RIAA is ramping up its efforts and has now surpassed 50 million pirate link takedown requests issued to Google, up from 25 million less than a year ago. On average, the RIAA requests that more than 321,000 URLs be taken down from Google's search results per week. Almost two million of those requests were related to FilesTube, a search engine that happily serves up links to illegal video downloads. The site now operates under a new domain name, a point that underscores RIAA's frustration with the takedown... Read more...
Kim Dotcom has a history of bad behavior that runs the gamut from computer fraud to insider trading and embezzlement. More recently, Dotcom ran Megaupload, a now defunct website that was once a popular portal for hosting files, especially copyrighted material, which is why the U.S. government shut it down in 2012. U.S. authorities are now trying to extradite Dotcom from New Zealand so that he can stand trial for various alleged crimes, and there will be a hearing on July 7 to see if that happens. In the meantime, Dotcom is fighting back with funds. Dotcom has put the word out that he's willing to pay $5 million to anyone with information on wrongdoing by the U.S. government related to the case(s)... Read more...
Hulu has already admitted to an evil plot to destroy the world when it ran commercials with Alec Baldwin (as an alien) saying that once our brains are reduced to a cottage cheese like mush, they'll scoop them out with a melon baler and gobble them right on up. Sound pretty insidious, and while Hulu was obviously joking (right? Right!?), Sony is accusing the company of something that it doesn't find funny at all. Revealed in a recent DMCA takedown notice, Sony Pictures Television claims Hulu is hosting a pirated TV show, Fox's "Almost Human," TorrentFreak reports. It was sent by the Spanish division of Sony Pictures Television and includes several links to the Fox Show, which they distribute locally.... Read more...
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