In May, the results of an independent study on the state of UK intellectual property (IP) laws commissioned by Prime Minister David Cameron and conducted by Professor Ian Hargreaves were released. The Hargreaves “Digital Opportunity” report outlined a number of laudable recommendations for improving the UK’s IP framework. From a policy standpoint, the most striking outcome of the report was the focus on the lack of evidence-based policy decisions.
Posts by Avonne Bell:
One of the biggest pieces of news in the gaming industry this past month involved Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D, a title released for Nintendo’s new 3DS handheld system. The game itself was not that unusual; at first blush, it’s just your typical “run around shooting zombies” affair. What got everyone talking (and some others very, very upset) was a feature developer Capcom put in the game, acknowledged only in small print in the game’s instruction manual: In RE: The Mercenaries 3D, once the player initially boots up the game, his/her progress is automatically recorded to the game card and cannot be deleted. Ever.
Introduced in May and sponsored by Senator Amy Klobuchar, bill S. 978 has been the talk of the tech blogs lately. The bill seeks to change the rules regarding criminal copyright enforcement, adjusting which types of infringement constitute a felony with significant jail time. Reactions to the bill have displayed a good deal of alarm. We’re here to sort fact from fiction as best as we can: no, you probably won’t go to jail for watching True Blood on a bootleg website. But yes, this bill does have some prickly bits, and there’s definitely stuff here that warrants some concern.
On Monday, in a 7-2 decision, the Supreme Court in Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association (formerly known as Schwarzenegger v. EMA) ruled that a California law purportedly banning the sale of violent videogames to minors violated the First Amendment. I have to admit: the majority opinion, written by Justice Scalia, really surprised me. The Court chose some pretty broad language to back up its decision (as I’ll explain, it didn’t actually have to), and it laid out some important new principles. Yes, the California law is no more, but that doesn’t mean everything is back to the status quo – in fact, due to the language it uses, this decision has wider implications that will affect not only games but also how we interpret the First Amendment from here on out. Overall, what are the most surprising takeaways from all this?
In yet another turn in our ongoing coverage of the North Face counterfeiting case, The Public Interest Registry is no longer being held in contempt for resolving domains associated with the counterfeiters’ websites. The Judge agreed with the PIR’s analysis regarding the court’s authority to hold in contempt a nonparty for which there was no in personam jurisdiction:
I recently wrote a post about a string of counterfeit clothing websites, and how a New York District judge held the Public Interest Registry in contempt for failing to remove the counterfeit domains from its database. Just a heads-up: as of June 24th, 2011 at 9:44 AM EST, the counterfeit domain names (such as cheapnorthface.org) no longer resolve. I assume this means that PIR took action to remove the domain names from its registry, as per the judge’s stay order.
When most people think of their favorite song, they are likely envisioning a particular artist who recorded it with their unique style and voice, and not the writer. While the song would be nothing without the words, that’s often not what connects the public to music… it’s the recording. Think of “Heartbreak Hotel”: are you conjuring up visions of Elvis Presley twisting and gyrating, or of the lesser known writers of that song, Tommy Durden and Mae Boren Axton?
Try entering “CHEAPNORTHFACECLOTHING.COM” into your browser and see what pops up. Should be nothing. The domain was one of many to be permanently shut down, due to an injunction granted by Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein in the Southern District of New York. The domain, if you didn’t guess by the name, led to a site that sold cheap clothes claiming to be North Face, and was part of a network of counterfeit clothing websites mimicking everything from Polo Ralph Lauren to Nike. In all, the list of literally thousands of seized domains represented the largest counterfeiting ring ever discovered in internet history. OK, now try typing in “CHEAPNORTHFACE.ORG.” As of time of writing, that address leads to an active site.