Items tagged "Enforcement"

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Impressions on the SOPA Markup, Thursday Evening

December 16, 2011 DMCA , Enforcement , Internet Protocol , Open Internet , Piracy

My original plan had been to write up a quick summary of today’s markup, but at this writing, the House Judiciary Committee has discussed less than half of over 50 pending proposed amendments to SOPA. However, there’s a clear trend in the committee regarding amendments—nearly every one voted on so far has been defeated.

I’d been live-tweeting a blow-by-blow of the proceedings so far, but the main takeaways from the markup are probably best recounted thematically, rather than chronologically, since a lot of themes get repeated with each amendment ‘s introduction and debate.

There’s various levels of debate being engaged in during this markup. First, there’s the discussion of the bill text. Then there’s the discussion of the bill’s effects. Third is the discussion of proponents’ and opponents’ motives.

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Manager’s Amendment of SOPA Doesn’t Fix What’s Ailing This Bill

December 14, 2011 Anti-circumvention , DMCA , Enforcement , Filtering , International

Monday afternoon, the House Judiciary Committee released its planned manager’s amendment to SOPA, claiming that it eliminated significant concerns with the bill. While it does fix some of the current version’s outrageous proposals, it leaves some of the most dangerous provisions largely intact. Here’s a brief rundown of our concerns with the manager’s amendment.

DNS Filtering

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PIPA v SOPA

November 29, 2011 Enforcement , Protect IP Act , SOPA

Proponents of the “PROTECT IP Act” or “PIPA” or “Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act of 2011” are trying to make it seem like PIPA is the reasonable alternative to its cousin in the House, the so-called “Stop Online Piracy Act” or “SOPA.” Some even say that SOPA’s extremism might be an intentional ploy to create political wiggle room for PIPA.

In reality, PIPA and SOPA both jeopardize online community platforms and innovation, set a bad example for internet censorship globally, and threaten security online. True, there are differences in the legislation, but it’s mostly a matter of degrees—in which PIPA is really bad and SOPA is scarily worse.

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SOPA and Section 1201: A Frightening Combination

October 28, 2011 DMCA , Enforcement , SOPA

One of the many serious problems with the Stop Online Piracy Act (“SOPA”) (pdf) is how it tacks itself onto existing law to expand liability to people who may be three times removed from any actual copyright infringement. In § 103, SOPA wraps another layer of liability around what are called the “anticircumvention provisions” of the Copyright Act (which are found in section 1201 of the Copyright Act). The goal of the anticircumvention provisions is preventing people from circumventing technology that protects copyrighted works. Importantly, however, some courts have held that § 1201 prohibits circumvention even when the person’s ultimate use of the work does not infringe copyright.

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AT&T Is Right: Comcast Does Not Deserve An “Access Charge Bail Out” As Part of USF Reform

October 26, 2011 Enforcement , FCC , Network Neutrality , Regulation , Wireline

It says something about the messed up world of telecom today that the “Connect America Fund” the FCC will vote on tomorrow has become the “what the heck are we going to do about IP-based interconnection” proceeding. In particular, the rather high-profile spat between AT&T and Comcast (and other cable companies) over access charges illustrates exactly the kind of cosmic cluster#@$! we predicted would happen if the FCC failed to classify broadband as a Title II telecom service.

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MPAA Urges Congress to Ignore Evidence in Favor of “Common Sense”

September 20, 2011 Enforcement , MPAA , Piracy

Today, the MPAA and other movie industry groups sent a letter to the Senate urging them to pass S. 968, the PROTECT IP Act. The letter attempts to handwave away real questions about the bill’s effects on security and free speech with some awfully weak arguments embedded within its refrains of “piracy is a problem” and “we are a big industry.”

No one contests that movies are a big industry, or that there’s a lot of infringement on the Internet. But those aren’t the questions before Congress. The question really is whether S. 968 does any net good. And from here, it certainly doesn’t look like it.

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Why Shutting Down Cell Service Is Not Just Against The Law, It’s a Really Bad Idea

August 23, 2011 BART , Enforcement , FCC , Mobile Communication

I suppose I am really a telecom lawyer at heart. My reaction to the news that the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) police shut down cellphone networks in a number of stations on August 11 had nothing to do with democracy, the First Amendment, Tahrir Square, etc. With all deference to the importance of these concerns, my reaction was WHAT DO YOU MEAN THESE IDIOTS MESSED WITH THE PHONE SYSTEM? From my perspective, and the perspective of traditional telecom law, BART could just as well have turned off the local central office and all this chatter about whether or not BART is a public forum is just a distraction.

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Open WiFi and Copyright Liability: The Law, and Also Some Perspectives on Negligence

August 19, 2011 Enforcement , Piracy , Three Strikes , Wi-Fi

Torrentfreak recently ran a fascinating pair of opinion pieces from two lawyers regarding whether or not someone could be liable for copyright infringement if someone else used their open WiFi connection. One attorney, Nicholas Ranallo, walks through the established law of direct and secondary copyright liability, and comes to the conclusion that generally, no, you’re not liable for someone else’s infringements using your connection. The other attorney, Marc Randazza, doesn’t discuss copyright liability, but instead starts drawing out hypotheticals about the law of negligence.

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US Government: Rojadirecta Owners Must Prove Innocence Before We Release Domain

July 14, 2011 Enforcement , International

This week, the US government responded to a Spanish Internet company’s petition to have its seized domain name returned. Earlier this year, customs officials seized the domains rojadirecta.com and rojadirecta.org under suspicion of copyright infringement. The domains’ owner, Puerto 80, has argued that, by seizing the domain names and preventing their use, the government has not just taken down a legitimate site, but also is suppressing speech—not just the speech of the site’s operators, but of the users on the discussion boards hosted at the site.

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The Many Murky Areas Of Senator Klobuchar’s “Anti-Streaming” Bill

July 6, 2011 Enforcement , Music , Trademark

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.

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