Items tagged "Piracy"

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ACTA and Other Enforcement Efforts: Reading the Lines

October 6, 2008 Piracy , Trademark

A lot of the questions about ACTA are raised by reading between the lines of what little is known about the proposed agreement. Is the term "border measures" a reference to searching individual consumers' devices at airports? Is a reference to "safeguards" for ISPs to "encourage ISPs to cooperate with right holders" an attempt to shift the balance of rights and responsibilities under DMCA safe harbors?

These are some of the most pressing questions that are raised when it comes to ACTA, but they're certainly not the only ones. While in a situation as opaque as this one, it's critical to seek out what may be intentionally hidden in the unstated implications of the language, as well as the unintended consequences of broad language.

But that doesn't mean that the face value of the language that's there should be ignored, either.

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PK, EFF, Sue for ACTA Documents

September 18, 2008 Piracy , Trademark

Several weeks ago, PK and EFF asked the US Trade Representative to turn over documents on ACTA, the international agreement on counterfeiting that still hasn't been made public yet. After some back-and-forth, and even after narrowing the scope of the request, we still have yet to receive any documents from USTR, as required under the Freedom of Information Act.

So yesterday, the two groups filed suit against the USTR to compel them to process the request and turn over the documents.

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Higher Ed Needs an IT Policy Task Force

August 14, 2008 Broadband , FCC , Network Neutrality , P2P , Piracy

For the second straight year, I addressed the EDUCAUSE/Cornell Institute for Computer Policy and Law, held at Cornell’s beautiful campus. The Institute gathers 50+ higher education information technology (IT) professionals – usually campus CTOs, librarians and legal counsels, and teaches them the substantive particulars of IT policy issues and advises them how to be strong advocates.

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Protecting Consumers from DRM

August 4, 2008 Analog Hole , DRM , Fair Use , Piracy

Consumer rights advocates and media companies have been fighting over digital rights management (DRM) software for many years now. In the age of the closing digital media store, the negative effects of DRM are more apparent than ever before.

Just a few days ago Yahoo! announced it would be closing its music store, taking the authentication server for its DRM offline in September. This will leave its users without access to the content they believed they bought once they: switch computers, alter their operating system, or try to copy their Yahoo! store music to an MP3 player. Luckily for Yahoo! customers the company has said it will compensate them for music they bought.

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Protecting Consumers from DRM

August 4, 2008 Analog Hole , DRM , Fair Use , Piracy

Consumer rights advocates and media companies have been fighting over data rights management (DRM) software for many years now. In the age of the closing digital media store, the negative effects of DRM are more apparent than ever before.

Just a few days ago Yahoo! announced it would be closing its music store, taking the authentication server for its DRM offline in September. This will leave its users without access to the content they bought once they: switch computers, alter their operating system or try to copy their Yahoo! store music to an MP3 player. Luckily for Yahoo! customers the company has said it will compensate them for music they bought. Yahoo!'s solution is to port their users’ music over to RealNetwork's Rhapsody music service and, where that would cause conflict, provide a refund.

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EBay Goes Four-for-Four…for Now

July 16, 2008 Fair Use , Piracy , Trademark

On Monday, Judge Richard Sullivan of the Southern District of New York ruled resoundingly for eBay in its defense against Tiffany’s various claims of trademark infringement. Coming as it does in the wake of eBay’s $63 million loss to Louis Vuitton in France, this decision stands as an unambiguous breath of sanity. It's great to see that France's nakedly protectionist, moral rights-influenced, lack-of-first-sale-doctrine decision has been quarantined to France for the time being. As Judge Sullivan affirmed, “The law clearly protects secondary markets in authentic goods.”

The Court detailed the myriad ways in which eBay extended itself in trying to accommodate Tiffany by removing listings featuring counterfeit Tiffany merchandise.

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Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough IP Enforcement

July 15, 2008 Fair Use , Patent , Piracy , Trademark

The first Senate hearing I attended struck me as a “dog and pony show” since the witnesses were presented for display purposes, merely echoing the pre-determined opinions of the presiding Senators. I’m beginning to see the animals in a less benign light.

Today, Senator Baucus (D-MT), Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, held a hearing on “International Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights and American Competitiveness,” with Ranking Member, Senator Grassley (R-IA), in the wings and with Senators Kyl (R-AZ) and Roberts (R-KS) making cameo appearances towards the end. As for the witnesses, the deck was stacked, as appears to be more the norm than the exception.

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G8 Endorses ACTA: Great, so what’s in it?

July 9, 2008 DRM , Filtering , Piracy

In its "Declaration on the World Economy", the G-8 included an endorsement of ACTA and ongoing efforts to "standardize" IP enforcement through customs organizations. "We encourage the acceleration of negotiations to establish a new international legal framework, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), and seek to complete the negotiation by the end of this year," the statement says.

So we have a major endorsement of ACTA from the leadership of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. And pressure to have this international legal agreement ready to roll at the end of the year. So what's going to be in this critically important, possibly binding international agreement, to be completed in less than six months?

We have no idea.

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ACTA PUBLIC COMMENTS–One-Stop Shop

July 9, 2008 Patent , Piracy , Trademark

We recently scanned all of the documents filed in response to the USTR's request for public comments regarding the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). They are presented below, if sometimes angularly, as well as on our issue summary page here.

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The Art of the End Around

June 5, 2008 Fair Use , Network Neutrality , Patent , Piracy , Trademark

Representatives from the US, EC, Japan, Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand, S. Korea, Canada, and Mexico have been holding close-to clandestine meetings over the past year to construct a trade agreement that tightens the level of regulations on IP-related goods and services. This proposed pact is called ACTA, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement. No official agendas or results of the talks have been released, though a “discussion paper” was leaked to Wikileaks in late May. This discussion paper is the basic extent of the world’s knowledge on ACTA, yet some version of ACTA will apparently be up for adoption at the G8 Summit in July.

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