Sunday, May 23, 2010

Follow my Tweets!

As you may have noticed, I have been rather slow, as of late, in updating this blog. However, there are reasons, other than laziness, that account for my silence. During the past few months, I have found that Twitter is a more useful tool by which to communicate the most up-to-date and current developments in copyright and digital media law. Indeed, the primary goal of this blog is to provide a “Digital Piracy Update.” While I may continue to write posts occasionally, as I see fit, please follow me on Twitter @jadesage to find out what is happening in the wide world of digital piracy. Thanks!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Google Rebuts DOJ

Not to let the DOJ's recent objections to the Google Book Settlement go unchallenged, Google asserted in a filing last week that when it comes to book publishing, "Google is a new entrant and currently has zero percent share in any book market. It does not have monopoly power and there is no 'dangerous probability' that it will acquire such power." Nevertheless, the Open Book Alliance counters: "the amended settlement will still offer the search and online advertising giant exclusive access to books it has illegally scanned to the detriment of consumers, authors and competition." The next hearing is scheduled for Feb. 18. Google, the DOJ, and more than two dozen opponents and supporters of the Google Book Settlement will be present to voice their views and concerns.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Google Settlement Saga Continues

Over the last few months, the fears and drama surrounding the Google Book Project appeared to be settling down. However, the Department of Justice this past week objected to the revised settlement agreement, citing continuing concerns of class action certification, use of "orphan works", and antitrust issues. Nevertheless, the DOJ urged the parties to continue their tireless efforts toward a settlement. A hearing on the current form of the settlement is slated for Feb. 18.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Department of Justice in Favor of $675,000 P2P Award

Earlier this past week, President Obama's Department of Justice filed documents in support of a $675,000 judgment against Joel Tenenbaum for his unauthorized sharing of 30 songs on KaZaA. Shockingly, the DOJ asserted that Mr. Tenenbaum's actions amounted to a "great public harm". This is a blatantly inaccurate statement. The harm suffered by the RIAA (the copyright owners in this case) is not, by any means, "public". A copyright claim is one of the most private claims that could be, as it grants a private monopoly in the creator (or his/her assigns, a.k.a. the record company), preventing access by the public to the creation unless allowed by the copyright owner. Thus, the harm resulting from infringement is entirely private. In fact, a correct version of the DOJ's statement would have been: "Mr. Tenenbaum's actions amounted to a 'great private harm'."

Verizon Admits to Chopping Customers

While the RIAA announced back in December 2008 that it was partnering with ISPs and kicking individuals off the Internet for allegedly downloading unauthorized music, rather than initiating hundreds of lawsuits against such individuals, not a single ISP admitted to participating in the scheme. That is, not until this past week. Verizon has now acknowledged that it has, in fact, disconnected some of its customers, and plans to continue to do so in the future. Read more here.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Update: New Zealand Tries Again

Revised "Three-Strikes" legislation has reappeared in New Zealand, after a close but failed battle earlier this year. This time around, alleged infringers will only be disconnected after a proper court hearing with the new Copyright Tribunal, and penalties are capped at NZ $15,000. In cases of "serious" infringement, the Tribunal would be able to suspend the user's ISP account for up to 6 months.

In my view, instituting a Copyright Tribunal would be an improvement over the previous NZ proposal, which would have allowed for disconnection without a proper hearing. Moreover, capping the penalties may be a less egregious demand than the statutory damages often demanded in a formal copyright infringement suit. However, I am still not convinced that the disconnection of Internet accounts would be effective, either from a technological or 'deterrential' perspective. Indeed, such disconnection could still be easily circumvented, and thus would serve as merely an illusory deterrent. Nevertheless, the current proposal is one step closer to a possible and plausible 'solution'.