Sweden’s Pirate Party has suddenly become very enthusiastic about enforcing copyright laws. TorrentFreak reports that the Pirate Party has found evidence that Swedish IT minister Anna-Karin Hatt has violated copyright law repeatedly by posting copyrighted Calvin and Hobbes cartoons and artwork from the Lord of the Rings films on her Instagram account. What’s more, the Pirate Party has turned its evidence over to law enforcement officials who have in the past have raided the Pirate Bay website’s servers and have arrested its founders. More →
Owners of websites that stream music and videos without the permission of copyright holders could soon be prosecuted as felons if Congress passes a new proposal from United States Register of Copyrights Maria Pallante. The Hill reports that Pallante is urging Congress to make illegal content streaming a felony that’s on par with illegally making copyrighted content available for download. Pallante said that “there is a gap in the law” between content streaming and more traditional content piracy while contending that going after content streamers for misdemeanors wasn’t enough to dissuade them. More →
Telecom companies apparently do have limits on how far they’re willing to go to appease copyright holders. TorrentFreak reports that Verizon (VZ) is remaining steadfast in its resistance to giving adult film companies identifying information on some of its customers who allegedly engaged in online piracy. In fact, Verizon has actually gone a step further this week by telling a Texas court that the copyright holders suing for customers’ information have chosen to “pursue a scheme which, if not illegal, is at a minimum of a type to which the courts should not lend their powers and support.” More →
ISPs have delayed implementing their “six strikes” anti-piracy program so many times now that we’re beginning to wonder if the whole thing isn’t just a giant bluff. All the same, TIME’s Matt Peckham has written an interesting piece about how the long-threatened policy could be a nightmare for apartment building owners and small businesses that rely upon shared connections. Basically, Peckham says that the new policy could amount to a form of collective punishment for users on such connections, who may have to implement measures such as deploying tracking software to discover where copyright violations are happening. More →
Well, this will teach people not to defy well-funded lobbying cartels. Ars Technica reports that Derek Khanna, a staffer for the Republican Study Committee, has been fired for writing a memo that urged reform of America’s copyright laws and thus angered powerful lobbies such as the Recording Industry Association of America and the Motion Picture Association of America. According to Ars, the “incoming chairman of the RSC, Steve Scalise (R-LA) was approached by several Republican members of Congress who were upset about a memo Khanna wrote advocating reform of copyright law” and then “asked that Khanna not be retained.” More →
Google (GOOG) may not have liked the idea of being forced censor its web results but the company now seems happy to do so on its own terms. The company on Friday announced in its Inside Search blog that it had updated its algorithms to punish websites that were repeatedly flagged with legitimate copyright violations by lowering their rankings in search results. More →
Internet service providers are still planning to implement their plan to kick software pirates off their networks… at some point. The Daily Dot reports that the Copyright Alerts System (CAS) being designed by major ISPs has been once again delayed despite some media reports that it was supposed to launch this week. But that doesn’t mean pirates should rest too easy since the new “copyright cop” system — which uses a “six strikes and you’re out” notification system to warn alleged pirates six separate times before their service is degraded or temporarily revoked — is still slated to come online by the end of the year. More →
The new “six strikes” anti-piracy policy soon to be implemented by a number of major Internet service providers in the United States will reportedly stumble out of the gate. The policy, which is set to be adopted by Comcast, Cablevision, Verizon, Time Warner Cable and other ISPs, will see action taken against users caught downloading pirated files in six steps, ultimately resulting in bandwidth throttling or even service suspensions. The system responsible for managing the new policy may not be ready on schedule, however, and the targeted launch date of July 12th may slip back as a result. More →
A San Francisco jury on Monday determined that Google’s Android operating system infringes on Oracle’s copyrights concerning its Java programing language, Reuters reported. After days of deliberation, however, the jury could not decide whether Google had the right to fair use of the copyrighted material, an argument Oracle is now attempting to have thrown out. Google’s lawyers challenged the jury’s decision on Java and are moving for a mistrial. After rendering the copyright verdict, the seven woman, five man jury will next hear a testimony from Oracle regarding its patents and then rule on damages — Oracle is seeking roughly $1 billion. More →
Three separate lawsuits have been filed in China on behalf of 12 writers who claim Apple is selling unlicensed versions of their works in its iBookstore. Apple is accused of selling 59 unlicensed works in total, and the three suits seek a combined $3.5 million in damages. Apple has not denied the allegations, though the company did say that it responds to intellectual property complaints quickly. “As an IP holder ourselves, we understand the importance of protecting intellectual property and when we receive complaints we respond promptly and appropriately,” Beijing-based Apple spokeswoman Carolyn Wu told the Associated Press. Wang Guohua, a lawyer representing the group of writers, said Apple violated copyright laws by making the books available for purchase without securing the necessary licenses. Wang also said that while some titles were removed after lawsuits were filed in January, many have been uploaded to Apple’s digital store again and Apple has not taken the appropriate measures to prevent the pirated books from being sold. “Some developers, with whom Apple has contracts, put them back online again,” he said. “It is encouragement in disguise, because they did not punish the developers. The developers could have been kicked out. But nothing happened to them.” More →
The recent ordeal surrounding the now defeated SOPA and PIPA proposals followed by the shuttering of file-sharing giant Megaupload has put online piracy back in the spotlight. Despite studies showing Megaupload’s closure had no impact on online piracy whatsoever, copyright owners continue to pressure authorities in an effort to go after more services similar to Megaupload. The new wave of attention these file-sharing services are attracting is driving some illegal downloaders to seek out new means of sharing copyrighted materials, and decentralized torrent network Tribler emerged as one option. Another interesting solution created by a New York University professor takes things a step further, however, completely removing the Internet from the file-sharing equation and therefore putting pirates out of authorities’ reach. More →
Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom on Thursday questioned his accusers’ motives while speaking to The Guardian. “I’m no piracy king,” Dotcom told the paper. “I offered online storage and bandwidth to users and that’s it.” Dotcom was arrested in his New Zealand mansion on January 20th after his notorious Megaupload service was shuttered earlier that week as part of a multi-agency sting across several countries. He was released on bail and it currently awaiting trial, having been accused of money laundering, violating piracy laws and a number of other crimes. “It’s kind of like weapon of mass destructions in Iraq, you know?” Dotcom said during an interview with The Guardian. “If you want to go after someone and you have a political goal you will say whatever it takes.” Read on for more. More →
Third-party companies that stored Megaupload’s data may delete all user files on Thursday. Megaupload customers, even those not guilty of piracy or using the service illegally, have been unable to access their files since the website was shut down on January 19th. So far, seven men have been charged for illegally allowing Megaupload users to store and share music, movies and other copyrighted content, among other things. The issue, however, is that millions of Megaupload users used the service legally to store family photos and other personal data. Megaupload doesn’t store the data itself, the AP said Monday, instead it hired Carpathia Hosting and Cogent Communications Group to store its data. A letter from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia explained that both companies may begin deleting the data as soon as this Thursday. 50 million users could have their personal photos, videos and music erased; Megaupload attorney Ira Rothken said the company is currently speaking with prosecutors in an effort to save the data.
UPDATE: Megaupload lawyer Ira Rothke on Monday confirmed that Megaupload’s hosting companies have agreed not to delete user files for two weeks, TVNZ reports. “Carpathia and Cogent agreed to preserve consumer data for additional time of at least two weeks so Megaupload can work with US on proposal,” Rothke posted on Twitter.