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Heavyweights Clash Over Policing Repeat Copyright Infringers 107

SolKeshNaranek tips a story at TorrentFreak about an ongoing copyright case that revolves around how much effort websites need to expend to block repeat infringers after responding to DMCA requests. In 2011, a judge ruled that a website embedding videos from third parties had correctly removed links to infringing videos after receiving a DMCA request, but failed to do anything to police users who had created these links multiple times. For this, the judge said, the website would be required to adopt a number of measures to prevent repeat infringement. Google and Facebook wrote an amicus brief opposing the ruling, as did Public Knowledge and the EFF. Now the MPAA has, unsurprisingly, come out in favor. They wrote, "Contrary to the assertions of myVidster and amici Google and Facebook, search engines and social networking sites are not the only businesses that desire certainty in a challenging online marketplace. MPAA member companies and other producers of creative works also need a predictable legal landscape in which to operate. ... Given the massive and often anonymous infringement on the internet, the ability of copyright holders to hold gateways like myVidster liable for secondary infringement is crucial in preventing piracy."
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Heavyweights Clash Over Policing Repeat Copyright Infringers

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  • Re:Activist Judges (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anthony Mouse ( 1927662 ) on Monday April 09, 2012 @03:38PM (#39621989)

    The DMCA safe harbor has a condition that the service provider "has adopted and reasonably implemented, and informs subscribers and account holders of the service provider’s system or network of, a policy that provides for the termination in appropriate circumstances of subscribers and account holders of the service provider’s system or network who are repeat infringers."

    The thing is, it says "repeat infringers" not "repeatedly accused infringers." So I'm not a lawyer (and I would be interested in hearing the thoughts of anyone who is), but it seems like if you adopted a policy that says you'll terminate any user who is found liable of infringement in court on more than one occasion, that would seem to satisfy the statute. Which makes perfect sense really -- otherwise anyone could get anyone else's account terminated by making repeated fraudulent accusations. Can anyone think of a reason why that would be wrong?

  • by NoNonAlphaCharsHere ( 2201864 ) on Monday April 09, 2012 @03:45PM (#39622065)
    Here's what the MPAA is really after:

    Now the MPAA ... wrote, "... the ability of copyright holders to hold gateways ... liable for secondary infringement is crucial in preventing piracy."

  • by Runaway1956 ( 1322357 ) on Monday April 09, 2012 @03:54PM (#39622151) Homepage Journal

    I can see that some things should be renewable. I loathe Disney for advocating all these crazy laws that we have today. But - they do have something of a point with renewable copyrights. Mickey Mouse would have gone out of copyright well before I graduated high school. Probably before I graduated elementary school - he's been around that long. But, Mickey Mouse has been a money generator all these decades.

    Let them have renewable copyrights. First renewal, hundreds of thousands of dollars. Second renewal, millions of dollars. Third renewal, tens of millions. Fourth renewal, hundreds of millions. Just keep upping the ante by an order of magnitude. If they want to pay, the government benefits. If they don't want to pay, the people benefit. At some stage, even Mickey Mouse will be retired. I don't think they would renew even Mickey for a billion dollars!

  • by mcgrew ( 92797 ) * on Monday April 09, 2012 @04:04PM (#39622273) Homepage Journal

    Asimov's Foundation was written in 1945, the last of the trilogy in 1952 (the year I was born). It was published by Gnome Press, a tiny publisher without the clout to properly market it, and it languished until the '60s with Asimov not earning a dime from it until Doubleday bought the publication rights from Gnome. It was a Hugo award winner and a big moneymaker after Doubldeday bought it.

    That's why.

    As to your "ten years", iirc I started on my Paxil Diaries book almost ten years ago. I still need to design its dust jacket. BTW It's on TPB, I put it there myself.

    Seventeen years may seem like a lifetime to someone in college, but it really isn't that long a time at all. You'll find that out if you live long enough. I wouldn't want copyright, even after a renewal, to last any longer than 30 years, though.

  • by ace37 ( 2302468 ) on Monday April 09, 2012 @04:04PM (#39622279) Homepage

    So let me get this straight, the judge sees that the DCMA doesn't fix this grievance, so he decides to add a fundamentally new requirement to the law and enforce it?

    The judge is right to point out the DCMA doesn't address the (perhaps legitimate) grievances brought to the court. That's exactly why the website should have won the case with no strings attached--from the sound of it, they comply with the requirements of the law. A judge has no more authority to 'fix' bad legislation than I do.

    The prosecuting party should be trying to push congress to action, not judges. I hope the SCOTUS picks it up and throws the case out to make the point.

  • by dryriver ( 1010635 ) on Monday April 09, 2012 @04:20PM (#39622443)
    While I agree with your first sentence, copyright infringers being dragged into court and asked to cough up xxxxx thousand dollars per infringment IS a government problem, because such high fines are, technically speaking, a "human rights violation". Believe it or not, receiving a disproportionately tough/hard/long sentence over only a "small infringement" is a human rights violation. And human rights law is, since 1974, "Internation Law". So if the government doesn't protect you from getting a f____ed up, expensive, hard-core sentence for downloading a film or two, then that government has failed to honour its responsibilities vis-a-vis International Law.
  • by jamstar7 ( 694492 ) on Monday April 09, 2012 @04:20PM (#39622445)
    Primary infringement: Joe Schmuck buys a DVD and procedes to rip it down to his computer. It's a 'violation' of the DCMA because the video is 'encrypted' and needs something like libdvd2 to decrypt the 'key'. And there's the standard 'FBI Warning' notice on the DVD when you play it. Thus, *AA argues the content is 'licensed' not sold.

    Secondary infringement: The company who sold Joe Schmuck his hard drive. Without that hard drive, Joe Schmuck wouldn't have anything to store his 'infringing' copy upon. Thus, argues the *AA, said company 'facilitated' the 'infringement'. Doesn't matter that they do not have physical access to the drive anymore, they 'facilitated'.

    Tertiary infringement: The company who manufactured the hard drive. By manufacturing the hard drive, they have created a 'criminal tool', defined as any non-living object essential to and used in 'the commission of a crime'. By wholesaling the hard drive to the company who sold it to Joe Schmuck, they are now the 'tertiary infringers', even though they lost physical control of the drive.

    We can take this tree of 'infringement' back at least 2 or 3 more generations, to the people who mined and refined the materials to build the hard drive, as well as the designers. How much stupidity are we looking for here?

Civilization, as we know it, will end sometime this evening. See SYSNOTE tomorrow for more information.