Archive for: August, 2013

Why Isn’t Revenge Porn Illegal Everywhere?


People who have their nude pictures posted on the Internet without consent — a vile practice known as revenge pornhave little legal recourse. That’s changing, but only very slowly, with legislation proposed in California earlier this year joining New Jersey as the second state with laws specifically targeting the practice.* The California bill passed the state Senate earlier this month and this week the California legislature will debate it. If the bill passes in its current form, posting revenge porn would be considered a misdemeanor and posters of their ex-girlfriends’ nudes could face up to a year of jail-time or a fine of up to $2,000.

Despite what sounds like a much-needed bill for a practice that victims and advocates like Holly Jacobs — the first Floridian, according to her lawyer, to sue her ex for the alleged distribution of non-consensual pornography — say is becoming increasingly common, not everyone thinks explicit revenge porn bills are the way to go. One California State senator voted against the proposed legislation arguing, along with the American Civil Liberties Union, that it limits free speech, reports The New York Times‘s Somini Sengupta today. Both Florida and Missouri rejected similar bills last year because of free speech concerns.

In addition, other legal experts argue that current laws already protect revenge porn victims, under harassment, stalking, and even copyright law. “I’m unclear exactly how much ground the new law would cover that isn’t already covered by existing laws, such as anti-harassment/anti-stalking laws,” Eric Goldman, a law professor at Santa Clara University, told Sengupta. “As usual, one of the key questions is how existing law has failed and what behavior is being newly criminalized.” Indeed, Jacobs’s May 2013 lawsuit aims to charge her ex-boyfriend with one count of stalking, two counts of harassment by use of personal identification info and one count of unlawful publication, all of which could add up to a total of four years’ jail time. (Jacobs worked with Florida lawmakers to pass a bill, which ultimately failed, to make the practice of posting pornographic images on the Internet without consent a third degree felony.)

Still, Jacobs and others say laws specifically targeting revenge porn only cover repeated postings of images. The Internet and sites like the now defunct Is Anyone Up and its even more vile replacement HunterMoore.tv, from noted jerk and Internet entrepreneur Hunter Moore, make a single posting even more impactful because just one image posted without permission can go viral, and harassment or stalking laws might not cover a single infraction. In addition, having specific laws against posting pornographic images online without permission would deter the behavior, argues University of Maryland law professor Danielle Citron. “It signals taking the issue seriously, that harms are serious enough to be criminalized,” she told Sentgupta.

*This post originally said New Jersey passed a revenge porn law in 2011. It already had one on the books.

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Why Isn’t Revenge Porn Illegal Everywhere? – The Atlantic Wire

revenge porn – Google News… Read the rest

King, the Candy Crush Saga company, Sues 6Waves for Game Copyright Infringement

Farm-EpicKing, the company best known for the social-mobile juggernaut Candy Crush Saga, is suing game studio 6Waves for allegedly infringing on the copyright of two of King’s other games.

In a filing with the Northern District Court of California, King asserts that 6Waves is “blatantly cloning two of its most popular games.” Update 9:15pm PT: 6Waves responded to a request for comment with the following statement from Sharon Lau, the company’s director of Corporate and Legal Affairs:

6waves cannot provide detailed comments at this stage but we deny all allegations of the copyright infringement complaint by King.com Limited. Puzzle solving games and themes like farming and jewels are not unique and have been created by many other companies. Such popular gameplay and themes cannot be copyrighted.

The 6Waves games in question, Treasure Epic and Farm Epic (pictured above right), are available on Facebook, as are the games they are accused of copying, King’s Pet Rescue Saga and Farm Heroes Saga (pictured below left). Pet Rescue Saga is also available on iOS and Android.

farm-heroes-sagaAll four are puzzle-solving matching games in nature, but King’s claim extends beyond game mechanics: In the filing, the company asserts that the “theme, look and feel, game progression, game interface, map [and] graphics” of both of its games have been infringed upon, and that additionally the text of Pet Rescue Saga has been copied, too.

Starting on Page 18 of King’s complaint (which I’ve embedded below), the company walks through Pet Rescue Saga and Treasure Epic’s tutorial levels, which appear to follow the same beats, with cartoon characters appearing in similarly colored dialogue boxes using near-identical text to explain how to play the games. For example, where Pet Rescue says, “That’s great! Now try to remove as many blocks from the screen as you can!” Treasure Epic says, “Good job! Now try to remove as many blocks from the screen as you can!”

The complaint brings to mind EA’s copyright infringement lawsuit against Zynga over similarities between EA’s The Sims Social and Zynga’s The Ville. That lawsuit was quietly settled out of court in February under confidential terms.

King itself has been in this position before. “We also brought, and won, a case last year for copyright infringement against Playmonk regarding its game Sultan Bubble,” King CEO Riccardo Zacconi told AllThingsD. Playmonk appears to have shut down Sultan Bubble in March as a result of the lawsuit, and I was unable to find a currently active Web presence for the company itself.

Here’s King’s filing from earlier today:

6Waves_Complaint

King Sues 6Waves for Alleged Game Copyright Infringement. Here’s the … – AllThingsD
http://allthingsd.com/20130827/king-sues-6waves-for-alleged-game-copyright-infringement-heres-the-complaint/
copyright infringement news – Google News… Read the rest

Lawmakers Aim To Limit Revenge Porn Postings

SACRAMENTO (AP) — State lawmakers are attempting to limit a distressing social media phenomenon known as “revenge porn,” where spurned suitors post intimate photos of their ex-lovers on the Internet for all to see.

The Assembly is set to debate a bill that would make such conduct punishable by up to a year in jail, while Gov. Jerry Brown is considering separate legislation that would make it a crime to impersonate or bully a domestic violence victim online.

The measures are forcing lawmakers to consider where to draw the line between unfettered free speech and privacy rights.

“Right now law enforcement has no tools to combat revenge porn or cyber-revenge,” said Sen. Anthony Cannella, a Republican from Ceres who proposed one of the bills. “Unfortunately it is a growing trend and there are a lot of victims out there, a lot more than I ever imagined. … It’s destroying people’s lives.”

Under his SB255, perpetrators who post identifiable nude pictures of someone else online without their permission with the intent of causing serious emotional distress or humiliation could be charged with a misdemeanor. They could face up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine for a first offense, with a year in jail and a $2,000 fine for repeat violations.

Current California law allows victims to sue their virtual assailants in civil court, but it is an expensive and time-consuming option that does not seem to be much of a deterrent, he said.

That was the experience of Holly Jacobs, who sent intimate photos to her boyfriend during their 3½-year long-distance relationship.

In January 2009, a month after they broke up, a friend informed her that a nude photo was posted on her Facebook profile. By November 2011, a collage of photos of her went viral on more than 200 websites, accompanied by an explicit video from a web chat that she says was secretly recorded. The posts included her full name, email address and the name of the Florida university where she worked, forcing her to tell her parents and university officials. She began getting emails from strangers attempting to set up liaisons.

“Emotionally, the situation put me through hell and back,” Jacobs said in a telephone interview. “I just felt so alone and you blame yourself. You have a lot of people in your life that judge you and say this was your fault. … It took me a long time to realize I was the victim in this.”

She said she equates the judgmental reaction she received to the blame-the-victim attitude that rape victims often confront: “You shouldn’t have been wearing that outfit, you shouldn’t have been drinking, you shouldn’t have been walking alone.”

After spending months trying to get the photos removed, repeatedly changing her phone number and quitting a university job she loved, Jacobs eventually legally changed her name. In her darkest moments, she considered suicide.

Then she got mad and she got even, creating endrevengeporn.org a year ago, which sometimes records 1,200 hits in a single day. Jacobs said she has been contacted by women in similar circumstances around the world.

From her home in Miami, she now lobbies for states to adopt laws to criminally punish revenge porn.

Aside from Cannella’s bill awaiting action in the Assembly, lawmakers already sent the governor AB157 by Assemblywoman Nora Campos, D-San Jose, which would outlaw stealing the online identity of domestic violence victims. It lets judges issue protective orders barring abusers from impersonating a victim online, and came in response to the concerns of judges who worried that doing so would violate free speech rights.

Sen. Cathleen Galgiani, D-Stockton, who carried AB157 in the Senate, said state law has not kept pace with technology.

“Advances in technology and the increased communication on social networking websites have enabled abusers to get around restraining orders,” she said.

The Legislature has attacked the problem piecemeal as loopholes have been discovered in the state’s original 2006 cyberbullying laws.

A 2010 law made it a misdemeanor to impersonate someone on the Internet to intimidate, threaten or defraud them. Campos authored a law last year that lets schools suspend or expel students who harass their classmates on social networking sites, as well as a 2011 law targeting bullying on social networking sites such as Facebook.

Her bill this year was approved with no dissenting votes, while Cannella’s legislation had just one opponent in the Senate — Democratic Sen. Leland Yee of San Francisco. He and the American Civil Liberties Union fear the bill could interfere with free speech rights.

“For me it was more an issue of the definition being overly broad. We just really have to be careful of that slippery slope,” said Yee. He said a better approach would be to educate Internet users, particularly children, about the irreversible harm that can be done online.

Florida’s legislature rejected a similar bill this year after First Amendment concerns surfaced there, while Missouri’s supreme court last year cited concerns about free speech in striking down part of a 2008 law enacted after a teenager who was teased online committed suicide.

Cannella believes that’s not an issue with his bill.

“This is intimidation, this is harassment, this is bullying,” he said. “This goes way beyond free speech.”

 Lawmakers Aim To Limit ‘Revenge Porn’ Postings – CBS Local

revenge porn – Google News

Please go to EndRevengePorn.org to sign the petition. Help us make the spread of revenge porn a crime.

 … Read the rest

Metropolitan Transportation Authority Guards Against Copyright Infringement

In recent years, though, a decidedly unsexy brand — derided for decades, with little sign of an image improvement — has become one of the city’s most imitated: the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

Powered in part by the rise of online shopping, which has helped small-time entrepreneurs market their subway-inspired creations widely, the transit agency now issues up to 600 notices a year for copyright infringements to protect trademarks on train line logos, subway maps and other system imagery. That represents a more than twentyfold increase since 2005.

But the authority’s focus has not been limited to New York’s starving artists. It has flagged Massimo Vignelli, the designer of the beloved if confounding 1972 subway map, whose 2008 update for Men’s Vogue used trademark route symbols without permission. There have been illicit pastries resembling MetroCards, and earrings made of surviving subway tokens.

A stern letter was sent regarding an amateur, all-female roller derby team called the Grand Central Terminators, whose request for a photo shoot inside Grand Central Terminal was rebuffed after a determination that, as the authority wrote to the league’s commissioner, “aligning our G.C.T. brand with your organization” would perhaps be ill advised.

Then there was the Midtown trade reception whose invitation recreated subway line logos. The perpetrators: the International Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association.

“It has almost become a game of Whac-a-Mole,” said Mark R. Heavey, who is the transportation authority’s chief of marketing and advertising.

Almost always, the authority has legal standing, even if notices are issued inconsistently. Subway, rail and bus maps are copyright protected, and each subway line symbol is a federally registered trademark. Even in borderline cases — where a business uses a subway logo, for example, but alters the color scheme slightly — the authority often has wide latitude in issuing infringement notices “if there’s reason for confusion,” Mr. Heavey said.

It is under this premise that the authority would not allow the roller derby shoot, reasoning that any images inside the terminal would imply the authority’s endorsement.

But a business like Grand Central OB-GYN, on East 43rd Street, does not run afoul of the authority because, a spokesman said, “there is no potential that anyone might think the M.T.A. is in the OB-GYN business.”

The authority has gone to court only once, officials said, to challenge a deli called F Line Bagels in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, in 2005. The sign out front now reads just Line Bagels.

Other major transit agencies have also kept an eye on possible emulators. A section of the London Transport Museum’s Web site reminds visitors to “mind the copyright.” The band Chicago, originally called Chicago Transit Authority, shortened its name after receiving a “quiet suggestion” from the office of Mayor Richard J. Daley, according to a 2007 Chicago Tribune interview with the group’s former manager.

But New York’s creative class has at times shown itself to be particularly persistent.

Some artists have run afoul of the rules repeatedly, Mr. Heavey said, offering products on sites like Etsy without the authority’s approval. Others said they were simply unaware that the symbols of their daily commutes were not considered public domain.

Even larger operations have slipped up. In 2010, Nordstrom received a letter from the authority after a dress emblazoned with a subway map was found in its online catalog. Transit officials were “pleased” that Nordstrom recognized the map as “a clever, colorful design that is fit for a silk dress,” the letter said, but less pleased about the copyright breach. A spokeswoman for Nordstrom said the dress was no longer available.

The authority reviews scripts for films, television shows and commercials that seek use of the system or its trademarks, Mr. Heavey said, then decides if it wants to associate with the show or product. But sometimes crews do not seek advance permission, forcing the authority to flex its muscle.

The authority, which receives $500,000 a year in licensing revenue, said it could not estimate how much had been lost to copyright offenses, but any amount is of consequence, particularly given the agency’s quest for income that does not come from fares.

Occasionally, those who infringe later strike licensing deals with the authority, which typically takes in about 10 percent of the wholesale price.

In one instance, the authority decided to commission Mr. Vignelli to create its “Weekender” map, an interactive guide on its Web site.

At times, a copyright tiff with the authority can prove helpful.

Susan C. Beachy contributed research.

MTA Guards Against Copyright Infringement – New York Times

copyright infringement news – Google News… Read the rest

Comcast Corp is developing real time copyright alert

People who download pirated media content such as TV shows and movies may soon get a warning in real time, if a US cable company’s efforts become reality.A report on Variety.com said Comcast Corp. is developing the mechanism and is urging major studios, content companies, and distributors to join it.”As sources described the new system, a consumer illegally downloading a film or movie from a peer-to-peer system would be quickly pushed a pop-up message with links to purchase or rent the same content, whether the title in question exists on the VOD library of a participating distributor’s own broadband network or on a third-party seller like Amazon,” Variety editor-in-chief for digital Andrew Wallenstein said. He said this may be an alternative to the Copyright Alert System (CAS), which is a voluntary initiative being used since February.CAS warns subscribers engaging in copyright infringement up to six times before the Internet service provider can actively limit their bandwidth.Wallenstein said his sources claimed the new system will complement and not replace CAS, but added it is unclear how the two systems can work together.

“CAS and the new approach share a basic framework in that the ISP role is largely automated, notifying offending users based on information derived from the content companies who have a third party pulling the IP addresses of those downloading copyright-infringing material,” he said.

However, he said there are crucial differences, especially with notification occurring in real time with the new conversion strategy.

“Though not instantaneous, it would be a good deal faster than CAS, which sends subscribers e-mails, voicemails or browser-based messages that can occur weeks after the alleged piracy takes place,” he said.

More educational

Wallenstein said Comcast is hoping the new approach may be more educational than CAS, though sources said subscriber feedback suggested it is “ineffective in that respect.”

“Encouraging legal transactions could also be a better tack to take with the segment of consumers unknowingly pirating from illegal websites with design interfaces so slick they confuse users into thinking they are legitimate sources for content,” he added. — VC, GMA News

Real-time copyright infringement warning system in the works – GMA News
http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/321034/scitech/technology/real-time-copyright-infringement-warning-system-in-the-works
copyright infringement news – Google News… Read the rest

Linking to Content, Does it Infringe Copyright?

A recent federal court decision confirms that, without more, merely linking to content of copyrighted content is not direct infringement of the copyright in that content.Plaintiff sued defendants for copyright infringement based on defendants’ alleged unauthorized sale of educational materials online. A paralegal in plaintiffs’ law firm sought to buy some of the infringing materials, and one of the defendants sent her a link to material that had been uploaded to a file locker. Plaintiff moved for summary judgment, arguing in part that the link constituted infringement.The court denied plaintiffs’ summary judgment motion, but not because of the linking. It found that there was a triable fact as to whether defendant had uploaded the infringing content to the file locker. The court held that “as a matter of law, sending an email containing a hyperlink to a site facilitating the sale of a copyrighted work does not itself constitute copyright infringement.” It elaborated:

A hyperlink (or HTML instructions directing an internet user to a particular website) is the digital equivalent of giving the recipient driving directions to another website on the Internet. A hyperlink does not itself contain any substantive content; in that important sense, a hyperlink differs from a zip file. Because hyperlinks do not themselves contain the copyrighted or protected derivative works, forwarding them does not infringe on any of a copyright owner’s five exclusive rights under [Section 106 of the Copyright Act].

But the decision shows where caution is in order — the court noted that although liking to the content would not be direct infringement, uploading the content to the server to which the link pointed could be an infringement. And that linking could also constitute contributory infringement.

Pearson Educ., Inc. v. Ishayev
, 2013 WL 3948505 (S.D.N.Y. August 1, 2013)

Does Linking to Content Infringe Copyright? – Information Law Group
http://www.infolawgroup.com/2013/08/articles/copyright/copyright-linking-infringement/
copyright infringement news – Google News… Read the rest

Fox News Sues TVEyes for Copyright Infringement

Fox News Channel sued TVEyes, a $500-per-month TV and radio broadcast search service, for copyright infringement on Tuesday. The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in New York, alleges that TV Eyes makes versions of the cable news network’s “award winning programming” available on its site for paid users without Fox News’ permission.

The lawsuit accuses TVEyes of misappropriating “the entirety of the works that Fox News has developed at great expense and to reproduce, to distribute, to publicly perform and/or to publicly display verbatim copies of the works” without authorization.

Also read: Fox News’ Shepard Smith Stumping For ‘True Blood’ Cameo

According to the suit, Robert Bruder, director of client relations for TVEyes, admitted that the site was already using Fox News’ content when he approached the channel seeking a license to use that work.

“Mr. Bruder notified Fox News that TVEyes had been using Fox News’s content without authorization and that TVEyes now sought a license from Fox News in exchange for which it would compensate Fox News,” the filing states. “In response, Fox News demanded that TVEyes cease its use of Fox News’s content. TVEyes, however, refused to take down the infringing content.”

Oh, and then TVEyes created a mobile application, promising subscribers they could “take the power of TVEyes with you everywhere you go.”

Also read: Fox May Appeal Aereo Case to Supreme Court

It states that, “in addition to high-quality news reporting, Fox News produces creative and expressive programming — including myriad videos, sounds and images — that is original to Fox News.”

Fox News is seeking an injunction preventing TVEyes from using its content and unspecified statutory and punitive damages. As the suit alleges that TVEyes’ annual revenue is in the “millions of dollars,” that’ll probably be a pretty penny.

Asked for comment, Fox News’ lead outside counsel Dale Cendali told TheWrap: “Fox News had no choice but to file the lawsuit after its many attempts to resolve this amicably failed. Fox News works hard to produce its programming and is committed to protecting it from free rider copiers”

TVEyes did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Pamela Chelin contributed to this report

Fox News Sues TVEyes for Copyright Infringement – TheWrap
http://www.thewrap.com/media/column-post/fox-news-sues-tveyes-copyright-infringement-107486
copyright infringement news – Google News… Read the rest

DMCA Takedown request where Microsoft accuses Microsoft of copyright infringement

Chalk this up in the “funny, but not really” category: Last week, a company working with Microsoft to combat copyright pirates asked Google to remove multiple Microsoft web pages from Google searches—for infringing Microsoft copyrights.Yep, Microsoft filed a Digital Millenium Copyright Act takedown request against itself, as Torrentfreak first spotted.This wasn’t a case of internal idiocy or revenge, and it’s also not quite as amusing as it may appear at first glance. Instead, it highlights the harmful way copyright holders use automatically generated DMCA takedown requests to try to scrub the net of pirated content, casting a wide net that often ensnares innocent webmasters with false infringement claims.
Google’s record of LeakID’s DMCA takedown request against Microsoft.com.(Click to enlarge.)

If a copyright holder feels that a particular website is ripping off its work, it can send Google a DMCA takedown request and ask for the infringing site to be removed from the search engine. If Google determines that the site does indeed stomp on the copyright holder’s intellectual property rights, the site’s links disappear from Google Searches. So far, so good, right?

Torrentfreak
A detailed look at the Microsoft DMCA takedown request. (Click to enlarge.)

Copyright holders and the companies they hire to manage DMCA takedown requests—in Microsoft’s case, a third party called LeakID—frequently automate the process, resulting in a flood of requests that are sometimes erroneous and aren’t always checked for accuracy before filing.

These false requests are far from rare. Consider past Microsoft DMCA takedown requests that accidentally targeted the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Health and Human Services, the National Institutes of Health, TechCrunch, Wikipedia, BBC News, Bing.com, Google.com, and many others. Or HBO’s attempt to remove links to the open-source VLC media player, or this big list of “DMCA notices so stupid it hurts,” or Google’s examples of the “inaccurate” DMCA takedown requests it has received over the years, or…

Ramping up

The number of weekly DMCA takedown requests received by Google.

Over the past year, copyright holders such as Microsoft, the Recording Industry Association of America, NBC, Walt Disney, and others have started blasting Google with vast numbers of takedown requests. While Google used to receive around 225,000 DMCA requests per week, according to the company’s own Transparency Report, copyright holders now hit the search engine with 3.5 to 4.5 million takedown requests each and every week.

Around the time of the ramp-up—August 2012—Google announced it would start penalizing sites that are repeatedly accused of copyright infringement, ranking them lower in search results.

Between January and July 2013, Google erased more than 100,000,000—that’s 100 million—links from the web as a result of DMCA takedown requests. Torrentfreak reports that figure as already being more than twice the total number of links Google erased in all of 2012.

Google’s DMCA stats for the past month.

For its part, Google does appear to actively police the DMCA takedown requests it receives. Around three percent of DMCA takedown requests the company receives are rejected, and rejected URLs are listed on the Transparency Report’s main copyright page. And yes, the folks in the Googleplex caught LeakID’s attempts to scrub the Microsoft.com links before the six Office solutions pages disappeared from search results.

But few companies have Google’s resources. The Safe Harbor provision of the DMCA rewards websites that “take down first and ask questions later,” and for every amusing story like this one, there are dozens of other, more harmful false takedown requests . Also consider that if even just 1 percent of the 100 million-plus requests for URL removals catches an innocent page in the automated crossfire, that’s already 1 million websites affected.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation filed a court brief in 2012 arguing that automated DMCA requests that aren’t reviewed by actual humans should be considered negligent, therefore opening the requestor to sanctions. Nothing ever came from the attempt, however—and automated, unreviewed requests generated by Microsoft contractors are still trying to erase parts of the Microsoft.com website to this very day.

Update (7/30/13): A spokesperson for Microsoft sent us the following statement:

“We believe strongly in the effectiveness and the need for accuracy in the use of notice and takedown to address online infringement. To explain what happened here, Google’s online form requires identification of both the copyrighted content being infringed and the website address of the infringement. A vendor properly listed those six URLs as Microsoft copyrighted content that was being infringed, but then inadvertently copied and pasted those same six URLs in the field to identify the locations of infringement. This simple clerical error was identified and corrected right away, and we have taken steps to address the process to avoid it being repeated.”   (Very sloppy work on LeakID’s part!)

Microsoft accuses Microsoft of copyright infringement, asks Google to scrub … – PCWorld (blog)
http://news.google.com/news/url?sa=t&fd=R&usg=AFQjCNHVawhxzVcs44rSJRUkKNlsPO2xug&url=http://www.pcworld.com/article/2045486/microsoft-accuses-microsoft-of-copyright-infringement-asks-google-to-scrub-search-links.html
copyright infringement news – Google News… Read the rest

Department of Commerce releases report on Copyright Policy

The industries that rely on copyright are today an integral part of the U.S. economy, accounting for millions of jobs and contributing billions of dollars to the G.D.P. Moreover, the creative content they produce contributes to the development of the broader Internet economy, spurring the creation and adoption of innovative distribution technologies. Not only do these industries make important economic contributions, they are at the core of our cultural expression and heritage. It is no exaggeration to say that U.S. music, movies, television shows, computer software, games, writings and works of art have changed the world. Copyright Policy, Creativity, and Innovation in the Digital Economy.

Today, the Department of Commerce Internet Policy Task Force released its anticipated Green Paper, Copyright Policy, Creativity, and Innovation in the Digital Economy. The Internet Policy Task Force (IPTF) is a coalition of Department of Commerce bureaus launched in 2010 “to identify leading public policy and operational challenges in the digital economy.” Along with intellectual property issues, the IPTF has assessed issues relating to consumer data privacy, cybersecurity practices, and the global free flow of information.”

The purpose of the Green Paper is to review the development of copyright policy as it has responded to new technologies in recent decades, assess the current challenges facing copyright law, and provide a set of recommendations to address some of those challenges. The IPTF was aided by the input of a wide range of stakeholders as it drafted the Green Paper, who participated through roundtable discussions, public meetings, and a public commenting process.

Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker opens the report noting not only the economic contributions of copyright — accounting for over five million US jobs and a significant percentage of GDP — but also the noneconomic benefits.

America’s writers, musicians, filmmakers, photographers, sculptors and other creators make up the lifeblood of our culture, build new stores of knowledge, and shape how we see ourselves—and how the world sees us as well. Their influence extends beyond our borders; our copyrighted works weave a compelling narrative of the opportunity and possibility of America, and continue to be at the forefront of the global creative marketplace. We must continue to nurture such extraordinary creative resources.

As the IPTF points out in the forward, “Copyright law has always adapted to technological changes,” but the most recent changes — including digital media and the global Internet — have perhaps been the most profound. Meaningful protection requires enforcement of rights, though there is no single solution to those challenges. This is the backdrop that has motivated the report. The IPTF says that “It is time to assess whether the current balance of rights, exceptions and responsibilities — crafted, for the most part, before the rapid advances in computing and networking of the past two decades — is still working for creators, rights holders, service providers, and consumers.”

The IPTF issues a number of recommendations that it divides into three broad categories:

1)“Updating the balance of rights and exceptions.”

  • Congress should “better rationalize the public performance right for sound recordings.” According to the Task Force, this entails extending the right to cover broadcasting and taking the impact on creators and rights holders into account if it reassesses ratesetting procedures for different types of digital music services.
  • Soliciting public comment on remix and digital first sale issues.
  • Supporting the Copyright Office’s work on Section 108, orphan works, and mass digitization issues.

2)“Assessing and improving enforcement tools to combat online infringement and promote the growth of legitimate services while preserving the essential functioning of the Internet.”

  • Repeating the call for Congress to standardize criminal penalties for streaming with those of reproduction and distribution.
  • Soliciting public comment regarding statutory damages for individual file-sharers and for secondary liability for large-scale online infringement
  • Establishing multi-stakeholder dialogue on effectiveness of DMCA notice and takedown system
  • Supporting the Copyright Office’s improvement of its database on registered agents under the DMCA and its examination on possible copyright small claims procedures.
  • Encouraging development of private sector cooperative initiatives to address online infringement
  • Enhancing public education and outreach for consumers about copyright law and legitimate online services

3)“Realizing the potential of the Internet as a legitimate marketplace for copyrighted works and as a vehicle for streamlining licensing.”

  • Providing input to Congress in any review of music licensing, particularly mechanical licensing for musical compositions
  • Supporting the Copyright Office’s improvement of its registration and recordation systems, including support of provisions for enhancing incentives to use those systems
  • Soliciting public comment on the appropriate role of government in improving online licensing.

The Green Paper traces the early stages of copyright and the Internet, paying particular attention to the US government’s role in facilitating that development — the 1995 Intellectual Property Working Group report Intellectual Property and the National Information Infrastructure laid the ground work for the first wave of copyright policy in the digital age and, in many ways, serves as a blueprint for this Green Paper. The IPTF also calls attention to the current review of the Copyright Act by the House Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet, making the release of the Green Paper ever more timely.

The Green Paper covers a lot of territory. Among the highlights:

  • The “making available” right, required by the 1996 WIPO Internet Treaties, was not implemented in the U.S. because Congress considered the right to be covered by the existing statutory language. Since then, however, courts have been split as to whether the distribution right incorporated the concept of “making available.” The IPTF attempts to rehabilitate Congress’s earlier view by pointing out more recent academic scholarship that better establishes the “making available” right in U.S. law.
  • A “new challenge” faces the meaning of the public performance right — specifically, the Second Circuit’s recent interpretation of the right in WNET v. Aereo. The IPTF writes that the result of this and similar cases might affect the “viability and scope of new licensed business models such as online video subscription services,” and Congress may need to step in if courts continue to undermine a meaningful public performance right.
Read the rest