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Category — Big Media v Internet

RIAA Sues AllofMP3 – Seeks Domain Transfer and $1.65 Trillion in Damages!

Categories: Big Media v InternetCasesCopyrightDRM-Free ServicesPiracy

Following a similar suit by the BPI in July, AllofMP3.com's Moscow-based parent Mediaservices, Inc. has been sued by the RIAA for massive copyright infringement in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York. According to the New York Post:

The RIAA is seeking $150,000 for each instance of copyright infringement. That equates to an astounding $1.65 trillion for the five-month period in question.

Wow! I suspect they'll have a little trouble collecting this damage award if successful! Surprised

Interestingly, along with the damages award, the suit seeks court ordered control of AllofMP3.com's domains. Given the global nature of the Internet, it will be interesting to see if a court would grant such a prayer for relief. Mountainview California-based  Verisign operates the domain name registry for the .com domain space.

AllofMP3.com has long claimed that they are in full compliance with Russian law and pay licensing fees on all music sales to Russia's equivalent of the RIAA, the Russian Organization for Multimedia and Digital Systems (ROMS). The RIAA's response is that ROMS has no authority to issue licenses to AllofMP3 and that AllofMP3.com would require licenses from record companies to legally sell downloadable music – which it does not have.

Dale's Comment: Aside from the astronomical damages request, what intrigues me is the global implications of an order to transfer the domain. There has been much controversy at the United Nations over who should control the Internet and the Internet domain space. The U.S. has fiercely guarded its ultimate ability to control it. If such an order was made by a U.S. court at the behest of the U.S. music industry, and if Verisign complies, this might spark protests from nations around the globe.

Note: I have not yet found the claim online. When I do, I'll post it here. Most of the stories online are all repeats of the original AP story so there are not many details available at this point.

Sources: ars technica | techdirt | Associated Press| Out-Law.com | ABC News | PC Pro | Pocket-Link | New York Post | BBC | Playfuls | Red Herring | MP3.com

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Why Google & YouTube are Not Getting Sued Out of the Water

Categories: Big Media v InternetDMCA-like LawsFYIiVOD/iTVNew Business Models

This is a terrific Business 2.0 article (linked inot a CNN Money.com story) identifying why YouTube and Google are not the subject of as many copyright infringement lawsuits as had been predicted. Namely, Big Media is finding that YouTube can be a net postitive to their ratings and bottom lines.

Sources: CNN Money/Business 2.0

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AllofMP3.com Lives On Despite U.S./Russian WTO Agreement

Categories: Big Media v InternetCopyrightDRM-Free ServicesNew Business ModelsPiracy

AllofMP3.com does not seem like it is willing to go silently into the night.

In response to Visa's and Mastercard's cessation of services to the site, AllofMP3 now uses a prepaid credit proxy, Xrost,which can, in turn, be paid by Visa or Mastercard (See AllofMP3's payment page as explained here).

This recent TechWeb article explains that the payment process is not exactly easy. Only the most determined are likely to work their way through the payment maze. See also this Wired Blog description of the process. Incidentally the Wired Blog claim about the "complete legality" of music downloading in Canada is nonsense (see my blog entry on the topic if interested)! 

On another note, AllofMP3 has engaged a New York-based intellectual property attorney, John Kheit of Chadbourne & Parke, LLP. as a U.S.-based spokesperson, advocate and PR person. In a recent panel discussion Kheit asserted that AllofMP3 has not broken any laws, that it operates legally in Russia and pays 15% of all music sales to Russia's equivalent of the RIAA, the Russian Organization for Multimedia and Digital Systems (ROMS). Kheit claims that foreign rights holders could petition ROMS for payment but that record labels have specifically not requested such payments in fear of legitimizing AllofMP3.

The RIAA's response is that ROMS has no authority to issue licenses to AllofMP3 and that AllofMP3.com would require licenses from record companies to legally sell downloadable music – which it does not have. 

Under the U.S/Russian agreement, Russia has until June 1, 2007 to modify its laws and clarify that such activity is illegal. Until it does AllofMP3.com can continue as is. AllofMP3.com says it will comply with any new laws put in place by Moscow.

Sources: DailyTech | ars technica | The Register | Digital Music | TechWeb | NewHouseNews | MosNews.com | AllofMP3.com Press Release

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Russia Agrees to Shut Down AllofMP3.com at U.S. Request – or did it?

Categories: Big Media v InternetCopyrightDRM-Free ServicesInternational Legal ReformLobbyingNew Business ModelsPiracy

Text of Agreement
Visa and Mastercard halting service to AllofMP3 effectively shut it down. In the face of the credit card departures, AllofMP3.com said it would move to an advertising supported model. Now Russia and the U.S. appear to have reached an agreement to shut it down – or did they?  

ars technica and others are reporting that AllofMP3 says it will not be shut down. Instead it says Russia agreed to certain copyright reforms that AllofMP3.com says it will comply with. Even if this is true, AllofMP3 could never be what it was. If the reported agreement is implemented by Russia, any new AllofMP3.com would be as close to its current incarnation as today's Napster is to its original form.

As of the time of this post, AllofMP3.com was still up and running.

Dale's Comment: This is a sad day of sorts. While the legality of AllofMP3 was always murky, its success (second in world-wide sales only to iTunes) was a clear example of the fact that consumers are willing to pay a fair price for music from a site that services the users needs, if they are given fair rights to use the music they purchase. In the case of AllofMP3.com the user could chose the format they wished to purchase and there were no restrictions on the use they could make of the music.  I look forward to the day the major labels learn this lesson and start offering DRM-free music for sale to honest users under fair terms.

Sources: TechCrunch | CNet | ars technica | Inquirer | The Register | ABC News | ComputerWorld | PC Magazine | MOSNews | MP3.com | Techwhack | Techdirt | ZDNet | Macworld | DailyTech

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Internet-TV Aggregators are Popping Up like Dandelions

Categories: Big Media v InternetBigMedia v NewTechiVOD/iTVNew TechPiracy

I don't know what is in the air these days, but Internet-TV aggregators seem to be popping up all over the Internet. I recently blogged about Tioti and the TVUPlayer, each of which have received substantial press coverage owing to their controversial nature. 

Over the last few days, I have become aware of dozens of online TV, movie and other aggregators running the gamut from sites streaming literally hundreds of live TV channels over the Internet to others indexing and hosting thousands of TV shows and movies for instant viewing over the Internet. 

Many of the live broadcast feeds are likely accessed from Internet feeds supplied by the content owners themselves. But, I'm guessing, others are likely redirected Slingbox or similar streams. As you can read in my TVUPlayer post, the company's CEO, Paul Shen, believes he can escape U.S. copyright infringement liability using the DMCA's ISP safe harbor. He argues that the streams are made available from the service's users and not hosted directly by his company.   

peekvid and QuickSilverScreen in particular, seem to be the most blatantly infringing services of the lot. They directly index over a thousand TV shows, movies, cartoons etc. for instant viewing. Users can select a particular TV series from a list and then directly view selected episodes – on demand. Movies can similarly be selected and viewed on demand. If peekvid is located in the U.S., I suspect it won't be long before the link fails to work owing to NAB and MPAA legal actions. QuickSilverScreen was located in the U.S. until Fox sent it a cease and desist letter. The proprietor has sold it to someone offshore and it continues to operate unabated from an offshore location. 

In no particular order, here are only a few of the dozens of live TV aggregation sites that have popped up recently.

All of these have the following features in common:
  • They all actually worked when I tried them
  • Of the dozens of other aggregators available, these sites required no prior signups or passwords. 
  • Unlike Tioti and the TVUPlayer, no plugins or downloads were required for these sites to work – simply show up, click and watch.
  • My browser, Firefox 2.0, is set to disable popups and redirects – all worked without popups or redirects 
  • Many of the video streams were resizable – even to full screen in many contexts
This is clearly a new trend, or at least a new trend to me. In light of the fact that iCrave TV was so quickly shut down in 2003 for doing essentially the same thing, it is surprising to see so many seemingly thriving. I gather that most, if not all, are hosted in far-off countries outside the reach of NAB and the MPAA – for now. As AllofMP3.com has recently discovered, locating offshore will not, alone, keep you outside the reach of the U.S. copyright lobby.
 
See also the Digg.com comments to an original story about Streamick.com that provided the spark to get me blogging about this.

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Universal Music Group Sues MySpace over Video Transcoding Service

Categories: Big Media v InternetBigMedia v NewTechCasesCopyrightPiracy

Universal Music Group has sued Myspace for providing a transcoding service. Myspace users upload videos to their MySpace account and Myspace transcodes them into formats playable by its users. Alleging that MySpace "encourages, facilitates and participates in the unauthorized reproduction, adaptation, distribution and public performance,", UMG is seeking an injunction and unspecified damages, including up to $150,000 for each unauthorized music video or song posted on the Web site. Until last week the two were in licensing discussions. To paraphrase Clausewitz, lawsuits such as this are just business negotiations by another means.

Dale's Comment: This is an interesting claim. It may very well turn on the facts. As I understand them, MySpace is agnostic as to what the content is. It has taken some steps to limit infringing uploads. In this case its servers accept user video uploads, examine the format, if not a supported format they then transcodes it into a playable format. This seems to be similar to what YouTube and other video hosting sites do. But YouTube signed a licensing agreement with Universal (and others) after being threatened with a lawsuit. If Myspace fights this, it will likely argue that it is an ISP, and all they are providing is a tool that can be used by their users for legitimate or illegitimate purposes. Assuming that MySpace is otherwise responding to Universal's DMCA take-down notices, this transcoding service may very well fall within the DMCA's safe harbour.

Sources: TechCrunch | Reuters | Yahoo! News (AP) | Forbes | *Law.com | VNUNet | MTV | CIO Today | Out-law.com | PCPro | Silicon.com | BBC | CNet | DRM Watch

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TIOTI – Another Web-based TV Service Combining Legitimate TV with BitTorrent Feeds

Categories: Big Media v InternetiVOD/iTVNew TechPiracy

TIOTI (Tape it of the Internet) is another web service in beta that intends to provide legitimate TV and pointers to TV show torrents for download through BitTorrent clients such as uTorrent and Azureus. According to the TIOTI Website:

We currently index 1,600+ TV shows – 90,000+ episodes – and we are matching everything up with content sources like iTunes, AOL and Amazon Unbox – with more to come.

Our beta feature set allows you to do exactly what it says on the tin and do it in style. With integrated message boards, groups, personalised badges and an extensive API, we have lots more great stuff coming soon too.

Dale's Comment: It appears the TIOTI founders believe they can steer clear of the many recent lawsuits brought against torrent host sites by including only pointers to torrents hosted elsewhere rather than the torrents themselves. I have little doubt that this presumed 'safe harbour' will be quickly tested in the courts if TIOTI becomes at all successful.

I have added myself to the waiting list to test this out once it expands its beta. I'll report back what I see if/when I join the beta.

Sources: TIOTI's Website | Techcrunch 1 | Techcrunch 2 – Paul Cleghorn (Founder) Interview | PVRWIre | TorrentFreak Interview with founder Paul Pod | Guardian Unlimited

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YouTube Faces Heightened Copyright Scrutiny Since Google Buyout Announcement

Categories: Big Media v InternetBigMedia v NewTechDMCA-like LawsFair Use/DealingiVOD/iTVNew Business Models

As you can see from the "Related Posts" links, below I have blogged about YouTube's copyright liability in the past. It seems like the deep-pockets behind YouTube's new parent, Google, have brought out the copyright infringement vultures, and those that wish to speculate on the future (or demise) of YouTube specifically and copyright infringement on the Internet generally. The stories linked-to below are only a few of the avalanche of stories and blog posts on this topic over the last week.

Faced with an increased level of DMCA take-down notices, YouTube is busily working on taking down 10's of thousands of copyrighted works as requested by media owners. It's a difficult chore. Some 60,000 new videos are posted on YouTube every day. Offending materials are often put back up as soon as they are taken down.

YouTube says it will take a tough action to avoid such problems in the future and has committed to developing and deploying technology that can sniff out copyrighted video clips and bits of music. YouTube will also provide "copyright owners with user identification information" of users that post infringing content – after receiving a valid subpoena (See this CNet article).

While there may be some bumps and no doubt many legal hurdles and lawsuits along the way, if I were a betting man, I'd bet that YouTube will survive all legal challenges in-tact. This is a new and emerging area of the law. The DMCA provides the s. 512(c) safe harbour for this (the take-down scheme). YouTube is complying with its take-down obligations under the DMCA and similar laws around the globe.

More interestingly, YouTube's 10 minute video clip limit can dovetail with the self-interest of Big Media – those most likely to sue, and have the resources need to sue, Google. After initially fighting with YouTube over the posting of this Natalie Portman skit on Saturday Night Live, in the face of a furor from Internet bloggers, NBC backed-off, and allowed the post to remain on YouTube for awhile. NBC discovered that YouTube was a terrific way to promote its show as new and hip to a coveted younger demographic. Ahhhhhhhhh —- self interest (with strong lobbyists) … wins every time!

Sources: New York Times | ABC News | BBC | Forrester | PVRWire | Information Week | Fox News | ars technica | Mark Cuban 1 | Mark Cuban 2 | Mark Cuban 3 | Register | Variety | Forbes (AP) | CNet 1 | CNet 2 | Slate

Cranky Geeks Videocast on Topic (Episode 31) John C. Dvorak, Sebastian Rupley, West Coast Editor, PC Magazine, Matt Mullenweg, Founder, WordPress.org, Gary Messiana, CEO, Netli, Inc.

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Danish Court Blocks AllofMP3.com

Categories: Big Media v InternetCasesDecisionsDRM-Free Services

One of Europe's largest ISPs, Tele2, has been ordered by a Danish court to block AllofMP3.com, the controversial Russia-based MP3 etailer. To my knowledge, this is the first decision of its kind anywhere in the world. The decision sets somewhat of a precedent insofar as there is now an affirmative obligation of a Danish ISP to effectively censor the sites their customers can access. Tele2 has said it will appeal the decision.

Dale's Comment: This ruling can be easily circumvented by Danish web surfers simply by using any of the numerous anonymizer sites on the Internet.

Sources: Slyck

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TVUPlayer – Watch Most Any TV Station Anywhere

Categories: Big Media v InternetiVOD/iTVNew TechPiracy

Hearkening back to the days of iCrave.TV, the TV networks and studios have another imminent battle on their hands. The TVU Player (downloadable here) from TVU Networks in Shanghai, China. TVU Player allows anyone to place a broadcast signal on the Internet for view by anyone.  See Review here: (WebTVHub)

November 6, 2006 Update: Paul Shen the CEO of TVU Network was interviewed by CNET:

He acknowledged that much of the content on the TVUPlayer belongs to others but denied being a video pirate. Users of his technology are responsible for any copyright violations, Shen said, and they are the ones who stream the TV broadcasts–though he conceded that they are able do this only through the use of his technology.

Mr. Shen also claims that his technology was intended as a demonstration of technology only and that it "can help broadcasters mine a rich new distribution platform and advertise to new customers".

Dale's Comment: Given the Chinese jurisdiction, this one may be harder for the MPAA et. al. to shut down. However, PVR Wire says that Paul Shen lives and works in Northern California. Mr. Shen may wish to talk to the folks behind iCrave TV and SportingStreams.com to see how receptive the broadcast industry will be to this kind of help! :)

Original Sources: Gizmodo | Web TV Hub | PC Magazine | ABC | P2P-Weblog | Digital Journal | PVRWire

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Visa and Mastercard Stop Servicing AllofMP3.com

Categories: Big Media v InternetLobbyingNew Business ModelsPiracy

Both Visa and Mastercard have announced that it has stopped accepting transactions from AllofMP3.com, the Moscow-based, deep-discount, comprehensive music download service. It is the second most-used music download site on the Internet. It is popular because users can purchases songs how they want, in whatever format and bitrate they want without use-limiting DRM.

Mastercard justified this action by saying they do not "tolerate the use of its network for illegal activity." AllofMP3's notes that what it does is not illegal in Russia – and so far the Russian courts have upheld this view.

"The company believes the action taken by the world’s largest payment processors is arbitrary, capricious and discriminatory because Visa and MasterCard lack the authority to adjudicate the legality of AllofMP3’s activities and its determination that the company’s activities were illegal is patently erroneous and without legal merit. AllofMP3 has not been found by any court in the world to be in violation of any law."

"It is evident that Visa and MasterCard made the decision on factors other than legal grounds since the decision was not based on an adjudicated verdict by any court in the Russian Federation or, for that matter, anywhere in the world. To disqualify AllofMP3 based on a payment processing company’s whim is irresponsible and sets a bad precedence."

AllofMP3's immediate response was to start giving away music free to all-comers. It is considering talking legal action against the credit card companies. Some reports have said that it is considering moving to an all-advertising business model.

Dale's Comment: Despite the many actions of governments and courts around the globe, this is clearly the first real nail in AllofMP3.com's coffin. The major labels should establish a virtually identical service and charge up to ten times the price AllofMP3 charges and honest users like me would flock to their service. AllofMP3.com fills a critical need for honest music purchasers – a service where songs can be purchased where the user is not restricted as to the player she wishes to play the music on nor is she limited to the number and type of devices and services she can play her music on.

Sources: CNet | Information Week | Geek.com | Computer Business Review | Business Week | Warez | PC Pro | PC Magazine | Techwhack | Slyck | MP3.com | ars technica 1 | ars technica 2 | Forbes | afterdawn| T3

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Michael Geist Concludes 30 Days of DRM

Categories: Artists Against DRMBig Media v InternetCopyrightDMCA-like LawsDRM & ResearchDRM AnalysisDRM Arms RaceDRM as Market LockDRM CircumventionDRM Restricting UseFair Use/DealingIntrusive TPMs - RootkitsLegal ReformLobbyingPiracyPolicy Analysis

Version of 30 Days of DRM
Canadian Copyright reform is in the air. In anticipation of possible legislative action this fall, Michael Geist’s 30 day series of daily articles “30 Days of DRM” has come to an end. While he ultimately argues, as I do, that it would be preferable NOT to adopt
DMCA-like anti-circumvention legislation in Canada, the Conservative government may succumb to the copyright lobby. These articles, which are quite good, propose limitations that should be included in any such Canadian DMCA-like legislation to fairly protect Canadian consumers and to guard against the multitude of problems created by the U.S.’s enactment of anti-circumvention measures in the U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

30 Days of DRM:
- Day 1 – Linking Copyright and Anti-Circumvention (Markets)
- Day 2 – Region Coding (Markets)
- Day 3 – Oversite of DRM Misuse (Markets)
- Day 4 – DRM Misuse Sanctions (Markets)
- Day 5 – DRM Labeling and Consumer Awareness (Public Protection)
- Day 6 – Interoperability (Public Protection and Markets)
- Day 7 – DRM-Free Library Deposits (Public Protection)
- Day 8 – Privacy (Circumvention Rights)
- Day 9 – Reverse Engineering (Circumvention Rights)
- Day 10 – Security Research(Circumvention Rights)
- Day 11 – Involuntary Installation of Software (Circumvention Rights)
- Day 12 – Research and Private Study (Circumvention Rights)
- Day 13 – Criticism, Review and News Reporting (Circumvention Rights)
- Day 14 – Private Copying (Circumvention Rights)
- Day 15 – Artistic Access (Circumvention Rights)
- Day 16 – System Repair (Circumvention Rights)
- Day 17 – Broken or Obsolete Technology (Circumvention Rights)
- Day 18 – Backup Copies of Software (Circumvention Rights)
- Day 19 – Backup Copies of Digital Consumer Products (Circumvention Rights)
- Day 20 – Public Domain (Circumvention Rights)
- Day 21 – Print Disabilities Circumvention Rights)
- Day 22 – Libraries (Circumvention Rights)
- Day 23 – Education Institutions (Circumvention Rights)
- Day 24 – Time Shifting (Circumvention Rights)
- Day 25 – Statutory Obligations (Circumvention Rights)
- Day 26 – Investigation of Concealed Code (Circumvention Rights)
- Day 27 – Government Works (DRM Policy)
- Day 28 – Review of New Circumvention Rights (Circumvention Rights)
- Day 29 – No Ban on Circumvention Devices (Foundation Issue)
- Day 30 – Prohibition on Contractual Circumvention of Rights (Foundation Issue)
- 30 Things You Can Do

Source: Michael Geist’s 30 Days of DRM Page

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Music Industry Targets Guitar Tab Sites

Categories: Big Media v InternetDMCA-like Laws

In response to DMCA take-down letters sent by the NMPA and the MPA, guitar tablature sites “Guitar Tab Universe” and the “Online Guitar Archive” have shut down their online tab sites. This follows recent successful efforts by the music industry to shut down music lyric websites.

Sources: ars technica | | New York Times Pittsburgh Tribute-Review | Cybergrass | Lowellsun.com | Audiophile Audition | Music Student & Teather Org | Guitar Tab Universe Statement | Music Publishers’ Association Statement

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YouTube Sued by L.A. News Services

Categories: Big Media v InternetBigMedia v NewTechCasesDMCA-like Laws

Motion for Summary Adjudication (Nov 2006)

This is amusing. Minutes after posting the Von Lohmann story below about how the DMCA is shielding YouTube from law suits, I come across this new story that YouTube is being sued by an L.A. news service over its users' posting videos containing its copyrighted coverage of the 1992 L.A. riots on the YouTube service.

Sources: Hollywood Reporter Esq | EFF Deep Links | ars technica | Silicon.com | P2PNet | MTV

Other YouTube-Related Posts

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How YouTube Avoids the Internet Copyright Police

Categories: Big Media v InternetBigMedia v NewTechDMCA-like Laws

In this interesting set of articles, the EFF and ars technica explain why YouTube, for now, seems safe from the Internet police in that it takes advantage of the safe-harbour provisions of the much hated, fair-use inhibiting, DMCA.

Sources: EFF's Fred von Lohmann's Article in Hollywood Reporter Esq | EFF Deep Links | ars technica

Other YouTube-Related Posts

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RIAA Sends Cease and Desist Letters to Youtube/Google Video Users

Categories: Big Media v InternetBigMedia v NewTechBigMedia v. P2P UsersCease & DesistiVOD/iTV

Post a few seconds of you or your friends dancing to an RIAA-member song on YouTube or Google Video? Expect a cease and desist letter from the RIAA.

Sources: ars technica | techdirt

Dale's Comment: I wonder how the RIAA is going to justify how a video of my sister contorting to the Chicken Dance is going to hurt their members' bottom lines.

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YouTube’s Looming Fair Use Battle

Categories: Big Media v InternetFair Use/DealingiVOD/iTVNew Business Models

In this interesting Engadget article, YouTube's fair use defenses are discussed in the context of an inevitable big media law suit alleging use of video clips infringes their copyrights. YouTube has been very conscientious about establishing copyright policies and removing infringing videos in their entirety, as required by the DMCA. For example YouTube quickly removed the Natalie Portman SNL video when NBC demanded this. But, the more interesting challenge will be when YouTube asserts that use of short video clips/snippets from big media sourced video (eg: a disputed penalty in a sporting event, the Janet Jackson wardrobe malfunction, a snippet from a David Letterman interview or top 10 list, etc.) is fair use under copyright law for educational, parody, commentary and/or criticism purposes. Assuming YouTube's current million-dollar-a-month burn rate doesn't take them down first, every fiber of my body tells me they are in for a fair use fight with broadcasters, organized sports and/or the MPAA at some point down the line.

Source: Engadget

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Is Hollywood Mulling-Over Possible Slingbox Litigation?

Categories: Big Media v InternetBigMedia v NewTechiVOD/iTV

Slingbox is an Internet TV streaming device from Sling Media that enables consumers to remotely view their cable, satellite, or personal video recorder (PVR) programming from an Internet-enabled computer with a broadband Internet connection. This is commonly referred to as “space shifting”. HBO’s CTO, Bob Zitter, has said that content owners believe Slingbox violates their copyrights. Whether or not Slingbox violates copyrights, content owners perceive it as a competitive threat because: (i) they themselves are interested in monetizing the delivery of their programs via broadband connections; and (ii) Slingbox threatens their retransmission-consent arrangements by enabling out-of-market viewing of network and syndicated content. So, the question is, will Hollywood sue Sling Media for competitive reasons, arguing that the Slingbox, which does not copy or store content and only allows consumers that purchase content to access their content remotely, infringes its IP rights?

Sources: LightReading.com  |  ars technica  |  Broadcasting & Cable  |  Information Week  |  CEA Press Release Praising Slingbox  |  Wikipedia Entry on Slingbox

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Proposed “Perform Act” to Restrict Satellite & Web Streaming Recording

Categories: Big Media v InternetBigMedia v NewTechCopy RestrictionsFair Use/DealingLegal ReformSatellite Radio

Text of Proposed Perform Act
The PERFORM Act (“Platform Equality and Remedies for Rights Holders in Music Act of 2006“) was introduced into Congress yesterday. The bill prohibits satellite radio from offering its subscribers devices capable of recording off the air unless royalties are paid and content is locked with DRM. The catalyst for the bill was new devices XM Radio is bringing to the market that allow customers to save songs on the receivers. Sirius had already made deals with the major record companies that compensate them for downloads on its S-50 receiver.

Also in the bill is a provision that would effectively require music webcasters to use DRM-laden streaming formats, rather than the MP3 streaming.

Sources: EFF Deep Links | ars technica | BBC | TMCNet | Reuters | Billboard | CNet | Tech News – HRCC’s response | Red Herring | Hollywood Reporter | Washintgon Times | Techdirt | PublicKnowledge | Cathy Kirkman

Dale’s Comment: Aspects of this bill have merit. I agree that anyone wishing a permanent, transferable copy of a song broadcast through XM or Sirius should pay for it. If, however, the device does not permit the user to copy the song to an external device, then the concept is more akin to a PVR such as TiVo and fair use rights should allow the user to enjoy the song within the specific device for a reasonable period of time without an additional royalty payment – remember, XM and Sirius subscribers already pay compulsory royalties via their subscriptions to these services. To the extent an additional royalty payment is made to purchase a song, the user should have the right to copy/transmit the song off the XM/Sirius device to any other device owned by the user and, of course, all the other incidents of fair use for purchased music that I advocate for on this site should apply – the right to of the owner to transcode it to any other format, the right to play it on any device owned by the consumer, the right to sell/give-away/alienate the purchased copy (without retaining a copy) etc. If, however, this bill results in an obligation to pay for music that can’t be removed from the device or otherwise fairly used by the user, it should not be adopted.

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Lyrics Dustup Ends in Apology

Categories: Big Media v InternetBigMedia v NewTechCease & Desist

Warner Chappel Music apologizes for cease and desist letter sent to software programmer to pull the PearLyrics application that displays lyrics when a song is being played in iTunes.

Sources: Wired | Red Herring | The Register | MacWorld | EFF’s Dec 13 Letter to Warner | PearLyrics Website

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Netflix “indefinitely postpones” Online Movie Download Service

Categories: AgreementsBig Media v InternetBigMedia v NewTech

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings confirmed they had “indefinitely” postponed the test launch of that new online movie download service they’ve been testing owing to problems getting the studios to agree to license their content.

Sources: Engadget  |  ars technica  |  PVR Blog  |  Video Business

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Would you Pay 5 Cents for a Song?

Categories: Big Media v InternetNew Business ModelsPolicy Analysis

A McGill academic and former Clash producer, Sandy Pearlman, proposes a 5 cent per downloadable song solution.

Sources: Blogcritics.org + Globe & Mail Article | Irish Eyes | Londonist | Zero Paid | Mac Observer

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Canada Blocks Free Net TV – iCrave TV

Categories: Big Media v InternetiVOD/iTVPiracy

Canadian regulators ruled that it is illegal to put broadcast TV signals onto the Internet without permission, dashing the hopes of entrepreneurs hoping to create new Net TV businesses.

Sources: CNet | WikiPedia

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