Dale Dietrich
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Category — Legal Issues

Lycos Sues TiVo, Netflix and Blockbuster Over

Categories: CasesPatents

U.S. Patent 6,775,664*
U.S. Patent 6,308,175*
One-time rival of Yahoo! and Google, Lycos claims that TiVo, Netflix and Blockbuster infringe its two patents over the way they provide movie and television show recommendations to customers.

Dale's Comment:  *I am not certain of the patents listed above. These were cited by Davis Freeberg as the most likely patents involved.. I'll update if/when I get more information. I wonder why Amazon.com wasn't named here. The methods used by these companies to recommend content is pretty straight forward and, to me, obvious. 

Sources: DallasNews (Bloomberg) | Mercury News | SeekingAlpha | Davis Freeberg

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Steve Gibson’s Intertwined History of Copyright and Media-related Technologies

Categories: BigMedia v NewTechCopy RestrictionsCopyrightDMCA-like LawsDRM AnalysisDRM Restricting UseFair Use/Dealing

  Podcast Episode 73 Transcript
Episode 73 of Steve Gibson's Security Now podcast with Leo LaPorte has a terrific primer on the intertwined history of advancements in technology making it easier for consumers to copy content, fair use, the lobbying efforts by the content industry that resulted in U.S. copyright law amendments up to and including the 1996 WIPO Copyright Treaty, the DMCA implementing the treaty, and the detrimental effects these new laws have on consumer fair use rights.

  Click here to listen to Episode 73 of the Security Now podcast. (This will download an 8.0 MB MP3 file that your default media player should load and play). For a higher quality version of this podcast click here (32 MB).

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French Court Rules Sony’s Portable Music Player & Download Service Breach Linked Sales Laws

Categories: AntitrustDecisionsDRM Restricting Use

A French court ruled that Sony's tying sales of music to a single type of portable music player, breached French law forbidding such "linked sales".  The Court also ruled that Sony mislead its customers by not making it clear on its portable music player packaging that it could only play music downloaded from Sony's own Connect music store

Importantly, the court did not go so far as to forbid the use of DRM, however.  

Sony was ordered to: (i) pay a fine of 10,000 euros ($13,000); (ii) henceforth state on its music-player packaging that the product only play songs downloaded from Sony's own Connect music store; and (iii) publish the information on its French website homepage.

Sources: The Australian | AgroVox | Euro2Day | Daily India | Washington Times | MSNBC

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Apple iTunes DRM-Antitrust Case to Continue (Tucker v. Apple)

Categories: AntitrustCasesDRM Restricting Use

From the Thomas Slattery case back in January of 2005 till now there have been several lawsuits brought against Apple alleging Apple's use of proprietary DRM schemes limiting music purchased from iTunes to playing back only on portable devices manufactured by Apple as anti-competitive.

A U.S. District court recently denied Apple's motion to dismiss the Tucker v. Apple case (filed in July 2006) similarly alleging, among other things, that:

Apple has engaged in tying and monopolizing behavior, placing unneeded and unjustifiable technological restrictions on its most popular products in an effort to restrict consumer choice and restrain what little remains of its competition in the digital music markets.

In denying Apple's request, U.S. District Court James concluded,  

"the existence of valid business reasons in antitrust cases is generally a question of fact not appropriate for resolution at the motion to dismiss stage.

Melanie Tucker is seeking class status, wants Apple to be enjoined from tieing music bought on iTunes to iPods as the only possible portable playback device for such music plus unspecified damages for all persons that purchased music from iTunes since April of 2004. 

Sources: Engadget | WebProNews | Ecommerce Times | GameShout | Home Media Magazine | Active Home | Computer World | Macworld | ITNews | P2PNet | ZDNet Blogs  Yahoo! News (AP)

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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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EMusic Sells 100 Millionth Song without DRM

Categories: DRM-Free ServicesFair Use/DealingMilestonesNew Business Models

Online music seller eMusic is second only to DRM-laden iTunes for legitimate online music sales. Most of its library of 2 million songs comes from independent labels. It's success proves that consumers are more than willing to pay fair prices for DRM-free music. While it took the eMusic two years to sell its first 50 million songs, it has taken less than a year to sell the next 50 million.

Dales Comment:  While I applaud eMusic, it too has a business model that I don't like. While individual songs can be purchased, their business model requires the user to pay a minimal subscription fee every month. Song purchases are deducted from the monthly fee. If you spend more than the fee, then you have to pay extra.  My perfect world of music sales is to buy DRM-free songs with no minimum monthly commitment. I would be able to buy as many or as few as I want. Frankly, I'd like eMusic service to mimic that of AllofMP3.com's. Charge a fair per song price, allow me to purchase whatever I want in whatever format I want. That is a service I'd use!

Sources: Washington Post | MacWorld | Sydney Morning Herald | TopTechNews| Tech Dirt | MP3.com | CNet Blogs | PC-Pro | Pocket-Lint

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Shawn Hogan’s Motion to Dismiss RIAA Claim Denied

Categories: BigMedia v. P2P UsersCopyrightDecisions

Motion to Dismiss Denied (December 11, 2006)
Text of Motion to Dismiss (November 2, 2006)
Last August I wrote about millionaire Shawn Hogan's decision to fight back against the MPAA's allegation that he illegally downloaded "Meet the Fockers". Last November I wrote about his motion to dismiss based on faulty copyright registrations

District Court Judge Thomas J. Whelan agreed that Hogan was factually correct but has nevertheless denied the motion to dismiss stating:

Courts take a liberal approach to errors in copyright registrations. Serious errors—even in the claimant’s name—do not invalidate copyright registrations in the absence of fraud before the Copyright Office or prejudice to the alleged infringer … Otherwise, the infringer would get a “free pass” to infringe, essentially because of a technicality.

…. 

Hogan has not even suggested that ither Universal entity defrauded the Copyright Office, nor has he shown prejudice dueto the error. Instead, he seeks to avoid addressing the merits of the copyright infringement claim by pointing out an error in the registration. Fortunately (for authors,claimants, and the general public), the Copyright Act does not require such rigid aherence to formalities.  

Sources: Text of Motion to Dismiss | Recording Industry v. The People |

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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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TiVo Decode Manager v1.0 Automates TiVo’s Cracked DRM on Macs

Categories: CopyrightDMCA-like LawsDRM Arms RaceDRM CircumventionDRM-Free ServicesFair Use/DealingPiracy

This was inevitable. I didn't expect it so soon.

Within days of TiVo's DRM being cracked, someone has automated the rather difficult to use TiVo Decode Manager and created an easy to use TiVo2Go application, without DRM, on Apple computers. The software automatically discovers local TiVos. With one mouse click shows are downloaded from the TiVo, DRM-free, to the Mac by episode, recorded date etc. The resultant Mpeg-2 files still need to be converted to a PC-usable format such as .wmv using a program like VLC. My guess is that it won't be long before the end-to-end process is fully automated.

Dale's Comment: I foresee TiVo-released DMCA take-down notices being sent to whoever controls thebenesch.com (the site hosting the program) in the near future!

Sources: Engadget | PVR Wire

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Australian Copyright Reform: Copying CDs to iPods, Legal – Breaking DRM or Archiving Recorded TV, Illegal

Categories: CopyrightDMCA-like LawsDRM Restricting UseFair Use/DealingInternational Legal Reform

  Text of Copyright Amendment Bill 2006
Australia is set to amend its  copyright laws to finally make it legal for consumers to record TV shows and to copy music they own on CDs onto their iPods and other portable music devices.  Such copying is now illegal under Australian and British copyright law. The Copyright Amendment Bill 2006 passed through both houses of Parliament and most of it will become law by January 1. According to theage.com.au:

"It will legalise format shifting of materials such as music, newspapers, books, meaning that people can put their CD collection onto iPods or mp3 players." 

But, and this is a big but, it will be illegal/infringing to breach a technological protection measure (TPM) to copy or format shift content you own.  This pretty much nullifies the importance of this amendment beyond the CD format as virtually all content will be locked down with TPMs/DRM going forward.  Too bad. 

Importantly, the Australian Attorney General makes it clear in this FAQ that building up a library of programs recorded from TV broadcasts for a permanent archive is not permitted.  I have argued for years that permanent archiving of TV shows (whether on VHS cassette tapes or TiVo) constitutes copyright infringement under U.S. and Canadian copyright law. Few have wanted to believe me. Well, the question is answered with clarity in the Australian context at least!

And one more thing, the bill makes it legal to sing "Happy Birthday" in public – an act which was also previously illegal in Australia! :)

Dale's Comment: While the CD-to-iPod amendment is a nice short term measure, the bill, overall, is anti-consumer in the long run. Australian's have a one-time get out of jail free card.  If the past is any indication of the future, the prohibition against breaching TPMs for content owned by the consumer will be completely ignored by most consumers as it is patently unfair to preclude the purchaser of content from using it/reading it/accessing it on any device of their choosing. Hence, the law is set up to fail from the start – just as the previous prohibitions against copying failed to stop consumers from copying their music onto iPods.

Sources: theage.com.au 1 | theage.com.au 2 | The Australian | InfoWorld | Syndey Morning Herald | FAQ

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TiVo’s DRM Reportedly Cracked

Categories: CopyrightDMCA-like LawsDRM Arms RaceDRM CircumventionDRM-Free ServicesFair Use/DealingPiracy

Gizmodo, Engadget and others are reporting that the folks at SourceForge.net have successfully hacked the TiVo DRM using a program they call the TiVo File Decoder.

Dale's Comment: If true, expect a patch from TiVo soon! :)  Unfortunately for those of us waiting for the TiVo Series 3 software upgrade that was due out about now, my guess is we'll be waiting awhile longer while TiVo's engineers work at sorting this one out. :(

Sources: Gizmodo | Engadget | Engadget 2 | Crunch Gear | PVRWire | Megazone-TiVoLovers | PVRBlog | TiVoCommunity Forum | Daily Tech | ars technica

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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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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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Paramount Sues Loan ‘N Go For Loading Purchased Movies Onto Customer iPods

Categories: BigMedia v NewTechCasesDMCA-like LawsFair Use/DealingNew Business Models

Text of Complaint (Nov 3, 2006)

This one doesn't surprise me. It is more of the same – big media bites off its nose to spite its face by bringing lawsuits against any new business model that they don't sanction. In this case, Boston's Load 'N Go offers a service to their DVD-purchasing customers, by copying their purchased movie onto an iPod. You would think Paramount would appreciate vendors adding value for customers buying Paramount's products. But no, they choose to sue, presumably to force honest purchasers to purchase the movie twice, once on DVD and again as a download. The DMCA makes such copying, even for what otherwise would be fair use, illegal. So, thanks to the DMCA, Paramount seems to have a case. Chalk another one up for Paramount and another loss for honest consumers. This is precisely the thing that drives honest consumers to BitTorrent.

[Nov 29 Update: No doubt Paramount wishes to do what Warner Bros is now doing with videos sold at Walmart. According to CNN, Techcrunch and others, if you buy Warner's “Superman Returns” at Wal-Mart, you can pay an additional $1.97 to play it on portable devices, $2.97 more to play it on PCs or laptops, or $3.97 to play it on either portable devices or PCs/laptops. Ah, the old Big Media nickel and diming profit strategy. Don't you love it!]

[Nov 30 Update: Ha! It appears the EFF has come to the same conclusion – I wonder if they read my blog before writing this.]

Sources: Engadget | ars technica | ComputerWorld | TechWeb | NeoSeeker | Information Week | MacWorld | Torrentfreak | CNet | PC Advisor | EFF | EFF 2

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ippr Report Recommends U.K. Copyright Law Include a Private Copy Right

Categories: CopyrightDMCA-like LawsDRM AnalysisDRM Restricting UseFair Use/DealingInternational Legal ReformPolicy Analysis

Text of Report
The UK think-tank, Institute for Public Policy Research (ippr) has released a study, “Public Innovation: Intellectual Property in a Digital Age” where, among many other things, it recommends that U.K. citizens should have the right to copy their own content for their own personal use – something currently prohibited in the U.K. It concludes:

…in seeking to limit pirate activity, emphasis should be on commercial harm to the rights-holder, rather than the act of sharing itself. As such, we recommend UK law be amended to include a private right to copy. Again, this will serve to increase legitimacy of the IP regime by legalizing actions that thousands of individuals already undertake without significant harm to the rights-holder.

The BPI had come to the same conclusion earlier this year. As it stands now millions of U.K. citizens are breaking the law when copying their purchased DVDs or CDs onto their computers and iPods or creating compilation tapes of their own music. The existing law is silly. Kay Withers, one of the report’s authors, said:

The idea of all-rights reserved doesn’t make sense for the digital era and it doesn’t make sense to have a law that everyone breaks. To give the IP regime legitimacy it must command public respect.

In the U.S. personal copying for private use is enshrined in law as part of their fair use doctrine. In exchange for paying levies on blank media, the private copying exemption contained in section 80(1) of the Copyright Act makes it legal for Canadians to reproduce musical works for private use.

As Michael Geist and others have recommended, Canada and Britain should explicitly make copying of purchased content of any type (audio, video, text) for private use legal – without a media levy and without penalties for circumventing DRM/TPMs to do so. Any click wrap/shrink wrap or other end-user license terms to the contrary should be unenforcible.

Sources: BBC | Engadget | Hexus | Pocket-lint | CIO | Times Online | UPI | Xinhau | Daily Tech | TechNewsWorld | TechWeb | Silicon.com | Guardian Unlimited | Variety | P2PNet | P2PNet | PC Pro | Playfuls | Washington Times

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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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Gemstar and Moxi Battle Over Interactive, Onscreen Programming Guide

Categories: CasesPatents

In a battle reminiscent of the Gemstar/TiVo patent dispute from 2000-2003, which settled when TiVo licensed Gemstar’s patents and agreed to place TV Guide’s logo on TiVo’s onscreen program guide (see CNet account of Settlement here), Gemstar, the owner of TV Guide, is suing Moxi over its use of onscreen programming guides. Apparently this all started when Digeo, Moxi’s parent, sought to license a subset of Gemstar patents pertaining to interactive program guides (IPG). Gemstar would only agree to license the entirety of its patents to Moxi – presumably at a higher fee than Moxi was willing to pay for the subset of IPG-related patents. Moxi had first filed a pre-emptive antitrust suit in September.

Sources: Engadget HD | Seattle Times | Broadcast Newsroom | Zatz Not Funny!| PVRWire | ag-it-news

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Federal Circuit CA Blocks TiVo Injunction Against Echostar Pending Appeal

Categories: CasesInjunctionsPatents

TiVo won a $74M patent infringement case against Echostar on April 13, 2006. On August 18, TiVo won an injunction preventing Echostar from making and selling infringing DVRs. The injunction was immediately stayed by the Court of Appeal. Today, the injunction was stayed indefinately pending Echostar’s appeal. This means that Echostar will not have to disable its several million deployed PVRs. “There is a substantial case” for EchoStar’s appeal, concluded Circuit Judge William C. Bryson and Echostar would be harmed if it had to shut down. The ruling wasn’t based on the merits of Echostar’s ultimate case.

Dale’s Comment: I can’t say this was unexpected. Disappointing, but not unexpected.

Sources: Forbes | Bloomberg | Business Week (AP) | Mercury News | BetaNews | Red Herring | Engadget | Zatz Not Funny | Davis Freeberg | Multichannel News | TiVo Press Release | Dish Press Release

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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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Russia Implements Internet Piracy Law in Gambit to Join WTO

Categories: CopyrightInternational Legal ReformPiracy

Effective September 1, 2006, Russia implemented new legislation to crack down on illegal distribution through the internet of text, music and video in mp3 format. This has been a key condition of the United States in order for it to support Russia's entry into the 149-country global trade organization.

Dale's Comment: It's to be seen whether the law will have any bite, whether it will be enforced, and whether it will have any effect on AllofMP3.com

Sources: JURIST | MosNews | All Headline News | Torrent-freak | Yahoo! News | IP Due Diligence

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Blockbuster Anti-Trust Countersuit Against Netflix to Proceed

Categories: AntitrustNew Business ModelsPatents

In response to Netflix’s patent infringement lawsuit launched against Blockbuster last April, Blockbuster filed an anti-trust counter suit against Netflix. Netflix asked the court to dismiss the counter suit, split the suits in two and/or postpone discovery on the second until the first was resolved. U.S. District Judge William Alsup rejected all three motions.

Sources: ars technica | CNet | San Jose Mercury News (AP) | Out-law.com | Hollywood Reporter, Esq. | Hollywood Reporter | Reuters

Other Netflix-related Posts

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TiVo Wins Injunction Against Echostar – Appeals Court Grants a Temporary Stay

Categories: InjunctionsPatents

Text of Injunction Order
Note: I’ll post a better version of the order when I find one.
Following on TiVo’s $73.9 million victory at trial against Echostar last April, Echostar has been ordered to disable DVRs used by several million of its customers within 30 days. TiVo did NOT win the treble damages order it requested but it did win an additional $5.4 million in interest and $10.3 million more in supplemental damages bringing the amount to nearly $90 million. While Judge Folsom denied Echostar’s request to stay the injunction pending appeal, within hours of the ruling Echostar reports that the order has been temporarily stayed by the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals.

Sources: ZDNet | Davis Freeberg | M.C. Smith Blog | MSNBC | Red Herring | Bloomberg | L.A. Times (AP) | Engadget 1 | Engadget 2 | MacNewsWorld | CNet (Reuters) | SiliconValley.com | TheStreet.com | Houston Chronicle (AP) | CIO | MarketWatch | CBS | HD Beat | PVR Wire | ars technica | Broadcasting & Cable | The Hollywood Reporter, Esq. | Multichannel News


Engadget Podcast (first 8 minutes) on the topic.

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EU to Roll Back Hardware Levies

Categories: CopyrightMedia Levy

The European Commission is starting to move forward with a directive to EU countries to roll back levies on hardware devices. The levies were introduced in the 1960s to compensate artists for the fact that consumers used photo copiers and cassette recorders to make private copies of books, and records. They have been extended to all manner of devices that handle content in electronic form.

Sources: Link | Market Watch | Top VOIP News

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iTunes’ End User Agreement Breaks Norway’s Consumer Protection Laws

Categories: End User Agreements

iTunes’ terms and conditions are ‘unreasonable’ under Section 9a of the Norwegian Marketing Control Act according to the country’s Consumer Ombudsman. The three main problems are: (i) the law of the contract is British law (rather than Norwegian law); (ii) Apple limits its liability for damages caused by the product; and (iii) Apple reserves the right to change the terms of the agreement, and consumers rights to the music at any time. Apple has two weeks to make changes to their click-wrap agreement. A side story seems to be that the Ombudsman may also require Apple to open its ‘Fairplay’ system and make iTunes music playable on any device.

Sources: PC Pro  |  Engadget  |  The Register  |  Aftenposten  |  Playlist  |  MacWorld  |  P2PNet  |  ars technica
 
Dale’s Comment: There is certainly nothing unique to Apple’s end user agreement here. The lesson is that online content providers cannot rely on a cookie-cutter approach to online agreements. Every jurisdiction will have its own set of laws that will apply to the sale of products to consumers.

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New Canadian Coalition of Canadian Art Professionals on Copyright Reform

Categories: Artists Against DRMFair Use/Dealing

500+ members of Canada’s art community have formed a new coalition, the Coalition of Art Professionals, arguing for three principles to be enshrined in Canada’s copyright policy: (i) fair access to copyrighted material lies at the heart of copyright; (ii) artist and other creators require certainty of access; and (iii) anti-circumvention laws should not outlaw creative access.

Sources: Coalition’s Press Release  |  Michael Geist  |  Digital Copyright Canada  |  P2PNet
 
Note: The Canadian Music Creators Coalition was also recently formed with a similar copyright policy reform agenda.

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