Aug 052012

A federal appeals court has decisively rejected a legal theory that would have placed anyone who embeds a third-party video on her website in legal jeopardy. In a Thursday decision, Judge Richard Posner of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the “video bookmarking” site myVidster was not liable to the gay porn producer Flava Works if users embedded copies of Flava videos on myVidster.

Judge Posner’s reasoning is interesting. He argues that when you view an infringing video on a site such as YouTube, no one—not you, not YouTube, and not the guy who uploaded the infringing video—is violating copyright’s reproduction or distribution rights. And since simply viewing an infringing copy of a video isn’t copyright infringement, he says, myVidster can’t be secondarily liable for that infringement.

Viewing an infringing video online may lead to a violation of copyright’s public performance right, Posner goes on, but here the law is murky. The judge called on Congress to help clarify exactly how copyright law should apply in the age of Internet video.

And if even one of copyright’s most respected jurists is confused, it’s a clear sign that copyright law needs work.

Embedding is not infringement

Flava Works sued myVidster because users kept adding links to Flava videos to the myVidster site. myVidster is a “video bookmarking” site that automatically embeds bookmarked videos on its site and surrounds them with ads. To the untrained eye, it looks like myVidster itself serves up the infringing copies of the videos. Based on that perception, the trial court judge ruled that myVister was directly infringing Flava’s copyrights and granted a preliminary injunction.

Of course, if embedding is direct infringement, then anyone who embeds a video without first researching its copyright status is at risk of being a direct infringer. That would put a damper on the practice of embedding, which has made the Web a more convenient and interactive place.

The Motion Picture Association of America, of course, was thrilled with this initial result. But as Google and Facebook pointed out in an amicus brief late last year, the lower court’s decision was inconsistent with the relevant precedents.

MORE:  MPAA “embedding is infringement” theory rejected by court | Ars Technica.


Mar 222012

The group plans to move its front-end proxy servers into the sky, creating a network of small mobile computers that are tethered to GPS-enabled aerial drones. The airborne computers, called Low Orbit Server Stations (LOSS), will supposedly be harder for law enforcement agencies to terminate. TPB contends that any attempt to ground its vessels will be viewed as an act of war.

The MPAA declined to comment on whether it intends to bring its anti-air capabilities to bear against the pirate fleet. We imagine that the industry trade group will respond by developing a surface-to-air missile system capable of delivering high-speed ballistic takedown notices. The MPAA could also potentially retake the skies by weaponizing carrier pigeons. Alongside such takedown efforts, the content industry’s lobbyists will likely pursue a legislative strategy, such as encouraging sympathetic legislators to ban GPS.

TPB said that it plans to use low-cost Linux computers, such as the $35 Raspberry Pi ARM board, to build its fleet. Although the idea is somewhat preposterous and the whole thing is probably a bad joke, a group of technologists apparently already have a real proof-of-concept ready to soar.


via Pirate Bay plans to build aerial server drones with $35 Linux computer.


Jul 112011

On Friday, Judge Jordan threw out the direct infringement charge. The courts have long held that a finding of direct infringement requires a “volitional act” by the infringer. Jordan ruled that it was Hotfile’s users—not Hotfile itself—that decided which files to submit. And therefore, Hotfile cannot be guilty of direct copyright infringement.

On the other hand, the judge refused to throw out the secondary liability charge. The case will now proceed to determine whether Hotfile is, in fact, guilty of inducing its users to infringe copyright.

via Judge rules “locker” site is not direct copyright infringer.

..internal..: Is a bookseller responsible for plagiarists?