Category

Intellectual Property

$8.2 Billion in Annual Losses to Advertisers and Media from Infringement and Fraud

The U.S. digital marketing, advertising and media industry lose $8.2 billion annually, according to a study prepared by EY for the Interactive Advertising Bureau, as a result of ad fraud; stolen video programming, music and editorial content; and malware. The report observes that each of these categories, i.e., “invalid traffic,” “infringed content” and “malvertising,” can be interrelated. An excellent example is a consumer who visits an infringed content site containing malware and infects the consumer’s browser with a robot that is later used to drive invalid traffic. If the industry can eliminate the profits earned by serving ads next to infringed content, it can reduce the amount of money available to drive illegal activities in the supply chain. Thus, for Read More ›


Google probe may be revived

Attorneys general from forty states and the District of Columbia have asked the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit to lift a preliminary injunction preventing a state attorney general from investigating Google’s business practices.

In 2011, Google signed a non-prosecution agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice in which it acknowledged that it improperly assisted Canadian online pharmacy advertisers target U.S. consumers. Google agreed to forfeit $500 million and to adopt compliance and reporting measures.

“State Attorneys General have reason to believe that Google’s services are still being used for unlawful activities,” according to a brief filed on behalf of Mississippi AG James M. Hood, III at the end of June.

Google asserts that it’s not liable for displaying information created by third parties. “Congress broadly immunized interactive computer service providers from state regulation for displaying information created by others,” according to the company’s December 2014 motion for preliminary injunction.

However, three federal appellate courts have ruled that Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, to which Google refers, does not confer unlimited immunity.

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Modernize the Copyright Office

The U.S. Copyright Office would be given greater autonomy pursuant to a proposal unveiled by two members of Congress last week, and the agency’s Director would be appointed for a ten year term by the President upon the advice of a bipartisan, bicameral commission and with the consent of the Senate.

The Copyright Office was established as a separate department in the Library of Congress in 1897. The head of the Copyright Office, known as the Register of Copyrights, serves at the pleasure of the Librarian of Congress. But the Copyright Office has outgrown the Library of Congress. For example, the Library of Congress hasn’t delivered the necessary information technology environment so the Copyright Office can meet or exceed customer expectations in the Digital Age.

An efficient copyright system increases the supply of creative content by incentivizing content creators and rewarding investors who underwrite the cost of bringing the creations to market. The Copyright Office must make extensive use of IT to process copyright registration applications, preserve deposited copies of copyrighted works and maintain records of the transfer of copyright ownership. If the Copyright Office fails, there could be unintended consequences for the copyright system.

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The Wrong Way to End the Terrestrial Radio Exemption

A bill before Congress would for the first time require radio broadcasters to pay royalty fees to recording artists and record labels pursuant to the Copyright Act. The proposed Fair Play Fair Pay Act (H.R. 1733) would “[make] sure that all radio services play by the same rules, and all artists are fairly compensated,” according to Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY). … AM/FM radio has used whatever music it wants without paying a cent to the musicians, vocalists, and labels that created it. Satellite radio has paid below market royalties for the music it uses … The bill would still allow for different fees for AM/FM radio, satellite radio and Internet radio, but it would mandate a “minimum fee” for each Read More ›


Secret conspiracy to revive SOPA?

According to Google, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) has: "conspired to achieve [the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA)]'s goals through non-legislative means,"; "pointed its guns at Google," and "did the legal legwork for the Mississippi State Attorney General." Where to begin? If MPAA and its members are protecting their rights through "non-legislative means," is that a bad thing? Absolutely not. Read More ›

Combating online piracy with better and more convenient legitimate services

The motion picture industry has established a search site to help consumers find non-pirated movies and TV shows available on the Internet: WheretoWatch.com. A study by NetNames estimated that 23.8% of all the bandwidth consumed in North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific in January 2013 was used to access pirated content. There are more than 100 legal online services offering movie and television content in the U.S., according to Chairman and CEO Senator Chris Dodd of the Motion Picture Association of America, and a study by KPMG found that 94% of the most popular and critically acclaimed films were legally available online in December 2013. Read More ›

Study shows credit card companies collect millions for cyberlockers that infringe copyright laws

A report by NetNames for the Digital Citizens Alliance has found that the “overwhelming use of cyberlockers is for content theft.” At least 79-84% of sampled files on 30 of the most popular online file sharing destinations infringed copyright, according to the analysis.
The report also estimates that the sites generate profit margins of 88-96% on combined revenue of over $95 million per year. The primary sources of income are premium account subscriptions enabled by payment processors such as VISA and MasterCard, and advertising.

Every cyberlocker that offered paid premium accounts to users provided the ability to pay for those subscriptions by Visa or MasterCard, with only one exception. Only a single cyberlocker accepted PayPal.

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First Sale in the Digital Age

The House Judiciary Committee examined the “first sale” doctrine at a recent field hearing in New York City as part of the committee’s comprehensive review of copyright. The first sale doctrine made perfect sense during the Industrial Age, but in some respects it’s problematic for the Digital Age. Consumers have the right to give away, lend or sell a book that they own, thanks to a 1908 Supreme Court decision that was subsequently codified by Congress at 17 U.S.C. ยง109(c). There’s no dispute that “[p]hysical copies of works in a digital format, such as CDs or DVDs, are [covered] in the same way as physical copies in analog form.” However, consumers with an Internet connection are downloading more and more digital content from remote servers pursuant to license agreements. And the first sale doctrine does not apply to digital files that are transmitted from machine to machine, according to the Copyright Office, because transmission results in two copies (one on each machine).

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Copyright Alert System successfully launches

Over 1.3 million notices of alleged copyright infringement were sent to users of peer-to-peer (P2P) networks suspected of illegally sharing copyrighted material over a ten month period beginning in late February 2013, according to the Center for Copyright Information (CCI).
The Copyright Alert System, a voluntary private sector initiative of the CCI that is “based on the premise that most consumers will take corrective action if alleged copyright infringement involving their Internet account is brought to their attention,” generated the notices.
P2P networks are monitored on behalf of recording artists and music producers, filmmakers, and creators and distributors of movies and television shows, and notices of alleged copyright infringement are generated through the use of publicly available IP address data. This information is shared with Internet Service Providers (ISPs), who then deliver up to six separate alerts (for repeat violations) to the corresponding account holders without sharing any personally-identifiable information about their customers.

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Industry combating online piracy

The Digital Millenium Copyright Act‘s notice-and-takedown safe harbor is rapidly becoming obsolete. The safe harbor, aka Section 512 of Title 17 of the U.S. Code, is the subject of a hearing tomorrow in the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet.
The safe harbor limits the liability of online service providers for copyright infringement if they remove infringing content upon receiving notice from the copyright owner. Safeguards are built into the law to protect against the possibility of erroneous or fraudulent notifications.
The problem is the safe harbor was designed for the Internet as it existed 15 years ago, before broadband. Most people did not access video over the Internet when Congress enacted the DMCA in 1998. As the Federal Communications Commission concluded at the time,

Due to bandwidth and other limitations, this method of video distribution does not yet produce programming that is comparable in length, quality, or convenience to broadcast video. Before Internet distribution of video becomes competitive in the video distribution marketplace, significant improvement must be made in this form of delivery.

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