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31st March   

Update: Censored Skype Messages...

Mi-Porn.com logo

DVDs, Blu-Ray, VOD, Sex Toys & Lingerie...

All at great low prices!

mi-porn.com
 

Microsoft censors Messenger to remove pirate bay URLs
Link Here

Pirate Bay logoMicrosoft has confirmed that users of its instant messaging app will not be able to send each other links to popular torrent site The Pirate Bay.

We block instant messages if they contain malicious or spam URLs based on intelligence algorithms, third-party sources, and/or user complaints. Pirate Bay URLs were flagged by one or more of these and were consequently blocked, Redmond told The Register in an emailed statement.

Microsoft declined to give any more details for their censorship choice.

 

29th March   

Update: European Court Filtered Out...

Hot Movies
Internet
Video

Free Sample Minutes

Hot Movies

 

European Parliament trade committee somehow decides not to consult the European Court about legality after all
Link Here

European Parliament logoThe European Parliament's international trade committee has rejected a proposal by David Martin, an MEP who is drafting the Parliament's position on ACTA. Martin wanted to ask the European Court of Justice for its opinion on the controversial anti-piracy treaty, but the committee decided that wasn't needed and will now vote in June on whether to approve ACTA. Opponents of the treaty see the development as a victory.

In a February announcement, EU trade chief Karel De Gucht said that following discussion with fellow Commissioners, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) would be referred to the European Court of Justice (ECJ).

The treaty, which is aimed at harmonizing global copyright enforcement globally, has largely been formulated behind closed doors and its critics fear it will only lead to censorship and surveillance of Internet users.

The plan was to ask the ECJ to look at ACTA and decide if it conflicts with the EU's fundamental rights and freedoms, including freedom of expression and right to privacy.

ACTA will now be pushed through committees in the European Parliament during April and May and then to a final full Parliament vote at its June plenary session.

If ACTA dies in European Parliament, then it's a permakill, and the monopoly lobbies will have to start fighting uphill, said Pirate Party founder Rick Falkvinge in a comment. If ACTA passes, the same monopolists get tons of new powers to use, and close the door for the foreseeable future behind the legislators for a very necessary reform of the copyright and patent monopolies.

After its existence was first discovered by the public in 2008 after documents were uploaded to Wikileaks, ACTA's opponents now have just 10 weeks to pull out the stops.

 

19th March

 Offsite Article: Hobbit Pub Saved from Copyright Trolls...

Link Here
Ian McKellen persuades shameful Hollywood rights group to levy a nominal licensing fee of 100 dollars

See article from mirror.co.uk

 

17th March   

Update: Nastygrams...


An adult boutique offering high end luxury products

Cloud Climax.co.uk
 

US ISPs will start sending file sharing warning letters from July
Link Here  full story: International 3 Strikes Laws...File sharers threatened with loss of internet access
US flagThe record industry in July will start sending ISPs offending IP addresses for graduated responses in piracy cases.

Cary Sherman, CEO of the Recording Industry Association of America, said most of the participating ISPs are on track to begin implementing the program by July 1. The ISPs that have joined up with the RIAA are Comcast, Time Warner, Verizon, AT&T, Cablevision and Comcast.

The program requires that ISPs send out one or two educational notices to those customers who are accused of downloading copyrighted content illegally. If the customer doesn't put a halt to the practice, the ISP is then asked to send out confirmation notices asking that they confirm they have received notice.

Legal expert Doug Lichtman, a UCLA law professor spoke to an adult industry seminar about these copyright alerts. Calling them warm 'nastygrams,' Lichtman told the adult industry that they should adopt the system, and that file sharers could be persuaded to be come paying consumers.

 

17th March   

Update: India Shares MPAA Concerns...

Court orders a mass block of file sharing websites in India
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in India...India considers blanket ban on internet porn
India flagAn Indian court has ordered all of the country's ISPs to block 104 web sites that it claims offer illegal music downloads.

The Indian court's ruling came in the week that MPAA chairman and CEO Chris Dodd told the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry conference, We encourage the Indian film industry to reject as we have, the false argument that you cannot be pro-technology and pro-copyright at the same time.

The ISPs must block the web sites using both DNS and IP address blocking with deep packet inspection to reinforce the ban. Indian ISPs will implement the block by doing much more than just poisoning DNS servers, including IP address blocks and deep packet inspection (DPI). While DPI cannot see within SSH tunnels it can detect whether traffic is being tunnelled and can in theory drop it indiscriminately.

 

14th March

 Offsite Article: Save the Hobbit Pub from Copyright Trolls...

Link Here
Hollywood lawyers claim copyright of the word Hobbit

See article from torrentfreak.com

 

12th March

 Offsite Article: Legal Details Shared...

Link Here  full story: Sharing in the UK...UK Government stick and carrot for file sharing
Detailed article about TalkTalk and BT's failed legal case against government anti-file sharing measures in the Digital Economy Act

See article from headoflegal.com

 

9th March

 Offsite Article: Hotfile Feels the Heat...

Link Here
Hotfile's digital locker service targeted by Hollywood

See article from bbc.co.uk

 

6th March   

Update: Elementary...

Ireland passes law to provide SOPA like powers for the media industry to get websites blocked
Link Here  full story: File Sharing in Ireland...Three strikes or blocking

IrelandThe Irish government has now signed a SOPA-like law that will force ISPs to act as copyright cops and censor and block access to websites that the entertainment industry doesn't like. This happened despite widespread protests in Ireland against the bill.

The Irish Minister for Research and 'Innovation', Sean Sherlock, is claiming that the final version of the bill is much more limited than earlier proposals, and that it took guidance from recent EU Court of Justice rulings that say ISPs shouldn't have to be proactive about blocking. That still means that copyright holders can petition to force ISPs to block all access to various websites. No doubt the major record labels and studios will be doing just that very soon.

Sherlock, apparently realizing just how bad this looks to the citizenry, is trying to balance this announcement out by also saying that he's launching the next stage of the process to review copyright in Ireland, with the goal of supposedly removing barriers to innovation.

 

5th March

 Offsite Article: DMCA: Horrors of a Broad and Automated Censorship Tool...

Link Here
Torrent Freak illustrates why it’s dangerous to allow rightsholders to take entire websites offline

See article from torrentfreak.com

 

27th February

 Offsite Comment: What do directors think when people make a torrent for their movie?...

Link Here
By Heather Ferreira, thanks to Sergio.

See article from quora.com

 

25th February   

Update: Karen Murphy Wins Appeal Case...

UK courts follow up on the European Court decision over the legality of pubs showing football on foreign channels
Link Here  full story: No Free Trade for Satellite TV...Subscription to EU channels whilst in the UK

Old Bailey A pub landlady has won her court fight with the English Premier League over using a Greek TV decoder to screen games.

Karen Murphy has paid nearly 8,000 in fines and costs for using the cheaper decoder in her Portsmouth pub to bypass controls over match screening.

But she took her case to the European Court of Justice (ECJ). It found partly in her favour, and now the High Court in London has also found in her favour.

Instead of using Sky, on which it costs 700 a month to see Premier League matches, she used the Greek TV station Nova, which has the rights to screen the games in Greece, and which cost her 800 a year.

The High Court in London on Friday ruled that Karen Murphy's appeal over using the decoder to bypass controls over match screening must be allowed.

The ECJ said last autumn that national laws that prohibit the import, sale or use of foreign decoder cards were contrary to the freedom to provide services.

The European judges also said the Premier League could not claim copyright over Premier League matches as they could not be considered to be an author's own intellectual creation and, therefore, to be works for the purposes of EU copyright law.

However the Premier League and co are allowed to claim copyright control over titles, logos and promotional videos etc shown around the football action. Presumably if the Greek service relays the Premier League programme then it could effectively be banned from commercial use in pubs in just the same way as Sky's home subscriber sports channels are banned.

On the positive side it does mean that there can be no legal issue with private householders subscribing to foreign channels as there are no commercial compexities.

 

23rd February   

Update: Copyright vs Free Expression...

EU asks the European Court of Justice to examine the ACTA treaty
Link Here

European Court of Justice The European Union's highest court has been asked to rule on the legality of a controversial anti-piracy agreement.

The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (Acta) has been criticised by rights campaigners who argue it could stifle free expression on the internet.

EU trade head Karel De Gucht said the court will be asked to clarify whether the treaty complied with the EU's fundamental rights and freedoms .

The European Commission said it decided today to ask the European Court of Justice for a legal opinion to clarify that the Acta agreement and its implementation must be fully compatible with freedom of expression and freedom of the internet .

Several key countries, including Germany and Denmark, have backed away from the treaty amid protests in several European cities. Acta is set to be debated by the European Parliament in June.

Update: Court move welcomed by Viviane Reding

26th February 2012. See  article from  bigbrotherwatch.org.uk

In a statement, Viviane Reding, Vice-President of the European Commission and EU Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship, has outlined a robust position on internet freedom.

In it, she states for me, blocking the Internet is never an option and goes onto argue the current situation can and must not be changed by the ACTA agreement .

Reding concludes by saying I therefore welcome the intention of several members of the European Parliament to ask the European Court of Justice for a legal opinion to clarify that the ACTA agreement cannot limit freedom of expression and freedom of the Internet.

Update: EU Parliament also asks for European Court guidance

5th March 2012. See  article from  publicaffairs.linx.net

he European Parliament has followed the Commission in referring the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) to the European Court, for a view on its compatibility with EU law.

The decision to refer this question to the European Court is a manoeuvre designed to limit the impact of ACTA whatever the answer: if the Court decides ACTA does require European law to change, the Parliament is more likely to veto the treaty; if it rules that no changes are necessary, that will weaken the hand of those that seek later to invoke ACTA as justification for creating new enforcement powers.

 

23rd February

 Offsite Article EU Court Bans Anti-Piracy Filters On Hosting Services...

Link Here
The European Court of Justice delivered an unprecedented ruling that hosting sites can't filter copyrighted content as that would violate the privacy of users and hinder freedom of information.

See article from torrentfreak.com

 

23rd February

 Offsite Article Google: Please Don't Kill Video on the Web...

Link Here
Microsoft make a convincing and lucid case for their side of the ongoing worldwide patent war with Motorola and Google

See article from blogs.technet.com

 

22nd February

 Offsite Article File Sharing Arrests in Germany...

Link Here
File locker site Skyload.net has been shut down and its operators arrested. German authorities conducted the shutdown in response to a complaint by copyright agency, GVU.

See article from theregister.co.uk

 

22nd February

 Offsite Article Single Movie Download Could See Swedes Prosecuted...

Link Here
Swedish government proposes lower threshold before file sharers can be identified

See article from torrentfreak.com

 

21st February

 Offsite Article Media Industry Sails in for a Broadside Attack...

Link Here  full story: Pirate Bay...Pirate Bay, Swedish file sharing site
A UK court finds that The Pirate Bay and its users infringe copyrights

See article from publicaffairs.linx.net

 

19th February   

Update: Hands Off the Internet...

Media industry bid to take control of the internet thwarted by Canada's Supreme Court
Link Here

Canada flag The Supreme Court of Canada ruled last week that ISPs are not subject to the country's Broadcasting Act, which was passed in 1991. The court confirmed a 2010 ruling by The Federal Court of Appeal, which was tasked with answering the following question:

Do retail Internet service providers ('ISPs') carry on, in whole or in part, 'broadcasting undertakings' subject to the Broadcasting Act when, in their role as ISPs, they provide access through the Internet to 'broadcasting' requested by end-users?

The question was important because the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission ( CRTC ) had concluded in 1999 that the term broadcasting as it is used in the Broadcasting Act included programs transmitted to end-users over the Internet.

Originally the CRTC exempted broadcasting services via the Internet from the requirements of the Broadcasting Act. In 2008.  However after public hearings, the CRTC revisited this exemption. The CRTC referred the matter to the Federal Appeals Court, whose ruling saying ISPs were not subject to the law was then challenged.

It turns out the companies who lined up on either side of this issue are the same ones facing off over laws like SOPA and Protect IP. It was groups representing actors, producers, directors and writers that appealed to the Supreme Court. Such groups would like to see the current control that the massive multinational media companies now enjoy over TV related platforms be extended to the internet.

 

18th February

 Offsite Article: Europe's ACTA Freak Out...

Link Here
How Hollywood inflicted overkill scuppers much needed international agreement on piracy control. By Harold Feld

See article from huffingtonpost.com

 

15th February   

Update: Human Rights Violations...

Netherlands and Bulgaria register dissent against the one-sided ACTA treaty
Link Here

Netherlands European disquiet about the terms of the ACTA anti-piracy treaty is gaining momentum. The Netherlands and Bulgaria are the latest to question the treaty.

A majority of the Dutch Parliament is said to be against the ratification of ACTA. They only intend to change this position if there's irrefutable evidence that it doesn't violate basic human rights.

Right now this is certainly not the case, as professors Douwe Korff and Ian Brown examined ACTA's compatibility with human rights and concluded:

Overall, ACTA tilts the balance of IPR protection manifestly unfairly towards one group of beneficiaries of the right to property, IP right holders, and unfairly against others.

It equally disproportionately interferes with a range of other fundamental rights, and provides or allows for the determination of such rights in procedures that fail to allow for the taking into account of the different, competing interests, but rather, stack all the weight at one end.

This makes the entire Agreement, in our opinion, incompatible with fundamental European human rights instruments and -standards.

Meanwhile in Bulgaria, more than 10,000 people took the streets in Sofia last Saturday to protest the treaty, Economy Minister Traicho Traikov then announced that the country will not ratify ACTA before other EU countries have made up their minds.

 

14th February   

Update: Presidential Concerns...

President of the European Parliament speaks out against ACTA
Link Here

European Parliament logo The recently elected president of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, has criticized the current ACTA treaty, saying it provides little protection for the rights of individual users.

I don't find it good in its current form, Schultz said in an interview with Germany's ARD television station on Sunday. The current treaty swings too heavily in favor of copyright holders, he said, and an individual's internet freedoms is only very inadequately anchored in this agreement.

Schultz's own party, the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats, has come out against ACTA, and the German government announced on Friday that it was going to hold off on ratifying ACTA until after the European Parliament has voted on the issue. That vote is scheduled in June, after the European Parliament's trade committee has scrutinized it.

 

12th February   

Update: Only Now is ACTA Getting Noticed...

Reports from anti-ACTA protests
Link Here

EU flag Thousands of people have taken part in co-ordinated protests across Europe in opposition to a controversial anti-piracy agreement.

Significant marches were held in Germany, Poland and the Netherlands against the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (Acta).

Around 200 protesters gathered in central London outside the offices of several major rights holders.

Saturday's London demonstration was supported by the Open Rights Group, a vocal opponent to the treaty. The group's executive director, Jim Killock, argued that Germany's stance shows Acta negotiations were carried out in secret by EU bureaucrats Three member states in Europe are now looking like they don't want to sign, he told the BBC: That shows that politicians are only really starting to look at this now. All of a sudden, the whole thing is breaking down.

Speaking at the London protest Loz Kaye said: What we've seen is a whole wave of people coming out on the streets right across Europe, he told the BBC.  Some people have been called extreme, but equally, Amnesty International, Medecins Sans Frontieres have spoken out. Even The Economist, which is hardly radical, has described the treaty as potentially draconian.

More demonstrations were held in other UK cities, including Edinburgh and Glasgow. .

 

11th February   

Update: A Pandora's Box of Human Rights Violations...

Amnesty International urges EU to reject international anti-counterfeiting pact
Link Here

amnesty international logo Amnesty International has urged EU governments not to join the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), branding it a Pandora's box of potential human rights violations.

Starting this Saturday, 11 February, a range of civil society groups and individual citizens have planned protests in many European cities to voice opposition to ACTA before the European Parliament decides whether to formally ratify the pact later this year.

Amnesty International believes the pact's content, process, and institutional structure impact in a number of ways on human rights -- especially the rights to due process, privacy, freedom of information, freedom of expression, and access to essential medicines.

The EU should reject ACTA in its current form -- implementing the agreement could open a Pandora's box of potential human rights violations by doing away with due process and front-loading the requirement to enforce its provisions, said Widney Brown, Senior Director of International Law and Policy at Amnesty International: While Amnesty believes that creators should be compensated for their work, the protection of intellectual property should never come at the expense of basic human rights.

Amnesty International is concerned about ACTA's broad coverage, vague language, and tendency to value private law enforcement over judicial review. Rather than allowing the courts to resolve how infractions of the ACTA should be treated, the pact obliges states to encourage third parties to enforce its provisions.

This would incentivize Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to impose repressive measures to avoid infringements, such as blocking, deleting, or even suspending services without recourse to judicial review.

Companies may be threatened with criminal sanctions if they derive indirect economic benefit from infringements or if they are deemed to have aided and abetted one or more acts of infringement. This is likely to have a chilling effect on free speech and access to information.

As these private companies would also be incentivized to implement intrusive surveillance technologies in order to avoid being liable for the actions of their users, this would also lead to gross violations of user privacy.

Access to generic medicines and other essential products could also be affected, as the ACTA would give customs officials the authority to seize products with labels suspected of being confusingly similar to trademark brands. Giving generic medicines similar labels helps to communicate medical equivalence and supports public health policy goals.

Amnesty International is also gravely concerned about the ACTA's vague and meaningless safeguards. Instead of using well-defined and accepted terminology, the text refers to concepts such as fundamental principles and even invents a concept of fair process , which currently has no definition in international law.

Only a small number of states including EU members, Japan, Australia and the USA, have negotiated the Agreement since 2007. The negotiation process has lacked transparency and democratic credibility, as it has taken place outside of recognized institutions, such as the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the World Trade Organization (WTO).

The public was kept out of the process, and civil society, despite its demands, has not yet had access to all documents relating to the ACTA negotiations. US industry was kept up to speed with the negotiations, on condition that the industry partners signed a non-disclosure agreement.

The resulting standards are tremendously skewed towards protecting commercial interests over human rights.

Germany and Latvia delay ratification

See  article from  bbc.co.uk

Germany flag Germany has halted signing a controversial anti-piracy accord, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (Acta), after the justice ministry voiced concerns.

A foreign ministry spokesperson told AFP that the delay was to give us time to carry out further discussions .

Latvia put off ratification on Friday. Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia have already delayed the process.

The Associated Press reports Germany's that Justice ministry believes the legislation is unnecessary in Germany and that the European Parliament should vote on Acta before the country considers it for ratification.

Anti-Acta websites currently list more than 50 protests scheduled to take place across Germany on Saturday.

 

10th February   

Update: ACTA Opposition...

Some good points made in opposition to the undemocratically authored ACTA anti-piracy international treaty
Link Here

kader arif The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) treaty, signed by most European countries last week, has generated considerable protest. This has sparked at least one signatory to have a deeper  think about what they actually signed up for.

The Slovenian ambassador to Japan, Helena Drnovsek Zorko, has issued an unprecedented public apology for signing the treaty, saying she was only obeying orders and was now supporting the public protests against the treaty. She sdmitted:

I signed ACTA out of civic carelessness, because I did not pay enough attention, she said, in a most undiplomatic display of honesty. Quite simply, I did not clearly connect the agreement I had been instructed to sign with the agreement that, according to my own civic conviction, limits and withholds the freedom of engagement on the largest and most significant network in human history, and thus limits particularly the future of our children.

The Polish government has announced it is to suspend the ratification of the ACTA treaty, in light of public concern. Polish prime minister Donald Tusk said:.

The issue of signing of the ACTA accord did not involve sufficient consultation with everyone who is part of the process. The ACTA ratification process will be frozen as long as we haven't overcome all the doubts. This will probably require a review of Polish law. We can't rule out that, at the end of the day, this accord will not be approved.

French European Parliament member Kader Arif, who resigned in protest the day the treaty was signed, urged his fellow parliamentarians to reject ACTA.

I see a great risk concerning checks at borders, and the agreement foresees criminal sanctions against people using counterfeited products as a commercial activity, he told The Guardian. This is relevant for the trade of fake shoes or bags, but what about data downloaded from the internet? If a customs officer considers that you may set up a commercial activity just by having one movie or one song on your computer, which is true in theory, you could face criminal sanctions.

I don't want people to have their laptops or MP3 players searched at borders, Arif said. There needs to be a clearer distinction between normal citizens and counterfeiters which trade fake products as a commercial activity.

[And if you doubt what Arif is saying you only have to look to Britain for an example of EXACTLY what Arif fears. The British Parliament deliberately targeted its anti porn laws at commercial suppliers rather than customers. Yet the British authorities corrupted the law and deemed that giving a dodgy video to your mate was in fact commercial supply. They argued that commercial 'gain' could be as minimal as just the satisfaction of doing your mate a good turn].

Protest

See  article from  openrightsgroup.org

Open Rights Group logo The Open Rights Group are supporting a demonstration against ACTA, which will take place in central London on Saturday, on 11th February. It has been planned to coincide with demonstrations across Europe, when a chorus of thousands of discontented voices will speak as one against over-reaching Internet laws.

The aim will be to tell as many people as possible what's going on by distributing leaflets and asking those who are worried to contact their MEPs.

People will be meeting at UK Music's offices, 27 Berners St, Paddington, central London at 2pm. The Open Rights Group will help supply what can only be described as brilliant leaflets and fabulous t-shirts. Then the idea is to split up into small teams and head off to spread the word.

 

10th February   

Update: Twitter Censorship...

And how it is used to stop broadcast of the whereabouts of pirated music
Link Here

Party In early June, about three weeks before Beyonce's latest album came out, one of her songs, a collaboration with the rapper Andre 3000, made its way to the open seas of the Internet. Twitter recently published a batch of data that sheds light on the leak and provides insight into how Twitter censors information on the Internet.

It began when a website called RapUp published a link to the song, Party . Someone tweeted the link and lots of people retweeted it. From the perspective of Beyonce's record label, Columbia, this was not cool. So Columbia turned to a London-based contractor called Web Sheriff, which sent a takedown request to Twitter. It contained a list of over 100 of those copyright-infringing tweets and retweets. Twitter wrote back quickly: We have removed the reported materials from the site.

Twitter has removed thousands of tweets from its site over the years, and last month, it published the more than 4,000 takedown requests that have floated into its inbox since 2009.

...Read the full article

 

9th February

 Offsite Article: The Final Whistle...

Link Here  full story: No Free Trade for Satellite TV...Subscription to EU channels whilst in the UK
High court confirms pubs' rights to screen football matches on foreign TV services but still allows some copyright restrictions to be imposed, eg if an admission charge is made

See article from thelawyer.com

 

8th February

 Offsite Article: No Appeal...

Link Here  full story: Pirate Bay...Pirate Bay, Swedish file sharing site
Pirate Bay founders refused an appeal against their conviction and jail sentences in Sweden. And in fear of US domain seizure, the site moves from .org to .se

See article from gamepolitics.com

 

7th February

 Offsite Event: ACTA Protests...

Link Here
The Pirate Party UK will join an international day of action against controversial copyright agreement Acta on Saturday with protests planned for London, Glasgow and Nottingham.

See article from guardian.co.uk

 

7th February

 Offsite Article: Cheggit Shuts Down...

Link Here
Major bit torrent site specialising in adult content closes itself down

See article from torrentfreak.com

 

7th February

 Offsite Article: BTjunkie Shuts Down...

Link Here
BTjunkie, one of the largest BitTorrent indexes on the Internet, has decided to shut down voluntarily, citing legal actions against fellow file-sharing sites

See article from torrentfreak.com

 

5th February   

Update: Secretive Copyright Treaty...

EU rapporteur resigns over being railroaded to get restrictive copyright treaty passed before the public realises what it entails
Link Here

EU flag The European Parliament rapporteur for ACTA, Kader Arif, resigned just hours after the EU signed the controversial intellectual property treaty.

In a translated statement, Arif denounced the process leading up to the ACTA signings as a masquerade .

I denounce in the strongest possible manner the entire process which has led to the signature of this agreement: failure to address civil society, lack of transparency since the beginning of the negotiations, successive reports of the signature of the text without any explanation, sweeping aside of the views of the European Parliament expressed in several different resolutions.

Arif said that he had come under pressure to rush through the ratification process so as to keep ACTA out of the public eye.

As rapporteur on this matter, I was contronted by unprecedented manoeuvres by the right of the Parliament to impose an accelerated timetable with a goal of passing the agreement quickly before public opinion could be alerted.

The rapporteur closed his statement by expressing the hope that his resignation would lead to greater public awareness of the treaty.

This agreement could have major consequences on the lives of our citizens, and yet it seems that everything is being done to ensure that the European Parliament will have no voice in this chapter. Thus, today, in handing back the report that I have been in charge of, I hope to send a strong signal to alert public opinion to this unacceptable situation. I will not participate in this masquerade.

 

31st January   

Searching for Censorship...

Open Rights Group reveal media industry proposals to hobble internet searches that reveal copyright infringing material
Link Here

Open Rights Group logoWe wrote last year, many times, about the discussions being hosted by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport between rights holders and variousintermediaries - which to normal people means companies like Internet Service Providers and search engines. One of the most recent roundtables saw the group of rights holders present search engines with a paper on how they should help tackle copyright infringement.

After two Freedom of Information requests, we have received the proposals [pdf] . Here's the summary of what the rights holders were asking for:

  • Assign lower rankings to sites that repeatedly make available unlicensed content in breach of copyright.

  • Prioritise websites that obtain certification as a licensed site under a recognised scheme

  • Stop indexing websites that are subject to court orders while establishing suitable procedures to de-index substantially infringing sites

  • Continue to improve the operation of the notice and takedown system and ensure that search engines do not encourage consumers towards illegal sites via suggested searches; related searches and suggested sites

  • Ensure that they do not support illegal sites by advertising them or placing advertising on them, or profit from infringement by selling key words associated with piracy or selling mobile applications which facilitate infringement.

The minutes from the meeting suggest that the search engines were not impressed, and promised to write their own proposals to be discussed at a future meeting.

...Read the full article

Offsite: Google grilled by parliamentary committee

31st January 2012. See  article from  blogs.ft.com

Houses of ParliamentGoogle was dragged over the coals by a British parliamentary committee, as the technology company's approach to removing illegal content from its search results again came under scrutiny.

Several members of the joint committee on privacy and injunctions, chaired by John Whittingdale MP, repeatedly attacked Google's representatives as they set out how the search engine seeks to balance legal challenges with freedom of expression.

Ben Bradshaw, Nadim Zahawi, and Lord Mawhinney, all criticised Google for what they saw as its failure to help victims of invasion of privacy, by removing all links to content which a judge has ruled to be illegal in the UK.

...Read the full article

 

27th January   

Update: Copy Cats...

EU signs up to the ACTA committing to action against copyright infringement
Link Here

EU flagThe European Union and 22 Member States have officially signed the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). The UK was among the signatories who gathered in Japan to sign the controversial intellectual property treaty.

The signatories commit to a raft of controversial intellectual property enforcement measures, including rules outlawing DRM circumvention, introducing criminal enforcement of intellectual property rights, and passages which have been interpreted as turning ISPs into anunofficial copyright police force .

The treaty still requires ratification by the European Parliament. The final vote is scheduled for June.

 

26th January   

Update: Anti-ACTA Protests...

Polish demonstrations against the country signing the US led anti-piracy treaty
Link Here

Poland flagThousands of demonstrators have taken to the streets of Polish cities, some of them hurling stones at police, in protest at an international copyright treaty criticized as a clampdown on freedom of speech on the internet.

In the city of Kielce around 700 people protested. Some of them threw bottles and stones at police, damaged cars and partially blocked traffic.

In the largest demonstration, in Cracow, 15,000 people took to the streets in a largely peaceful protest. Demonstrators chanted Down with censorship while some had a piece of tape inscribed with ACTA glued over their lips.

ACTA is the acronym for the international Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, which Poland was to sign in Tokyo on Thursday.

 

24th January   

Updated: Megaupload Megapanic...

Filesonic ends sharing on its 'cyberlocker' service in response to Megaupload arrests
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in USA...Domain name seizures and SOPA

filesonic logoFilesonic, one of the Internet's leading cyberlocker services, has taken some drastic measures following the Megaupload shutdown and arrests last week. In addition to discontinuing its affiliates rewards program, the site has disabled all sharing functionality, leaving users only with access to their own files. Many hundreds of thousands (probably millions) of links all around the web have now been rendered useless, at least temporarily.

This combination of news all adds up to a pretty big deal. Filesonic isn't just some also-ran in the world of cyberlockers. The site is among the top 10 file-sharing sites on the Internet, with a quarter billion page views a month.

Like Megaupload, Filesonic appears to based in Hong Kong and it's clear that the authorities there already worked with the US government to shut down Kim Dotcom's operations and seize his assets there.

The events of the last week have turned the cyberlocker world upside down and there is quite literally panic among users and site operators.

The Megaupload takedown appears to be a game-changer.

Offsite: Panic continues

24th January 2012. See  article from  torrentfreak.com

Fileserve, another leading player, also ended its affiliate program this weekend. Additionally, this morning TorrentFreak received news that Fileserve has now joined Filesonic in banning all 3rd party downloads.

VideoBB and VideoZer have both reportedly closed their rewards program and according to reports have also been mass deleting accounts and huge numbers of files.

Other sites closing their affiliate programs and/or deleting accounts/files include FileJungle, UploadStation and FilePost.

...Read the full article .

 

21st January   

Updated: Encyclopedic Protest...

Wikipedia to go dark for 24 hours in protest at the proposed SOPA internet censorship
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in USA...Domain name seizures and SOPA

Wikipedia logoWikipedia founder Jimmy Wales has announced that the encyclopedia will go dark this Wednesday in protest of the Stop Online Piracy Act, aka SOPA.

Wales tweeted that the English-language version of Wikipedia would go down at midnight this Wednesday, Eastern standard time (5am in the UK), and come back up in 24 hours.

The heat is rising in the SOPA debate. Over the weekend, for example, three top Obama-administration officials issued a statement that said, in part, While we believe that online piracy by foreign websites is a serious problem that requires a serious legislative response, we will not support legislation that reduces freedom of expression, increases cybersecurity risk, or undermines the dynamic, innovative global Internet.

Presumably at least partially in response to the White House's statement -- and a possible Obama veto -- SOPA author Smith has dropped the DNS-blocking provision of the controvertial bill -- an action also taken by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), sponsor of the Senate's equivalent, the PROTECT IP* Act.

Update: Google Joins the Protest

18th January 2012. Based on article from  minivannews.com

Google logoGoogle's main search page has included a typically minimalist link:

Tell Congress: Please don't censor the web!

This links to a protest page with comment and a petition:

Millions of Americans oppose SOPA and PIPA because these bills would censor the Internet and slow economic growth in the U.S.

Two bills before Congress, known as the Protect IP Act (PIPA) in the Senate and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the House, would censor the Web and impose harmful regulations on American business. Millions of Internet users and entrepreneurs already oppose SOPA and PIPA.

The Senate will begin voting on January 24th. Please let them know how you feel. Sign this petition urging Congress to vote NO on PIPA and SOPA before it is too late.

Update: Wikipedia hails a successful protest

20th January 2012. See  article from  telegraph.co.uk

The English version of Wikipedia was inaccessible worldwide for 24 hours (unless readers turned off javascript that is)

Founder Jimmy Wales said:

More than 162 million people saw our message asking if you could imagine a world without free knowledge, it said.

You said no. You shut down Congress's switchboards. You melted their servers. From all around the world your messages dominated social media and the news. Millions of people have spoken in defense of a free and open Internet.

Along with Facebook, Google and other major technology corporations, Wikipedia says the laws would place onerous obligations on websites to vet content uploaded by users, and threaten free expression online.

Update: On Hold (Until the heat is off?)

21st January 2012. See  article from  guardian.co.uk

US SenateIn a dramatic display of the power of online protest, a congressional vote on the anti-piracy bills Pipa and Sopa have been shelved after some of the internet's main players demanded a legislative rethink.

Just two days after chunks of the internet went dark in opposition to proposals that critics claim will hamper the flow of online information, Senate majority leader Harry Reid announced the postponement of a planned ballot on Pipa, also known as the Protect IP Act.

Lamar Smith, the Republican chairman of the House Judiciary committee, followed suit, saying his panel would delay action on similar legislation called the Stop Online Piracy Act, or Sopa, until there is wider agreement on the legislation.

The decision to postpone the votes was made in light of recent events , Reid said -- taken to be a reference to Wednesday's day of action in which Wikipedia led the way with a 24-hour blackout.

During the CNN primary debate in South Carolina on Thursday, the four remaining Republican candidates vying for the White House nod came out against the Sopa. GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney said the law was far too intrusive and could hamper job creation and would harm the economy. His main rival, former House speaker Newt Gingrich, said existing laws were sufficient to allow an aggrieved copyright holder to sue, while libertarian Ron Paul said the bill threatened freedom.

 

20th January   

Update: Megaupload Goes Megadark...

Megaupload is shut by US authorities and bosses have been arrested
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in USA...Domain name seizures and SOPA

Money In The Bank Explicit The U.S. Justice Department has charged seven individuals connected to the file-sharing site Megaupload.com, accusing them of a massive worldwide online piracy scheme that costed more than $500 million in damages and generated more than $175 million in profits, according to a Justice Department release. Megaupload's CEO is the rapper and DJ Swizz Beatz.

The business is allegedly led by Kim Dotcom of Hong Kong and New Zealand. Dotcom was arrested in New Zealand along with associates.

The main site, Megaupload.com which has been shut down, is accused of infringing on copyright by distributing movies, television shows, books and software even before their release dates. The companies Megaupload Limited and Vestor Limited are accused of having a business modelexpressly designed to promote uploading of the most popular copyrighted works for many millions of users to download. The site provided financial incentives for uploading popular content, the indictment charges.

The interest in this case is likely to be high as it is conveniently timed to match interest in the recent SOPA protest.

Update: Data owners fight to get their data

4th June 2012. See article from tweaktown.com , thanks to Nick

The Megaupload case continues, with Kyle Goodwin from the EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation) asking the court to return the files, that were legal, back to Goodwin.

Goodwin lost his files when Megaupload was seized in January, since then they've been to court, both for a hearing and a mediation, but nothing has changed according to the EFF.

On May 24, EFF filed a brief asking the court to order Goodwin's rightfully owned data returned. But the problem is, is that's not just Goodwin's files, it's the thousands upon thousands of other Megaupload users who had data on their servers, where they thought it was safe.

EFF has asked the court to implement a procedure to make all of those customers whole again by giving them access to what is legally theirs.

Goodwin used Megaupload to house business files, with others losing person data and information.

Update: MPAA: Megaupload Users Can Have Their Files Back, But...

11th June 2012. See  article from  torrentfreak.com

Almost half a year has passed since Megaupload's servers were raided by the U.S. Government, and still there is no agreement on how former users can retrieve their files. Previously the authorities and MPAA have objected against such a mass retrieval, but in a filing at the court today the movie industry changed its tone. The MPAA states that users can have their files back as long as access to copyrighted files is blocked.

In the wake of the January shutdown of Megaupload, many of the site's legitimate users complained that their personal files had been lost.

Among these users are many people in the U.S. military who used the site to share pictures and videos with family. Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom previously informed TorrentFreak that least 15,634 soldiers had accounts at Megaupload, between them sharing hundreds of thousands of files.

But as of January those files were rendered inaccessible and attempts by the parties involved to come to a solution have failed miserably.

Last month one of Megaupload's users, represented by the EFF, filed a motion asking the court to facilitate such a user data retrieval. Today, the MPAA filed a response to this motion in which they appear to be more open to the request.

The MPAA Members are sympathetic to legitimate users who may have relied on Megaupload to store their legitimately acquired or created data, although the Megaupload terms of use clearly disclaimed any guarantee of continued access to uploaded materials,MPAA's lawyers write.

But along with this sympathy comes a caveat. The movie studios don't want users to have access to copyright-infringing files.

If the Court is willing to consider allowing access for users such as Mr. Goodwin to allow retrieval of files, it is essential that the mechanism include a procedure that ensures that any materials the users access and copy or download are not files that have been illegally uploaded to their accounts.

Update: US authorities refuse to give back property they have stolen...

13th June 2012. See  article from  tgdaily.com

Innocent bystanders who lost mountains of data, personal files, documents, and more when the popular but illegitimately operated cloud-based site MegaUpload was taken down, may end up being just plain out of luck, at least for a while. The US Deparment of Justice wants to block former user Kyle Goodwin from accessing his high school football videos which he uploaded to the site.

But what happens to those who didn't do anything wrong? Lawyers for the US Attorney say the answer is nothing. In the same way that if you left a video game at a friend's house on the night that police raided your friend's house with a warrant, the government does not have a duty to make sure you get your stuff back in before the case is resolved.

 

15th January   

Update: MPAA Told Hands off DNS Blocking...

Obama speaks out against part of the SOPA internet censorship bill
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in USA...Domain name seizures and SOPA

Barack ObamaThe White House just released a statement commenting on the pending SOPA and PIPA anti-piracy bills in congress. While the Obama Administration sides with the opposition by saying that free-speech should be protected, censorship is evil, and that DNS-blocking is a no go, the statement doesn't mean that the bills are off the table.

Responding to two petitions signed by over 50,000 people each, the Obama administration recited much of the criticism voiced by SOPA/PIPA opponents. The Administration wrote:

Any effort to combat online piracy must guard against the risk of online censorship of lawful activity and must not inhibit innovation by our dynamic businesses large and small. Across the globe, the openness of the Internet is increasingly central to innovation in business, government, and society and it must be protected.

To minimize this risk, new legislation must be narrowly targeted only at sites beyond the reach of current U.S. law, cover activity clearly prohibited under existing U.S. laws, and be effectively tailored, with strong due process and focused on criminal activity.

The only strong position the Obama Administration takes is against DNS blocking. Here, the White House sides with many of the tech experts, and against the MPAA, by concluding that tampering with DNS poses a threat to the Internet.

In fact many of the lawmakers previously in favor of DNS-blocking have suddenly started to back pedal. They probably got a heads up and changed their tone before the White House statement was released. SOPA author Lamar Smith said DNS blocking would be removed from the bill until further notice.

 

14th January   

Dangerous Links...

Man extradited to the US over copyright claims about a website that linked to infringing TV content
Link Here

tv shack logoA British student can be extradited to the United States to face charges of copyright infringement over a website he ran offering links to pirated films online, a court has ruled.

Richard O'Dwyer, whose site TV Shack made more than 150,000 in advertising revenues, according to US prosecutors, is thought to be the first person extradited to America on such charges. If convicted in New York, he faces jail.

Speaking after the hearing at City of Westminster Magistrates' Court, the 23-year-old said he felt like a guinea pig for the US justice system. His lawyer argued that his site hosted no illegal content, but merely directed users to where it was held online, and said that his client would appeal the ruling.

 

12th January   

Update: Red Goes Black...

Reddit to go dark to protest SOPA internet censorship
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in USA...Domain name seizures and SOPA

reddit logoOn January 18, the online community at reddit will go dark for 12 hours in opposition of the Stop Online Piracy Act now being considered in the House and its companion PROTECT IP Act in the Senate. Both bills would give copyright holders tremendous power to have websites blocked, to get their advertising cut off, and to shut down their credit card or PayPal payments.

reddit's community has been organizing all manner of objections to the two bills, including a targeted (and successful) boycott of GoDaddy, which supported the legislation. This time, site admins decided to get involved in order to get the word out to all of reddit's users.

Reddit explained:

Instead of the normal glorious, user-curated chaos of reddit, we will be displaying a simple message about how the PIPA/SOPA legislation would shut down sites like reddit, link to resources to learn more, and suggest ways to take action..

We're not taking this action lightly. We wouldn't do this if we didn't believe this legislation and the forces behind it were a serious threat to reddit and the Internet as we know it.

 

8th January   

Update: Control Freakery from Beyond the Grave...

Apple looks to ban Chinese Steve Jobs figurine
Link Here  full story: iPhone iCensor...Apple is censorial about apps for iPhone

steve jobs figureA UK newspaper caused a stir when it reported that Apple had threatened legal action against a Chinese company that plans to sell an accurate replica of Steve Jobs. The Daily Telegraph said Apple claims to own rights to Jobs' likeness.

But there is a huge problem here, Apple's legal claim is largely bogus. While people can indeed own rights to their likeness, those rights usually apply only to living people. Unlike other forms of intellectual property like patents or copyrights, image rights do not survive beyond the grave in most places.

Under American law, so-called personality rights exist only at the state level---there is no federal law. And only about a dozen states recognize image rights after death. But in New York and most other places, there is no protection at all.

What this means is that Apple's warning about the doll is an empty threat in most places. Apple's lack of control over the doll is in many ways a welcome reality check. Remember that Steve Jobs was not just a design genius but also a control freak who used layer after layer of intellectual property to create legal force fields around his products. While this boosted Apple, it also shut out many other innovators and helped give rise to the destructive litigation that now mars so much of the technology sector.

 

6th January   

Updated: Blocked Blocking Law Unblocked...

Spain enacts previously shelved law allowing websites to be closed or blocked over copyright violations
Link Here  full story: File Sharing in Spain...Internet censorship in the name of preventing piracy

Spanish flagIn only its second cabinet meeting after taking power Dec. 22, Spain's brand new right-leaning government has enacted a law intended to deal a severe blow to digital piracy by allowing the courts to close or block websites accused of profiting from the illegal downloading of copyrighted content.

Spain is reportedly responsible for 20% of the global illegal downloads of the top 10 films from 2010.

The so-called Sinde Law---named after outgoing Culture Minister A'ngeles Gonzalez-Sinde---was actually passed by the Spanish Parliament in February, but former Prime Minister Jose' Luis Rodriguez Zapatero's Socialist government didn't enact the regulations so it was never implemented.

The new center-right government wasted no time in enacting the law, however, passing after having been in office for less than a week.

The law, which, according to news reports, gives websites ten days to close down their sites after a government committee identifies reports of violations and gains backing from a judge on a case by case basis, went into effect immediately upon its approval by the new government.

Update: Spain Bullied by America

6th January 2012. See  article from  gamepolitics.com

drill sergeantAccording to more than 100 leaked diplomatic cables, the reason that Spain passed such a strict anti-piracy law was because the United States government made strong threats against the country. The cables were part of a recent WikiLeaks release. Many have long suspected that the United States government has been interfering in other countries' copyright legislation, and these new cables certainly prove critics' points.

The leaked cables showed that the US had a hand in drafting the new Spanish copyright legislation and influenced decisions of the outgoing and incoming government. According to the new leaked documents, the U.S. voiced its anger at outgoing Spanish President Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero last month when they realized that his government was unlikely to pass the US-drafted Sinde law before leaving office.

 

3rd January   

Update: People Power vs Media Industry...

Jostling for position to support or oppose SOPA
Link Here  full story: SOPA...Internet censorship in the name of preventing piracy

effThe Stop Online Piracy Act, better known as SOPA, is bad news. Bringing piracy to heel is a noble goal but imposing sweeping, arbitrary laws that can force websites offline with almost no judicial oversight isn't the way to go about it. The average guy on the internet may not care much one way or the other [probably because he's not even aware of what's going on] but some backlash is beginning to be felt: Go Daddy dropped its support for SOPA a couple of weeks ago following calls for a boycott of its services and now Sony, Nintendo and Electronic Arts have all followed suit - sort of.

Sony Electronics, Nintendo and Elecronic Arts, which had previously thrown their weight behind the proposed legislation, are now all notably absent from the most recent list of SOPA supporters. Sony/ATV Music Publishing, Sony Music Entertainment and Sony Music Nashville remain on the list, which is unfortunate, but of greater concern is the continued presence of the Entertainment Software Association, the industry association which counts among its members Sony, Nintendo and EA. The support is still there, in other words, less direct and better camouflaged but still very much a part of the process pushing for the implementation of SOPA.