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 2017: Oct-Dec

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  Maybe YouTube and Facebook would have to shutdown in Australia...

Big media companies persuade Australian Government to exclude YouTube and Facebook from internet safe harbour protection


Link Here 8th December 2017
australian government logoBack in March, Australia shelved plans to extend its copyright safe harbor provisions to services such as Google and Facebook. Now, following consultations with the entertainment industries, the government has revealed it will indeed exclude such platforms from safe harbour provisions.

Services such as Google, Facebook and YouTube now face massive legal uncertainty as they themselves can be held responsible for copyright infringing posts by users. The logical result would be that the companies will have to check every post before upload. The vast quantity of posts to check would make this an economically unviable option.

Proposed amendments to the Copyright Act earlier this year would've seen enhanced safe harbor protections for such platforms but they were withdrawn at the eleventh hour due to lobbying by media companies. Such companies accuse platforms like YouTube of exploiting safe harbor provisions in the US and Europe, which forces copyright holders into an expensive battle to have infringing content taken down.

Communications Minister Mitch Fifield has confirmed the exclusions, so now it is up to Google and Facebook to consider how they can operate under this law.

 

 Offsite Article: Seven Years of Hadopi: Nine Million Piracy Warnings, 189 Convictions...


Link Here 2nd December 2017  full story: File Sharing in france...Early action against internet file sharing not entirely successful
hadopi logo French anti-piracy agency Hadopi has just released its latest results

See article from torrentfreak.com

 

 Offsite Article: Blocking with Blockchain...


Link Here 1st December 2017  full story: Internet Censorship in EU...EU proposes mandatory cleanfeed for all member states
european commission logo European Commission seems to be backing off from its idea requiring websites to pre-censor material for upload but it has plenty of replacement ideas

See article from torrentfreak.com

 

  Patent trolls fail action to censor critics...

A US Court Rules That EFF's Stupid Patent of the Month Post Is Protected Speech


Link Here 21st November 2017

  Electronic Frontier Foundation A federal judge has ruled that EFF need not obey an Australian injunction ordering EFF to take down a Stupid Patent of the Month blog post and never speak of the patent owner's intellectual property again.

It all started when Global Equity Management (SA) Pty Ltd (GEMSA)'s patent was featured as the June 2016 entry in our Stupid Patent of the Month blog series. GEMSA wrote to EFF accusing us of false and malicious slander. It subsequently filed a lawsuit and obtained an injunction from a South Australia court purporting to require EFF to censor itself. We declined and filed a suit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California seeking a declaration that EFF's post is protected speech.

The court agreed, finding that the South Australian injunction can't be enforced in the U.S. under a 2010 federal law that took aim against libel tourism, a practice by which plaintiffs--often billionaires, celebrities, or oligarchs--sued U.S. writers and academics in countries like England where it was easier to win a defamation case. The Securing the Protection of Our Enduring and Established Constitutional Heritage Act ( SPEECH Act ) says foreign orders aren't enforceable in the United States unless they are consistent with the free speech protections provided by the U.S. and state constitutions, as well as state law.

The court analyzed each of GEMSA's claims for defamation, and found [n]one of these claims could give rise to defamation under U.S. and California law, and accordingly EFF would not have been found liable for defamation under U.S. and California law. For example, GEMSA's lead complaint was that EFF had called its patent stupid. GEMSA protested that its patent is not in fact stupid but the court found that this was clearly protected opinion. Moreover, the court found that the Australian court lacked jurisdiction over EFF, and that this constitutes a separate and independent reason that EFF would prevail under the SPEECH Act.

Furthermore, the court found that the Australian order was not enforceable under the SPEECH Act because U.S. and California would provide substantially more First Amendment protection by prohibiting prior restraints on speech in all but the most extreme circumstances, and providing additional procedural protections in the form of California's anti-SLAPP law.

After its thorough analysis, the court declared (1) that the Australian Injunction is repugnant to the United States Constitution and the laws of California and the Unites States; and (2) that the Australian injunction cannot be recognized or enforced in the United States.

The decision was a default judgment. GEMSA, which has three pending patent lawsuits in in the Northern District of California, had until May 23 to respond to our case. That day came and went without a word. While GEMSA knows its way around U.S. courts--having filed dozens of lawsuits against big tech companies claiming patent infringement--it failed to respond to ours.

 

 Offsite Article: Fully loaded advice...


Link Here 21st November 2017
arms of the british governmentjpg logo UK Government Publishes Advice on 'Illicit Streaming Devices'

See article from torrentfreak.com

 

  Element of doubt...

Copyright trolls take a beating in Spain


Link Here 11th November 2017
Spanish flagA Spanish judge has dealt a blow to copyright trolls in Spain. In a first of its kind ruling, the court dismissed an example legal case due to a lack of evidence.

The Commercial Court of Donostia dismissed the claim against an alleged file-sharer due to a lack of evidence. Copyright company Dallas Buyers Club identified the infringer through an IP-address, but according to Judge Pedro José Malagón Ruiz, this is not good enough.

The ruling says that there is no way to know whether the defendant was the P2P user or not, because an IP address only identifies the person who subscribed to the Internet connection, not the user who made use of the connection at a certain moment, copyright lawyer David Bravo tells TorrentFreak.

A relative or a guest could have been using the network, or even someone accessing the wifi if it was open, he adds.

In addition, the Judge agreed with the defense that there is no evidence that the defendant actively made the movie available. This generally requires a form of intent. However, BitTorrent clients automatically share files with others, whether it's the intention of the user or not.

In other words, these BitTorrent transfers are not necessarily an act of public communication, therefore, they are not infringing any copyrights.

 

 Update: Unacceptable...

56 European human rights groups call on the EU to abandon its disgraceful law proposal requiring the pre-censorship of content as it is being uploaded to the internet


Link Here 17th October 2017  full story: Internet Censorship in EU...EU proposes mandatory cleanfeed for all member states

EU flagArticle 13: Monitoring and filtering of internet content is unacceptable. Index on Censorship joined with 56 other NGOs to call for the deletion of Article 13 from the proposal on the Digital Single Market, which includes obligations on internet companies that would be impossible to respect without the imposition of excessive restrictions on citizens' fundamental rights.

Dear President Juncker,
Dear President Tajani,
Dear President Tusk,
Dear Prime Minister Ratas,
Dear Prime Minister Borissov,
Dear Ministers,
Dear MEP Voss, MEP Boni

The undersigned stakeholders represent fundamental rights organisations.

Fundamental rights, justice and the rule of law are intrinsically linked and constitute core values on which the EU is founded. Any attempt to disregard these values undermines the mutual trust between member states required for the EU to function. Any such attempt would also undermine the commitments made by the European Union and national governments to their citizens.

Article 13 of the proposal on Copyright in the Digital Single Market include obligations on internet companies that would be impossible to respect without the imposition of excessive restrictions on citizens' fundamental rights.

Article 13 introduces new obligations on internet service providers that share and store user-generated content, such as video or photo-sharing platforms or even creative writing websites, including obligations to filter uploads to their services. Article 13 appears to provoke such legal uncertainty that online services will have no other option than to monitor, filter and block EU citizens' communications if they are to have any chance of staying in business.

Article 13 contradicts existing rules and the case law of the Court of Justice. The Directive of Electronic Commerce ( 2000/31/EC) regulates the liability for those internet companies that host content on behalf of their users. According to the existing rules, there is an obligation to remove any content that breaches copyright rules, once this has been notified to the provider.

Article 13 would force these companies to actively monitor their users' content, which contradicts the 'no general obligation to monitor' rules in the Electronic Commerce Directive. The requirement to install a system for filtering electronic communications has twice been rejected by the Court of Justice, in the cases Scarlet Extended ( C 70/10) and Netlog/Sabam (C 360/10). Therefore, a legislative provision that requires internet companies to install a filtering system would almost certainly be rejected by the Court of Justice because it would contravene the requirement that a fair balance be struck between the right to intellectual property on the one hand, and the freedom to conduct business and the right to freedom of expression, such as to receive or impart information, on the other.

In particular, the requirement to filter content in this way would violate the freedom of expression set out in Article 11 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights. If internet companies are required to apply filtering mechanisms in order to avoid possible liability, they will. This will lead to excessive filtering and deletion of content and limit the freedom to impart information on the one hand, and the freedom to receive information on the other.

If EU legislation conflicts with the Charter of Fundamental Rights, national constitutional courts are likely to be tempted to disapply it and we can expect such a rule to be annulled by the Court of Justice. This is what happened with the Data Retention Directive (2006/24/EC), when EU legislators ignored compatibility problems with the Charter of Fundamental Rights. In 2014, the Court of Justice declared the Data Retention Directive invalid because it violated the Charter.

Taking into consideration these arguments, we ask the relevant policy-makers to delete Article 13.

European Digital Rights (EDRi)
Access Info
ActiveWatch
Article 19
Associação D3 -- Defesa dos Direitos Digitais
Associação Nacional para o Software Livre (ANSOL)
Association for Progressive Communications (APC)
Association for Technology and Internet (ApTI)
Association of the Defence of Human Rights in Romania (APADOR)
Associazione Antigone
Bangladesh NGOs Network for Radio and Communication (BNNRC)
Bits of Freedom (BoF)
BlueLink Foundation
Bulgarian Helsinki Committee
Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT)
Centre for Peace Studies
Centrum Cyfrowe
Coalizione Italiana Liberta@ e Diritti Civili (CILD)
Code for Croatia
COMMUNIA
Culture Action Europe
Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF)
epicenter.works
Estonian Human Rights Centre
Freedom of the Press Foundation
Frënn vun der Ënn
Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights
Hermes Center for Transparency and Digital Human Rights
Human Rights Monitoring Institute
Human Rights Watch
Human Rights Without Frontiers
Hungarian Civil Liberties Union
Index on Censorship
International Partnership for Human Rights (IPHR)
International Service for Human Rights (ISHR)
Internautas
JUMEN
Justice & Peace
La Quadrature du Net
Media Development Centre
Miklos Haraszti (Former OSCE Media Representative)
Modern Poland Foundation
Netherlands Helsinki Committee
One World Platform
Open Observatory of Network Interference (OONI)
Open Rights Group (ORG)
OpenMedia
Panoptykon
Plataforma en Defensa de la Libertad de Información (PDLI)
Reporters without Borders (RSF)
Rights International Spain
South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO)
South East European Network for Professionalization of Media (SEENPM)
Statewatch
The Right to Know Coalition of Nova Scotia (RTKNS)
Xnet

 

  Copyright Isn't a Tool for Removing Negative Reviews...

EFF reports on a US court case an attempt to misuse copyright law to silence free speech and bad reviews


Link Here 13th October 2017

Electronic Frontier Foundation At EFF, we see endless attempts to misuse copyright law in order to silence content that a person dislikes. Copyright law is sadly less protective of speech than other speech regulations like defamation, so plaintiffs are motivated to find ways to turn many kinds of disputes into issues of copyright law. Yesterday, a federal appeals court rejected one such ploy: an attempt to use copyright to get rid of a negative review.

The website Ripoff Report hosts criticism of a variety of professionals and companies, who doubtless would prefer that those critiques not exist. In order to protect platforms for speech like Ripoff Report, federal law sets a very high bar for private litigants to collect damages or obtain censorship orders against them. The gaping exception to this protection is intellectual property claims, including copyright, for which a lesser protection applies.

One aggrieved professional named Goren (and his company) went to court to get a negative review taken down from Ripoff Report. If Goren had relied on a defamation claim alone, the strong protection of CDA 230 would protect Ripoff Report. But Goren sought to circumvent that protection by getting a court order seizing ownership of the copyright from its author for himself, then suing Ripoff Report's owner for copyright infringement. We filed a brief explaining several reasons why his claims should fail, and urging the court to prevent the use of copyright as a pretense for suppressing speech.

Fortunately, the Court of Appeals for the First Circuit agreed that Ripoff Report is not liable. It ruled on a narrow basis, pointing out that the person who originally posted the review on Ripoff Report gave the site's owners irrevocable permission to host that content. Therefore, continuing to host it could not be an infringement, even if Goren did own the copyright.

Goren paid the price for his improper assertion of copyright here: the appeals court upheld an award of over $100,000 in attorneys' fees. The award of fees in a case like this is important both because it deters improper assertion of copyright, and because it helps compensate defendants who choose to litigate rather than settling for nuisance value simply to avoid the expense of defending their rights.

We're glad the First Circuit acted to limit the ways that private entities can censor speech online.

 

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