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Burnt by Steam...

Steam snatches back free copies of the game Agony Unrated


Link Here28th February 2022
Agony , a hammy survival horror game about a soul trying to escape Hell by finding someone called the Red Goddess, was released by Madmind Studios in 2018. An adults only version called Agony Unrated followed after some uncertainty. Perhaps due to censorship issues, the game was reportedly cancelled but somehow appeared on Steam anyway as a free bonus for owning the original game.

Agony Unrated later vanished from the Steam libraries of players who received it. Madmind Studio posted a blog explaining that the two games were delinked by Steam:

As most of you know, until now, if you bought Agony you also received a copy of Agony UNRATED in your library. This was always our intended way to do this and that didn't change. As some of you are also aware, games with themes similar to ours can often face some difficulties on this platform.

Unfortunately, we still don't have full knowledge on why they were delinked and we're unable to link the games again using our own tools, so we're now in contact with Steam support to work out the solution that'll satisfy everyone.

The reason that led to this situation is probably (that's our guess) because some players who intentionally bought the game in the censored version also got access to the uncensored version, which Steam did not want.

On February 23, Madmind explained it had put together bundles for Agony owners that would discount Agony Unrated to the maximum amount possible in each region, which is anywhere between 65% and 95% off. Obviously, that's not the same as free and is a temporary solution.

 

 

Shooting the messenger...

Sony Music is trying to block websites via public DNS resolvers


Link Here6th December 2021
DNS-resolver Quad9 has lost its appeal against Sony Music's pirate site-blocking order at the Regional Court in Hamburg. The non-profit Quad9 Foundation is disappointed with the outcome but isn't giving up the legal battle just yet, noting that various Internet services are at risk if the order isn't successfully challenged.

Earlier this year, Germany's largest ISPs agreed to voluntarily block pirate sites as part of a deal they struck with copyright holders. These blockades, which are put in place following a thorough vetting process, are generally implemented on the DNS level. This is a relatively easy option, as all ISPs have their own DNS resolvers.

DNS (un)Blocking

DNS blocking is also easy to circumvent, however. Instead of using the ISPs' DNS resolvers, subscribers can switch to alternatives such as Cloudflare, Google, OpenDNS, and Quad9. This relatively simple change will render the ISPs' blocking efforts useless.

This workaround is widely known, also by copyright holders. As such, it may not be a surprise that a few weeks after the German blocking agreement was reached, Sony Music obtained an injunction that requires DNS-resolver Quad9 to block a popular pirate site .

A blocking order against a DNS resolver is quite unusual and the Swiss-based non-profit organization Quad9 swiftly announced that it would appeal the verdict. The foundation stressed that it doesn't condone piracy but believes that enforcing blocking measures through third-party intermediaries is a step too far.

Court Upholds Site Blocking Order

Quad9 repeated these and other arguments at the Regional Court in Hamburg, asking it to overturn the injunction. After reviewing the input from both sides, the Court chose to uphold the site-blocking requirements.

The name of the targeted site remains redacted but the legal paperwork mentions that the unnamed site links to pirated music. We previously deduced that Canna.to is the likely target, as that site was already part of the ISPs' voluntary blocking agreement when the proceeding was initiated.

Having lost its first appeal, Quad9 notes that it will continue to block the site, as required by the injunction. The non-profit is disappointed with the Court's decision but announced that it will continue its appeal at a higher court. Quad9's General Manager John Todd said:

[We] will continue to pursue our legal fight against what we think is an outcome that threatens the very core of the Internet's ability to be a useful and trusted tool for everyone. Corporations should not have the ability to directly demand that network infrastructure operators censor sites.

 

 

Charged if you do, fined if you don't...

Google opts out of displaying paid for snippets to French newspapers only to be fined for 'market abuse' in not being fair to those newspapers


Link Here12th July 2021
Full story: Copyright in the EU...Copyright law for Europe
The EU red tape generation machine has become so entangle that most of the EU's latest internet laws are simply impossible to comply with.

The latest example is that search engines are nominally forced to negotiate with newspapers to agree a charge to pay for links to newspaper websites. However it now appears that French law means that newspapers can ask ask any price they like and the French authorities will fine search engines that don't agree the price.

Google has been hit with a euro 500m (£427m) fine by France's competition authority for failing to negotiate in good faith with news organisations over the use of their content.

In 2019, France became the first EU country to transpose the EU's disgraceful new Digital Copyright Directive into law. The law governed so-called neighbouring rights which are designed to compensate publishers and news agencies for the use of their material.

As a result, Google decided it would not show content from EU publishers in France, on services like search and news, unless publishers agreed to let them do so free of charge.

News organisations felt this was an abuse of Google's market power, and two organisations representing press publishers and Agence France-Presse (AFP) complained to the competition authority.

Google told the BBC: We are very disappointed with this decision - we have acted in good faith throughout the entire process.

The new ruling means that within the next two months Google must come up with proposals explaining how it will recompense companies for the use of their news. Should this fail to happen the company could face additional fines of euro 900,000 per day.

 

 

The EU 'earmarks' its copyright on bad law...

The EU publishes guidance on its impossible to implement copyright directive requiring both automatic blocking of copyrighted material for bad reasons whilst allowing it for good reasons


Link Here10th July 2021
Full story: Copyright in the EU...Copyright law for Europe
A while ago the EU passed a copyright directive demanding that internet businesses, websites and social media automatically block the upload of unauthorised copyrighted material whilst simultaneously demanding that this should not impinge on the free speech use of material in terms of memes or comment.

Of course the subtlety of distinguishing between differing usages is way beyond the AI capabilities of most EU businesses and so is more or less impossible to implement. Now EU states are getting confused on how to implement the directive in their national law.

And even though June 7 was the initial deadline for member-countries to implement it, it is far from being settled from the point of view of the harm it can cause to free online expression in the bloc.

The tortuous EU legislative process reached a milestone on June 4, when the European Commission revealed guidelines to its 27 members on how to implement Article 17, while protecting online users rights. And while the document , that is not legally binding, states that filtering should only apply to what are clear-cut cases of illegal content, it also ushers in what advocates see as a massive loophole.

It refers to giving rights holders the ability to 'earmark' content, which could end up in platforms censoring it, including in cases of fair use. Content that according to the European Commission may be earmarked as economically viable is a new term in the realm of copyright enforcement, and there are fears that it may be little more than a synonym for censorship.

Some EU member states have not given up on their legal challenge to the Directive, with Poland going to the Court of Justice of the European Union and naming the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union as defendants in a case seeking to establish if Article 17 is aligned with the bloc's Charter of Fundamental Rights. Poland is seeking partial, or full annulment of the article. The ruling is expected on July 15.

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