International Agencies Arrest Members of Global Piracy Ring

Three members of the Sparks Group, a sophisticated global piracy ring, were arrested on federal charges of international piracy of movies and TV shows distributed online prior to their release dates, said acting U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York Audrey Strauss. British citizen George Bridi was arrested in Cyprus, American Jonatan Correa was arrested in Olathe, Kansas and a third man, Umar Ahmad of Norway, is still being sought. TorrentFreak founder Ernesto van der Sar said, “the charges are significant.” Continue reading International Agencies Arrest Members of Global Piracy Ring

Instagram Users Can Be Sued for Embedding Images in Posts

Instagram users have embedded images in their posts, believing that they were protected against copyright claims. Facebook now explains that, “while our terms allow us to grant a sub-license, we do not grant one for our embeds API.” In other words, a user who embeds someone’s Instagram post on her website has to ask the poster in advance for a separate license to the post’s images. Those who don’t could be subject to a lawsuit. Professional photographers will be able to better negotiate with publishers based on these terms. Continue reading Instagram Users Can Be Sued for Embedding Images in Posts

Bipartisan Bill Would Make Platforms Liable for Fake Products

In a rare bipartisan move, Democratic and Republican legislators joined forces to propose the Shop Safe Act, which would make e-commerce companies responsible for counterfeit products from China and other countries sold on their websites. The bill would focus on trademark liability for those fake products that impact consumer health and safety, such as pharmaceuticals and medical products, and would force e-tailers to more closely vet sellers and remove those who repeatedly sell counterfeits. Continue reading Bipartisan Bill Would Make Platforms Liable for Fake Products

HPA Tech Retreat: An Update to Compelling Copyright Issues

At the HPA Tech Retreat in Rancho Mirage, California, Thompson Coburn partner Jim Burger presented his annual update on activities in Washington D.C. relevant to the media and entertainment business. Among the numerous copyright issues that Burger examined was the long-running case of Oracle America v. Google, which is centered on whether or not Oracle’s Java APIs are copyrightable. Google used early versions of the APIs to create its Android operating system. Continue reading HPA Tech Retreat: An Update to Compelling Copyright Issues

House of Representatives Sends Copyright Act to Senate

In a 410-6 vote, the House of Representatives approved the Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement (CASE) Act that will allow online content creators to more efficiently pursue infringers. Congressman Hakeem Jeffries (D-New York) introduced the measure last year. If it becomes law, it will create a new small claims court with a tribunal of copyright claims officers who would work with both parties to resolve the issue. Potential damages would no more than $15,000 per claim or $30,000 in total. Continue reading House of Representatives Sends Copyright Act to Senate

Audius Music Streamer Faces Copyright Infringement Issues

Startup Audius, which relies on blockchain for its music streaming service, has received kudos from many in the industry that agree with the company’s assessment that “music platforms were at their best when they listened to what artists and fans wanted — not corporations or major labels.” Audius is positioning itself as a competitor to SoundCloud, once known as a hotspot for emerging musicians. But Audius has the same problem found on that service: unlicensed content that the company cannot remove. Continue reading Audius Music Streamer Faces Copyright Infringement Issues

Publishers and Authors Guild Oppose Audible Text Feature

Audible, the audiobook app owned by Amazon, is using machine learning to transcribe audio recordings, so listeners can also read along with the narrator. Audible is promoting it as an educational feature, but some publishers are up in arms, demanding their books be excluded because captions are “unauthorized and brazen infringements of the rights of authors and publishers.” Publishers are concerned that this will lead to fewer people buying physical or e-books if they can get the text with an Audible audiobook. Continue reading Publishers and Authors Guild Oppose Audible Text Feature

New YouTube Policy Enables Easier Copyright Claim Fixes

YouTube just made it easier for video creators to handle manual claims of copyright infringement. With the updated policy, copyright owners will have to say where in the video their material occurs, making it easier for creators to determine whether the claim is legitimate and then to edit out content if it is. In the past, creators would have to search through their videos to find the offending material, uncertain as to where it was, making it difficult to find and fix or dispute. Continue reading New YouTube Policy Enables Easier Copyright Claim Fixes

Jury Finds VidAngel Must Pay Movie Studios $62.4 Million

U.S. District Judge Andre Birotte had ruled that VidAngel, which has streamed hundreds of Disney, Fox and Warner Bros. movies without permission, was illegal. Now a jury has ordered the company to pay $62.4 million to those injured studios, potentially forcing it to shutter its doors. The Utah-based VidAngel ripped movies from DVD copies and then created versions sanitized of violence, sex and other so-called objectionable material. Earlier, VidAngel stated that it was allowed to do this under the federal Family Movie Act. Continue reading Jury Finds VidAngel Must Pay Movie Studios $62.4 Million

Music Labels File Lawsuit Claiming Charter Enables Piracy

Sony, Universal, Warner music labels, and their subsidiaries, have filed a suit in the U.S. District Court in Colorado, claiming that Charter Communications is enabling music piracy. The claim states that Charter hasn’t ended the accounts of subscribers who pirate copyrighted songs, and that it aids users illegally download music by selling access to high Internet speeds. The latter isn’t a violation of the law, but Internet providers can be held responsible for serial infringers if they do not cut their accounts. Continue reading Music Labels File Lawsuit Claiming Charter Enables Piracy

U.S. Rights Groups Propose Website-Blocking to Halt Piracy

Blocking piracy sites became controversial in the U.S. with SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act), which although it had support of both parties and dozens of government, consumer and union organizations, was seen as a threat to free speech. A second proposal (PIPA) also met fierce resistance, culminating in a widespread service blackout by Google, the English Wikipedia and 7,000 other smaller websites. Both bills were shelved, but now, the issue is being raised in the U.S. due to success in website-blocking in Europe. Continue reading U.S. Rights Groups Propose Website-Blocking to Halt Piracy

Switch Pirates Evade Capture, Nintendo Takes on ROM Sites

When a Nintendo Switch game is uploaded before its official release date, the pirates hide the original leaker behind a wall of middlemen, and congratulate themselves online for their cleverness. Nintendo has endured piracy of the highly anticipated “Diablo III” and “Dark Souls: Remastered,” both released by pirates a few days before their official launch. The company has had better luck stopping websites that offer illegal access to retro-games and ROMs, games that are emulated from read-only memory chips. Continue reading Switch Pirates Evade Capture, Nintendo Takes on ROM Sites

YouTube Chief Executive Rails Against EU Copyright Proposal

The European Union has proposed, in a copyright directive, that platforms, not users, be responsible for copyright infringement. For the second time, YouTube chief executive Susan Wojcicki strongly stated in her blog that her company does not have the technical or financial wherewithal to comply with this portion of the copyright directive, known as Article 13. Wojcicki, the only tech chief thus far to voice opposition, noted that more than 400 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute. Continue reading YouTube Chief Executive Rails Against EU Copyright Proposal

Google Ups Investment in YouTube’s Anti-Piracy Content ID

Google has updated how it is combatting piracy across its suite of digital products. In its report “How Google Fights Piracy,” the company revealed that it has spent more than $100 million on YouTube’s Content ID since its inception, representing a big bump up from $60 million two years ago. That number includes computing resources and staffing. The report further details that it has paid out more than $3 billion to rightsholders, compared to “over $2 billion” in 2016 and $1 billion in 2014. Continue reading Google Ups Investment in YouTube’s Anti-Piracy Content ID

Hollywood Wins Piracy Battle Against STB Seller TickBox TV

Georgia-based TickBox TV has agreed to end all piracy-related activities and pay $25 million in damages to Hollywood studios and streaming services that had accused the set-top box manufacturer of copyright infringement. Major film and television companies filed a proposal yesterday with the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles for a permanent injunction against TickBox to prevent pirated movies and TV shows from being streamed to consumer televisions via the STB. The decision is the first legal win for the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE), a coalition of entertainment companies and studios formed to combat piracy. Continue reading Hollywood Wins Piracy Battle Against STB Seller TickBox TV

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