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

Copyright Holders Demand DMCA Update, Addition of Filtering

According to the Recording Industry Association of America and 14 other groups, the 19-year-old Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) needs to be updated. They’re telling the U.S. Copyright Office that new piracy controls are required. Currently, ISPs that “expeditiously” remove copyrighted content when alerted by rights holders get legal immunity or so-called safe harbor. But the RIAA and others say this process is not sufficient, as the pirated copy reappears instantly, requiring yet another takedown notice. Continue reading Copyright Holders Demand DMCA Update, Addition of Filtering

Copyright Act Exemption to Reverse Engineering Takes Effect

Until now, people risked a lawsuit if they reverse-engineered their cars, PCs or even insulin pumps. Now, there’s an exemption to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act that protects those who want to hack a device they own, without fearing that the manufacturer of that device will sue them. More specifically, the exemption covers security research on consumer devices, and digital repair of vehicles. The Library of Congress’ Copyright Office enacted the exemption in October 2015, but implementation was delayed for a year. Continue reading Copyright Act Exemption to Reverse Engineering Takes Effect

Music Labels Cry Foul at YouTube and DMCA’s ‘Safe Harbor’

An International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) report points out that 20 million Americans, and 20 percent of the world’s population, still pirate music. Now, the IFPI will soon join the record labels’ trade group the RIAA in complaining that YouTube doesn’t pay a fair price for the music it gives away for free. At the same time, Universal Music Group, Sony and Warner Music Group are about to renegotiate their contracts with YouTube, and they say the Digital Millennium Copyright Act hurts their bargaining power. Continue reading Music Labels Cry Foul at YouTube and DMCA’s ‘Safe Harbor’

Artists Say ‘Safe Harbor’ is a Shield for Copyright Infringement

As revenue from streaming rose 29 percent last year, artists and the recording industry are renewing their effort to get the U.S. Copyright Office to take a second look at the “safe harbor provisions” of the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act. They say that places the onus on policing copyright infringement on them, protecting services such as YouTube where copyrighted material is uploaded without permission. Katy Perry, Billy Joel and Rod Stewart are among the artists who have put a public face on the debate. Continue reading Artists Say ‘Safe Harbor’ is a Shield for Copyright Infringement

Congress Passes Bill That Makes it Legal to Unlock Cellphones

The House of Representatives passed a bill on Friday that would allow consumers to open the digital locks on their cellphones, legislation that was already passed by the Senate. Unlocking mobile phones makes it easier to switch wireless carriers. Under current copyright law, however, consumers risk jail time and fines up to $500,000 for unlocking their phones without carrier permission. Such restrictions have proven unpopular with the public and last year a petition called for government action. Continue reading Congress Passes Bill That Makes it Legal to Unlock Cellphones

President and FCC Back Consumer Right to Unlock Phones

According to the Obama administration and the Federal Communications Commission, customers should be able to switch cellular carriers and keep their own phones while doing so. With that support, it could soon be easier for consumers to take advantage of lower rates from competing carriers once the initial contract is fulfilled, and could also mean more price competition and added choices for cellphone users. Continue reading President and FCC Back Consumer Right to Unlock Phones