BitTorrent Program Popcorn Time Returns After 2015 Shutdown

Popcorn Time is back. The fork most closely associated with the version shut down by the MPAA last year is now promising “resilience-driven development” based on the development of the relatively new and legal Project Butter. In October 2015, the most popular Popcorn Time fork shuttered its website after the MPAA filed a lawsuit against developers in Canada. While the MPAA’s threats created a domino effect that stopped several contributors from working on the platform, outdated versions of PopcornTime.io software began receiving updates this month. Continue reading BitTorrent Program Popcorn Time Returns After 2015 Shutdown

HPA Tech Retreat: Washington Update During This ‘Silly Season’

In another annual HPA Tech Retreat panel, Jim Burger, a copyright attorney with Thompson Coburn in Washington, D.C. gave his “Washington Update.” “We’re talking about Congress and the Silly Season, and it’s crazy,” said Burger, who said he would touch on intellectual property litigation on the copyright side; the FCC and communications; net neutrality; and unlocking the set-top box among other topics. Burger noted that the House Judiciary Committee has held over 20 copyright hearings this year. Continue reading HPA Tech Retreat: Washington Update During This ‘Silly Season’

MPAA and Donuts Ink Pact to Thwart Large-Scale Movie Piracy

The Motion Picture Association of America just signed a pact with Donuts, the largest operator of new domain-name extensions, to cooperate against large-scale piracy. Under the terms of the agreement, the MPAA will first attempt to contact the third-party registrar/hosting provider for resolution. If that fails, and Donuts has “clear evidence of pervasive copyright infringement,” the company will put the domain on hold or suspend it. Among Donuts’ domain-name extensions are .movie and .theater. Continue reading MPAA and Donuts Ink Pact to Thwart Large-Scale Movie Piracy

YouTube’s Fine Brothers Abandon Plans for ‘React’ Licensing

The Fine Brothers will not be expanding their empire of “React” videos after all, at least not at the expense of fan content creators. The popular comedy duo is reversing its plans to grant licensing to YouTube creators making their own “React” videos after their channel lost 300,000 subscribers in less than a week. Many fans resented the idea of the Fine Brothers’ ownership of an entire genre of videos that has existed long before the brothers’ popular YouTube channel. Continue reading YouTube’s Fine Brothers Abandon Plans for ‘React’ Licensing

Federal Ruling Updates Royalty Rates for Streaming Music

When a panel of federal judges increased the royalty rates that free Internet radio services pay, there were winners and losers. The rate for pure-play Internet services rose to 17 cents from 14 cents, disappointing SoundExchange, the non-profit licensing agency representing record companies, which had asked for 25 cents. The Copyright Royalty Board also evened the playing field between pure-play and broadcasters with Web streams such as iHeartRadio, with the latter owing less — 22 cents rather than 25 cents — for their paid subscriptions. Continue reading Federal Ruling Updates Royalty Rates for Streaming Music

MPAA Wins Injunction in MovieTube Suit, But Battle Continues

The owners and operators of the MovieTube websites are in big trouble — whoever they are. The Motion Picture Association of America won a final default judgment, to the tune of $10.5 million, against the sites. But collecting is going to be a problem, since the MPAA has not been able to identify any of the defendants, and no companies have answered the complaint or engaged in any of the proceedings. Google, Yahoo, Facebook and Twitter, however, filed an amicus brief that could trigger subpoenas in the future. Continue reading MPAA Wins Injunction in MovieTube Suit, But Battle Continues

Judge: Cox Not Entitled to Safe Harbor from Copyright Liability

U.S. District Judge Liam O’Grady ruled that Cox Communications is not, as it claimed, a mere conduit for those who infringe copyrights but instead has liability for not implementing a repeat-infringer policy. The suit originated with BMG Rights Management and Round Hill Music, which both sought the help of Rightscorp, a company that tracks down online pirates and, controversially, demands they pay up or face lawsuits. Cox had asserted that Rightscorp’s demands were unreasonable and did not cooperate. Continue reading Judge: Cox Not Entitled to Safe Harbor from Copyright Liability

YouTube Stands Up For Video Creators Fighting Takedowns

YouTube, no stranger to copyright infringement battles, says it will pick up the legal costs of four video creators that are the focus of takedown demands. The company says it chose creators that used third party content legally permitted under the “fair use” provisions for commentary, criticism, news and parody. The company has stated it wants to protect free speech, but it is also signaling its support to video creators to help build loyalty in an increasingly competitive online video environment. Continue reading YouTube Stands Up For Video Creators Fighting Takedowns

Site Offers Process for Reporting Online Content Takedowns

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), in partnership with Visualizing Impact, just debuted a new site called Onlinecensorship.org where consumers can post when Facebook or other social media platforms take down their content. The site came into being after EFF director for international freedom of expression Jillian York and Visualizing Impact chief executive Ramzi Jaber had a conversation about content takedowns, and then won the Knight News Challenge last year. The site also informs users how to challenge content takedowns. Continue reading Site Offers Process for Reporting Online Content Takedowns

Ruling Against FilmOn Shows Aereo Issues Are Not Resolved

FilmOn just lost its latest court case, with U.S. District Judge Rosemary Collyer’s ruling that the company is not a cable system, denying it the statutory license cable companies receive. Collyer’s ruling comes as good news to the coalition of TV and movie companies — including ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox and Telemundo — that sued FilmOn in 2013. The new ruling goes against the July ruling from a Los Angeles Federal judge that went in favor of FilmOn, and also revives many of the same questions behind the Aereo ruling. Continue reading Ruling Against FilmOn Shows Aereo Issues Are Not Resolved

TPP Trade Agreement Sparks Response from Tech Community

With the publication of the Trans Pacific-Partnership (TPP) international trade treaty, numerous technology and privacy rights groups are speaking up over a range of issues. Non-profit consumer rights organization Public Citizen decries what it says is “serious implications for online privacy.” Others note that the TPP would prevent member countries from requiring that companies from other member states hand over the source code of their products. And some activists believe TPP could help further net neutrality. Continue reading TPP Trade Agreement Sparks Response from Tech Community

Popcorn Time Goes Dark, Just After Launching Butter Project

Popcorn Time, a free software BitTorrent client with integrated media player, has shut down, seemingly due to tampering with its DNS server. Could this be the end for the company that was shut down once due to MPAA complaints about piracy? That’s not clear, but just before its site went down, Popcorn Time creators announced the launch of Butter, a new version of the Popcorn Time service, but without any direct links to piracy. Butter lets the user create a streaming service — and leaves the piracy up to the individual user. Continue reading Popcorn Time Goes Dark, Just After Launching Butter Project

Court Win for Google Books Could Impact Film, TV and Music

In the latest page of Google’s decade-long saga to scan the world’s books and make them searchable, the company won a case that decided in its favor and against the Authors Guild, on whose behalf the Motion Picture Association of America and the music licensing organization ASCAP filed amicus briefs. The October 16 ruling by the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit means that writers cannot stop Google from adding their books to Google’s 20-million book library, which the Court calls “non-infringing fair uses.” Continue reading Court Win for Google Books Could Impact Film, TV and Music

Ruling on YouTube Viral Videos Parses Fair Use Versus Theft

The line between “fair use” in copyright law and outright theft has often been unclear, but a recent U.S. District Court ruling drew the line on a case involving Equals Three Studios and viral-video aggregator Jukin Media. Jukin accused Equals Three of illegally taking dozens of clips for use in its own YouTube show. Equals Three sued Jukin, saying its actions were protected by fair use, and that Jukin’s takedown deprived it of ad revenue. The Court’s ruling sides with Equals Three on all but one of the videos under consideration. Continue reading Ruling on YouTube Viral Videos Parses Fair Use Versus Theft

NFL Stops Fans From Sharing Sports Video Clips via Twitter

The tension between intellectual property owners and user-generated video sports replays came to a head when Twitter deactivated two popular sports accounts: Gawker Media’s Deadspin, with more than 887,000 Twitter followers, and @SBNationGIF, an offshoot of Vox Media’s SB Nation. The takedown came in response to complaints from the National Football League. But critics note the fuzzy line between fair use and IP infringement; some sports leagues, such as the NBA, regard user-generated videos as marketing, not infringement. Continue reading NFL Stops Fans From Sharing Sports Video Clips via Twitter

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