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

CASE Act’s Copyright Enforcement Draws Mixed Response

In July, a bipartisan group from the Senate Judiciary Committee reintroduced the Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement (CASE) Act, by which the U.S. Copyright Office will create a three-person Copyright Claims Board that will supervise a ‘small claims-style’ system for damages. The Copyright Alliance and the Graphic Artists Guild approved the move, which allows a copyright owner whose content was used without permission to claim for damages up to $15,000 for each work and $30,000 in total. However, some groups are opposing the Act and question the cost of such an approach. Continue reading CASE Act’s Copyright Enforcement Draws Mixed Response

Unofficial YouTube Channels Openly Deliver Pirated Content

Some YouTube “creators” are brazenly uploading copyrighted content to unofficial channels and asking viewers for donations to continue their illegal activities. One example is Kitchen Nightmares Hotel Hell and Hell’s Kitchen, an unofficial channel that runs full episodes of chef Gordon Ramsay’s signature TV shows, asking viewers to support its onerous work “downloading, converting, editing, rendering and uploading” to make the illegal content available. The information was also listed on the pirates’ Patreon page. Continue reading Unofficial YouTube Channels Openly Deliver Pirated Content

Documentarians, Trade Associations Debate Copyright Laws

One of the gray areas of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) is the exemption for filmmakers. Although documentary filmmakers are allowed to use small pieces of copyrighted films in some circumstances, many of them say the provision is unclear and can lead to confusion and uncertainty. In late 2017, the International Documentary Association, Kartemquin Films, Independent Filmmaker Project, University of Film and Video Association and others asked the U.S. Copyright Office for clarity. Trade associations including the MPAA, RIAA and ESA have expressed concerns regarding exemptions. Continue reading Documentarians, Trade Associations Debate Copyright Laws

W3C Officially Recommends EME Spec for DRM Protection

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) published the Encrypted Media Extensions (EME) specification as a recommendation, although W3C members only voted 58.4 percent to approve, with 30.8 percent opposing and 10.8 percent abstaining. EME is a standard interface for digital rights management (DRM) protection of content delivered through the browser, defining how Internet content works with third-party Content Decryption Modules (CDMs) that provide proprietary decryption and rights management. In response to the EME recommendation, the Electronic Frontier Foundation has resigned from the W3C. Continue reading W3C Officially Recommends EME Spec for DRM Protection

VidAngel Debuts New Service as 9th Circuit Court Mulls Suit

VidAngel, the Utah-based video streaming service that filters out language, nudity and violence from Hollywood movies, launched a new version of its service that it hopes will address concerns about release windows and licensing fees. Disney, Warner Bros. and Fox sued VidAngel for copyright infringement, and in December, U.S. District Judge Andre Birotte issued an injunction against the company, which appealed. While litigation plays out in the 9th Circuit Court, however, VidAngel is back in the game with a new service. Continue reading VidAngel Debuts New Service as 9th Circuit Court Mulls Suit

World Wide Web Consortium Proposes HTML5 DRM Standard

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has formally moved its Encrypted Media Extensions (EME) anti-piracy mechanism to the stage of Proposed Recommendation. The decision of whether or not to adopt the EME standard now depends on a poll of W3C’s members, which have until April 19 to respond. Although the proposed standard has many critics, W3C director/HTML inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee has personally endorsed it. Engineers from Google, Microsoft and Netflix created EME, which has been under development for some time. Continue reading World Wide Web Consortium Proposes HTML5 DRM Standard

Facebook Negotiates with Music Industry Over Video Content

Facebook is doubling down on inking agreements with music industry publishers, labels and trade associations, with the goal of accessing user-generated videos that include songs and, ultimately, the labels’ own professionally produced videos. Facebook’s main rival is Google’s YouTube. From the music industry point of view, a deal with Facebook could bring substantial revenues from its 2 billion users and growing advertising division, as well as create a bargaining chip in negotiations with YouTube. Continue reading Facebook Negotiates with Music Industry Over Video Content

PlayOn Delivers Streaming Video Recording to Mobile Devices

PlayOn, whose software records video from streaming services to watch offline without ads on any device, now offers this functionality for mobile devices. PlayOn Cloud is available as a free download on iOS (with Android support coming soon). It allows the user to download video to mobile devices, and keeps the recording in the cloud for 30 days. Viewers can watch offline, with AdSkip technology. Support is available for Netflix, Amazon Video, Hulu, Yahoo! View, HBO Now, YouTube, NBC, ABC, CBS, Fox, PBS and The CW. Continue reading PlayOn Delivers Streaming Video Recording to Mobile Devices

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’

Video Creators Complain of ‘Freebooting’ Trend on Facebook

Video has skyrocketed on Facebook to 8 billion views a day, and now the social media giant is also bombarded with takedown requests from video content creators. They’re complaining about “freebooting,” which is when clips are taken from YouTube, where creators make money from advertising, and re-loaded without permission on Facebook, where they’re not making a dime. Although Facebook is working on new rights-management software, creators say the current copyright infringement is negatively impacting their income. Continue reading Video Creators Complain of ‘Freebooting’ Trend on Facebook

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

Spike in Takedown Requests Questions Effectiveness of DMCA

In the first 12 weeks this year, Google received takedown requests for 213 million links, representing a 125 percent increase over the same period in 2015, to remove copyright infringing sites, as per the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. The spike does not represent a dramatic increase in piracy but, rather, new automated tools for finding copyright violators as well as more copyright holders actively looking for infringers. The MPAA and Recording Industry Association of America say it’s proof that the DMCA isn’t working. Continue reading Spike in Takedown Requests Questions Effectiveness of DMCA

YouTube Creators Getting Frustrated Over Copyright Violations

A growing number of YouTube creators are becoming frustrated with copyright violation claims. Some have even posted videos about their headaches in dealing with the claims and they are urging YouTube to fix the system. Currently, the popular online video platform relies on a model established by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act in which user-generated flags can lead to the sudden takedown of a video. Some creators have even had the advertising or the uploading capabilities restricted on their channels. Continue reading YouTube Creators Getting Frustrated Over Copyright Violations

Copyright Infringement Ruling: Cox to Pay BMG $25 Million

In a significant victory for BMG and copyright enforcer Rightscorp, a federal jury in Virginia found Cox Communications guilty of ignoring music piracy, directing that it pay BMG $25 million for the violations. Although Rightscorp was not named as a plaintiff, it provided the evidence that made it possible for BMG to go to trial. Rightscorp has been sending out copyright notices asking for $20 to $30 per song for what users believed were pirated songs. Cox was the biggest holdout, making them a target for BMG and Rightscorp. Continue reading Copyright Infringement Ruling: Cox to Pay BMG $25 Million

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