Archive for the “copyrights” Category

A federal appeals court sided with EFF yesterday on several of the major questions at issue in the long-running Lenz v. Universal copyright case.

Source: Takedown Senders Must Consider Fair Use, Ninth Circuit Rules

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Today’s Supreme Court ruling against Aereo proves that even the younger Justices don’t “get it”. What is really ironic is that the over-the-air broadcasters will find this a Pyrrhic victory. The Aereo service is used by people who don’t own TV’s (except to use as display devices for their computers, e.g., Netflix) and don’t subscribe to cable – broadcasters (particularly the local stations) have just cut off their best hope for capturing these eyeballs.

And who are these people? The younger generation. Neither of my daughters (~30 years old) have TV’s and, except for special events (e.g., World Cup) have little interest in getting cable. They certainly would not pay for cable to get their over-the-air local stations.

Over the air TV is becoming the Republican party of content delivery – its audience is growing older every day.

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It is easy to focus on a story when it hits the airwaves but it is also important to follow it to its conclusion. If you remember, Tenenbaum downloaded and distributed over 5000 songs before finally being sued. He lost his case and was hit with a $675,000 fine.

As reported by McDermott Will & Emery:

“Following the lead of other courts addressing statutory penalties for illegal music downloading, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit upheld a $675,000 fine for downloading and distributing 30 songs.  Sony BMG Music Entertainment  v. Tenenbaum, Case No. 12-2146 (1st Cir., June 25, 2013) (Howard, J.).”

They continue:

The 1st Circuit examined the purpose of the Copyright Act’s statutory damages and Tenenbaum’s behavior to determine if $675,000 met Williams’standard for constitutionality.  The 1st Circuit found that in 1999 Congress increased the Copyright Act’s minimum and maximum statutory awards specifically because of new technologies allowing illegal music downloading.  The record companies presented evidence that Tenenbaum’s activities had led to the loss of value of its copyrights and reduced its income and profits—precisely the harm Congress foresaw.  The Court went on to find that Tenenbaum’s conduct was egregious—he pirated thousands of songs for a number of years despite numerous warnings.  The Court held that “much of this behavior was exactly what Congress was trying to deter when it amended the Copyright Act.”  The 1st Circuit rejected Tenenbaum’s argument that the damages award had to be tied to the actual injury he caused, relying on Williams to find that the damages were imposed for a violation of the law and did not need to be proportional to the harm caused by the offender.

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Who knew! The keys to the jail are held by the Librarian of Congress! The jail in question is the monopoly lock on iPhone/iPad applications that Apple has been trying to assert using The Digital Millennium Copyright Act. As you probably know, you have to modify your iPhone – to “jailbreak” – in order to load applications that aren’t provided through Apple’s iTunes store. You also have to jailbreak your phone to use a cell phone carrier other than AT&T.

Under the terms of the The Digital Millennium Copyright Act it is illegal to circumvent digital rights management schemes. However, also included in the act, is the option for the Librarian of Congress to exempt certain classes of works from the prohibition against circumvention of technological measures that control access to copyrighted works. In the most recent ruling, the Librarian has exempted six new classes material from this prohibition.
The two classes that apply to jailbreaking are:

(1) Computer programs that enable wireless telephone handsets to execute software applications, where circumvention is accomplished for the sole purpose of enabling interoperability of such applications, when they have been lawfully obtained, with computer programs on the telephone handset.

(2) Computer programs, in the form of firmware or software, that enable used wireless telephone handsets to connect to a wireless telecommunications network, when circumvention is initiated by the owner of the copy of the computer program solely in order to connect to a wireless telecommunications network and access to the network is authorized by the operator of the network.

Where I have added the emphasis. Strictly read, these rules only apply to “telephone handsets” and not to the iTouch or iPad, but I doubt that Apple will pursue owners of these devices now that they’ve lost the iPhone jailbreak war – but then again, Apple is pretty arrogant.

Official Statement

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