Category Archives: Law and Technology

Where the law and technology collides

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British Bloggers Face Pressure From UK Regulators

By Drew Wilson

Libel is often a threat for many bloggers. The fear of a lawsuit can be enough for a blog owner to just close shop and move on to other things in life. Unfortunately, for bloggers residing in the UK, that threat of legal action didn’t come from a company or an individual. It came from a regulator which basically said, “sign up with us or face getting sued.”

This disturbing story is coming from The Guardian which says that members from the media should sign up with them or face bank busting libel lawsuits. That veiled threat was also extended to bloggers.

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TorrentLitigation Adds Insight into File-Sharing Lawsuits

By Drew Wilson

The lawsuit campaign against individual file-sharers is probably one of the older online anti-piracy efforts record labels and movie studios have used. While the anti-piracy efforts employed today are more complex, there are still plenty of file-sharing lawsuits going around. That is where TorrentLitigation comes into the picture. It’s a website not only devoted to shedding light on file-sharing lawsuits, but also aims to support those on the receiving end of a legal notice and asking for help.

Whenever the subject of file-sharing lawsuits come up in discussion, there tends to be a strong reaction to the litigation tactics employed by different rightsholders with respect to the sharing of copyrighted material online. One might react with opposition to these lawsuits, saying something like the litigation tactics has been damaging between rightsholders and customers generally. Another reaction might be strong support for the lawsuits because one feels that it’s one of the few things rightsholders can do to protect their intellectual property. A third reaction could be of confusion because the subject in question employs two very complex and different subjects – those being copyright law and technology. Putting it all into perspective can be a rather tricky proposition, but that is one of the functions of TorrentLitigation.

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Growing Internet Censorship in the UK Draws Fire

By Drew Wilson

The UK is under an increasingly dark cloud of censorship these days. A court decision has made ISPs in the country block three more BitTorrent websites. As Internet censorship grows in the country, so does the backlash. Both the Pirate Party and the digital rights organization Open Rights Group are speaking out against the latest developments.

The Guardian reported that file-sharing websites KickAss Torrents (KAT), H33t, and Fenopy have been ordered to be blocked by a UK court after legal complaints by the major foreign record labels. The latest crackdown isn’t going unchallenged, however.

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First File-Sharer Convicted Under New Zealand Three Strikes Law

By Drew Wilson

New Zealand is the latest in a growing list of countries convicting alleged copyright infringers over so-called three strikes laws. The accused denies involvement in every single accusation, but received a fine under the now tested law.

Earlier this month, we reported that the New Zealand three strikes law was going to be tested. Now, reports have surfaced that the tribunal has handed down its first conviction.

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Reports – Russia Gearing Up for New Piracy Crackdown

By Drew Wilson

News is surfacing that the Russian Ministry of Culture is gearing up for a new offensive against Internet piracy. According to both Russian and French reports, if a website owner receives a complaint of copyright infringing material, then the owner has 24 hours to remove it or face a fine.

One of the reports comes from Glavnoe (Russian) where the report says that that the website owner is not only responsible for the removal of the offending content within 24 hours, but is also responsible for preventing the spread of that same content. If the content isn’t remove, says the report, then website owners could face a fine of 3,000 to 5,000 USD for individuals and 30,000 to 50,000 USD for entrepreneurs.

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Anti-Circumvention Laws Struck Down in Columbia

By Drew Wilson

On the back of the news we broke earlier about a study on anti-circumvention laws, news has arrived that those kinds of anti-circumvention laws have been struck down in the constitutional court of Columbia.

It’s part of many trade agreements including the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), but those same kinds of laws have been struck down.

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New Study: Anti-Circumvention Laws Excessively Favours Rightsholders

By Drew Wilson

One of the issues brought up by activists in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) was that included anti-circumvention language. Now, activists have new evidence to back them up. A recently published study says that copy protection laws are excessively favoring the content industry.

Anti-circumvention laws are already a fact of life in the United States. Thanks to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), many content creators and business start-ups have to jump through new hoops just to use content that would have normally been allowed without the presence of copy protection. This is because breaking a piece of copy protection technology could legally be considered an act of copyright infringement. While individuals and organizations like the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) have been working hard to put back in place exceptions through the regular review process that occurs in the US, people who innovate and remix have been still plagued with DMCA takedown notices from legacy industries on issues they originally thought would be perfectly legal.

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Procedural Error Sinks Would-Be HADOPI Conviction

By Drew Wilson

The HADOPI law (Haute Autorité pour la diffusion des œuvres et la protection des droits sur internet) and its government agency under the same name, has had its share of controversy over the years in France. Now, another incident has occurred that just adds to the list of reasons why some might question the anti-piracy effort in the first place.

The law made its appearance in 2008 – particularly when it was introduced in the French senate. At the time the French UMP party headed by Nicolas Sarkozy pushed the bill through government as a matter of urgency in spite of a number of objections both within government and outside of government. It would also be a staple for anti-piracy efforts around the world as they finally have one of the first countries in the world to try implementing a so-called “three strikes law” where three accusations of online copyright infringement can mean your Internet access is cut off as well as you being issued fines.

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Stop Online Piracy Act – The Bill The Internet Stopped

By Drew Wilson

If one were to ask Internet advocates some of the most significant achievements of the Internet in recent memory, there is a good chance that the day the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA) was stopped would be brought up amongst those achievements. We take a look at what was so controversial about the proposed laws and how the Internet stood up to compel US lawmakers to shelve the plans.

We’ve been reviewing some of the largest stories surrounding the Internet in the last few years. First, we reviewed the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) which is currently under negotiations, then we touched on the more mysterious and new trade agreement called the Trans-Atlantic Partnership Agreement (TAPA), and then looked at the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). While all of these agreements represent what many call a threat to the Internet, today, we thought we’d touch on one of the Internets biggest political success stories – the stopping of the US governments Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA).

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Reviewing the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement

By Drew Wilson

After reviewing known information about the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Trans-Atlantic Partnership Agreement (TAPA), we now shift our focus to another known threat to the Internet – the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).

Like the TPP, CETA has had known leaks of its own in the past. It was these data leaks that have allowed activists to get a glimpse of what the otherwise secretive agreement is really about on some topics. It turned out, it carried the same sort of threats to the Internet as the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement that died in the European Union after intense opposition.

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