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.
Battle lines are already beginning to form as the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). Late last month, the word was that CETA was weeks away from completion. Now, reports are surfacing that social democratic group Quebec Solidaire has sent a letter to European lawmakers urging them to join the resistance against the impending agreement.
We’re continuing out extensive coverage of the developments revolving around the various trade agreements that are presenting a real threat to Internet freedom. We reviewed known provisions in the secretive agreement and they included extension of the terms of copyright and possibly a three strikes law which has been draining money out of both the New Zealand and French economies with no real measurable results for the long term.
The Recording Industry Association of New Zealand (RIANZ) finally convicted its first file-sharer under the now tested New Zealand three strikes law. While RIANZ may be feeling satisfied it got a result, the money spent may raise some questions over the effectiveness of such a law.
We’ve been covering the developments of the New Zealand three strikes law for close to a month now. When we reported on the first conviction, one of the things we discussed is the possible similarities between the Skynet law and HADOPI – particularly how the balance sheet didn’t look pretty for HADOPI. Now, today, New Zealand media is reporting on exactly this topic. Apparently, in order to get to this point in time, RIANZ spent a quarter of a million dollars to send out copyright violation notices. Since RIANZ has only gotten one conviction, the rewards for spending that money came to a grand total of $616.57 in fines.
The day after New Zealand saw its first conviction under the so-called “three strikes law”, the Recording Industry Association of New Zealand (RIANZ) went on the airwaves to discuss the development. Managing director Chris Caddick said in a radio interview that the very act of downloading a file-sharing program in an and of itself is proof of wrongdoing.
We’ve been closely monitoring the situation in New Zealand where the three strikes law, sometimes referred to as the Skynet law, is making headlines. Earlier this month, Freezenet was one of the first this year to report on the developments that the first file-sharer would be convicted under the law that was financed and lobbied for by the United States.
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.
Last week, a German court ruled that Internet access is “essential” for every day life. If someone’s access is disrupted, they are entitled to compensation. While it may sound mildly interesting on the surface, there’s the fact that current trade agreements being negotiated could allow rightsholders to disconnect users after repeated infringement. Could this represent a conflict on the horizon?
A report from Reuters notes a very interesting ruling was made in Germany. A man lost the ability to connect to the Internet on his DSL connection for two months in late 2008 and early 2009. Because, under German law, loss of an essential service means that person is entitled to compensation, the question was whether or not the Internet is an essential service. The court agreed with him and said that the Internet is an essential part of every day life.
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.
Late last year, Canadians were treated to news that an anti-piracy outfit working on behalf of Voltage media was gearing up to sue Canadians by the millions for the downloading of copyrighted movies on BitTorrent. While those operating on the side of the plaintiffs of the case practically insinuated that going through the courts was merely a formality and that the jig was up and a million users will be hearing from lawyers about possible litigation, that formality turned out to be an increasingly large roadblock in the path to mass litigation.
When news spread that there was the possibility of a mass flood of litigation against alleged copyright infringers over the Internet, some took the anti-piracy efforts comments to their word. “Canada prepares for crackdown on BitTorrent movie pirates” wrote Global News. “Things are looking a little scary for Canadian BitTorrent users” wrote wrote ZeroPaid. “Will Canadians feel compelled to pay? We may soon find out.” wrote TorrentFreak. With comments like that, it would be no surprise that some would think that a massive litigation campaign was going to happen tomorrow and that the courts have already had their say in the matter. Not so – at least, a flood of lawsuits will not happen tomorrow and the courts aren’t done hearing arguments in the original TekSavvy case – the case that sparked the fears in the first place.
Kim Dotcom’s problems with the record labels isn’t just limited to anything that is related to the shutdown of MegaUpload. With the launch of a new service called “Mega” just days away, Dotcom got ads to air on a radio station. But the music industry wasn’t thrilled just with the idea of the site, so they pressured MediaWorks, the radio stations owners, to pull the plug on their ads.
After a long and eventful road with his online services, Kim Dotcom is hoping to start anew with a service called “Mega”. It is widely seen as a replacement to the now shuttered website “MegaUpload” which was a cloud storage service (or, “cyber locker” or “one-click hoster” as it was termed back when it was still operating) that didn’t require registration to use. With the launch of Mega just days away (specifically, set to launch on the 20th), record labels don’t seem thrilled with the prospect that Dotcom is launching another service and are going to extraordinary lengths to keep it from being a success.