EMI Sues Grooveshark

EMI Music, the biggest record publisher in the world, has terminated its contract with streaming site Grooveshark. According to BBC’ s News Techology website, this: “…comes three months after EMI announced it was suing the service for not paying royalties…EMI’s withdrawal means Grooveshark currently has no major record labels on board with the service…”.

The steep fall in download revenues and the meteoric rise of streaming services seem to be taking their toll. As CNet.com reports, Grooveshark: “…Issued a response to EMI’s court filing and allegations: “Grooveshark was recently forced to make the difficult decision to part ways with EMI due to EMI’s currently unsustainable streaming rates and EMI’s pending merger with Universal Music Group, which we consider monopolistic and in violation of antitrust laws,” the company wrote. “To date, Grooveshark has paid over $2.6 million to EMI, but we have yet to find sustainable streaming rates. In spite of this, Grooveshark’s dedication to artists and rights holders remains the same…”.

For full article see here

Record companies win first round v The Pirate Bay in the UK but pirates remain at large

In a decision handed down by Mr Justice Arnold on 20 February 2012, the High Court finds that UK users of The Pirate Bay website are liable for copyright infringement for communicating copyrighted sound recordings to the public and that the operators of The Pirate Bay authorise infringements of copyright by its users and are jointly liable for these copyright infringements (Dramatico Entertainment Limited & others v British Sky Broadcasting Limited & others [2012] EWHC 268 (Ch).     

Record companies win first round v The Pirate Bay in the UK but pirates remain at large – Lexology.

Software Licensing Compliance

Most of us use software. Any software we use is regulated by the terms of the particular software license. Many software licenses especially those that are not open source, limit in various ways software use. Some licenses allow home use only, some limit the amount of computers a software may be used on and some are intended for commercial use.

Software licensing compliance is sometimes taken lightheartedly or overlooked. Using software without a license or using it outside the terms of a license may be a breach of copyright. The ease with which people can acquire cheap pirated software makes it an easy option. Cheap may come at a price though, especially when compliance watchdog BSA (Business Software Alliance) comes knocking on peoples door.

BSA represents the worlds largest software companies, such as Microsoft, Adobe, HP, IBM, Intel etc. BSA operates in many countries around the world and its main lines of activities are to promote and enforce licensing compliance and stop and deter copyright infringment of it’s members properties. It uses various means to collect information including “sqealing” hotlines, private detectives and on site “surprise” visits to businesses.

Businesses are advised to assess whether they are in compliance with their software licenses. Whether a business wishes to get compliance advice or if approached by the BSA, getting expert legal advice is highly recommended. If BSA reps come knocking at your door, you do not have to let them in unless they have a court warrant to that effect. In any event, contact a lawyer at once to guide you.

Megaupload Shutdown and Cloud Trouble

The recent Megaupload shutdown by the US Dept. of Justice may highlight some of the troubles with cloud computing.

Users of the Megaupload storage service could not access legitimate files after the shutdown.This means that users should have had backups of their files in order to avoid such a scenario. And I thought cloud computing came to replace backups…

In order to avoid such scenarios, it is important to check out the terms of use of any such service so as to ascertain who owns the files uploaded and how can one access them, particularly in shutdown scenarios.

In order to gain consumer confidence, Cloud based services will need to alleviate these “physical” concerns for users. When one adds this to the concerns consumers have over Cloud security,  then Cloud based services still have some way to go and educating to do so as to make cloud based services an integral part of consumers’ digital second nature…

DMCA Safe Harbour Provisions

In a much-anticipated ruling with respect to the strength of the safe harbor provisions within the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, the US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed a district court’s decision that Veoh Networks Inc. is protected by the DMCA’s safe harbor provisions from copyright infringement claims brought against it by UMG Recordings Inc..

For full article please see John E. Ottaviani & Glenn G. Pudelka of Edwards Wildman Palmer LLP Boston Office @ martindale.com

No Privacy On Internet

According to Torrent Freak, “…YouHaveDownloaded is a new Russian-based service that claims to track about 20 percent of all public BitTorrent downloads. They go a step further than just collecting IP-addresses and file-names by exposing all the harvested information to the public on their website.

People who visit the site immediately see their download history, as far as it’s available in the site’s database. In addition, they can also search for files or IP-addresses to find out who’s downloading what. At the time of writing the database has information on 51,274,000 users who together shared 103,200 torrents.

For full article, see Torrent Freak.

High court forces BT to block file-sharing website

Hollywood film studios won a landmark UK high court ruling on Thursday forcing BT to block access to an illegal file-sharing website accused of operating “on a grand scale”. (See The Guardian, Mark Sweney & Josh Halliday for full article).

Poker Site Shut Down

One of the world’s most successful poker sites, FullTiltPoker.com, has been
shut down by the FBI.

According to John Oates of The Register: “…Back in April, the Feds arrested 11 people for falling foul of US internet gambling laws, including the three founders of the web’s biggest such sites…

…A statement from Alderney’s Gambling Control Commission said four companies
trading collectively as Full Tilt Poker have had their licences suspended…” (For full report see The Register).

Internet Name Shake-Up

Reuters reports that: “…Brand owners will soon be able to operate their own parts of the Web – such as .apple, .coke or .marlboro– if the biggest shake-up yet in how Internet domains are awarded is approved…
… ICANN, the body that coordinates Internet names, is expected to approve the move at a special board meeting…

…The move is seen as a big opportunity for brands to gain more control over their online presence and send visitors more directly to parts of their sites…It will also change the way search engines like Google find results, and the way organisations use search-engine optimisation to improve the visibility of their websites in search results…

…It will cost $185,000 to apply, and individuals or organisations will have to show a legitimate claim to the name they are buying…

…GTLDs such as .nyc, .london or .food could provide opportunities for many smaller businesses to grab names no longer available at the .com level – like bicycles.london or indian.food…

…The new domains will also change how ICANN works, as it will have a role in policing how gTLDs are operated, bought and sold. Until now, it has overseen names and performed some other tasks but has been little involved in the Internet’s thornier issues…

…To prevent so-called cyber-squatting, gTLD owners will be expected to maintain operational sites. ICANN will have to approve transfers to new owners at the top level…” (Georgina Prodhan, Reuters).

Twitter goes after born-again typosquatter

The Register reports that: “…Twitter has filed a cybersquatting complaint against the owner of the typo domain name twiter.com, seven years after it was first registered.

The website at twiter.com currently bounces visitors to one of a number of dodgy competitions that try to persuade them to sign up to premium SMS text-message services.

Twitter has filed a complaint with the World Intellectual Property Organisation using the Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy, an anti-cybersquatting policy created by ICANN

Twitter will have to prove that the domain was registered in bad faith.

UDRP panelists typically rule that domains cannot be registered in bad faith if they were registered before the trademark even existed. Twitter acquired its trademark in 2007.

However, historical Whois records show that twiter.com may have changed ownership once or more over the last few years, most recently in April this year.

WIPO currently advises its adjudicators that when a domain is transferred to a new registrant, the clock is reset and it can be treated as a new registration.

This twist means Twitter likely has a stronger case than it may first appear, and may be the reason it waited for five years before going after the domain name..” (For Full report: Kevin Murphey, The Register).