Sunday, December 20, 2015

This Week In Copyright

Is the worm beginning to turn? The "worm" of internet piracy is rather like an aircraft carrier. It has massive inertia, and it has government backing. It took a jury this week to send a powerful message to ISPs that allegedly profit from piracy and exploit the loopholes in "Safe Harbor."

Allegedly, a manager at an internet company instructed employees how to handle "customers" and "subscribers" who were alleged repeated copyright infringers.

"Notably, Cox’s Manager of Customer Abuse Operations, wrote in an email:
As we move forward in this challenging time we want to hold on to every subscriber we can. With this in mind if a customer is terminated for DMCA, you are able to reactivate them after you give them a stern warning about violating our AUP and the DMCA. We must still terminate in order for us to be in compliance with safe harbor but once termination is complete, we have fulfilled our obligation. After you reactivate them the DMCA ‘counter’ restarts; The procedure restarts with the sending of warning letters, just like a first offense. This is to be an unwritten semi-policy… We do not talk about it or give the subscriber any indication that reactivating them is normal. Use your best judgment and remember to do what is right for our company and subscribers… This only pertains to DMCA violations. It does not pertain to spammers, hackers, etc."

The musician-and-songwriter related blog, The Trichordist, has an excellent summary of the week's top copyright-related news, not all of which is good for singers and songwriters and other creators whose income is controlled by government bureaucrats in the Copyright Royalty Board.
"DMCA abuse that has been used as a shield against copyright infringement liability by the internet and web/tech communities. Many businesses including many ISP’s and content hosting platforms such as YouTube have used the DMCA to build massively profitable businesses that are largely comprised of infringing works, otherwise known as User Pirated Content. That may be about to change thanks to this ruling."

All the best,
Rowena Cherry

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