QuickLinks - Copyright, trademarks and patents
QuickLinks - Copyright, trademarks and patents
Issue no. 371 - 28 January 2007
- EU - Codified versions of Directives
Codified versions of 3 Directives have been adopted: Directive 2006/114 of 12 December 2006 concerning misleading and comparative advertising, Directive 2006/115 of 12 December 2006 on rental right and lending right and on certain rights related to copyright in the field of intellectual property, Directive 2006/116 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 December 2006 on the term of protection of copyright and certain related rights.
- UK - Chancellor offers £5m for pursuit of pirates
The government has endorsed calls for a stringent clampdown on music and film piracy and an end to restrictions on copying music for personal use. A wide-ranging intellectual property review by Andrew Gowers also recommended the existing 50-year copyright term for sound recordings be retained, much to the chagrin of a vocal lobby of major record labels and artists who wanted it increased.
- UK - Microsoft schools software 'lock-ins' under fire
Microsoft's software licensing scheme for schools and colleges has several "shortfalls", according to a new report by the British Educational Communications and Technology Agency (Becta).
- UK - Patent Office considers Wiki peer review
The UK Patent Office is considering reforms to the patent system based on recommendations made in last week's Gowers Review. Recommendation 23 of Gowers states: "The Patent Office should conduct a pilot of Beth Noveck's Community Patent Review in 2007 in the UK to determine whether this would have a positive impact on the quality of the patent stock." Professor Beth Noveck, director of the Institute for Information Law and Policy at the New York Law School, recommended a system of peer review for patents in a September 2006 paper entitled "Community Patent Review Project Summary" whereby inventors seeking a patent should submit an application first to a community of interested expert reviewers, to ease pressure on patent examiners.
Issue no. 370 - 3 December 2006
- BE - Google copyright ruling due 2007
The judge presiding over the copyright infringement case between Google and a number of Belgian newspapers has said that he will not be announcing his ruling until next year. Google appeared in a Belgian court to defend claims that it took content from newspaper websites without paying or asking permission. In September, Copiepresse - an organisation that represents the French and German-speaking Belgian press - won a ruling ordering Google to remove content from some Belgian newspapers from its website.
- BE - Google settles copyright dispute with 2 groups in Belgium
Google has settled with two Belgian groups representing photographers and journalists in a copyright dispute. The agreement with the Belgian copyright groups Sofam, representing the rights of about 3,700 photographers, and Scam, which acts for journalists, is the first step forward in a dispute that started with the introduction of Google News in Belgium.
- CN - Music labels lose MP3 search case
China's leading web search engine has been cleared of copyright infringement by a Beijing court. Baidu.com faced a lawsuit from music companies after posting links to sites offering illegal music downloads. But the ruling said the service did not constitute an infringement as the music was downloaded from webservers of third parties.
- Google Suffers Setback in Copyright Case
Yahoo has rebuffed Google's attempt to learn more about its efforts to create digital copies of books, dealing the Internet search leader another setback as it prepares to fight against a copyright infringement suit.
- RU - Russia agrees to shut down Allofmp3.com
Russia has agreed to shut down Allofmp3.com and other music sites based in that country that the U.S. government says are offering downloads illegally. The nation has struck the agreement with the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative as it seeks entry to the World Trade Organization. The U.S. has suggested that it would hold up Russia's acceptance in the WTO unless leaders there took action against digital piracy.
- UK - Recording industry plans authorisation for music CD copying
The UK's main recording industry body wants to authorise UK music buyers to copy CDs for personal use. The British Phonographic Industry (BPI) has recommended to a Government investigation that a private right to copy be created.
- UK - Software patent rulings become Patent Office benchmark
The UK Patent Office will use the judgments in two recent Appeals Court patent cases as the benchmark for all future disputes over the patentability of software. The cases will replace all past case law as the basis for future decisions, it said.
- US - How to gag your enemies using the DMCA
The DMCA is supposed to protect copyright owners, it can be an enormous hammer to crack a very small nut. Its safe harbor provisions mean that US webhosts and ISPs feel they have to remove entire sites from the web, to protect themselves from punishment. Take down first, ask questions later, is the order of the day. This gives copyright holders enormous scope to browbeat ISPs into acting as censors-by-proxy. Mischief-makers and bamboozlers can join the fun too.
- US - Internet Archive wins copyright reprieve
The Internet Archive project has won an exemption from US copyright law, overcoming an obstacle which threatened the entire work of the not-for-profit group. It can now host copies of obsolete computer games and software without fear of prosecution. The Library of Congress has published six exemptions to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which criminalises duplication of material copyrighted to someone else. The exemption is from punishment for breaking the kinds of copy controls on material which are designed to stop unauthorised duplication.
- US - MySpace sued by Universal Music
Universal Music Group is suing MySpace - claiming the online social network site is encouraging its users to illegally share music and music videos. It accuses MySpace of allowing people to illegally upload videos and of providing the technology for users to share the content with others.
- US - NTP slaps Palm with patent infringement suit
After settling with Blackberry maker earlier this year, NTP's lawyers are now going after Palm's wireless e-mail devices. Palm's Treo smart phones are likely the intended target of NTP's lawsuit. NTP is looking for an injunction on the sale of Palm products that allegedly violate its patents, as well as monetary damages. NTP settled a legal ordeal with RIM earlier this year for $612.5 million, after alleging that RIM's BlackBerry devices and wireless e-mail service infringed on NTP's patents.
Issue no. 369 - 5 November 2006
- CA - Entwistle on a copyright policy that encourages innovation
Telus CEO Darren Entwistle: A voice for a copyright policy that encourages innovation, compensation for artists, and full respect for consumer rights. It is not everyday that the CEO of a major Canadian company says "lastly, and perhaps most importantly, it is time to update our copyright regime" and then proceeds to outline a vision that focuses on robust fair use rather than dangerous anti-circumvention legislation.
- DK - New court setback for Allofmp3.com
A Danish court has delivered a fresh blow to illegal music website allofmp3.com in a ruling that will make it harder for users to access the site. Allofmp3.com sells and distributes copies of hundreds of thousands of songs by international and local artists without any permission to do so. The Danish court ordered the internet provider Tele2 to block its subscribers' access to the illegal Russian music service. The case was filed by IFPI Denmark, representing the Danish recording industry. The order sides unconditionally with IFPI Denmark and directs Tele2 to stop its subscribers' access to allofmp3.com. see also MP3 Web site in Russia goes from cheap to free amid legal battles (IHT).
- FR - L'édition française poursuit Google pour contrefaçon
Le Syndicat national de l'édition (SNE) poursuit en justice Google pour contrefaçon et atteinte au droit de la propriété intellectuelle. L'organisme, qui représente 90 % des éditeurs français, reproche à l'américain de numériser sans autorisation des oeuvres littéraires encore protégées par le droit d'auteur. Il en met des extraits à disposition - de façon aléatoire - sur son service « Google recherche de livres ». Plusieurs milliers d'ouvrages seraient concernés.
- IBM: Amazon violates our patents
Big Blue files suit, saying mega e-tailer is infringing intellectual property ranging from advertising to hyperlink technology. IBM has targeted Amazon.com with two patent infringement lawsuits filed Monday, claiming that the online retail giant is willfully exploiting a number of its patents.
- IGF: more free content for the Internet
As a counterpoint to ever more stringent copyright provisions an international treaty on Access to Knowledge (A2K) should be drawn up, a South African representative during a discussion on the openness of networks at the Internet Governance Forum has said. For some time now South Africa, a number of governments of newly industrialized countries as well as non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have been advertising the A2K Initiative toward the member states of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).
- JP - YouTube cuts 30,000 illegal clips
Video-sharing service YouTube has wiped nearly 30,000 files from its website after Japanese media companies said their copyright was being infringed. The Japan Society for Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers found 29,549 music video, movie and TV clips had been posted without permission. YouTube was recently bought by search giant Google for $1.65bn.
- MySpace 'to block illegal files'
Social networking site MySpace is to block users from uploading copyrighted music to its pages. It will use a file-filtering application to scan old and new content to weed out any unauthorised material. Illegal files, the company said, would be removed and persistent offenders would be banned from the site.
- UK - Copying own CDs 'should be legal'
It is not the music industry's job to decide consumer rights, says Institute for Public Policy Research. The think-tank has called for outdated copyright laws to be rewritten to take account of new ways people listen to music, watch films and read books.
- UK - Landmark ruling denies UK patent to document assembly
A landmark Court of Appeal ruling has refused a company the right to a patent for a piece of software. The ruling, at an unusually high judicial level, is a blow for companies which want the UK to follow America's lead and allow software to be patented.
- UK - This is so depressing
by Lawrence Lessig. So as noted here before, Britain is considering extending its copyright term for recordings from 50 years to 95 years - including both existing recordings and recordings in the future. The ippr just released a very smart report about IP issues generally. It identifies well the errors in this pattern of extension.
- US - Abusing The DMCA To Take Down Any Content
This has been quite a week for stories about people abusing the DMCA. Now we've got more examples of similar abuses. The first also comes from the EFF who has filed a lawsuit against someone for abusing the DMCA. The person in question apparently did some stuff online to annoy a lot of people, and when others wrote nasty articles about him, he simply filed DMCA complaints to get ISPs to take down the stories -- even though there was absolutely no copyright infringement at all.
- US - Microsoft to support Novell's SuSE Linux
Microsoft has agreed to sell cancer. Or least to support Novell's SuSE Linux and be more friendly to the open source operating system. In a bizarre corporate tie-up, Microsoft looks set to announce a partnership with a company it's spent years trying to crush. The company will reveal a support and software development deal with Novell around SuSE Linux. In addition, Microsoft is expected to pledge that it will not sue over IP issues around the OS.
- US - Supreme Court to review Microsoft patent appeal
The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to wade into a patent case involving Microsoft and AT&T. The outcome could alter the scope of damages that software companies must hand over for infringing activity occurring abroad.
Issue no. 368 - 15 October 2006
- BE - MSN is latest target of Belgian copyright complaint
Looking to avoid Google's legal tangles, Microsoft's MSN division in Belgium is in talks with Copiepresse, a group of newspaper publishers, over the rights to publish their content on its Web site. The group has asked MSN to stop posting Belgian newspaper articles to its Web site without permission.
- EU - Vote on proposals to harmonise patent litigation across Europe
The European Patent Office (EPO) is ramping up its PR activity ahead of this week's parliamentary vote on proposals to harmonise patent litigation across Europe's states. EPO president Alain Pompidou addressed the annual EPO online services conference in Lisbon arguing for an "enhanced patent culture" in Europe.
- EU - Mandelson mulls WTO case against China over piracy
European Union trade commissioner Peter Mandelson has threatened to take China to the World Trade Organisation over patent infringements. Mandelson says that he "reserves the right to take a case to the WTO" over patent piracy.
- IT - Sky football exclusivity extends to Internet
E' illegale la diffusione gratuita dei link delle partite di calcio sulle quali Sky vanta un diritto di esclusiva. Lo ha stabilito la corte di Cassazione che ha disposto un nuovo processo nei confronti di due milanesi indagati per avere 'illecitamente diffuso e trasmesso via internet eventi sportivi' rispetto ai quali Sky vantava, appunto, l'esclusiva. [Patrizio Menchetti comments: The Italian court of cassation held that it is a criminal offence to link to the web site of a Chinese TV where football matches are streamed which in Italy are protected by exclusive broadcasting rights. The judgment reversed the judgment of a lower court which had acquitted the offenders, who had put the links on their web site, on the basis that the Chinese TV had paid full broacasting rights for the events. The case was raised by Sky TV which broadcasts the events in Italy on an encrypted paying channel].
- Change in Windows Vista licensing terms
(Ed Bott's Blog)
Microsoft's new Software License Terms says that you may "reassign the license to another device one time" or "make a one time transfer of the software, and this agreement, directly to a third party." That limitation on retail licenses is a remarkable change. Previously, a retail license could be removed from one computer and reinstalled on another with no limits. Now, you get to reinstall one time and one time only. see also Microsoft Vista licence restrictions hit hardware hard (The Inquirer).
Issue no. 367 - 23 September 2006
- BE - Google faces fines after Belgian ruling
A ruling by a Belgian court could potentially block Google's news aggregation business. A complaint against the internet giant was launched by Copiepresse, an organisation that manages copyright for the French and German-speaking press in Belgium. The court has ordered Google to stop reproducing articles from French-speaking newspapers in the news section of one of its Belgian websites. The court's ruling, which was issued on September 5, stipulates that Google must pay a fine of 1m euros (£675,000) a day if it does not comply. see also Google to appeal, as court rules news site is illegal (Guardian), Google loses Belgian news appeal (Register) and Google not above law, publishes Belgian copyright infringement ruling (ZDNet).
- DE - Behind Google's German courtroom battle
A local business owner is fighting with the search giant for the right to use the term "Gmail." So far, he's winning. Google's free Web e-mail offering may be available for correspondence in 40 languages, but efforts at worldwide expansion using the moniker "Gmail" continue to face complications.
- EU - Europe's software patent war ignites again
Three political groups in the European Parliament have warned that the possibility of introducing software patents is re-emerging. Last year, the Parliament derailed a proposed directive that, critics argued, would have legitimized software patents in Europe. Internal market commissioner Charlie McCreevy plans to deliver a new speech promoting the measure, called the European Patent Litigation Agreement.
- EU - Tesco loses trade mark right over unsent documents
Tesco has lost the right to a Europe-wide trade mark on the word 'Metro'. The trade mark right for Europe has now passed to German retailer MIP Metro because Tesco did not submit a set of papers to the EU trade mark authority.
- Microsoft gives go-ahead to open-source Web services
Microsoft is pledging not to assert its patents pertaining to nearly three dozen Web services specifications--a move designed to ease concerns among developers by creating a legal environment more friendly to open-source software. See alos Is open source getting to Microsoft?.
- P2P File-sharing site eDonkey agrees to $30 million settlement
The parent company of popular file-sharing network eDonkey has agreed to pay $30 million to settle a copyright infringement case brought by six music labels, according to court documents filed this week. The settlement follows a federal district court ruling earlier this week that dealt what appears to be final blow to MetaMachine's peer-to-peer (P2P) client eDonkey; the eDonkey Web site has since been taken down.
- SE - Voters Keelhaul Pirate Party
The Swedish national elections failed to bring the copyright reform movement its first political victory. The Pirate Party not only failed to score the 4 percent required for a seat in Sweden's Parliament, but appears to have missed the 1 percent that would have afforded the party state assistance with printing ballots and funding staff in the next election. The Pirate Party's single-issue platform includes a 5-year limit to commercial copyright, the abolition of patents and stronger privacy protections online.
- UK - Copyright hindering scholarship in the humanities and social sciences
A report from the British Academy expresses fears that the copyright system may in important respects be impeding, rather than stimulating, the production of new ideas and new scholarship in the humanities and social sciences. The Academy publishes with the report a draft set of guidelines for Fellows and scholars on their rights and duties under copyright legislation. They include : authors and producers of original creative material should understand that their interests in copyright are not necessarily identical with those of publishers and should not rely on publishers to protect them.
- US - Copyright infringement - Universal will attack YouTube, MySpace
The world's biggest record label has said that it may pursue YouTube and MySpace for copyright infringement. The move reverses big business's recent courting of the new media titans.
Issue no. 366 - 3 September 2006
- An end run round copyright laws?
What Linux has done for operating systems, the Internet should do for content, a prominent lawyer and activist has urged. Lawrence Lessig railed against prevailing copyright laws and urged use of his alternative creation, the Creative Commons license. The license permits content such as music, video, photos or text to be reused and augmented by others in the same way that the open-source and free software movement permits programs to be copied and modified.
- Guitar instruction websites shut down by music industry
Music publishers are taking action against guitar fan websites which they say infringe songwriters' copyrights. Publishers have started to use copyright law suits to shut down sites which share notations which help musicians to play songs at home.
- IN - India's State of Kerala trying to eliminate Microsoft from use in public institutions.
In a new attack on multinational corporations, the Communist government in India's southern state of Kerala is campaigning to eliminate Microsoft from use in public institutions, just weeks after it imposed a ban on Coca-Cola and Pepsi. As part of a drive against "monopolistic" organizations, schools and public offices across the state are being encouraged to install free software systems instead of purchasing Microsoft's Windows programs.
- Stop googling that hottie!
Google is taking steps to stop its name becoming a generic term for surfing the net - which is important to protect its long-term value. Publishers and media organisations may have thought the summer silly season had begun in earnest recently when they received a lawyer's letter from Google attempting to assert control over journalists' use of its brand name. In it, Google informed them, by way of example, that it is fine to say: 'I ran a Google search to check out that guy from the party', but not to say: 'I googled that hottie'."
- UK - Sony refused peer-to-peer patents
Sony cannot patent inventions in the UK that remove the anonymity of the peer-to-peer user experience and put social networking at the heart of file-sharing. The application describes a method for attaching a user history to content when it is shared among computers or other devices. When one user downloads a song, he can see who had it last and what he thought about it. The Patent Office ruled that the inventions described computer programs and were not eligible for patent protection in the UK.
- US - Apple pays $100 million to settle iPod patent suit
Apple has agreed to pay leading rival Creative Technology $100 million to settle an iPod patent dispute. The settlement lifts the threat of a ban on iPods being imported into the US for sale. Creative had sued Apple over the use of navigation systems to find and organise music on iPods which it said violated their patents.
- US - Patent review goes Wiki
The problem: an epidemic of shoddy patents The solution: Wikipedia? That's the basic concept behind a pilot program sponsored by IBM and other companies, which the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office appears poised to green-light. Patent applications have tripled in the past two decades, leaving examiners only 20 hours on average to comb through a complex application, research past inventions, and decide whether a patent should be granted. As a result, critics contend, quality has declined and lucrative patents have been granted for ideas that weren't actually new. One solution is to let astute outsiders weigh in during the patent-review process, as online encyclopedia Wikipedia does, vastly increasing the information available to the patent examiner. New York Law School professor Beth Noveck floated the idea on her blog, inspiring an article in Wired News. That, in turn, attracted the attention of IBM, which got behind the idea.
- US - Patent verdict against Microsoft, Autodesk stands
A federal judge in Texas has delivered a setback to Microsoft and Autodesk in their patent infringement battle with product activation start-up Z4 Technologies. He turned down the software makers' request for a new trial in a patent infringement lawsuit filed by Z4 Technologies and awarded enhanced damages, ordering Microsoft and Autodesk to pay a combined total of $158 million.
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