(OUT-LAW News) Cafes, pubs, universities and libraries that offer wireless internet access will not be granted a special exemption from measures aimed at tackling copyright infringement, the Government has said. The Government's controversial Digital Economy Bill makes an internet access subscriber liable for the copyright-infringing behaviour of others. Internet law expert Professor Lilian Edwards had previously warned that without an exemption the measure would have a damaging effect. The Government has now published guidance to the Bill which clarifies that organisations providing access will be granted no such exemption.
(BBC) An Italian court has convicted three Google executives in a trial over a video showing an autistic teenager being bullied. The Google employees were accused of breaking Italian law by allowing the video to be posted online. Judge Oscar Magi absolved the three of defamation but convicted them of privacy violations. The UK's former Information Commissioner Richard Thomas said the case gave privacy laws a "bad name". The three employees, Peter Fleischer, David Drummond and George De Los Reyes, received suspended six-month sentences, while a fourth defendant, product manager Arvind Desikan, was acquitted. David Drummond, chief legal officer at Google and one of those convicted, said he was "outraged" by the decision. See Serious threat to the web in Italy (Google Public Policy Blog).
(Micheal geist) The Justice Minister has tabled the Child Protection Act (Online Sexual Exploitation). Bill C-58 creates a mandatory disclosure requirement on Internet providers where they become aware of child pornography websites or have reason to believe a subscriber is using their service to violate child pornography laws. Where an Internet provider submits a report on a user, they must preserve the relevant computer data for 21 days and they are prohibited from disclosing the disclosure to the customer. Failure to report may result in fines or imprisonment and providers are granted immunity from liability for reporting the activity. The definition of Internet provider is broad, extending beyond just ISPs to include those providing Internet access, hosting, or email services. In other words, services like Google, Hotmail, and Facebook are all covered.
(BBC) The High Court has given permission for an injunction to be served via social-networking site Twitter. The order is to be served against an unknown Twitter user who anonymously posts to the site using the same name as a right-wing political blogger. The order demands the anonymous Twitter user reveal their identity and stop posing as Donal Blaney, who blogs at a site called Blaney's Blarney.
(Guardian) The WBA light welterweight champion Amir Khan and his promoter, Frank Warren, are squaring up to the social networking site Facebook in a legal battle that could have far-reaching consequences. The pair have engaged lawyers to threaten the US internet company with action over the use of images and names alongside material they consider to be defamatory and racist. Stephen Taylor Heath, head of sports and media at Lupton Fawcett, said that a cursory search of Facebook quickly led to "bogus" pages that used the images and names of the pair to link to material that would be "highly defamatory" if published in a newspaper or magazine. Warren, who has fought several high-profile legal battles, is understood to be determined to force Facebook to change its policy and take responsibility for the more unsavoury opinions of its registered users. There is a legal grey area about the extent to which the operator of a website, or the provider of community tools, can be held liable for comments posted.
(O1.net) Pour Nadine Morano, trop c'est trop. Lassée des propos diffamants et injurieux à son encontre sur la Toile, la secrétaire d'Etat à la Famille a porté plainte pour « injure publique » le 10 février dernier. Saisi de l'affaire, le parquet de Paris a ouvert une enquête préliminaire visant à identifier les internautes postant ce type de commentaires sur Dailymotion et sur YouTube.
En cause : les commentaires peu élogieux, voire offensants, sous des vidéos dans lesquelles apparaît la femme politique. Ce n'est donc pas une action judiciaire, encore moins une plainte, contre les deux sites, mais une réquisition judiciaire leur demandant concrètement de fournir les adresses IP des ordinateurs des contributeurs.
(BBC) A sheriff in Illinois is suing the online ad site Craigslist, accusing its owners of knowingly promoting prostitution in the US. Cook County Sheriff Thomas Dart said the site was failing to block offers to trade sex for money. He wants a federal judge to shut down the site's erotic services section. In a statement, Craigslist said it had not seen the lawsuit but that it co-operated with police daily to prevent misuse of the site. See also Craigslist to sheriff: Federal law protects site and Is Craigslist the world's biggest bordello? (CNET).
(Ars Technica) Is it time to revisit and tweak a critical portion of the Communications Decency Act (CDA)? Adam Thierer, Director of the Progress and Freedom Foundation's Center for Digital Media Freedom, and John Palfrey, Harvard law professor and Vice Dean, debate whether ISPs and social networking sites should be more liable for the things their users post.
(Sunday Post) Irish internet users are to be blocked from accessing music swapping websites, as internet service providers bow to pressure from the music industry. Eircom, the country's biggest internet provider, is to start blocking its internet customers from accessing music swapping. The country's other internet providers have been told by the Irish Recorded Music Association (Irma) to follow suit or face legal action. If the music industry is successful, Ireland will become the first European country to completely block access to hundreds of file-sharing websites.
(Europa) Viviane Reding, Member of the European Commission responsible for Information Society and Media. Event on the idea of an EU "GOFA" (US Global Online Freedom Act), European Parliament Plenary Session, Strasbourg, 3 February 2009
(OUT-LAW News) The Government will create legislation forcing internet service providers (ISPs) to gather information on customers engaged in illegal file-sharing, and forcing them to contact repeat offenders warning them that their behaviour is against the law. The proposal forms part of an interim report, Digital Britain. The proposed legislation stops short of forcing ISPs to directly disconnect suspected file-sharers. The law will create a code on unlawful file-sharing which ISPs would have to sign, and whose enforcement would be carried out by media and telecoms regulator Ofcom. The Government will also create a new rights agency, which would gather together content creators in different disciplines and encourage them to find ways to prevent piracy and ways to make the legal use of their content more attractive. It would involve creators from the worlds of music, film, television, computer games and software, the report said.
(Heise) Nach dem Landgericht hat nun auch das Oberlandesgericht München mit Urteil vom 23. Oktober 2008 seine zunächst im Eilverfahren ergangene Entscheidung im Streit des Heise Zeitschriften Verlags gegen verschiedene Unternehmen der Musikindustrie bestätigt. Danach bleibt es dem Verlag verboten, im Rahmen der redaktionellen Berichterstattung über Kopierschutzsoftware einen Link auf die Webpräsenz des Unternehmens Slysoft zu setzen.
A Federal judge refused to dismiss a suit claiming that Universal abused the Digital Millennium Copyright Act when it issued a takedown notice to YouTube over a 30-second video of a baby dancing to a Prince song. Judge Fogel held that copyright owners must consider fair use before sending DMCA takedown notices.
(OUT-LAW News) The UK's six major internet service providers (ISPs) have agreed to write to 1,000 of their subscribers a week on behalf of the music and film industries warning them not to engage in copyright-infringing file-sharing. The announcement came as the Government admitted that an industry-wide voluntary agreement to tackle illegal file sharing is unlikely to emerge. The Government has brokered a deal between content owners and the UK's six major ISPs on the writing to subscribers and on negotiation over what action to take against persistent illegal activity. Those ISPs and the film and music industries will create a code of conduct governing what to do with subscribers who do not stop their activities when warned. No decision has yet been made on whether or not the code will require ISPs to terminate accounts which have been used for illegal file-sharing. See: The Government consultation, including the Memorandum of Understanding(66-page / 499KB PDF)
(AFP) Commission européenne et Etats membres sont tombés d'accord, lors de la réunion informelle des ministres européens de la Culture et de l'Audiovisuel mardi à Versailles, sur la nécessité d'une "obligation d'information" sur les conséquences du piratage sur internet pour les fournisseurs d'accès.
(OUT-LAW News) >Online auction site eBay has been fined £31.5 million and ordered to forbid the sale of some luxury perfumes in a French court order designed to battle the sale of counterfeit luxury goods. Handbag, clothing and perfume company Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy (LVMH) sued eBay in the French courts, claiming that the company did not do enough to combat the sale of counterfeits of its goods. EBay claims that it cannot police all the sales through its site and that it makes no guarantee that goods are genuine, and that it suspends counterfeit auctions when notified of them. The French court, though, found "serious faults" in eBay's processes that led to auctions of counterfeit goods going ahead. By allowing the sales, it said, eBay had damaged the reputation of luxury brands such as Louis Vuitton and Christian Dior.
(OUT-LAW News) Two British newspaper publishers have been fined in French courts because they violated French privacy laws. The publishers were liable because the articles were viewed in France on the internet. Olivier Martinez, an ex-boyfriend of Kylie Minogue, sued Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN) and Associated Newspapers for breach of France's strict privacy laws after the newspapers published stories suggesting Martinez and Minogue had recommenced their relationship. MGN was sued because of an article at sundaymirror.co.uk, while Associated was sued over articles at dailymail.co.uk and thisislondon.co.uk. For each title the publishers were ordered to pay 4,500.
(Heise) Der Bundesrat hat das Gesetz zur besseren zivilrechtlichen Durchsetzung geistiger Eigentumsrechte abgesegnet. Rechteinhaber erhalten damit erstmals einen Auskunftsanspruch gegen an Rechtsverstößen unbeteiligte Dritte wie Internetprovider. So soll die Identität möglicher Rechtsverletzer etwa in Tauschbörsen einfacher aufgedeckt werden können. Über die Herausgabe von hinter einer IP-Adresse stehenden Nutzerdaten muss ein Richter entscheiden. Das Gesetz soll nun nach der Unterzeichnung durch den Bundespräsidenten und der Veröffentlichung im Bundesgesetzblatt in Kraft treten. siehe auch GVU-Vorstand wirft Providern Verweigerung im "Kampf gegen Raubkopierer" vor
(AFP) Le TGI de Paris a rendu une nouvelle décision favorable au site de partage de vidéos Dailymotion et débouté les humoristes Jean-Yves Lafesse et Omar et Fred qui le poursuivaient pour avoir diffusé sans autorisation plusieurs de leurs sketches. Si le tribunal a jugé que Dailymotion n'était pas un éditeur et n'était donc pas coupable de contrefaçon, il a en revanche estimé que la plateforme n'avait pas retiré suffisamment "promptement" certains des sketches, une fois que Lafesse l'avait averti de leur exploitation. A ce titre, Dailymotion devra verser 5.000 euros de dommages et intérêts et retirer les vidéos en question.
(OUT-LAW News) A French court has punished web publishers because of snippets of text that appeared on their sites via an RSS reader. It is believed to be the first time that a website operator has been held responsible for content delivered by a third party's RSS feed.
(OUT-LAW News) Three French websites have been found guilty of invading an actor's privacy for publishing links to articles containing the offending material. The Paris Tribunal has fined the operators of all three sites. Oliver Martinez, who is famous for his relationship with pop singer Kylie Minogue, sued two blogs and one news site over links to other people's stories about him and his relationship with Minogue. The case was principally against Fuzz.fr, a website which displays links to news stories on other sites ranked by popularity. One of those links was to a story about Martinez and Minogue and formed the basis of the case, which claimed that the article violated his right to privacy. French sites fined for linking to privacy-invading content.
(OUT-LAW News) Two recent judgments could erode vital protections there for web publishers in the US. The rulings could undermine protections from liability for user-posted material previously enjoyed by publishers. Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA) has been taken to mean that a content publisher cannot be held responsible for the content provided by someone else to an un-moderated website. But accommodation matching service Roommates.com and a sex partner finding website have both lost parts of court cases in recent weeks which experts say could change the interpretation of that law.
(Guardian) YouTube, the video-sharing website owned by Google, came under attack from MPs after admitting that an error in its review procedure meant it had failed to remove footage apparently showing a gang rape. Pressed by the culture, media and sport select committee to explain how it dealt with offensive and illegal material posted to the website, Google's vice-president and general counsel, Kent Walker, said human error had been to blame for footage of an apparent gang rape being viewed more than 600 times before it was removed.
(BBC) The head of one of Britain's biggest internet providers has criticised the music industry for demanding that he act against pirates. The trade body for UK music, the BPI, asked internet service providers to disconnect people who ignore requests to stop sharing music. But Charles Dunstone of Carphone Warehouse, which runs the TalkTalk broadband service, is refusing.
(OUT-LAW News) Ireland's biggest internet service provider (ISP) is being sued by the four biggest record labels over illegally downloaded music. The labels are demanding that Eircom take action to prevent its network being used to share copyright-infringing material. The Irish subsidiaries of EMI, Sony BMG, Universal and Warner are taking a case under copyright law. They say that Eircom is infringing copyright because its network makes available copies of music without the owners' consent. The record labels want Eircom to filter the offending material out of its service, but Eircom will argue in Ireland's High Court that it has no legal obligation to monitor all the traffic on its network.
(CNET.com) Facebook has denied giving the Moroccan government information to identify a man who was sentenced to prison for posting a fake profile of a Moroccan prince. A Moroccan court sentenced the 26-year-old IT engineer to three years and fined him 10,000 dirhams ($1,320) for setting up a Facebook account in the name of King Mohammed's brother, Prince Moulay Rachid.
Australian Judge Kirby says computer code is more potent than the law--and that legislators are powerless to do anything about it. Technology has outpaced the legal system's ability to regulate its use in matters of privacy and fair use rights.
(BBC) Internet service providers must take concrete steps to curb illegal downloads or face legal sanctions, the government has said. The proposal is aimed at tackling the estimated 6m UK broadband users who download files illegally every year. The culture secretary said consultation would begin in spring and legislation could be implemented "by April 2009". Its intentions are outlined in a creative industries strategy paper called Creative Britain: New Talents for the New Economy. The document is a broad ranging paper that sets out government support for the creative industries.
(BBC) People in the UK who go online and illegally download music and films may have their internet access cut under plans the government is considering. A draft consultation suggests internet service providers would be required to take action over users who access pirated material via their accounts. See Net firms reject monitoring role.
(BBC) Four men who run one of the most popular file-sharing sites in the world have been charged with conspiracy to break copyright law in Sweden. The Pirate Bay's servers do not store copyrighted material but offer links to the download location of films, TV programmes, albums and software.
(BBC) by Michael Geist. Industry has now dangerously shifted toward locking down the Internet. The Internet locks approach envisions requiring Internet service providers to install filtering and content monitoring technologies within their networks. ISPs would then become private network police, actively monitoring for content that might infringe copyright and stopping it from reaching subscribers' computers.
Microsoft will have to put up with another two years of court antitrust oversight, a federal judge has ruled. Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly cited the length of time it has taken Microsoft to get its protocol licensing program up and running as the primary reason she is extending the consent decree. "The court's decision in this matter is based upon the extreme and unforeseen delay in the availability of complete, accurate, and useable technical documentation relating to the communications protocols," Kollar-Kotelly said.
(The Register) The government turned up the heat on internet providers, warning that laws to force disconnection of illegal filesharers are already being drafted for a parliamentary debut in November. Lord Triesman, the minister for intellectual property, said that if ISPs can't agree a voluntary scheme with the music and film industries by the end of summer, he will press Gordon Brown to introduce legislation in the next Queen's speech.
(News.com) Seven children and one adult were shot and killed at a school in Finland, and the teen who police say did it posted several threatening screeds on YouTube prior to his rampage. Predictably, some media outlets are already producing stories that imply Google's YouTube is a scary place where hateful polemics can be broadcast, unmolested by more thoughtful minds. See also The cyber school for killers (Tiles).
(ZDNet) par Lionel Thoumyre. Au regard des dernières décisions de justice, condamnant Dailymotion ou relaxant Wikimedia Fondation, pour contenus illicites sur leurs services, il est difficile de comprendre ce qui relève de la responsabilité de ces acteurs. Lionel Thoumyre, directeur de juriscom.net, fait le point.
(OUT-LAW News) The Wikimedia Foundation is not responsible for defamatory comments published in its user-generated encyclopaedia Wikipedia, a French court has ruled. The comments had been removed quickly after being notified to the site operators. Three men sought €69,000 in damages when the a Wikipedia entry identified them as gay activists. A French court ruled, though, that the company that publishes the encyclopaedia cannot be held liable for user contributions. The ruling afforded Wikimedia the same protection enjoyed by ISPs.
(01net) Free ferme 14 newsgroups utilisés pour le piratage de films. Des newsgroups ont été détournés pour le téléchargement de copies illicites de films et de logiciels. Le FAI aurait procédé à leur fermeture sous la pression de la justice.
(Associated Press) Swedish Internet service providers could be required by law to cut off customers who share large amounts of copyright music and films online under a new proposal presented to the government. A report prepared by a government-appointed investigator said illegal file-sharing was "a significant obstacle" to the development of legal alternatives to download copyrighted material on the Net. Internet providers should therefore be obliged to cancel services to customers found to engage in large-scale file-sharing or face fines, according to the report by Justice Department investigator Cecilia Renfors.
(Eur-Lex) Regulation (EC) No 864/2007 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 July 2007 on the law applicable to non-contractual obligations (Rome II).
see IPR HelpDesk. The Regulation establishes uniform conflict of law rules to be applied by the courts of the Member States to determine the law applicable to claims related to acts of unfair competition (Art. 6) and infringements of intellectual property rights (Art. 8). Thanks to these new rules, companies will enjoy certainty and legal security in the protection of their intellectual property rights. The Rome II Regulation does not include conflict of law rules related to obligations arising from violations of privacy and rights relating to personality, but the Commission will submit a study on the situation of both legal matters no later than December 2008. The Regulation will not enter into force until January 2009.
(CNET News.com) Yahoo has filed a motion to dismiss a lawsuit brought by two Chinese journalists who alleged that the Internet company and its subsidiaries "willingly" handed over information about their online writing to the People's Republic of China. The case hinges on a lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for Northern California. Plaintiffs Shi Tao, Wang Xiaoning- two pro-democracy advocates - and Yu Ling (Wang's wife) charged Yahoo and its Hong Kong subsidiary with allegedly divulging information about their online activity and pro-democracy writing to Chinese authorities, an act that ultimately caused their arrest and prosecution, according to the filing. Both men were sentenced to 10 years in prison.
(BBC) David Cameron has pledged to extend copyright on music to 70 years - in exchange for an effort by music bosses to curb violent music and imagery. The Tory leader told record industry chiefs they had a responsibility to help fix Britain's "broken society". See speech. See also ISPs face down Tories on file sharing (The Register) ISPs have given David Cameron's call for them to block P2P music sharing short shrift, repeating their stance that they are not "the gatekeepers of the internet", as he insists.
(OUT-LAW News) An internet service provider in Belgium must screen traffic for music piracy, a court has ruled in a decision which overturns conventional thinking on how two major European directives relate to one another. The Court of First Instance in Belgium made the controversial ruling against ISP Scarlet Extended. It said that the ISP must block or filter out traffic on its network which it thinks is copyright-infringing material. It must introduce suitable 'technical instruments' to do this within six months. It is believed to be the first time that a European court has ruled that an ISP must block such traffic. voir aussi Belgique : un tribunal impose à un FAI des mesures pour empêcher le piratage (Silcon.fr) at P2P: les fournisseurs d'accès sommés de fermer le robinet ! (Juriscom.net)
The Bush administration blasted a congressional proposal that would shield a broad swath of news gatherers, including some bloggers, from revealing their confidential sources. The latest draft of the Free Flow of Information Act would pose a grave threat to national security and federal criminal investigations by protecting far too large a segment of the population, a U.S. Department of Justice official told Congress.
(RAPID) The European Parliament and the Council approved a regulation harmonising the rules concerning the law applicable to non-contractual obligations ('Rome II'). The aim is to ensure that courts in all the Member States apply the same law in the event of cross-border disputes in matters of tort/delict, thus facilitating the mutual recognition of court decisions in the European Union. The Regulation adopts the solution applied in the majority of Member States and establishes a general rule that the law of the country in which the damage occurs (for example, the law of the place of the road accident) will apply, unless the parties both have their habitual residence in another country, in which case the law of that country will apply. There are a number of specific rules for the commonest specific torts/delicts such as product liability, environmental damage, anti-competitive practices, etc. Regarding the highly controversial question of media violations of privacy, the co-legislators chose to exclude them from the scope of the Regulation but called on the Commission to present a detailed study by the end of 2008.
(News.com blog) by Daniel Terdiman. Second Life publisher Linden Lab was contacted by a German TV station that said it had discovered images in the virtual world showing a child avatar engaged in "depicted sexual conduct" with an adult avatar. Linden lab quickly began an investigation and banned the two people behind the avatars, as well as removed the images. Linden Lab said it has a zero tolerance policy regarding such behavior and acts quickly to remove residents who engage in it or the content itself when it is informed of its existence.
(News.com) by Declan McCullagh. The latest attempt to misuse the Digital Millennium Copyright Act's "takedown" sections involves Uri Geller, the purported spoon-bending "psychic" who is trying to suppress a video on YouTube that claims Geller is a fraud and demonstrates sleight-of-hand tricks he could have used.
(CNET News.com) A Pennsylvania school principal has filed a lawsuit against four former students, claiming they falsely portrayed him as a pot smoker, beer guzzler and pornography lover and sullied his reputation through mock MySpace profiles.
(Guardian) Website providers have a moral obligation to stop pupils posting offensive school videos that demean their teachers or other children, the education secretary said yesterday. Alan Johnson told teachers that companies had a responsibility to ensure their sites were properly policed to prevent young people putting humiliating clips taken by mobile phone cameras on the internet.