SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 21, 2010 — A bipartisan group of 10 US senators on Monday introduced legislation that would enable the US Justice Department to render inaccessible Web sites judged to be dedicated to intellectual property infringement.
The legislation would enable Justice to seek a preliminary injunction against domain name registrars, which would have to suspend access to the domains hosting infringing material, or that are trafficking in infringing material. The legislation would require the US attorney general to notify the federal intellectual property enforcement co-coordinator of the injunctions, and the coordinator would in turn be required to post the names of the suspended sites on a public web site.
One of the landmark aspects of the legislation is that it would give Justice the authority to order the shuttering of web sites hosted beyond US borders, but which are using US-based registrars.
This piece of legislation is the latest stab by federal authorities in the United States to address the phenomena of online piracy and counterfeiting. US officials have been locked in negotiations for the past several years with their counterparts in Europe, Africa, Asia and Australasia over the question of how best to combat online piracy and the international trafficking of counterfeit goods.
Federal lawmakers who are part of the Congressional International Anti-Piracy caucus this May issued a “most notorious” list of web sites that are known for their pirating actvities. They include Canada’s IsoHunt, Ukraine’s Mp3fiesta, China’s Baidu, Luxembourg’s RMX4U.com, and Germany’s RapidShare.
The Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act was introduced by Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy and senior Republican committee member Orrin Hatch.
“This bill is an important step forward to help curb rampant piracy here and abroad, and protect American jobs. We look forward to working with the Senate and House Judiciary Committees and Congressional leadership on its passage,” said Viacom President and CEO Philippe Dauman in a statement regarding the legislation.
Public Knowledge, a digital consumer rights group in Washington., DC, said that the imprecise ideas in the legislation need fine-tuning.
“We are concerned that the bill would establish an internet black list of sites that the Justice Department thinks are ‘pirate’ sites but against which it hasn’t taken action,” said Sherwin Siy, Public Knowledge’s deputy legal director in a statement. “Putting an innocent site on this list could seriously harm the business of legitimate Web site operators. The remedies in the bill for those guilty until they prove themselves innocent are inadequate.”
Public Knowledge Celebrates 20 Years of Helping Congress Get a Clue on Digital Rights
February 27, 2021 – The non-profit advocacy group Public Knowledge celebrated its twentieth anniversary year in a Monday event revolving around the issues that the group has made its hallmark: Copyright, open standards and other digital rights issues.
Group Founder Gigi Sohn, now a Benton Institute for Broadband and Society senior fellow and public advocate, said that through her professional relationship with Laurie Racine, now president of Racine Strategy, that she became “appointed and anointed” to help start the interest group.
Together with David Bollier, who also had worked on public interest projects in broadcast media with Sohn, and is now director of Reinventing the Commons program at the Schumacher Center for a New Economics, the two cofounded a small and scrappy Public Knowledge that has become a non-profit powerhouse.
The secret sauce? Timing, which couldn’t have been better, said Sohn. Being given free office space at DuPont Circle at the New America Foundation by Steve Clemmons and the late Ted Halstead, then head of the foundation, was instrumental in Public Knowledge’s launch.
The cofounders met with major challenges, Sohn and others said. The nationwide tragedy of September 11, 2001, occurred weeks after its official founding. The group continued their advocacy of what was then more commonly known as “open source,” a related grandparent to the new “net neutrality” of today, she said.
In the aftermath of September 11, a bill by the late Sen. Ernest “Fritz” Hollings, D-S.C., demonstrated a bid by large copyright interest to force technology companies to effectively be the copyright police. Additional copyright maximalist measures we launched almost every month, she said.
Public Knowledge grew into something larger than was probably imagined by the three co-founders. Still, they shared setbacks and losses that accompanied their successes and wins.
“We would form alliances with anybody, which meant that sometimes we sided with internet service providers [on issues like copyright] and sometimes we were against them [on issues like telecom],” said Sohn. An ingredient in the interest group’s success was its desire to work with everyone.
Congress didn’t have a clue on digital rights
What drove the trio together was a shared view that “Congress had no vision for the future of the internet,” explained Sohn.
Much of our early work was spend explaining how digitation works to Congress, she said. The 2000s were a time of great activity and massive growth in the digital industry and lawmakers at the Hill were not acquainted well with screens, computers, and the internet. They took on the role of explaining to members of Congress what the interests of their constituents were when it came to digitization.
Public Knowledge helped popularize digital issues and by “walking [digital information] across the street to [Capitol Hill] at the time created an operational reality with digitization,” said Bollier.
Racine remarked about the influence Linux software maker Red Hat had during its 2002 initial public offering. She said the founders of Red Hat pushed open source beyond a business model and into a philosophy in ways that hadn’t been done before.
During the early days of Public Knowledge, all sorts of legacy tech was being rolled out. Apple’s iTunes, Windows XP, and the first Xbox launched. Nokia and Sony were the leaders in cellphones at the time, augmenting the rise of technology in the coming digital age.
Racine said consumers needed someone in Washington who could represent their interests amid the new software and hardware and embrace the idea of open source technologies for the future.
Also speaking at the event was Public Knowledge CEO Chris Lewis, who said Public Knowledge was at the forefront of new technology issues as it was already holding 3D printing symposiums before Congress, something totally unfamiliar at the time.
In Google v. Oracle, Supreme Court Hears Landmark Fair Use Case on Software Copyright
October 12, 2020 – The Supreme Court on Wednesday publicly struggled with the copyrightability of software in a uniquely contested case between Google and Oracle, the outcome of which could play a significant role in the future of software development in the United States.
The oral arguments were the culmination of a battle that started 10 years ago, when tech company Oracle accused Google of illegally copying its code. Oracle owns the copyright to the Java application programming interface that Google utilized to establish a new mobile operating system.
The company has sued Google for more than $9 billion in damages.
Yet Google claimed a “fair use” defense to its copying. Google copied less than 1 percent of the Java code. Even though the law generally treats computer programs as copyrightable, Google’s attorney before the Supreme Court, Thomas Goldstein, said that by adapting Oracle’s code to serve a different purpose, Google’s use was “transformational,” and entitled to fair use protections.
Goldstein said that this form of unlicensed copying is completely standard in software, and saves developers time and lowers barriers to innovation.
He referenced a famous Supreme Court precedent about public domain works, Baker v. Selden, which in 1880 declared that once information is published to the public, the public has a right to use it.
“Google had the right to do this,” said Goldstein.
Still, Oracle attorney Joshua Rosenkranz asserted that the Java code is an expressive work eligible for copyright protections. Rosenkranz further argued that Google’s use of the code was not transformational.
Justice Sonia Sotomayor appeared to suggest that jurors in the lower court case properly found Google’s use to be transformational because it took the APIs from a desktop environment to smartphones.
“Interfaces have been reused for decades,” said Goldstein. Google had to reuse Oracle’s code to respond to interoperability demands.
“It has always been the understanding that this purely functional, non-creative code that is essentially the glue that keeps computer programs together could be reused, and it would upend that world to rule the other way,” he said.
Supreme Court observers said that the high court appeared leaning toward upholding the 2016 jury verdict vindicating Google’s fair use defense.
Fair Use is Essential But its Enforcement is Broken, Says Senate Intellectual Property Subcommittee
July 28, 2020 — “Fair use” is an essential doctrine of copyright law that is unevenly applied, said participants in a Senate Intellectual Property Subcommittee hearing Tuesday.
The hearing, “How Does the DMCA Contemplate Limitations and Exceptions Like Fair Use,” saw participants discuss whether the Digital Millennium Copyright Act still permits fair uses of copyrighted content that would be otherwise infringing.
The DMCA, passed in 1998, criminalizes the manufacture, sale or other distribution of technologies designed to decrypt encoded copyrighted material. This ban on anti-circumvention tools does not appear to account for fair use.
The fair use exception to copyright law allows the republication or redistribution of copyrighted works for commentary, criticism or educational purposes without having to obtain permission from the copyright holder.
However, Joseph Gratz, partner at Durie Tangri, said that fair use often clearly applies but is not enforced, leaving users of the legally obtained content to deal with automated content censors.
“Fair use depends on context, and machines can’t consider context,” he said. “A video, for example, that incidentally captures a song playing in the background at a political rally or a protest is clearly fair use but may be detected by an automated filter.”
When an automated filter detects a song on a platform like YouTube, it redirects advertising revenue from the creator of the video to the creator of the song, often erroneously.
Rick Beato, who owns a music education YouTube channel with over one-and-a-half million subscribers, said that he does not receive ad revenue from hundreds of his videos.
“One of my recent videos called ‘The Mixolydian Mode’ was manually claimed by Sony ATV because I played ten seconds of a Beatles song on my acoustic guitar to demonstrate how the melody is derived from the scale,” he said. “This is an obvious example of fair use, I would argue.”
Grammy-winning recording artist Yolanda Adams testified that she sees the problems of fair use employment as about more than simply receiving money.
“As a gospel artist, I’m not just an entertainer,” she said. “I see my mission as using my gift to spread the gospel — so for me, fair use is not just about money. It’s about access.”
Signup for Broadband Breakfast
Broadband Breakfast Research Partner
Senators Join CFTB’s Chairman in Calling for Crypto Regulation in Light of FTX Implosion
FCC December Agenda, Biden to Visit TSMC plant, Weak Economy Presents Cyber Problem
Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri and Utah to Receive Nearly $1 Billion in American Rescue Plan Funds
States Face Roadblocks in Challenge Processes, FCC Tries to Facilitate
U.S. Must Lead on International Tech Standards to Counter Chinese Influence: Raimondo
Vermont Challenges FCC Fabric, BTX Gets President, Starlink Performance Dip
Interference Concerns with FCC Raised Over Wi-Fi in 6 GigaHertz Band
Broadband Breakfast on November 30, 2022 – The 12 Days of Broadband
Florida, Mississippi, S.D. and Utah Awarded Broadband Planning Grants
Small ISPs Face Economic, Incumbent Bundling Headwinds: CoBank Economist
BAI Buys 1,100 Fiber Miles of Network, Workforce Training Partnership, New Executive at US Cellular
Perfect Timing to Attend Digital Infrastructure Investment in Washington on Nov. 17
Carr Advocates Release of More Spectrum as Deadline to Extend FCC Auction Authority Looms
Report Urges States, Local Governments Follow Federal Rules on Prohibited Equipment Purchases
Midterm Control of Congress Remains Uncertain, But States Got Answers to Broadband Votes
FCC Releases National Broadband Map Amid Controversy
Federal Communications Commission Mandates Broadband ‘Nutrition’ Labels
Senators Push Bill to Make Broadband Grants Non-Taxable By Year-End
Anniversary of Infrastructure Act, Gigi Sohn Has a Real Shot at FCC, West Haven Approves Utopia
Concerns About Tribal Funding from NTCA, Ed Markey and Twitter Verification, T-Mobile 5G
Broadband Breakfast on November 30, 2022 – The 12 Days of Broadband
Small ISPs Face Economic, Incumbent Bundling Headwinds: CoBank Economist
Venture Capital, Private Equity and Institutional Investors on Digital Infrastructure Investment
Financing Mechanisms for Community Broadband, Panel 3 at Digital Infrastructure Investment
Right Track or Wrong Track on Mapping? Panel 2 at Digital Infrastructure Investment
What’s the State of the IIJA? Panel 1 at Digital Infrastructure Investment
Broadband Breakfast on December 28, 2022 – New Year Recap: Biggest Stories in Broadband
Broadband Breakfast on December 21, 2022, – Robotics, Telehealth and Future Health
Broadband Breakfast on December 14, 2022 – In the Trenches: Better Broadband for Multi-Dwelling Units
Keynote Address and Q&A at Digital Infrastructure Investment
Cloud4 weeks ago
Hyperscalers are the New Disrupters in Cloud Computing and Digital Infrastructure
Cybersecurity3 weeks ago
Internet of Things Devices May Provide a Weak Point for Cybersecurity, Says CableLabs
Broadband Roundup4 weeks ago
6 GHz Wi-Fi Coordination Systems, Tribal Data Partnership, Free Speech on Twitter
Artificial Intelligence4 weeks ago
AI Should Compliment and Not Replace Humans, Says Stanford Expert
Infrastructure4 weeks ago
New Broadband Workers Can Be Enticed By High Wages, Career Advancement: Experts
Innovation4 weeks ago
Semiconductor Export Restrictions Could Harm U.S. Companies, Industry Says
Congress4 weeks ago
Congress Working to Enact Permitting Reforms for Broadband
Fiber3 weeks ago
Fiber Providers Need to Go Beyond Speed for Differentiation, Consultant Says