Creativeprotection.com

Creativeprotection.com

Gehrke & Associates, SC is pleased to announce the launch of Creative Protection, an informational blog that covers copyright and trademark law. The blog also covers news and events of interest to authors, artists, publishers, programmers, musicians and others who may benefit from copyright or trademark protection.

Gehrke & Associates, SC also maintains a general IP law blog featuring selected downloadable resources at www.gehrkelaw.com .

Please visit our sponsor Gehrke & Associates, SC to learn more about how to enhance and defend your intellectual property.  Thank you.

Internet Archive's value, legality debated in copyright suit

Internet Archive's value, legality debated in copyright suit

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - An ongoing lawsuit between a company and a popular archive of Web pages raises questions about whether the archive unavoidably violates copyright laws while providing a valuable service, according to attorneys and an independent law expert.

The San Francisco-based nonprofit Internet Archive was created in 1996 to preserve Web pages that will eventually be deleted or changed. More than 55 billion pages are stored there.

A health care company claims the archive didn't do enough to protect copyrighted information that helped a competing firm win a trademark suit.

The archive ``is just like a big vacuum cleaner, sucking up information and making it available'' to anyone with a Web browser, said Scott S. Christie, an attorney representing Healthcare Advocates Inc.

``That has some social value, but in doing so they are grabbing information that they're not entitled to,'' he said. ``More importantly, they are telling people that they will take it off the shelf if you do a certain thing a certain way -- but that didn't happen in this case.''

Carnegie Mellon University computer science professor Michael Shamos, an expert in Internet law, said archiving like that done by the Internet Archive is ``the biggest copyright infringement in the world,'' but said it is done in a way ``that almost nobody cares about.''

Full story.

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File-sharing services vulnerable

File-sharing services vulnerable
00:00 am 6/28/05
Ted Bridis AP technology writer

WASHINGTON - Hollywood and the music industry can file piracy lawsuits against technology companies caught encouraging customers to steal music and movies over the Internet, the Supreme Court ruled Monday.

The justices, aiming to curtail what they called a "staggering" volume of piracy online, largely set aside concerns that new lawsuits would inhibit technology companies from developing the next iPod or other high-tech gadgets or services.

The unanimous ruling is expected to have little immediate impact on consumers, though critics said it could lead companies to include digital locks to discourage illegal behavior.

The justices left in place legal protections for companies that merely learn customers might be using products for illegal purposes.

The justices said copying digital files such as movies, music or software programs "threatens copyright holders as never before" because it's so easy and popular, especially among young people. Entertainment companies maintain that online thieves trade 2.6 billion songs, movies and other digital files each month.

Full story.

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Activists want to copyright intangible cultural treasures, like the hula dance

Activists want to copyright intangible cultural treasures, like the hula dance
06/06/2005

By YASUKAZU AKADA, The Asahi Shimbun

What's the harm in belting out a few bars of traditional tunes like "El Condor Pasa" or staging an impromptu Hawaiian hula dance? Plenty, say copyright activists.They take issue with the notion that such things are in the public domain for anyone to sing or dance.

Now, these activists from developing countries say these and other intangible cultural treasures should be covered by copyright laws--not just for the original anonymous authors, but also for the cultures associated with the works.

They believe the homelands of such cultural treasures should decide who can and cannot profit from them. They want to hold the rights for reproductions or adaptations.

But industrialized nations are bitterly opposed on grounds that traditional works don't fit the existing copyright mold.

Full story.

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Feds Shut Web Site in Piracy Crackdown

Feds Shut Web Site in Piracy Crackdown

By MARK SHERMAN
The Associated Press
Wednesday, May 25, 2005; 8:51 PM

WASHINGTON -- Federal raiders. Internet pirates. Intergalactic screen adventures. The government announced a crackdown Wednesday on the theft of movies and other copyright materials that has the elements of a film plot.

Federal agents shut down a Web site that they said allowed people to download the new Stars War movie even before it was shown in theaters.

The Elite Torrents site was engaging in high-tech piracy by letting people download copies of movies and other copyright material for free, authorities said.

The action was the first criminal enforcement against individuals who are using cutting-edge BitTorrent software to obtain pirated content online, Justice and Homeland Security Department officials said.

Full story.

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Protecting intellectual property often hard

Protecting intellectual property often hard
For small businesses: Many don't know the value of their ideas or how much is lost to unfair copying
By Glen Warchol
The Salt Lake Tribune

Most small-business owners probably figure they have enough on their plates growing a business without worrying about something as esoteric as intellectual property theft.

Let global giants such as Nike and Microsoft stew over international piracy, right?

U.S. Undersecretary of Commerce Jon Dudas begs to differ. About half the patents issued in Utah - 683 last year alone - went to small-business owners. And those ideas - the foundations of dozens of businesses - are at risk of theft.

"We've found that small businesses don't understand intellectual property," said Dudas. "One tremendously bad case of intellectual property theft and they could lose their business."

Intellectual property includes everything a sharp entrepreneur could dream up - from software programs, which can be copied on a massive scale and transmitted in seconds over the Internet, to knock-off motor boat gauges or a hot-selling brand of glue churned out of a Far East factory.

Because trademark and patent theft has become a $600 billion problem - pirates siphon off about 5 percent to 10 percent of the value of U.S.-trademarked products - Dudas has kicked off a nationwide series of seminars for small businesses. The first started Monday in Salt Lake City and will continue today at Little America Hotel.

Full story.

Sponsor: Gehrke & Associates, SC -- Intellectual Property and Technology Law

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Bush Signs Bill to Let Parents Strip DVDs

Bush Signs Bill to Let Parents Strip DVDs

Wed Apr 27,11:21 AM ET Movies - AP

WASHINGTON - President Bush on Wednesday signed legislation aimed at helping parents keep their children from seeing sex scenes, violence and foul language in movie DVDs.

The bill gives legal protections to the fledgling filtering technology that helps parents automatically skip or mute sections of commercial movie DVDs. Bush signed it privately and without comment, White House press secretary Scott McClellan said.

The legislation came about because Hollywood studios and directors had sued to stop the manufacture and distribution of such electronic devices for DVD players. The movies' creators had argued that changing the content — even when it is considered offensive — would violate their copyrights.

The legislation, called the Family Entertainment and Copyright Act, creates an exemption in copyright laws to make sure companies selling filtering technology won't get sued out of existence.

Full story.

Sponsor: Gehrke & Associates, SC -- Intellectual Property and Technology Law

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'Cleaning' of movies may be made legal

Copyright: The House today debates whether to legitimize technology that censors movies on DVD
By Vince Horiuchi
The Salt Lake Tribune 

For Mark Kastleman, "Titanic" was not only a disaster epic, but a disaster as a movie-going experience.

   "I had my teenage sons with me . . . and everything's going great, and then all of a sudden you have this scene where this woman was topless," said the Cottonwood Heights father of six. "My sons were embarrassed and I was really shocked."

   Kastleman and his family have since become fans of edited movies, a controversial subject that will play out in Congress today when the House votes on the Family Movie Act, which would legalize technology that edits DVDs as they are being watched. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, has already passed the Senate.

   "This is not about directors or producers," Smith said. "It's about families and parents and the rights of parents to raise their children the way they see fit."

   The technology that would be legalized by passage of the Family Movie Act is just one side of a simmering controversy over who has the right to edit copyright material.

   The flip side involves companies that purchase movies on DVD or videotape, remove certain scenes and then sell or rent the newly edited movies.

   Those companies, many of them based in Utah, are embroiled in litigation over copyright infringement and trademark violation.

   Some people say that if the Family Movie Act becomes law, it will bolster the arguments of video editing services or set a precedent for changing other forms of artistic work that can be stored in the digital realm, including books and paintings.

   The issue is examined in a new documentary, "Bleep, Censoring Hollywood," which looks at the controversy behind video-editing services.

Full story.

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Supreme Court Hears Arguments on Internet File Sharing

Supreme Court Weighs in on File-Sharing

Mar 29, 12:21 PM (ET)

By TED BRIDIS

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Supreme Court expressed concerns Tuesday over allowing entertainment companies to sue makers of software that allows Internet users to illegally download music and movies, questioning whether the threat of such legal action might stifle Web innovation.

During a lively argument, justices wondered aloud whether such lawsuits might have discouraged past inventions like copy machines, videocassette recorders and iPod portable music players - all of which can be used to make illegal duplications of copyrighted documents, movies and songs.

Justice Stephen G. Breyer said the same software that can be used to steal copyrighted materials offered at least conceptually "some really excellent uses" that are legal.

Justice Antonin Scalia maintained that a ruling for entertainment companies could mean that if "I'm a new inventor, I'm going to get sued right away."

While seeming leery of allowing lawsuits, the court also appeared deeply troubled by efforts of the companies that manufacture so-called file-sharing software to encourage Internet piracy and profit from it.

Full story.

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Yoga Lawsuit Taps Open-Source Spirit

Yoga Lawsuit Taps Open-Source Spirit
By John Pallatto, eWEEK

It's hard to imagine that yoga, the 5,000-year-old discipline of exercise, diet and meditation, would have anything in common with the modern software industry.

But a group of loosely affiliated yoga instructors based in California have embraced the philosophy of the open-source software movement in fighting a campaign by a richly successful yoga master to use copyright law to bar competitors from practicing any part of his exercise routines without authorization.

Full story.

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Online file sharing to face judicial test

Online file sharing to face judicial test
By Joan Biskupic, USA TODAY

WASHINGTON — Two decades ago, the Supreme Court decided that Sony's Betamax "video tape recorder," which transformed TV watching by allowing people to record movies at home, did not violate copyright law. Tuesday, the principle of that case will be tested on a technology that makes the video tape recorder look quaint.
Online "file-sharing" services allow people to search the computers of other users and freely download music and movies. The question is whether two companies that provide the peer-to-peer software, Grokster and StreamCast Networks, can be held liable for the illegal copying of users.

MGM and other movie studios and recording companies say the software services allow millions of people to reproduce works without permission. They have sued under principles of "secondary" copyright infringement, intended to hold liable those who help others break copyright law.

The file-sharing services counter that their software has uses that do not infringe on copyrights — such as the sharing of government documents in the public domain and works by Pearl Jam, the Dave Matthews Band and other groups that have authorized free file sharing. The services say the Sony Betamax case in 1984 shields companies from liability as long as a product has a significant use that does not infringe on copyright.

Full story.

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Apple Settles With Man Who Leaked Software

Apple Settles With Man Who Leaked Software

By Rachel Konrad
The Associated Press
Wednesday, March 23, 2005; 6:30 PM

SAN FRANCISCO -- Apple Computer Inc. reached a settlement Wednesday with a North Carolina man who leaked a copy of an unreleased operating system onto the Internet.

In December, the computer maker sued Doug Steigerwald, 22, for copyright infringement and trade secret misappropriation. Apple said the North Carolina State University computer engineering graduate released a copy of "Mac OS X Tiger" on a file-swapping Web site, where people downloaded thousands of unauthorized copies.

Apple doesn't plan to ship its next-generation operating system until later this year. The company gave Steigerwald access because he was a member of Apple's "Developer Connection" group, whose members receive advanced copies of software and must abide by strict confidentiality agreements.

Full story.

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Guilty Pleas Entered in Software Piracy Case

Guilty Pleas Entered in Software Piracy Case

By Matt Apuzzo
Associated Press Writer
Tuesday, March 8, 2005; 6:06 PM

Three men prosecutors dubbed the "Robin Hoods of cyberspace" pleaded guilty Tuesday to putting copyrighted computer games, movies and software on the Internet so that people around the world could make copies for free.

All three said they made no money on the scheme, and did it just for the sport of it.

Seth Kleinberg, 26, of Los Angeles, Jeffrey Lerman, 20, of New York, and Albert Bryndza, 32, of New York, pleaded guilty to federal copyright charges. They are the first Americans convicted in what the Justice Department said was the largest-ever investigation of software piracy.

Investigators said that software valued at millions of dollars was copied and sold for pennies in foreign countries. They said that Kleinberg pursued the scheme from 1998 to 2004, Lerman from 2002 to 2004, and Bryndza from 1999 to 2004.

Full story.

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Teen convicted of illegal Net downloads

Teen convicted of illegal Net downloads
Arizona case believed to be first brought under a state law
The Associated Press
Updated: 8:43 p.m. ET March 7, 2005

PHOENIX - An Arizona university student is believed to be the first person in the country to be convicted of a crime under state laws for illegally downloading music and movies from the Internet, prosecutors and activists say.

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Sides being taken in file-sharing arguments

Sides being taken in file-sharing arguments

By ALEX VEIGA, The Associated Press

Published: Wednesday, Mar. 2, 2005

Courts Appeal being heard in U.S. Supreme Court.

LOS ANGELES - Some of the nation’s leading computer scientists are siding with file-swapping companies against the music and movie industries.

They were joined by tech firms and consumer groups, among others, in urging the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday to side with two online file-sharing firms in their high-stakes battle with Hollywood and the recording industry.

The recording companies and movie studios are appealing to the high court to reverse lower court decisions that absolved Grokster Inc. and StreamCast Networks, which distributes the Morpheus file-sharing software, of responsibility when their customers illegally swap songs and movies.

The justices are scheduled to hear arguments in the case March 29.

In briefs filed Tuesday, Grokster, StreamCast and their supporters urged the court not to reinterpret the legal doctrine it established in the 1984 Sony Betamax case. At the time, the court ruled that Sony’s video recorder was legal because it had legitimate uses apart from making unauthorized copies of movies and television shows.

The entertainment industry has asked the court to reconcile the 20-year-old ruling to protect copyright holders it says are hard-pressed to safeguard their intellectual property in today’s digital and online world.

Full story.

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Alleged member of software piracy ring pleads guilty

Alleged member of software piracy ring pleads guilty

Mon Feb 28, 5:06 PM ET U.S. National - AFP

WASHINGTON (AFP) - A man accused of being a part of an underground network that distributed pirated software, games, movies and music over the Internet pleaded guilty to criminal charges, officials said.

Joshua Abell, 24, of San Antonio, Texas, entered the plea before US Magistrate Judge Nancy Nowak in San Antonio, Texas, the Justice Department (news - web sites) said.

According to court documents, Abell was a member of the "warez scene" -- an underground online community using the Internet to engage in the large-scale, illegal distribution of copyrighted works.

Officials say warez groups often obtain copyrighted products such as Hollywood films before they are available to the general public, sometimes circumventing digital copyright protections, and making them available on the Internet.

Abell is the third person to be convicted in what officials called "Operation Fastlink," described as the largest multi-national law enforcement action ever taken against online software piracy.

Abell pleaded guilty to a two-count felony information charging copyright infringement and conspiracy to commit copyright infringement, officials said.

Abell faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison when he is sentenced on May 26.

Full story.

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Supreme Court Will Consider Devices That Help Users Copy, Share and Steal

High-Tech Tension Over Illegal Uses
Supreme Court Will Consider Devices That Help Users Copy, Share and Steal

By Jonathan Krim
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, February 22, 2005; Page E01

In 2002, a young software programmer in Seattle named Bram Cohen solved a vexing Internet problem: how to get large computer files such as home movies or audio recordings of music concerts to travel rapidly across cyberspace.

Among the benefits of the invention, called BitTorrent, was that millions of users could quickly see lengthy amateur videos documenting the devastation of the December tsunami in the Indian Ocean, helping to spur an outpouring of charitable aid.

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Chamber of Commerce Asks U.S. to Crack Down on Chinese Copyright Violations

Chamber of Commerce Asks U.S. to Crack Down on Chinese Copyright Violations
By ELIZABETH BECKER

Published: February 10, 2005

ASHINGTON, Feb. 9 - The largest American business association is asking the administration for the first time to take legal action at the World Trade Organization against China to put an end to the piracy and counterfeiting that the group says have cost American industry over $200 billion a year.

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Judge slams SCO's lack of evidence against IBM

Judge slams SCO's lack of evidence against IBM
By Stephen Shankland CNET News.com
February 9, 2005, 9:35 PM PT

The federal judge overseeing the SCO Group's suit against IBM regarding Unix and Linux has thwarted an IBM attempt to defang SCO's claims, but he also voiced loud skepticism about SCO's case.

IBM in 2004 sought a declaration that its Linux activities hadn't violated SCO's purported Unix copyrights, as SCO had claimed publicly and in its lawsuit. Although U.S. District Judge Dale Kimball didn't grant that declaration--called a partial summary judgment--he sharply criticized SCO for not producing evidence for its case.

"Despite the vast disparity between SCO's public accusations and its actual evidence--or complete lack thereof--and the resulting temptation to grant IBM's motion, the court has determined that it would be premature to grant summary judgment," Kimball wrote Wednesday. "Viewed against the backdrop of SCO's plethora of public statements concerning IBM's and others' infringement of SCO's purported copyrights to the Unix software, it is astonishing that SCO has not offered any competent evidence to create a disputed fact regarding whether IBM has infringed SCO's alleged copyrights through IBM's Linux activities."

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U.S. congressional panel approves copyright, spyware bills

U.S. congressional panel approves copyright, spyware bills

Hackers who secretly install "spyware" on others' computers and Internet users who copy movies and music without permission could face up to three years in prison under bills that advanced in Congress Wednesday.

The House Judiciary Committee voted to enlist the government to a greater degree in the entertainment industry's fight against those who copy its products over the Internet.

The committee also voted to establish criminal penalties for those who install spyware on others' computers to commit identity theft or other crimes.

"We must not let Internet technologies become a haven for criminals," said Rep. Lamar Smith, a Texas Republican.

Under the wide-ranging copyright bill, Internet users who distribute more than 1,000 songs through peer-to-peer networks like Kazaa and Morpheus could face up to three years in prison.

People who secretly videotape movies when they are shown in theaters could also go to prison for up to three years.

The Senate approved similar bills in June.

Full story.

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Senator Hatch's Copyright Bill Passes Senate

S. 167: Family Entertainment and Copyright Act of 2005 passes U.S. Senate

Senator Hatch summarized the bill on the Congressional Record by saying:

Title I of this Act, the Artists' Rights and Theft Prevention Act of 2005, (the ART Act), contains a slightly modified version of S. 1932, authored by Senators CORNYN and FEINSTEIN in the 108th Congress. This bill will close two significant gaps in our copyright laws that are feeding some of the piracy now rampant on the Internet.

First, it criminalizes attempts to record movies off of theater screens. These camcorded copies of new movies now appear on filesharing networks almost contemporaneously with the theatrical release of a film. Several States have already taken steps to criminalize this activity, but providing a uniform Federal law--instead of a patchwork of State criminal statutes--will assist law enforcement officials in combating the theft and redistribution of valuable intellectual property embodied in newly-released motion pictures.

Second, the bill will create a pre-registration system that will permit criminal penalties and statutory-damage awards. This will also provide a tool for law enforcement officials combating the growing problem of music and movies being distributed on filesharing networks and circulating on the Internet before they are even released. Obviously, the increasingly frequent situation of copyrighted works being distributed illegally via the Internet before they are even made available for sale to the public severely undercuts the ability of copyright holders to receive fair and adequate compensation for their works.

Title II of this Act, the Family Movie Act of 2005 (the FMA), resolves some ongoing disputes about the legality of so-called "jump-and-skip" technologies that companies like Clearplay in my home State of Utah have developed to permit family-friendly viewing of films that may contain objectionable content. The FMA creates a narrowly defined safe-harbor clarifying that distributors of such technologies will not face liability for copyright or trademark infringement, provided that they comply with the requirements of the Act. I have been working with my colleagues in the Senate and several leaders in the House--including, most importantly Chairmen SMITH and SENSENBRENNER--for the past couple of years to resolve this issue. The FMA will

The Family Movie Act creates a new exemption in section 110(11) of the Copyright Act for skipping and muting audio and video content in motion pictures during performances of an authorized copy of the motion picture taking place in the course of a private viewing in a household. The version passed last year by the House explicitly excluded from the scope of the new copyright exemption so-called "ad-skipping" technologies that make changes, deletions, or additions to commercial advertisements or to network or station promotional announcements that would otherwise be displayed before, during, or after the performance of the motion picture. This provision was included on the House floor to address the concerns of some Members who were concerned that a court might misread the new section 110(11) exemption to apply to "ad-skipping"' cases, such as in the recent litigation involving ReplayTV.

Thomas Summary of Bill

Continue reading "Senator Hatch's Copyright Bill Passes Senate" »

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Karaoke lands bars, restaurants in hot water with publishing group

Karaoke lands bars, restaurants in hot water with publishing group

BY APRIL KINSER

The Dallas Morning News

DALLAS - (KRT) - The next time you see someone jump onstage at a karaoke bar and belt out a tune, keep in mind you could be watching an illegal act. And it wouldn't be the singing.

The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers announced last week it has sued 24 restaurants, clubs and bars in 15 states for allowing live performances of their members' songs or customers' singing of copyright music without permission, resulting in lost income for the artists.

And the establishments have ignored repeated requests to pay required fees, Vincent Candilora, president of licensing for ASCAP, said last Friday.

The association licenses its members' works, which include 8 million songs and compositions from artists such as Alicia Keys and Trisha Yearwood, and collects royalties for public performances of those copyright works.

Public establishments must pay a fee if any copyright songs are performed live or played through a radio station, jukebox, television or CD player.

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Microsoft to Launch Anti-Piracy Initiative

Reuters
Wednesday, January 26, 2005; 2:28 AM

SEATTLE -- Microsoft Corp. will combat piracy of its flagship operating system by requiring Windows users to verify that their copy of the software is genuine in order to receive timely updates and security fixes, the world's largest software maker said on Wednesday.


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Copyright Myth

Debunking a myth: The Poor Man's Copyright, or, why 37 cents won't get you the same protection as the Copyright Office.

Submitted by Carey on Mon, 01/24/2005 - 4:09am. 17 U.S.C. | general | IP News
A few days ago, while scanning through the piles of new IP bits, I came across a website which offered to protect your intellectual property rights, all for the extrodinary price of $3. The company in question, World-Wide OCR, merely took an old idea, dubbed a 'Poor Man's Copyright,' and added encryption and data storage to the mix. What it doesn't do, is legally protect your work.

Link to IPNews Blog

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New copyright protection bills likely in 2005

New copyright protection bills likely in 2005

By Grant Gross
Online copyright protection, including bills focused on peer-to-peer (P-to-P) file-trading, will likely be on the U.S. Congress? agenda as lawmakers gear up for their 2005 session this month. Telecommunications reform may command a significant amount of attention from tech-focused lawmakers this year, but congressional observers also expect a push for new legislation that would focus on discouraging file trading using P-to-P software.

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Justice Dept. gains first P2P piracy convictions

Justice Dept. gains first P2P piracy convictions

By Brooks Boliek
WASHINGTON -- The Justice Department on Tuesday notched its first-ever convictions for copyright piracy perpetrated on P2P networks as two suspects nabbed by the G-men in the department's "Operation Digital Gridlock" pleaded guilty to felony intellectual property crimes.

William Trowbridge, 50, of Johnson City, N.Y., and Michael Chicoine, 47, of San Antonio each pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit felony criminal copyright infringement before Judge Paul Friedman in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The men made available millions of dollars worth of movies, music, computer games and software on P2P sites they maintained for at least two years, the department said.

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American DVD pirates face stiff sentence

American DVD pirates face stiff sentence

Beijing, China, Jan. 18 (UPI) -- Two American citizens face up to 15 years in jail if a Shanghai court finds them guilty of selling pirated DVDs, Chinese media reported Tuesday.

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New Law Will Help With Fight Against Software Counterfeiting

Microsoft Attorney Bonnie MacNaughton on Software Counterfeiting

By Jennifer LeClaire
E-Commerce Times
01/14/05 5:00 AM PT

Prior to the legislation, Microsoft had purchased hundreds of individual COA labels and computer systems with COA labels that allegedly were attached in an attempt to authenticate unlicensed software via its Genuine Microsoft Software program. Microsoft's testing resulted in the company filing eight lawsuits against counterfeiters.

On December 27, 2004, President Bush did something that made Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) -- and probably every other software maker in the world -- very happy. Bush signed into law the Anti-Counterfeiting Amendments Act of 2003, also known as H.R. 3632.

The new law criminalizes the distribution of genuine authentication components that have been separated from the software they were intended to authenticate for the purpose of knowingly attempting to certify counterfeit products. This includes Certificate of Authenticity (COA) labels, licensing documents and registration cards that certify copyrights.

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Harvard Study on Electronic Copyright Protection

Assessing the Impact of Policy Choices on Potential Online Business Models in the Music and Film Industries

The online environment and new digital technologies threaten the viability of the music and film industries' traditional business models. The industries have responded by seeking government intervention, among other means, to protect their traditional models as well as by developing new models specifically adapted to the online market. Industry activity and public debate have focused on three key policy areas related to copyright holders' control of content: technical interference with and potential liability of P2P services; copyright infringers' civil and criminal liability; and legal reinforcement of digital rights management technologies (DRM).


Link to the report in PDF.

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Piracy Thrives on China's Streets as U.S. Fumes

Thu Jan 6, 2005 12:12 AM ET

By Ben Blanchard
SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China has declared war on copyright piracy. But nobody told Ah Liang.

"We're open 365 days a year," said Liang, leading a prospective customer down a grimy alley off Shanghai's trendy Huaihai Road to a room stuffed to the roof with fake Armani, Gucci, Fendi and Prada handbags.

"As long as we're not out in the open, the police turn a blind eye," said the skinny 25-year-old, who prefered to use the southern Chinese custom of adding "Ah" to his surname, blithely walking past two police officers shivering in the drizzle.

"The odd raid here and there is nothing to worry about."

That attitude underscores the task ahead for U.S. officials such as Commerce Secretary Don Evans, who famously brandished a pirated "Kill Bill" DVD at a news conference in Beijing in 2003 when he complained about a lack of enforcement in copyright protection.

He is certain to bring up the subject again when he comes to Beijing next week for an intellectual property rights forum.

China vowed in December to get tough on copyright and patent violations, a major irritant in U.S.-China relations that cost U.S. firms up to $3.8 billion yearly, according to a report issued by the office of the U.S. Trade Representative.

Indeed, banners and loud speakers now warn customers not to buy fake goods at Shanghai's infamous Xiangyang market. Hawkers there concede they've had to retreat to the backrooms of houses surrounding the square, away from official eyes.

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Los Gatos firm stands against movie pirates

By Dawn C. Chmielewski

Mercury News

A new weapon has been added to Hollywood's growing technological and legal arsenal against online movie piracy.

BayTSP of Los Gatos introduced a new monitoring system that it claims can identify the sources of the original bootlegs that feed movie content to the popular file-sharing networks eDonkey and BitTorrent.

``Pirated copies of movies and software typically appear online within hours of release,'' said Mark Ishikawa, BayTSP's chief executive, in a prepared statement. ``Identifying and taking action against the first uploaders can greatly slow the distribution of illegally obtained intellectual property and might make users think twice before doing it.''

BayTSP monitors download activity on the file-sharing networks on behalf of movie studio and software clients it declines to name. It issues monthly reports on the most popularly pilfered copyrighted movies and software. This new detection technology is designed to be used to further refine its monitoring by identifying the original source of the pirated movies or television shows illicitly distributed on eDonkey and BitTorrent, two file-sharing networks designed for exchanging large files.

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Court Rejects Music Industry Subpoenas

Reuters
Tuesday, January 4, 2005; 5:14 PM

Music-industry investigators must file a lawsuit to uncover the identities of people who may be copying their songs online, a U.S. appeals court said Tuesday in a decision that echoes earlier rulings on the subject.

Internet service providers like Charter Communications Inc. don't have to turn over customers' names whenever they receive a request from the Recording Industry Association of America, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit said.

Instead, the RIAA must file an anonymous "John Doe" lawsuit to get the names of suspected song-swappers, an extra step that Internet providers say will discourage frivolous requests.

The decision will have little effect for the recording industry, which began filing such lawsuits a year ago after an appeals court in Washington reached a similar conclusion.

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Copyright is copyright is copyright

Copyright is copyright is copyright

By Edwin Meese III
Saturday, January 1, 2005


If John Adams and James Madison were alive today, they surely would marvel at how swiftly information can be exchanged via the Internet. But they also would be alarmed, I believe, to see ordinary citizens using this extraordinary technology in growing numbers to shoplift copyrighted intellectual property. The Founders possessed, after all, a keen understanding of the threat this type of theft poses to a free society.
Property rights are not a novel concept. After some deliberation, our constitutional Framers signaled how important it was to protect intellectual property by instilling the concept in our nation's charter in Article 1, Section 8, with a provision authorizing Congress to "promote the progress of science and the useful arts."

So deeply did the Framers, in their founding document, embrace the concept of "progress" advanced through devotion to intellectual labor, that they mention it 24 separate times in the Federalist Papers.

As John Adams warned, "The moment an idea is admitted into society that property is not as sacred as the laws of God, and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence." I fear that moment has come.

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Apple sues three for posting 'Tiger' on the Web

December 21, 2004 - 16:22 EST In its second lawsuit this month to thwart unannounced products, Apple is suing three men for illegally distributing beta versions of Mac OS X 10.4 (Tiger) on a file-sharing Web site. Apple claims in its suit that the men released two different versions of Tiger in BitTorrent format on or about Oct. 30 and Dec. 8 of this year.

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Uncertain Landscape Ahead for Copyright Protection

Specter to Lead Key Panel as Industry Ally Hatch Steps Down

By David McGuire
washingtonpost.com Staff Writer
Thursday, December 16, 2004; 7:42 AM

In the final few weeks before the 2004 election, lobbyists for high-tech, entertainment and civil liberties interests were crammed into an icy room in the Dirksen Senate office building, trying to hammer out a bill that would have put Internet song-swapping networks like Kazaa and eDonkey out of business.

It was a controversial measure on a difficult topic, and could have easily been lost in the end-of-year shuffle. But Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) was the lead sponsor of the measure and had ordered the warring factions to keep talking until they came up with language everybody liked.

Talks eventually collapsed, but the fact that the measure was being debated at all in the October before a national election testified to the power that an influential committee chairman like Hatch has in managing the legislative agenda.

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Please visit our sponsor Gehrke & Associates, SC to learn more about how to enhance and defend your intellectual property.  Thank you.

Suit claims software shouldn't be copyrighted

Expert believes products should be protected by patents
Updated: 8:23 a.m. ET Dec. 14, 2004WASHINGTON - Computer software should not be protected by copyright laws designed for music, literature and other creative works, according to a lawsuit filed in a U.S. court in San Francisco.

Intellectual-property consultant Greg Aharonian hopes to convince the court that software makers can protect their products adequately through patents, which provide more comprehensive protection, but are difficult to obtain and expire in a shorter period of time.

The case seeks to clarify which laws the $100 billion U.S. software industry uses to protect its products. Currently, software makers like Microsoft Corp. use both copyright and patent laws to protect their creations, as well as "clickwrap" agreements that stipulate terms of use.

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Please visit our sponsor Gehrke & Associates, SC to learn more about how to enhance and defend your intellectual property.  Thank you.

U.S. Supreme Court to Look at File Sharing

By Hope Yen
The Associated Press
Friday, December 10, 2004; 1:18 PM

The Supreme Court agreed Friday to consider whether two Internet file-sharing services may be held responsible for their customers' online swapping of copyrighted songs and movies.

Justices will review a lower ruling in favor of Grokster Ltd. and StreamCast Networks Inc., which came as a blow to recording companies and movie studios seeking to stop the illegal distribution of their works.

The file-sharing is "inflicting catastrophic, multibillion dollar harm on petitioners that cannot be redressed through lawsuits against the millions of direct infringers using those services," the appeal by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios and other entertainment companies says.

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Kazaa Can Track Users, Trial Witness Says

By Susan B. Shor
TechNewsWorld
12/07/04 9:46 AM PT

According to computer scientist Leon Sterling, Sharman should be able to stop piracy or at least report it to the music industry. On cross examination, he acknowledged that he didn't know how long it would take to develop such technology or how expensive it would be.

As an Australian court considers whether Kazaa's parent company should be forced to pay damages for the file sharing that goes on over its peer-to-peer (P2P) network, questions persist about the effectiveness of the music industry's enforcement efforts.

Today, the Federal Court in Sydney heard from Leon Sterling, chairman of Software Innovation and Engineering for the Department of Computer Science and Software Engineering in the University of Melbourne.

He said that Sharman Networks should be able to track who is using its Kazaa software and what they are doing.

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Music industry turns to Napster

THE recording industry has turned to its former arch-nemesis, the founder of online music file-swapping service Napster, to help it beat the piracy that it once accused him of spawning.

US record giant Universal Music Group (UMG) has signed a deal with Snocap, a company set up by Napster creator Shawn Fanning, now 24, to license its music for distribution over Snocap's user-to-user file-sharing system.

The company hopes the system will eventually achieve the ambitious goal of allowing everyone to profit from online music distribution, one of the most thorny problems facing music producers.

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Please visit our sponsor Gehrke & Associates, SC to learn more about how to enhance and defend your intellectual property.  Thank you.

Piracy Bill's Language Protects DVD Movie Filters

By Mike Musgrove
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, October 9, 2004; Page E01

It's acceptable for consumers to use software that edits out nudity or bad language from a DVD movie -- but they had better leave the commercials and promotional announcements in, according to legislation adopted by the House of Representatives this week.

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Japan: Accused net file-swapper is found guilty

Japanese man receives three-year suspended sentence
The Associated Press
Updated: 12:57 p.m. ET Nov. 30, 2004TOKYO - A man arrested last year on copyright charges for disseminating films on the Internet was given a three-year suspended sentence Tuesday — averting a jail term in one of the first crackdowns on file-sharing in Japan.

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IPac Formed to Voice Consumer Copyright Concerns

Battling the Copyright Big Boys

By Katie Dean | Also by this reporter Page 1 of 1

02:00 AM Nov. 30, 2004 PT

Lobbyists for movie studios and record labels have long dominated the copyright discussion in Washington, using their power and influence to help craft law favorable to their interests.

Now, a group of citizens in favor of a more consumer-friendly copyright policy have formed a political action committee in hopes that the interests of the public can be served, too.

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Please visit our sponsor Gehrke & Associates, SC to learn more about how to enhance and defend your intellectual property.  Thank you.

Microsoft offers Windows amnesty deal to British


Limited-time British program aims to fight counterfeitingThe Associated Press
Updated: 5:39 p.m. ET Nov. 26, 2004LONDON - Owners of pirated copies of Microsoft Corp.'s Windows XP operating system can trade them in for the real thing as part of a bid by the software giant to fight counterfeiting.

Microsoft said the deal, open only to residents of Britain, would help it fight the proliferation of "high-quality counterfeit versions" of its software.

The company said users unsure of the legitimacy of their Windows XP software could submit it to Microsoft for analysis, along with sales receipts and other documentation. Software found to be counterfeit will be replaced.

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Please visit our sponsor Gehrke & Associates, SC to learn more about how to enhance and defend your intellectual property.  Thank you.

Recording Industry, File-Share Face Off

Recording Industry, File-Share Face Off

By MIKE CORDER
The Associated Press
Friday, November 26, 2004; 1:50 PM

SYDNEY, Australia - The next chapter in the global legal battle between the recording industry and file-sharing services is due to unfold here Monday when the owners of the hugely popular Kazaa software go on trial on civil copyright infringement charges.

"We don't want to shut down Kazaa, just its illegal activities," said Michael Speck, general manager of Music Industry Piracy Investigations, a body set up by major Australian record labels to target copyright infringers.

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Europe: Court ruling heaven scent for IP lawyers

LAYING DOWN THE LAW

STUART SKELLY


THE 19th-century author Balzac hailed perfumes as one of mankind’s gifts to God - "the most refined expressions of our nature".

He was French, of course. Now, with fragrances a multi-billion-pound global industry, a recent, rather unrefined court dispute between two European perfume-makers has shown that at least one French company is not giving its scent away to anyone.

The decision of a Dutch appeals court in June, which held for the first time that a perfume could be protected by copyright, has been greeted with incredulity in some quarters.

The notion that the intellectual property (IP) right which once protected artistic creations like Dickens’ Great Expectations and Van Gogh’s Sunflowers could now be extended to smelly stuff which you put behind your ears, does, at first sniff, seem pretty whiffy.

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Actor Must Pay $309,600 in Film Piracy Case

Nov 24, 2004 — By Jesse Hiestand

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Warner Bros. has secured a $309,600 judgment against an actor for allegedly making promotional "screener" copies of "The Last Samurai" and "Mystic River" available for bootleg DVD copying and unauthorized Internet trading, the studio said Tuesday.

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Please visit our sponsor Gehrke & Associates, SC to learn more about how to enhance and defend your intellectual property.  Thank you.

Actor Must Pay $309,600 in Film Piracy Case

Nov 24, 2004 — By Jesse Hiestand

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Warner Bros. has secured a $309,600 judgment against an actor for allegedly making promotional "screener" copies of "The Last Samurai" and "Mystic River" available for bootleg DVD copying and unauthorized Internet trading, the studio said Tuesday.

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Please visit our sponsor Gehrke & Associates, SC to learn more about how to enhance and defend your intellectual property.  Thank you.

Anti-Piracy Czar

Lawmakers OK Anti-Piracy Czar
Reuters
Tuesday, November 23, 2004; 3:59 AM

By Brooks Boliek

WASHINGTON (Hollywood Reporter) - Buried inside the massive $388 billion spending bill Congress approved last weekend is a program that creates a federal copyright enforcement czar.

Under the program, the president can appoint a copyright law enforcement officer whose job is to coordinate law enforcement efforts aimed at stopping international copyright infringement and to oversee a federal umbrella agency responsible for administering intellectual property law.

Intellectual property law enforcement is divided among a range of agencies including the Library of Congress, the Justice and State departments and the U.S. Trade Representative.

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Please visit our sponsor Gehrke & Associates, SC to learn more about how to enhance and defend your intellectual property.  Thank you.

U.S. Senate Passes Scaled-Back Copyright Measure

U.S. Senate Passes Scaled-Back Copyright Measure

By Andy Sullivan
Reuters
Monday, November 22, 2004; 10:50 AM

The U.S. Senate has voted to outlaw several favorite techniques of people who illegally copy and distribute movies, but has dropped other measures that could have led to jail time for Internet song-swappers.

People who secretly videotape movies when they are shown in theaters could go to prison for up to three years under the measure, which passed the Senate on Saturday.

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Please visit our sponsor Gehrke & Associates, SC to learn more about how to enhance and defend your intellectual property.  Thank you.

RIAA sues hundreds more over swapping

LOS ANGELES - The recording industry has filed copyright infringement lawsuits against 761 computer users, the latest round of litigation in the record companies' effort to stamp out unauthorized trading of music online.

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Please visit our sponsor Gehrke & Associates, SC to learn more about how to enhance and defend your intellectual property.  Thank you.