Defendant asks US Marshals to drag Righthaven principals to court

Timothy B. Lee The copyright trolling firm Righthaven hit a new low on Monday when one of its targets sought to have a US Marshal drag Righthaven officers into court to explain their failure to comply with a previous court order. When we began covering Righthaven last year, the firm seemed like it could pose … Continue reading

Righthaven rocked, owes $34,000 after "fair use" loss

Nate Anderson The wheels appear to be coming off the Righthaven trainwreck-in-progress. The litigation outfit, which generally sues small-time bloggers, forum operators, and the occasional Ars Technica writer, has just been slapped with a $34,000 bill for legal fees. Righthaven v. Hoehn, filed in Nevada federal court, has been an utterly shambolic piece of litigation. … Continue reading

ISPs nearing agreement on piracy crackdown system

Matthew Lasar A post from CNET’s Greg Sandoval reports that United States ISPs and top content providers are "closer than ever" to a regimen for punishing ISP subscribers who engage in illegal file sharing. The story suggests that AT&T, Comcast, Verizon, the Recording Industry Association of America, and the Motion Picture Association of America are … Continue reading

Canada still in copyright "hall of shame"

By Nate Anderson Sorry, Canada—negotiating the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) wasn’t enough to show your commitment to "strong" intellectual property rights. If you want out of the American copyright "hall of shame," you’re just going to have to pass a major copyright overhaul that makes US rightsholders happy. The US Trade Representative yesterday released its … Continue reading

Studio Suing BitTorrent Pirates Does Not Own the Movie, Records Show

By David Kravets A film company suing 5,865 BitTorrent downloaders over the flick Nude Nuns with Big Guns doesn’t own the rights to the movie, according to court documents and interviews. Incentive Capital of Utah took ownership last month of the B-rated flick about a sister who is “one Bad Mother.” Yet two weeks after … Continue reading

US copyright law

allows certain "fair uses" of copyrighted material without consent of the rightsholder; such uses explicitly include "criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research." Making a final determination relies on a "four-factor test": (1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial … Continue reading

Copyright troll Righthaven’s epic blunder

By Nate Anderson Not content with just suing sources, small out-of-state nonprofits, bloggers who get 20 hits per day, and other massive copyright pirates, newspaper litigation firm Righthaven this week trained its guns on Ars Technica. The company filed a federal lawsuit against one of our freelance writers over a post (about Righthaven) that appeared … Continue reading

Anonymous revives Operation Payback

wages war on "copywrong" By Nate Anderson The hacker collective Anonymous has once again cranked up Operation Payback, its attack on pro-copyright trade groups, this time taking down the website for Broadcast Music International (BMI). More attacks are on the way. Launching a denial of service attack on the website for BMI, a songwriters’ collection … Continue reading

Supremes to decide if public domain works can be re-copyrighted

By Matthew Lasar The Supreme Court says it will hear a case considering whether public domain works can be pushed back into the copyright closet. And advocacy groups say that free speech is at stake in this fight. Congress’ decision to uphold an international treaty allowing for public works to be "restored" into copyright will … Continue reading

Australia confirms ISPs are not copyright cops

By Nate Anderson The Federal Court of Australia has dismissed a case (read the ruling) from the movie industry which argued that ISPs must take action against file-swappers, based on allegations of infringement from copyright holders. The case against ISP iiNet was an appeal of the original judgment in the matter, which also went against … Continue reading

"Bullies": P2P lawyers demand sanctions against those suing them

By Nate Anderson Late last year, Massachusetts resident Dmitriy Shirokov teamed up with a pair of young lawyers to file a class-action lawsuit against attorneys from Dunlap, Grubb & Weaver—the firm operating as the US Copyright Group. Shirokov had received a letter from DGW saying that he had shared the film Far Cry online; would … Continue reading

Avast Network

What is the Pirate Party—and why is it helping Wikileaks? James Downie This past December, when the host of the Wikileaks domain shut down the organization’s online presence, the Pirate Party came to the rescue. No, the saviors were not renegade Somalis or Internet bootleggers, but, rather, a small but growing five-year-old political party focused … Continue reading

2010: The Year the Internet Went to War

By David Kravets Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton gives a statement on the WikiLeaks document release on November 29, 2010, at the State Department in Washington, D.C. Photo: AP It was a year without parallel. Threat Level’s bread-and-butter themes of censorship, hacking, security, privacy, copyright and cyberwar were all represented in tug-of-war struggles with … Continue reading

Supreme Court Rules Against ‘First-Sale’ Copyright Doctrine

By David Kravets The Supreme Court on Monday said Costco could be liable for copyright infringement for selling foreign-made watches without the manufacturer’s authorization. The high court — ruling 4-4, with Justice Elena Kagan recused — was interpreting the so-called “first-sale” doctrine (.pdf) of U.S. copyright law. Until Monday’s ruling, the doctrine was thought to … Continue reading

Copyright troll Righthaven sues for control of Drudge Report domain

By Eriq Gardner News aggregation impresario Matt Drudge is being sued for copyright infringement for reproducing a copyrighted photo along with a link to a story about airport security on the Las Vegas Review-Journal website. The plaintiff in the case is Righthaven, a company that’s earned a reputation this year as a world-class copyright troll. … Continue reading

Righthaven Expands Troll Operation With Newspaper Giant

By David Kravets Copyright troll Righthaven, which sues blogs and websites for posting newspaper content without permission, is making good on its promise to expand its reach, and is now working on behalf of the nation’s second-biggest news chain. Las Vegas–based Righthaven was formed this spring for the sole purpose of acquiring copyrights and suing … Continue reading

US Copyright Group drops 5,000 P2P defendants from cases

By Nate Anderson Federal Judge Rosemary Collyer last month told the US Copyright Group that no, it couldn’t have five years to decide who it actually wanted to sue for sharing movies online. Instead, it had until December 6. So the lawyers dutifully filed papers with the court yesterday, bringing 6,230 defendants down to just … Continue reading

Is it time for term limits for the Copyright Office’s Register?

Matthew Lasar Another argument for term limits surfaced on Capitol Hill on Monday. This proposal isn’t for elected officials or judges, but for the Register of the United States Copyright Office, which catalogs and keeps track of copyrighted materials. In a new report on agency, Public Knowledge says the Office’s boss should not be allowed … Continue reading

Prosecutors dismiss Xbox-modding case mid-trial

David Kravets, LOS ANGELES — Federal authorities in the first-of-its-kind game-console-modding criminal trial abruptly dropped their prosecution here Thursday, “based on fairness and justice.” “The government has decided to dismiss the indictment,” prosecutor Allen Chiu told the judge shortly before the jury was to be seated on the third day of trial. The announcement … Continue reading

To Houelle and Becq, or Leaks of a Different Sort

Macy Halford If a work lifts material protected by a Creative Commons-BY-SA license, does it automatically become CC-BY-SA licensed itself? That is the question being considered this week in France, where a blogger named Florent Gallaire recently posted the entirety of Michel Houllebecq’s latest novel, "La Carte et le Territoire," a few days ahead of … Continue reading

Supreme Court refuses innocent infringement P2P case

Nate Anderson The US Supreme Court today refused to hear the case of a file-swapper who claimed she was an "innocent infringer," but one justice at least understands the absurdity of the current law. The case concerned Whitney Harper, who shared some music on the family computer when she was a teenager and was subsequently … Continue reading

Nevada court hits copyright troll with Fair Use surprise

Matthew Lasar A Nevada judge has given copyright troll Righthaven until mid-December to explain why one of the law firm’s targets wasn’t exercising its right to Fair Use when it republished a newspaper article on its website. "The court hereby orders the plaintiff to show cause why this case should not be dismissed under the … Continue reading

Jury gives Oracle $1.3 billion in copyright damages from SAP

Jacqui Cheng German software maker SAP has been ordered to pay $1.3 billion in damages to Oracle for copyright infringement. The companies had already determined that SAP was guilty of the act, but moved forward with the jury trial in order to determine damages. Now, SAP finds itself facing a record-setting judgment that it wasn’t … Continue reading

Copyright troll Righthaven retreats on infringement suit

Matthew Lasar As the holiday season approaches, the Righthaven law firm has opted to give peace a chance. The scan-for-content-and-sue outfit has extended an olive branch to one of its latest targets—the Democratic Underground web site. Like the law firm’s previous victims, DU posted some text from Righthaven’s main client, the Las Vegas Review Journal, … Continue reading

Lawyer wants "Goliath verdict" against RIAA in abuse trial

Nate Anderson While the RIAA has stopped its mass litigation campaign against file-swappers, cases in progress persist. Tanya Andersen’s is one of the oddest and most intriguing, and it’s set to proceed to trial against the RIAA next year on charges of "abuse of the judicial process." When the record labels sued single mom Tanya … Continue reading

Warner Bros. vows to prosecute Deathly Hallows leaker

Hugh Hart Warner Bros. is scrambling to identify who leaked the first 36 minutes of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 to dozens of BitTorrent sites. The movie does not open until Friday, but Potter fans who want a sneak peek currently have plenty of unauthorized options. “Last night a portion of Harry … Continue reading

3D fabbers: don’t let the DMCA stifle an innovative future

Nate Anderson RepRap drawing by Lauren van Niekerk Last week, while unloading my dishwasher, I had a “eureka!” moment in which I suddenly understood why the machine had not been adequately cleaning up the cups and baby bottles in the upper rack: a small rubber tube had split open, and much of the water meant … Continue reading

Cooks Source Copyright Infringement Becomes an Internet Meme

By David Kravets An internet firestorm is brewing over a small New England magazine accused of publishing recipes and articles lifted from the web without permission. The dust-up began when food blogger Monica Gaudio discovered that Cooks Source had published a 6-year-old online article she wrote about apple pie, titled “A Tale of Two Tarts.” … Continue reading

Third P2P verdict for Jammie Thomas: $1.5 million

By Nate Anderson The first P2P case to come to trial in the US has lasted five years and now has three verdicts, this one coming after just two hours of deliberation. Jammie Thomas-Rasset must pay $62,500 for each of the 24 songs at issue in the case, for total of $1.5 million. To put … Continue reading

10 Years Later, Misunderstood DMCA is the Law That Saved the Web

By David Kravets If you’re wondering whom to thank for the Web 2.0 explosion in interactive websites, consider sending a bouquet to Congress. Today’s internet is largely an outgrowth of the much-reviled Digital Millennium Copyright Act that lawmakers passed in 1998, and President Clinton signed into law exactly a decade ago Tuesday. Blogs, search engines, … Continue reading

EFF Defends Former Prosecutor From Righthaven Copyright Suit

By David Kravets Copyright troll Righthaven is facing its second lawsuit from digital rights group Electronic Frontier Foundation, which is representing a former federal prosecutor who tracks mysterious murder cases on his website. Thomas DiBiase runs, a site exclusively dedicated to tracking so-called “no body” cases, trials and investigations. A “no body case” is … Continue reading

Vatican to rich countries: stop "excessive zeal" for IP rights

By Nate Anderson On September 21, the Vatican observer at the UN, Mons. Silvano Maria Tomasi, addressed the 48th general assembly of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in Geneva (English translation). He let the group know that the Vatican supports intellectual property rights (IPR) because such protection "recognizes the dignity of man and his … Continue reading

Judge tells copyright troll Righthaven no, it’s fair use

By Nate Anderson Righthaven, the company that scours the Web for copies of Las Vegas Review Journal stories and then sues the posters for mad cash and their domain names, has hit a small bump on the copyright lawsuit superhighway. A federal judge has just tossed one of its many cases because the posting was … Continue reading

Historic audio at risk, thanks to bad copyright laws

By Matthew Lasar The Library of Congress has released a sobering new report on the state of digital audio preservation in the United States. The Library’s National Recording Preservation Board concludes that most of the nation’s audio libraries are ill-equipped to handle the complex array of streams and digital formats by which music and other … Continue reading

British ISPs must fund P2P copyright crackdown

By Nate Anderson For months now, the brightest minds in the UK—well, the brightest minds in the Department for Business, Innovation, and Skills, anyway—have been pondering a thorny question: who should pay for all the warning letters that will soon be winging their way by e-mail and post to (suspected) P2P users? Today, we learned … Continue reading

How one webcomic welcomes the future that so many fear

Disruption: how one webcomic welcomes the future that so many fear By Nate Anderson A copy of the famous xkcd comic "Duty Calls" hangs just outside my office door, signed by creator Randall Munroe. I didn’t have to pay for the comic; it was free to view anytime, and I could have printed the (smaller) … Continue reading

Righthaven: saving the newspaper industry, one lawsuit at a time

By Nate Anderson The Trauma Intervention Program (TIP) of Southern Nevada is a nonprofit that sends trained volunteers to the site of severe accidents, suicides, fires, and violent theft. The volunteers comfort family members, witnesses, and bystanders—traumatized people who can’t be helped by anything found in an ambulance. TIP might seem an unlikely target for … Continue reading

AP: Yeah, we’d better cite pajama-wearing bloggers, too

By Nate Anderson Flickr user thestarmama The Associated Press didn’t need any help from a bunch of unshowered bloggers pecking away at their keyboards from the basement offices in which they play "reporter," thank you very much. Now it knows better. At the AP’s 2009 annual meeting, Chairman Dean Singleton reminded his audience (read the … Continue reading

The Real Reason for Germany’s Industrial Expansion?

By Frank Thadeusz. Did Germany experience rapid industrial expansion in the 19th century due to an absence of copyright law? A German historian argues that the massive proliferation of books, and thus knowledge, laid the foundation for the country’s industrial might. The entire country seemed to be obsessed with reading. The sudden passion for books … Continue reading

Anti-P2P lawyers accused of copyright hypocrisy

By Nate Anderson. Have the copyright enforcers been caught with their hands in the cookie jar? The blog TorrentFreak today published its claim that the US Copyright Group, which has filed more than 14,000 lawsuits against anonymous P2P movie sharers, ripped off another copyright settlement group in crafting its own settlement website. The site was … Continue reading

Only 0.3% of files on BitTorrent confirmed to be legal

By Jacqui Cheng. The large majority of content found on BitTorrent is illegal, a new study out of the University of Ballarat in Australia has confirmed. Researchers from the university’s Internet Commerce Security Laboratory scraped torrents from 23 trackers and looked up the content to determine whether the file was confirmed to be copyrighted. They … Continue reading

Can you sell your imported gadgets? Court guts "First Sale"

By Matthew Lasar. Let’s say a relative gave you an imported Omega watch over the holidays. It’s a nice piece, but it’s not exactly your style, so after agonizing over the issue for the appropriate number of months, you decide to sell it over eBay. Not so fast. Thanks to a decision by the Ninth … Continue reading

US could learn from Brazilian penalty for hindering fair use

By Nate Anderson. Brazil has proposed a broad update to its copyright law (Portuguese) and it contains a surprising idea: penalize anyone who "hinders or impedes" fair use rights or obstructs the use of work that has already fallen into the public domain. A huge win for consumers? Sure, but it gets better. A moment’s … Continue reading