Copyright Law Proves Tricky

Copyright Troll Fighting Charges

Righthaven is a business devoted to seeking out and suing copyright infringers.  The lawyer who headed the company made a deal with a Las Vegas Company to have access to all of their copyrights.  He then proceeded to file over 200 lawsuits on mostly amateur offenders.  The company, however, is now meeting opposition in court.

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Read more from arstechnica.com:

Righthaven was a copyright-enforcement business dreamed up by Las Vegas attorney Steve Gibson. He managed to convince the largest newspaper in Nevada, the Las Vegas Review-Journal, to let him use their copyrights to sue more than 200 mostly small-time bloggers and demand several thousand dollars apiece from them for reposting LV-RJ articles. They struck a similar deal with the Denver Post, which led to about 50 more lawsuits.

The plan went on for over a year. It included lawsuits against a cat blogger, a mildly autistic hobby blogger, and one Ars writer; but by mid-2011, Righthaven had been absolutely pounded in court. They lost a few cases on fair use grounds. Even more profoundly, Righthaven was found not to have standing to sue at all. The contract they struck with the R-J didn’t transfer the whole copyright, a judge found; it merely transferred a “bare right to sue,” which is not allowable under a legal precedent called Silvers v. Sony Pictures.  Continue reading…

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Copyright Law Collides with Freedom of Expression

Copyright laws are becoming increasingly complex and are arguably starting to impede freedom of expression.  Copyrights product artists and support the publishing industry, but recent changes in the law are leaning more toward censorship.  According to one columnist, until a balance can be found, it’s creativity that suffers.

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Read more from techdirt.com:

As many know, copyright had its origins in censorship and control. But over the last few hundred years, that fact has been obscured by the rise of the powerful publishing industry and the great works it has helped bring to the public. More recently, though, laws and treaties like SOPA and ACTA have represented a return to the roots of copyright, posing very real threats to what can be said online. That’s not because their intent was necessarily to crimp freedom of expression, but as a knock-on effect of turning risk-averse ISPs into the copyright industry’s private police force.

And so there’s a growing tension between copyright law that seeks to limit unauthorized use of works on the one hand, and freedom of expression that aims to allow the maximum scope for creativity on the other. The question then becomes: which should have precedence when they clash?  Continue reading…

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Google in Copyright Dispute

The RIAA has requested over 10 million copyright takedowns from Google.  The Recording Industry Association of America blames Google for playing a major role in the plagiarism and copyright infringement of many artists’ works.  The number of copyright takedown requests is continually growing.

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Read more from engadget.com:

Something tells us they won’t be handing out gold watches for this milestone. Just eight months after Google added copyright takedown requests to its Transparency Report, the search firm can claim to have almost exactly 10 million such requests from the RIAA. A dive into the numbers very quickly explains just how they built up so quickly. The RIAA and the music labels attached to it have topped at least the most recent monthly requests, and they’re collectively issuing hundreds of thousands of notices every week. We certainly don’t expect the industry group to hang up its hat just because it’s at a nice, round figure: when pirate sites rarely stay down for long, and the RIAA all but accuses Google of being an accomplice to piracy despite censorship concerns Continue reading…

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