Happy 2012 everybody!

Joshua Johnson’s KQED Forum on Rogue Sites — KQED recently hosted a discussion of rogue sites legislation featuring EFF-attorney-turned-Google-lawyer Fred von Lohmann, indie filmmaker Ellen Seidler, Rep. Darrell Issa, and NBC Universal general counsel Rick Cotton. Chris Castle takes a good look at some points that didn’t come up or weren’t fully addressed.

Does the DMCA Work? — Interesting analysis from Dr. Christopher S. Harrison on the recent decision in UMG v. Veoh and Megaupload’s recent lawsuit against Universal. “These two cases exemplify the Bizarro World the DMCA has become, in which the business models of service providers require copyright infringement on a massive scale … but labels get sued over takedown notices.”

The Original and Traditional Meaning of “Freedom … of the Press” — Eugene Volokh announces his recent article arguing that “freedom of the press” as it was understood by the Constitutional Framers refers to the press-as-technology rather than, as some have argued, press-as-industry. A good read for those who have been following my own series on copyright and the freedom of the press.

Finding a Job in Film (for Prop Makers) — My brother Eric, recently transplanted to North Carolina from NYC, where he served as assistant props master at the Public Theater, provides some useful advice for theater professionals looking to transition into the film world.

Reddit has gone mad with power — After calling for a boycott on GoDaddy for its support of SOPA, (the number of GoDaddy subscribers actually increased during that time, according to the article) users of the web site turned their attention to defeating political supporters of the bill in the upcoming election. They eventually chose Rep. Paul Ryan (who hasn’t stated a position on the bill). As Gawker notes, “The thinking of the internet hive mind is shallow and frantic, scrambling from one outrage to the next.”

France Animation v Robinson – a case comment — Barry Sookman examines a recent decision from the Quebec Court of Appeals that he calls a “gold mine for copyright lawyers.” Among the many interesting portions is the Court’s discussion that punitive damages are available under Quebec law because copyright infringement violates fundamental rights and freedoms.

Removing the legal eye patch — The Boston Globe came out in support of SOPA this week. “While opponents of the bill cry censorship, their fears seem to based on the belief that it somehow creates a slippery slope – that blocking an illegal download of an Adele album will be logically followed by blocking a search for information about the Arab Spring. The government already has cracked down on online child pornography without a corresponding attack on civil liberties. There’s no reason that the First Amendment would be endangered if the Justice Department beefed up its enforcement of copyright law as well.”

In a Big Year for New Soul, a Small But Influential Label Turns 10 — I’ve long been a fan of Daptone Records, the pioneers of the retro-soul sound that was most famously featured on Amy Winehouse’s Back in Black. The Atlantic takes a look at the label as it celebrates its first decade.

30 Comments

  1. They eventually chose Rep. Paul Ryan (who hasn’t stated a position on the bill).

    If Adrian were actually reporting, he’d know the Reddit community decided on Paul Ryan for his position on the NDAA, was pushing for him to clarify his position on SOPA, and decided on him because he was one of the weakest links in regards to viable reelection.

    I find it amazing how he discredits the “hive mind” but can’t point out any successes of the same collective information gatherers who are building sites against Ryan and other politicians who supported the NDAA/SOPA.

  2. Reddit’s general (and often purposeful) ignorance of the law, especially with respect to intellectual property issues, is only rivaled by the Techdirt and Torrentfreak ilk. That they think they are some force to be reckoned with is even more amusing.

    • Reddit is a force to be reckoned with. See CNN and Faux News’s attempts to ignore or discredit Reddit favorite Ron Paul:

      http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/mon-august-15-2011/indecision-2012—corn-polled-edition—ron-paul—the-top-tier

      If this isn’t an example of mass media trying to control who becomes the President, I don’t know what is. But their power to control democracy is dying, as seen by Ron Paul’s increasing popularity.

      SOPA is no different. Despite the whole “GoDaddy didn’t get hurt by the boycott allegations by pro-SOPA people”, the fact is the boycott was successful. GoDaddy changed their views.

      • “Reddit is a force to be reckoned with. See CNN and Faux News’s attempts to ignore or discredit Reddit favorite Ron Paul:”

        You arguments are so odd and full of non-sequitors that it makes it difficult to provide a reasoned response. You claim that Reddit is a force to be reckoned with based on the opinion of CNN and Fox News as to who the current front-runner Republican candidates are? I don’t follow. And what does the diatribe about the media controlling who becomes President have to do with Reddit’s general uninformed nature about law and policy on any given topic?

        “SOPA is no different. Despite the whole “GoDaddy didn’t get hurt by the boycott allegations by pro-SOPA people”, the fact is the boycott was successful. GoDaddy changed their views.”

        GoDaddy actually gained 20,748 subscribers on the day of the alleged boycott, seeing nearly twice the number of transfers in as out. If that’s your definition of a successful boycott, it’s a laughable one indeed.

        • Those numbers are questionable. It was a successful boycott because it completed it’s objectives: to change GoDaddy’s opinion on SOPA.

          You act like Reddit doesn’t “get” copyright/patent law. But we’ve heard all the arguments for it. We understand the issues. But we don’t support SOPA and we don’t think filesharing is a bad thing. We hear your appeals about wanting more money. But quite frankly the technology industry and the free Internet is more important. If it comes down to it, we rather creative industry to die entirely rather than allowing the government to mess with our digital freedom. I’m sorry the Internet hordes don’t believe in your particular brand of copyright enforcement.

          Regarding Ron Paul. Ron Paul is Reddit’s candidate. The mass media treat him like a joke despite his obvious popularity in polls. It’s obvious as hell that they don’t want him to win and I find this blatant manipulation of politics by media elites to be disgusting. Mass media should be politically neutral. If pirates are bankrupting this industry they are doing a great service for democracy.

          Regardless of their manipulation he has substational support (thanks to sites like Reddit), and who knows might actually be the next president.

          Oh and I was at the Rally to Restore Sanity. Something that originally came out of Reddit. I guess that was nothing.

          Yes, Reddit is surely a force to be reckoned with. But it’s not really Reddit, but the Internet and Web 2.0 that is a force to be reckoned with. Arab Spring? OWS?

          You might not realize it, but you are tapping into this power right now.

          • “You act like Reddit doesn’t “get” copyright/patent law”

            That’s because, in general, it doesn’t. Look at any post dealing with statutory or case law, and you will find woefully incorrect statements and anyone who seeks to correct the sensationalism gets downvoted into oblivion, even when correct. The nonsense gets magnified exponentially with regard to IP laws. Reddit is fueled by outrage and not information, if it was the other way around then the denizens there would both to do simple things like read cases or statutes before commenting on them.

            “I’m sorry the Internet hordes don’t believe in your particular brand of copyright enforcement.”

            You mean the type that required money in exchange for a product of service? Why am I not surprised to hear that you don’t support that.

            “Regarding Ron Paul. Ron Paul is Reddit’s candidate. The mass media treat him like a joke despite his obvious popularity in polls.”

            Again, nothing you have said substantiates your claim that Reddit is some force to be reckoned with, or that they have any influence on anything.

            “Oh and I was at the Rally to Restore Sanity. Something that originally came out of Reddit. I guess that was nothing.”

            That’s one thing we can agree on. It achieved absolutely nothing.

          • You have any examples of these “incorrect statements” on Reddit? If you want to dismiss or ignore Reddit that’s your choice but I’m not the one who brought Reddit up to begin with.

          • Jason’s main arguments seem to be to mire the opponents in ridicule and sneer with contempt while believing his information is “bullet proof”. I can only think of one other person who thinks their information was correct and yet in 2008 they learned the benefits of filesharing while condemning it in 2001.

            Meanwhile, he ignores all of the scores of people that removed their accounts from GoDaddy causing them to backstep on the domains. Sure, they gained some for one day. But to ignore all of the 70,000 domains that have gone and found a new home is quite stunning. Sure, it’s a drop in the bucket for Jason when he has no domain of his own. The even bigger question of the Godaddy transfers is if all of the domains that have been transferred in were legit. Or not given at a 99% discount. Or not part of a shell company.

            Yes, we can look straight at the domains of one day and determine how effective a boycott by ignoring all data showing that the company changed position, people are still changing domains from GoDaddy, and GoDaddy’s PR has had to massively backtrack from their position of helping to write SOPA. Good to know.

          • “You have any examples of these “incorrect statements” on Reddit? If you want to dismiss or ignore Reddit that’s your choice but I’m not the one who brought Reddit up to begin with.”

            Reddit is so full of them that choosing just one is virtually impossible. Here’s a prime example:

            http://www.reddit.com/r/technology/comments/lnhou/hr1981_its_infuriating_seeing_a_bill_that/

            Here, the denizens get all whipped up into an outrage claiming that ISPs will have to store everybody’s browsing histories despite the fact that (1) the claim is ridiculous and (2) is contradictory to the wording of the relevant statute. Out of 504 comments, it appears that only about 4 people read the statute.

            But there are plenty more. Virtually any discussion of SOPA is guaranteed to be wrong on Reddit. The most common misinformation spread on there is that domestic sites can be removed from the internet for having a single piece of copyrighted material on them or even a link to something. Then, there’s the GoDaddy fiasco, where the testosteron-laden, basement-dwelling angst was fueled by a claim that GoDaddy got special exemptions under the law despite that claim being totally wrong. We can go beyond the law to Reddit’s harrassment of a girl raising money for cancer charities, or a woman who alleged a sexual assault with pictures of her injuries. In short, Reddit likes to hold itself up as some bastion of justice and intellect when, in reality, it is little different than the cesspool that is 4chan. On Reddit, ignorance and knee-jerk reactions rule, and information and reason have no place there.

            “Meanwhile, he ignores all of the scores of people that removed their accounts from GoDaddy causing them to backstep on the domains.”

            If you think the “boycott” actually achieved anything, you’re just as crazy as the Torrentfreak nonsense from which you derive your information. GoDaddy has something like 32 million registered domains. Regardless of the nuances of the numbers on one day, or even one week, the fact remains that it is insignificant in the overall business perspective for the company. Additionally, all that it did was achieve a tepidly worded statement from GoDaddy but no actual change. Until and unless you can provide some evidence that GoDaddy has sent letters in opposition to members of Congress, or has funded representatives who express a stance against the bill, then GoDaddy has not really changed its stance on the matter,

            “Sure, it’s a drop in the bucket for Jason when he has no domain of his own. ”

            I have 9 domains that were registered with Dotster that I transferred to GoDaddy in a showing of solidarity. I also drafted a letter to Bob Parsons evidencing my support of them in the face of the ill-informed internet lynch mob.

          • Jason,

            “Here, the denizens get all whipped up into an outrage claiming that ISPs will have to store everybody’s browsing histories despite the fact that”
            ————————

            The bill in question requires is vague on what it wants exactly. Perhaps you are reading it to mean Tier 3 ISPs are suppose to retain the IP address of their customers. But that language isn’t in the bill, only things that are generic in meaning such as “network addresses”, and providers are defined as anyone who charges a fee for Internet service. It’s not THAT not a stretch to claim this bill could be used to require some nasty things.

            Another interesting facet, is It doesn’t seem to preclude using this stored information for things other than fighting child pornography. Basically the government IS requesting ISPs monitor information about their users and give it to the government when requested. Quite frankly that’s not something a government should be able to impose on private entities.

            —————————————-
            “If you think the “boycott” actually achieved anything, you’re just as crazy as the Torrentfreak”
            —————————————-

            TorrentFreak is probably one of the sanest and unbiased news sources available. I’ll tell you what crazy is: people who think SOPA won’t be abused or isn’t yet another attempt for the government to fight technological progress to please their mass media masters.

            But regardless, are you just totally ignoring the fact that GoDaddy went from being pro-SOPA to anti-SOPA?

          • There is an interesting article by eminent Harvard Law Professor Lawrence Lessig that discusses some of the issues with Internet regulation http://harvardmagazine.com/2000/01/code-is-law.html

          • “The bill in question requires is vague on what it wants exactly.”

            Are you serious or are you just being purposefully argumentative? The title of the post claims that the bill “requires ISPs to save all of your browsing history….” Yet, the clear and plain language of the bill says nothing of the sort. Instead, it requires “retain for a period of at least one year a log of the temporarily assigned network addresses the provider assigns to a subscriber to or customer….” Not only is the post’s claim totally wrong, so to is your claim that anything about that language is vague.

            “It’s not THAT not a stretch to claim this bill could be used to require some nasty things.”

            If your definition of nasty is keeping a log of the temporary address that service providers assign to their customers, which they’re already required to do under federal law regardless of the state of passage of this particular bill, then there’s simply no point discussing it with you further.

            “are you just totally ignoring the fact that GoDaddy went from being pro-SOPA to anti-SOPA?”

            Absolutely I am ignoring it. That tepidly worded statement is nothing more than PR damage control (which any business under the circumstances would do), but if you think GoDaddy’s private support of the bill has in any way wavered, you really have no grasp whatsoever on either law or business. Once the Reddit ilk move on to the next outrage-de-jure, it will be business as usual for GoDaddy.

            “TorrentFreak is probably one of the sanest and unbiased news sources available.”

            And with that statement you’ve lost all credibility. As such, I will refrain from responding to your posts in the future. Have a pleasant new year.

          • ———————–
            If your definition of nasty is keeping a log of the temporary address that service providers assign to their customers, which they’re already required to do under federal law regardless of the state of passage of this particular bill, then there’s simply no point discussing it with you further.
            ————————

            Um, so if this is true, why is it in this new bill?

            ————————
            Absolutely I am ignoring it. That tepidly worded statement is nothing more than PR damage control (which any business under the circumstances would do), but if you think GoDaddy’s private support of the bill has in any way wavered, you really have no grasp whatsoever on either law or business. Once the Reddit ilk move on to the next outrage-de-jure, it will be business as usual for GoDaddy.
            ————————

            Hah! So you are claiming GoDaddy is secretly supporting the bill. If this bill is so great, why do companies have to support it secretly?

            Is this your idea of how democracy should work? Companies publicly saying one thing and yet influencing the political process in secret in the total opposite direction?

            ———————-
            As such, I will refrain from responding to your posts in the future. Have a pleasant new year.
            ———————-

            Thank you, I appreciate it.

  3. It’s a bit old, but I found this to be really interesting example of copyright enforcement gone mad.

    Apparently Google got sued (successfully) for copyright infringement in Belgium, the plaintiff being the newspaper industry in the country. Part of the court order was to remove all links and content from those newspapers or get a really big fine. So what did Google do? Exactly what the court asked for.

    Now a year later the same newspapers are complaining that Google delisted them. Wait what?

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20110718/04055115139/newspapers-win-suit-against-google-get-their-wish-to-be-delisted-then-complain.shtml

    • My bad, it wasn’t a full year. They seem to react pretty fast to Google delisting them. Eventually Google and this group went into a agreement that they’d use robots.txt to control how Google crawls their websites.

  4. “Part of the court order was to remove all links and content from those newspapers or get a really big fine. So what did Google do? Exactly what the court asked for.”

    Except that’s not true. The court’s order was clear and unambiguous:

    “Orders Google to remove from the Google.be and Google.com sites, more specifically from the “cached” links on “Google Web” and from the “Google News” service, all the articles, photographs and graphic representations from the Belgian publishers of the French and German-speaking daily newspapers…” named in the matter. (emphasis added)

    The point you, Masnick, and others seem to be missing is that there is a distinct difference between Google publishing a creator’s work without permission and without directing users to the creator’s website, and Google linking to your website through useful links. The court enjoined the former, and Google interfered with the latter on its own accord. The newspaper’s claim was valid and so was their follow-up complaint.

    • Jason,

      Google actually caches the articles in question even on their search engine. How else do you think search actually finds things? Magic? The order specifically asks Google to remove this information from their servers.

      • “The order specifically asks Google to remove this information from their servers.”

        Please point to the language in the order requiring Google to de-index the host name of the newspapers.

        • Orders Google to remove from the Google.be and Google.com sites, more specifically from the “cached” links on “Google Web” and from the “Google News” service, all the articles, photographs and graphic representations from the Belgian publishers of the French and German-speaking daily newspapers

          Do you need anything else?

          • I’m sorry, but merely boldfacing anything with “Google” in it does not answer the question and indicated that (1) you haven’t even bothered to understand what I was asking, and (2) you haven’t read the relevant court orders. If you had read them, you wouldn’t be pointing out a provision that required the removal of links to articles, photographs, and graphical representations.

            I’ll kindly ask again, please point to the language in the court order that requires Google to de-index the host name of the newspapers, which renders them unreachable by search.

          • What aren’t you understanding “cached” links from Google.com and Google.be? Seems like your definition of links differ than mine (and apperently Google’s), or you simply don’t understand how web search works at a technical level.

          • Or maybe you are saying Google is not allowed to index anything but their home page? What if their home page had an article on it? How much content does a newspaper have that ISN’T “articles, photographs, and graphic representations”?

            I’m not sure what you are getting at. There is only one real way Google could comply with this order and that was totally remove any content from these publishers from their service. And without this content, the index fundamentally doesn’t work.

          • Joe, do you know what the word “cached” means?

  5. Some stuff I was thinking about.

    What is the standard for “dedicated to copyright infringement” in SOPA really going to be? Does this imply that if a site has notable examples of non-infringing content it is immune to SOPA? If so, then is The Pirate Bay immune to SOPA?

    The Pirate Bay users contribute torrents to the site, it differs not much from the more respectable UGC sites. It’s not different in that some of the content may be very well copyright infringement while others may be nothing of the sort.

    In a way the chief difference is the public political views of it’s owners which preach contempt for copyright law.

    Although I find this interesting, some pro-copyright people believe the tech giants have similar opinions that they hold in private. The difference in this case is only the public nature of their opinion. Also along as you put some hollow support for the notion of intellectual property and you hire a few lobbyists to “contribute” to some politicians (it helps being a big multinational corporation and not a garage operation).

    Anyway I have heard I think from Terry himself that sites like MegaUpload and other types of sites would be targets of SOPA.

    So I’m interesting to know what sites the SOPA supporters think would get the axe first if SOPA were to be implemented, and why these site differ from other Web 2.0 / USG with plenty of examples of unauthorized copyrighted content, Basically I’d like some clarification of what “dedicated to copyright infringement” actually means.

  6. If you think the “boycott” actually achieved anything, you’re just as crazy as the Torrentfreak nonsense from which you derive your information. GoDaddy has something like 32 million registered domains. Regardless of the nuances of the numbers on one day, or even one week, the fact remains that it is insignificant in the overall business perspective for the company. Additionally, all that it did was achieve a tepidly worded statement from GoDaddy but no actual change. Until and unless you can provide some evidence that GoDaddy has sent letters in opposition to members of Congress, or has funded representatives who express a stance against the bill, then GoDaddy has not really changed its stance on the matter,

    <a href=http://www.godaddy.com/newscenter/release-view.aspx?news_item_id=380&isc=buyxxxbLink

    Is that clear enough?

    But there are plenty more. Virtually any discussion of SOPA is guaranteed to be wrong on Reddit. The most common misinformation spread on there is that domestic sites can be removed from the internet for having a single piece of copyrighted material on them or even a link to something

    Right. One of the arguments I saw was about how Google.ca may be affected over Google.com, since ca is the Canadian website. But let’s ignore that to hear your explanation of events. Reddit finds communities to discuss issues and correct mistakes, which is far easier than the grave mistakes of law enforcement, who seclude themselves in secrecy until they strike upon an innocent website. Obviously, the Mooo.com domain seizure would have gone without a hitch if ICE had learned a little more about the technology involved. But that’s just too hard for a department committed to taking down foreign websites that people haven’t even heard of before.

    Absolutely I am ignoring it. That tepidly worded statement is nothing more than PR damage control (which any business under the circumstances would do), but if you think GoDaddy’s private support of the bill has in any way wavered, you really have no grasp whatsoever on either law or business. Once the Reddit ilk move on to the next outrage-de-jure, it will be business as usual for GoDaddy.

    And who is going to work with GoDaddy again when there are some high profile names moving their accounts, noticing how bad their PR really is? You still failed to answer the question of how many people will trust GoDaddy after the hooplah is over. Sure, they may have 32 million domain names. But you still don’t know how many are domain squatters, legit, or how many GoDaddy may have itself.

    Also, Bob Parsons has stated full out they reject SOPA. Seems the SOPA fight is a losing one. 130+ businesses for, 400+ against. Does it really speak for the people that it’s affecting?

    • “You still failed to answer the question of how many people will trust GoDaddy after the hooplah is over”

      Maybe he ignored it because it’s a silly question. Can you answer it with any authority? Follow up: how many dollars am I going to spend on lunch today?

      “Sure, they may have 32 million domain names. But you still don’t know how many are domain squatters, legit, or how many GoDaddy may have itself”

      Well then, if that’s the case then how could you take seriously any threats from companies to remove their sites? How many of those removed sites were squatters? And what does it matter? 32 million domains hosted at a minimum of $5 apiece is a bank load of cash every month regardless of how popular or legit the sites are. Wikipedia “leaving” is not a monetary loss for them at all. How many domains does Wiki host through GoDaddy? Even being generous and saying 20 would only account for a loss of around ~$200 a month. Meanwhile, perhaps every musician with an interest in protecting their work will sign up with GoDaddy. That would be thousands upon thousands of new sites to charge for every month. But, this is all moot anyway, as none of us can predict the future opinions of the populace; otherwise we’d all be on CNN predicting election outcomes.

      I imagine GoDaddy looks pretty attractive to those companies who take IP laws seriously, which would basically be, I don’t know, 90% of all companies. Even Google protects its own IP.

      “…130+ businesses for, 400+ against…”

      That doesn’t really say anything. “130+” could mean 10,000, and “400+” could mean 401. Reminds me of a joke from Peep Show:

      Jeremy: “I owe you over a thousand pounds.”
      Mark: “Four thousand.”
      Jeremy: “Exactly. Over a thousand pounds.”

      • Maybe he ignored it because it’s a silly question.

        It’s more a rhetorical question. At the moment, there’s been a ton of companies that have left GoDaddy over their stance on SOPA. They’re as varied as can be. The fact remains that GoDaddy’s questionable business tactics (Parson and the elephant, racy ads, abysmal service) helped to fuel the movement. If he doesn’t want to acknowledge the argument, that’s fine. But far be it for me to think he can just dismiss the move away because he got a discount when GoDaddy has already benefited from illegal domain seizures.

        Well then, if that’s the case then how could you take seriously any threats from companies to remove their sites?

        Since Namecheap saw an upsurge in domain registries from GoDaddy along with other companies, that’s a no brainer.

        How many of those removed sites were squatters?

        Non-sequitar.

        32 million domains hosted at a minimum of $5 apiece is a bank load of cash every month regardless of how popular or legit the sites are. Wikipedia “leaving” is not a monetary loss for them at all.

        PR hits always matter, and losing the monthly income starts to add up considerably.

        Meanwhile, perhaps every musician with an interest in protecting their work will sign up with GoDaddy.

        Or they can make more money through Megaupload and the 90%-10% split that they offer instead of what the labels offer (360 deal with few benefits). That’s entirely their choice.

        I imagine GoDaddy looks pretty attractive to those companies who take IP laws seriously, which would basically be, I don’t know, 90% of all companies. Even Google protects its own IP.

        IP laws are a joke. How successful has DRM been to the economy? How about trying to control the mp3 market by shutting down Napster, suing Grooveshark for higher fees and shutting down “rogue websites” with legislation such as SOPA/PIPA? Great success. Meanwhile, piracy continues because people continue to enjoy sharing content in different forms.

        That doesn’t really say anything. “130+” could mean 10,000, and “400+” could mean 401.

        Count the ones that support SOPA. No need to try to be misleading here. The number of organizations that don’t support SOPA far exceed the ones that do. Even the artists are against SOPA so…

        • “How successful has DRM been to the economy?”

          If it hadn’t been for FairPlay, the iTunes Store wouldn’t exist. “Oh but there’s tons of places to buy mp3 files!” Yeah; and without the iTunes Store to show labels that selling files was workable, none of *those* would exist.

          • iTunes hasn’t had DRM for years. Now you’re saying it was effective?

            Hindsight may be 20/20, but remember it was Apple that took it off while the record labels screamed bloody murder.

            iTunes still has the store. Sorry, failing to see your point here.