H.R.5757 – To amend title 17, United States Code, to establish an alternative dispute resolution program for copyright small claims, and for other purposes. — On Wednesday, Representatives Jeffries and Marino introduced a bill that would create a copyright small claims process that would allow creators who can’t afford federal court to pursue infringement claims. The Copyright Office detailed the problem and recommended the creation of such a process in a 2013 report. As of posting date, the text of the bill is not yet online, but should be up within the next couple of days.
New Librarian of Congress Faces Copyright Modernization — This week, the Senate confirmed Dr. Carla Hayden as Librarian of Congress. Among the challenges she’ll face when she assumes the role is outdated IT both in the Library and in the Copyright Office, which is housed within the Library. Bloomberg reports, “The office’s services play a direct role in the conduct of business in significant industrial sectors that depend on copyrights, and the technological challenges faced by the agency are critical to those transactions, according to Robert Brauneis, a copyright law professor at George Washington University. For example, when copyright owners record their copyright interests, ‘they actually have to print a copy, put it in an envelope with stamps on it, and send it off in snail mail,’ Brauneis said. ‘Multimillion dollar transactions depend on registration getting processed quickly and documents getting processed quickly.'”
Senators ask feds to look at digital ad fraud — When so much content on the internet depends on ad revenues, the issue of fraudulent ad traffic raises concerns. Senators Schumer and Warner Monday asked the FTC to take a look at the issue. “A 2015 industry study cited by the lawmakers estimated that advertisers would lose more than $7 billion to this kind of activity this year.”
Amazon’s Chinese Counterfeit Problem is Getting Worse — CNBC reports, “Always a problem, the counterfeiting issue has exploded this year, sellers say, following Amazon’s effort to openly court Chinese manufacturers, weaving them intimately into the company’s expansive logistics operation. Merchants are perpetually unsure of who or what may kill their sales on any given day and how much time they’ll have to spend hunting down fakers. Facebook and WhatsApp groups have formed for sellers to voice their complaints and strategize on potential fixes. In May, CNBC.com reported on a Facebook group, now consisting of over 600 people, whose members have seen their designs for t-shirts, coffee mugs and iPhone cases show up on Amazon at a fraction of the price of the originals. The designers described it as a game of whack-a-mole, where fakes pop up more quickly than they’re taken down.”
Sharing Netflix Passwords Hasn’t Become a Felony — Snopes debunks reports (encouraged in part by the EFF) that a recent court decision would lead to jail time for sharing passwords. Says Snopes, “[T]he operative factor was that the case involved had nothing at all to do with streaming, Netflix, HBO Go, Facebook, or other services by which users commonly share passwords for myriad reasons. The specific issue was lack of authorization and deliberate intent to circumvent access revoked in an employer-employee capacity. Extrapolating that such a ruling might affect Netflix users wasn’t out of the bounds of possibility, but was unnecessarily alarmist given the scope of the ruling.”