Technology and Business Law Blog

Take Down Notices Don’t Work

In spite of all the DMCA take down notices sent to YouTube, copyright infringement continues to grow on the site and the infringed material stays for a while before it is taken down and during that time it is viewed by a large number of people across the world. The take down notices have not really had an impact on reducing copyright infringement and has not reduced piracy.

Smaller artists have been promoting their songs etc, via YouTube and it has served as a good advertising platform, so the larger media companies have joined the bandwagon and follow the saying, if you cannot beat them, join them.

Large Media companies have finally woken up and realized that they cannot fight the postings on YouTube and now let the infringing material stay on the Youtube site and have decided to use it as advertising material. That is good thinking to save money, energy and time and surely creating goodwill and promoting the posted material. Curt Marvis, the president of digital media at Lionsgate Entertainment, said  “We don’t want to condone people taking our intellectual property and using it without our permission,” “But we also don’t like the idea of keeping fans of our products from being able to engage with our content.” he said. “For the most part, people who are uploading videos are fans of our movies. They’re not trying to be evil pirates, and they’re not trying to get revenue from it.”


August 18, 2008 Posted by | Copyright Infringement, DMCA, YouTube | | Leave a comment

DMCA in Canada

Micheal Geist a copyright expert and a law professor at the University of Ottawa started a movement against the Canadian government enacting a law in Canada which would be similar to the United States DMCA law, which is being opposed by various organizations in the US.

The problem with DMCA is that is opposed to the “fair use” principle that is a defense for copyright infringement and fair use helps foster innovation and creativity. The DMCA has been used by the copyright holders as a muzzle to stop creating something different out of what already exists. As mentioned in my previous post the copyright holder can send a take-down notice under the safe harbor provision of the DMCA.

Professor Geist has been instrumental in campaigning against the Canadian bill through Facebook which ended up with about 20,000 people protesting against the bill and for now the bill has been set aside till next year for reconsideration.

December 13, 2007 Posted by | Canadian Copyright, DMCA | Leave a comment

DMCA Takedowns

“Here Comes Another Bubble” a video by the Richter Scales was removed from YouTube under the DMCA takedown provision. A video is removed from the YouTube site when YouTube receives a complaint from someone claiming copyright infringement. YouTube first reaction is to remove the “infringing” video and notify the person who put it up at the YouTube site, then it is up to the party whose video’s was removed to insist that they did not violate any copyright law and ask YouTube to put the removed video back on its site by sending a counter notice to YouTube stating that they have not infringed any copyright provisions or give the defense of fair use.

YouTube removes the claimed infringing material under the safe harbor provisions of the DMCA or the Digital Milliniem Copyright Act which allows online or Internet service providers to promptly take down alleged infringing copyright material without being held liable. Now this provision can be misused and anyone claiming to hold the copyright to the material hosted by the service provider can state infringement and have the material taken down. Now there are a list of provisions under the safe harbor provisions to be followed. Organizations like the EFF have taken up this misuse issue and filed a few cases, which can be read at their website and also has more information on the DMCA safe harbor provisions.

In fact EFF also suggests fair use principles for user generated content. If creativity is totally curbed under copyright restrictions then there would be no room for further innovation and improvisation and there would be no progress in science and arts.

December 13, 2007 Posted by | Copyright, DMCA | Leave a comment

Can you unlock your iphone?

When all this news was released about unlocking the iPhone I thought wouldn’t there be a copyright law violation? and on then found out about the legal exception to the DMCA’s (U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act) anti-circumvention provision that allows individual mobile phone users to unlock their devices for use on other network.

Once the consumer has paid for the iPhone (a lot!) and bought it, they own it and have a right to do what they want with it, now if something went wrong with it then Apple will not cover the phone under it’s warranty. I agree with Michael Lewis, an IP lawyer who states “The exception allows circumvention of device controls “for the sole purpose of lawfully connecting to a wireless telephone communication network,” according to language from the U.S. registrar of copyrights. So if a hacker unlocks the iPhone, then posts the unlocking code for free, he’s engaging in a legal activity and enabling others to engage in the same legal activity”.

Now that the step by step process to unlock the iPhone is published in the web and if any person can do it then how is Apple going to take legal action against each of those individuals? In fact it could be argued that Apple by exclusively tying it’s phone to AT&T is liable for antitrust violations.

August 30, 2007 Posted by | DMCA, iPhone | Leave a comment