Archive for the ‘infringment’ category

Change and the Copyright Modernization Act

November 7th, 2012

Bill C-11, the Copyright Modernization Act, with a few exceptions, is now law with the publication of the Governor General Order in Council. The fourth attempt to amend the Copyright Act since 2005 succeeded where Bills C-60 (2005), C-61 (2008), and C-32 (2010) did not.

A lot has changed since 2005 when Bill C-60 was first introduced. That Bill would have made a limited, but important, set of amendments. Its summary reminds us that it would have amended the “Copyright Act to implement the provisions of the WIPO Copyright Treaty and the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty, to clarify the liability of network service providers, to facilitate technology-enhanced learning and interlibrary loans, and to update certain other provisions of the Act.”  Bill C-11 addresses far more than this.

ivi copyright injunction in the public interest says US Appeals Court

August 28th, 2012

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals released its decision in the WPIX, INC., v ivi INC. 2012 WL 3645304, (2nd.Cir.Aug. 27, 2012) case yesterday. It dismissed ivi’s appeal from a preliminary injunction prohibiting Ivi from continuing to stream television programming over the Internet.

ivi’s defense was that it was a cable system entitled to a compulsory license under § 111 of the US Copyright Act. The US Second Circuit reviewed the statute’s legislative history, development, and purpose which indicated that Congress did not intend for § 111 licenses to extend to Internet retransmissions. This was consistent with the view of US Copyright Office’s interpretation of § 111 that Internet retransmission services do not constitute cable systems under § 111. The Court accordingly concluded that “the district court did not abuse its discretion in finding that plaintiffs were likely to succeed on the merits of the case.”

Was the $675,000 damage award against Joel Tenenbaum for file sharing excessive?

August 24th, 2012

Was the statutory damages award of $675,000 against Joel Tenebaum for downloading and distributing 30 music files over peer-to-peer networks excessive? Did it violate US due process? According to a decision released by a U.S. District Court yesterday in the Sony BMG Music Entertainment v Tenebaum 2012 WL 3639053, (D.Mass., Aug. 23, 2012) case, the answer to both questions is no.

After a five-day jury trial, the jury found that Tenenbaum’s infringement was willful as to each of the thirty sound recordings in issue, and returned a verdict within the US statutory range of $22,500 per infringement, for a total damages award of $675,000.  After an appeal of the jury verdict, the Court was charged with the duty of determining whether the award was excessive under the common law remittitur doctrine and whether it violated due process.

The Andersen P2P file sharing study on the purchase of music CDs in Canada

August 20th, 2012

In 2006, the highly regarded economics professor Prof. Liebowitz, Director of the Center for Economic Analysis of Property Rights and Innovation at University of Texas, surveyed the entire field of econometric studies on file sharing. On the basis of his comprehensive review (which displayed a remarkable consensus on the issue), he concluded that “file-sharing has brought significant harm to the recording industry”. Prior to that in a comprehensive article published in 2005 Prof. Liebowitz criticized the theory that unlicensed file sharing helps copyright owners. He said those that professed this view saw “gains from copying in every nook and cranny of the economy, when in reality the instances of such gains are likely to be rather limited.”

Google’s plans to prioritize legitimate online content

August 13th, 2012

Google announced on Friday it is updating its search algorithms. In making the announcement Google said the purpose is to “help users find legitimate, quality sources of content more easily—whether it’s a song previewed on NPR’s music website, a TV show on Hulu or new music streamed fromSpotify.” According to the statement, it plans to reduce search rankings for sites with “high numbers” of valid takedown notices.

Understanding Flava Works v myVidster: does inline linking infringe copyright?

August 8th, 2012

Last week, the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals released its opinion in the  Flava Works, Inc, v Gunter dba myVidster 2012 WL 3124826 (7th.Cir. Aug 2, 2012) case. The central issue was whether Flava Works, the owner of copyrights in videos, was entitled to a preliminary injunction against the social video bookmarking service myVidster. The injunction which had been granted by the District Court was vacated.

The Supreme Court rules on copyright in a pentology of cases

July 12th, 2012

Earlier today, the Supreme Court released reasons in the five copyright appeals heard back to back on December 6 and 7, 2011 in the following cases:[i]

Supreme Court of Canada to release reasons in five copyright cases

July 9th, 2012

The copyright bar has been eagerly awaiting the release of the decisions of the Supreme Court of Canada in the five copyright appeals which were heard on December 6 and 7, 2011. The Court announced earlier today that the decisions will be released this Thursday, July 12, 2012.

The Court published case summaries.  I also summarized the main issues in the appeals here.  The webcasts of the arguments can also be accessed here.

So you want to protect computer programs by copyright, the Oracle v Google and SAS v WPL cases (Updated)

June 3rd, 2012

Are computer programs protected by copyright? That issue was a hot one three decades ago when courts began to struggle with whether these intangible utilitarian objects could be protected. Were they machine parts outside the realm of copyright or literary works, the kind of subject matter that copyright protects? This issue was quickly resolved in favor of copyright protection, first by the courts in the US, Australia, Canada and elsewhere in a series of cases involving the Apple II operating system and in other cases, then by international conventions and treaties and worldwide copyright amendments by governments that wanted to be sure programs could not be blatantly pirated.

Optus loses “TV Now” copyright appeal down under

April 26th, 2012

Earlier today, the Full Court of Australia released its decision in the National Rugby League Investments Pty Limited v Singtel Optus Pty Ltd [2012] FCAFC 59 (27 April 2012) case. In a note made available along with the reasons of the court for reversing the decision of the primary judge, the court summarized its decision as follows: