[This article is originally published in searchengineland.com written by Greg Sterling - Uploaded by AIRS Member: Eric Beaudoin]

In ruling on a motion for summary judgment in federal court in New York, Judge Katherine Forrest found that embedding a tweet containing a copyrighted photo (of Tom Brady) could create liability for copyright infringement.

The case, Goldman vs. Breitbart, is still in process and cannot be appealed until final, but the judge’s ruling has potentially far-reaching implications. She explicitly rejected the argument that the ruling could have a chilling effect on linking across the internet.

The Judge’s opinion and order (embedded below) say:

Here, it is undisputed that none of the defendant websites actually downloaded the Photo from Twitter, copied it, and stored it on their own servers. Rather, each defendant website merely embedded the Photo, by including the necessary embed code in their HTML instructions. As a result, all of defendants’ websites included articles about the meeting between Tom Brady and the Celtics, with the full-size Photo visible without the user having to click on a hyperlink, or a thumbnail, in order to view the Photo

As the Electronic Frontier Foundation put it, “If adopted by other courts, this legally and technically misguided decision would threaten millions of ordinary Internet users with infringement liability.” While there might be defenses (e.g., fair use), it would chill linking (at least involving embedded content) because large and small publishers would simply seek to avoid potential liability.

Getty Images backed plaintiff Justin Goldman in the case. That’s because Getty stands to directly financially benefit if Judge Forrest’s interpretation of copyright law becomes more pervasive. The company has a long history of aggressively litigating copyright claims against small publishers and bloggers.

Judge Forrest’s decision is contrary to existing precedents coming out of the US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which held that parties linking to infringing content hosted elsewhere are protected under the doctrine of fair use and not liable. District court decisions have limited value as precedents versus appellate court decisions, but this case creates potential confusion and would give rise to additional lawsuits.

The judge qualified her ruling, which is an interim decision (partly in an effort to mitigate criticism), by saying that there may be various available defenses to liability in this case:

In this case, there are genuine questions about whether plaintiff effectively released his image into the public domain when he posted it to his Snapchat account. Indeed, in many cases there are likely to be factual questions as to licensing and authorization. There is also a very serious and strong fair use defense, a defense under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, and limitations on damages from innocent infringement.

However, the rationale and logic behind her ruling are troubling.

goldman v breitbartopinion

Categorized in Internet Privacy

[This article is originally published in thenextweb.com written by Abhimanyu Ghoshal - Uploaded by AIRS Member: Carol R. Venuti]

The European Union is inching closer to enacting sweeping copyright legislation that would require platforms like Google, Facebook to pay publishers for the privilege of displaying their content to users, as well as monitoring copyright infringement by users on the sites and services they manage.

That’s set to open a Pandora’s Box of problems that could completely derail your internet experience because it’d essentially disallow platforms from displaying content from other sources. In a screenshot shared with Search Engine Land, Google illustrated how this might play out in its search results for news articles:

An example of what Google’s search results for news might look like if the EU goes ahead with its copyright directive

As you can see, the page looks empty, because it’s been stripped of all copyrighted content – headlines, summaries and images from articles from various publishers.


Google almost certainly won’t display unusable results like these, but it will probably only feature content from publishers it’s cut deals with (and it’s safe to assume that’s easier for larger companies than small ones).

That would reduce the number of sources of information you’ll be able to discover through the search engine, and it’ll likely lead to a drop in traffic for media outlets. It’s a lose-lose situation, and it’s baffling that EU lawmakers don’t see this as a problem – possibly because they’re fixated on how this ‘solution’ could theoretically benefit content creators and copyright holders by ruling that they must be paid for their output.

It isn’t yet clear when the new copyright directive will come into play – there are numerous processes involved that could take until 2021 before it’s implemented in EU countries’ national laws. Hopefully, the union’s legislators will see sense well before that and put a stop to this madness.

Update: We’ve clarified in our headline that this is Google’s opinion of how its search service will be affected by the upcoming EU copyright directive; it isn’t yet clear how it will eventually be implemented.

Categorized in Search Engine

The Copyright Industry, especially the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America), and MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) have suppressed every form of innovation, and technology to protect their questionable rights.  In the 80s, they sued to stop video recorders, but were thankfully held back by the Supreme Court in the famous Betamax case.  The Media Industry forced manufacturers of blank cassettes, tapes, and CDs to pay a royalty to reimburse the industry because the blank recording media might be used to infringe copyright. That is right; your preacher's sermon tapes actually were forced to subsidize Hollywood.

In 1998, the RIAA sued to stop the first portable Mp3 player, Diamond Rio, from being sold.

In 1999, they took down Napster, the breakthrough file sharing program upstart.  Then they cut a swath of destruction going after a plethora of file sharing services, with such vicious tactics as suing children who downloaded songs for unconscionable amounts of money.

Upping the outrage, they tried to gut the First Amendment with the SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act), which imperiled the whole Internet by making search engines and hosting companies liable for piracy that the technology companies had nothing to do with. Only when technology giants apprised Congress that technology produced more jobs than the media, did Congress back off. Temporarily!

In 2014, the RIAA considered suing Google for even listing sites that people could use to rip media.


The RIAA previously found that for 98% of the music related searches they performed, “pirate sites” were listed on the first page of the search results. According to the music group, this is an indication that more proactive measures are required, in the interests of both Google and the labels.“So the enforcement system we operate under requires us to send a staggering number of piracy notices – 100 million and counting to Google alone—and an equally staggering number of takedowns Google must process. And yet pirated copies continue to proliferate and users are bombarded with search results to illegal sources over legal sources for the music they love,” Sherman notes. -Torrent Freak

Why is it in Google's interest to doctor their search engine results for make the copyright industry happy?  And is the word, "bombarded" appropriate for providing the public with search results that the public wants? This is industry propaganda. Now, the RIAA is going full speed after You Tube ripping.

So what is YouTube ripping?

A few years ago, soon after file sharing sites were sued into oblivion, technology surfaced which made it possible to rip the music directly off of YouTube videos. No longer did one have to download buggy software to download files - and which ironically opened one's computer to viruses.  One could merely go to YouTube, copy the URL and then go to a ripping site to split the mp3 music off of the video, and then download it. This 2010 video - made at just about the same time that LimeWire file sharing service was finally taken down - gives some instruction. (Click Here).  More recent instruction videos are easily searched out.  Newer sites are incredibly ease to use.

News of the YouTube ripping technique spread slowly at first, except among technophiles; but soon enough, the Media Industry's victory over file sharing software/services would prove pyrrhic. YouTube ripping had the advantage of being incredibly easy and all but untraceable. No need to worry about RIAA lawsuits.


So, now, the RIAA is back again, crying foul, going nuts, suing YouTube ripping sites.

This week a huge coalition of recording labels headed by the RIAA, IFPI, and BPI, sued YouTube ripping service YouTube-MP3. Today we take a closer look at the lawsuit which was filed against a German company, owned and operated by a German citizen, which could seek damages running into the hundreds of millions of dollars. - Torrent Freak

This time, the RIAA has lost all reason. They are once again playing Whack-a-Mole - which is what they have been doing all along.  If history teaches anything, innovators, by their very nature, will always outpace Luddites. YouTube ripping sites have proliferated across the web - with this link at this time, showing 95 million results for a search for YouTube rippers.

Nothing will stop the RIAA, the MPAA, and the Media Industry, though.

Hollywood media moguls are intent on preserving a dying business model. Worse yet, they expect technology companies to provide the technical expertise to protect their quasi-monopoly.  It is much cheaper to have Google, Microsoft, and Facebook pay programmers to fight piracy than the RIAA actually hiring programmers to come up with the technology themselves.

Then again, their incompetence in this area has been humiliating.

In an attempt to curb music piracy, major labels such as Sony started selling music CDs that have built-in “copy-proof” technology. The technology was meant to stop people from copying music from these discs onto recordable CDs or hard drives. There's a fatal flaw in this technology, however, which allows you to bypass the copy protection with a simple marker pen, and a recent upsurge in Internet newsgroup talk about this flaw has brought it to light again.  -- Geek (2002)

Open up a cafe or a bar with some live music and you could be forced to pay three royalty collection agencies: ASCAPBMI, and SESAC.

Antonowisch explained that once ASCAP got wind that they had live music (even though they were only holding about 12 concerts a year), ASCAP began their crusade. “They called us everyday. They sent two letters a day. They threatened us with a lawsuit because they said we had violated copyright,” Antonowisch lamented. As not to get sued, the coffee shop owners conceded. They agreed to pay ASCAP the $600 yearly license for the right to have live music.But then they found out that there was another PRO that required the same license. BMI. (snip)Then, as luck would have it, SESAC got in touch. And they demanded just over $700.)snip)Bauhaus [the cafe] actually explained to ASCAP that all of their musicians play original music and ASCAP shot back “how do you know? Do you know every song ever written?” So the PROs won’t believe a venue if they claim that they only host original music. And all it takes is one musician to play one cover song for a PRO to sue for serious damages.

Consider them three mafias.  A protection racket.  Once you pay one, the others want their cut. Add in the MPAA, the RIAA, and it is legalized corruption. Congress indulges them because the media can make or break a politician's career; and so Congress passes more and more noxious copyright laws, to protect their monopoly.

As part of draining the swamp, this new administration has nothing to lose offending the media.  Trump should reform our copyright laws. Copyrights should be limited to no more time than patents: 20 years.  Getting a technical patent can require decades of investments and education.  Why should a song written over a short period of time get protected for 70 years plus the life of the author?

These media moguls are mafiosi in legal garb.  It is high time they were told that it is not the duty of Google, YouTube, Microsoft, or Apple to protect their recordings.  If the media companies cannot protect their own product, then so be it.

Let the industry die off. It is a dinosaur in an age of mammals. It is a relic that has lots its usefulness like royalty, and aristocracy. We won't have to suffer industry stars telling us how enlightened they are, and how retro-stupid the public is.

For decades they have monopolized American and Western culture - often destroying our core values - and charged us for the privilege of their artistic rampage.  We were stupid to put up with it. Now they are suing us. Let them die out. Let music and artistic creation return to the individual, as it was when the republic was born. Let the copyright attorneys find something useful to do.

Author: Mike Konrad
Source: http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2017/01/copyright_vultures_are_at_it_again.html

Categorized in Internet Ethics

Many of us have changed our reading habits from hardcopy newspapers and magazines to digital and online services from social media and news aggregators. In the process the original writer, journalist or newspaper owner who developed the content has been lost, ignored and deprived of income due.

The digital reading habits have led to broader audiences, but have also impacted advertising revenue for the newsprint operators and made the licensing and enforcement of the rights in these publications increasingly difficult.

The European Commission, earlier this month, released its draft updated copyright rules in an attempt to regulate the digital economy and ensure rights are properly attributed and protected.


The new EU copyright rules recognise the important role press publishers play in investing in and creating quality journalistic content.


However, not everyone welcomes the proposals, with US tech giants such as Google among those most concerned.

The main meat of the Commission’s vision of copyright reform, an expanded publisher ancillary right for online content, has been dubbed a ‘Google news tax’, or more accurately a ‘link tax’.

The idea is that news aggregators, including Google news, should pay publishers for the content on their search engine — the headlines and article snippets that are displayed.

The scope and the enforcement of copyright in the digital environment have been among the most complex and controversial issues for lawmakers for the last decade.

Due to the ubiquitous use of digital technology, modern regulation of copyright inherently touches upon various areas of law and social and economic policy, including communications privacy as well as Internet governance.

In June, India’s finance minister Arun Jaitley announced in his budget speech the introduction of an equalisation levy on international digital services provided by the likes of Google and Facebook.

The idea is to indirectly tax internet giants for the money they make from Indian advertisers’ content by imposing a levy of 6% on the payments these advertisers make. The tax has been aimed at technology companies that make money via online advertisements but make no corporation tax returns in India.

Whereas the EU has not said it will introduce an equalisation levy, there is considerable concern that India’s first step to tax the digital economy may be followed by individual EU member states who have individual tax regulatory control within their own countries.

In the case of the equalisation tax in India, it remains to be seen whether the foreign company will stand to bear the loss by simply accepting lower margins because of the new tax or hike the advertising rate taking the new tax into account.

But Google may play hardball, as it did when Spain introduced strict copyright rules in January 2015, which made it impossible for individual publishers to waive their rights to remuneration.

Google shut down its news service in Spain and removed all Spanish publishers from its global newsfeeds, saying it could not afford the significant costs the law created for something that generated no advertising revenue.

A link tax could be bad news for all publishers, but particularly for smaller publishers that will find that this is not the way to address falling revenues from traditional print sales.

It must be recognised that news aggregators deliver huge traffic to publishers’ websites.

Also, very few young people get their news from one source anymore. News aggregators are the way they find out what content is available, before going on to buying access to those articles that are behind paywalls.

More than ever before, consumers are enjoying the freedom of news from multiple sources and, thereby, delivering advertising revenue to many different publishers.

And, yes, we need copyright laws in Europe that recognise the reality of the Internet, but they should be capable of being enforced without a damaging levy or linked taxation system.

Source : http://www.irishexaminer.com/http://www.irishexaminer.com/

Categorized in Internet Ethics

Copyright law is one of the grayest areas on the internet, and violations happen more often than a troll comment gets posted to YouTube. Well maybe not, but potential copyright violations can be confusing to navigate if you don’t know how the laws apply to your particular situation, especially around the issue of copyrighted music and audio.

Often creators don’t even realize they are violating copyright laws. But we’re here to help. Although I have to mention up front that this is not legal advice and cannot substitute for a good copyright attorney, following these steps can help to ensure that you’re the only person who can earn money from the works you produce.

Using Copyrighted Music and Audio in Video: Post Contents

In this post we discuss the legal implications of using copyrighted music in your videos, and confirm royalty-free, public domain options. We also highlight some of the biggest myths about copyright and music:

Music Copyright 101: What Audio Can You Use and When

The easiest way to avoid copyright violations is to create 100% original content. But what about using sound effects or a soundtrack in your video? The most important question to ask here is, “Am I inhibiting the original creator’s ability to earn money from this work?”. Whether or not the creator is making money from their work, you cannot inhibit their ability to do so.

Examples would include having the entire track from Justin Bieber’s 'Baby' playing in the background of your latest video. Not only would that lack a certain taste in good music but that’s just not going to fly in terms of copy4right. Somebody could potentially rip his audio directly from your video, removing their need to buy his record to listen to his music. That’s a major no no.

New to creating video and want to know the basics of copyright in relation to music, footage, and images? YouTube have a great overview which is definitely worth watching to bring you up to speed:

When IS it OK to Use Another Creator’s Music in Your Video?

It's a complicated topic but if you want to use music that someone else has created then you'll need to know the legal implications of doing so. Obtaining permission really depends on the specific piece itself and whether it needs a license or not:

  1. In the purest sense, the only time that you do not need to secure special permissions to use a work is when that work is in the public domain. Some older works have made their way into the public domain and according to the Public Domain Information Project that includes: “Any Song or Musical Work Published in 1922 or Earlier is in the Public Domain in the USA. No Sound Recordings are PD in the USA due to a tangled complexity of Federal and State Law”. You would think the traditional “Happy Birthday” song is in that list, but it’s not. Do NOT use it!
  2. If what you are using isn’t in the public domain, you WILL need to obtain a license to use it. The more formal the license the more protected you are when using it. Also keep it mind that many recordings have not only a copyright for the song, but also for the recording of the song itself. In that case, you will need to obtain two licenses.

Music that is Royalty Free is still free to use, but it is NOT in the public domain. There is a distinct difference between the two. Permission must still be granted for royalty free recordings. Generally, these permissions are usually blanket permissions that apply to anyone though and are very easy to obtain. Things like this would include music from the now widely used site incompetech.com, run by Kevin MacLeod. Surprisingly enough his Royalty Free music is used so often that the odds are you’ve heard something he’s made at least once. He’s the most well-known musician that you may not know.

With Epidemic Sound you only need one license as they own 100% of the rights to the  music. So you can forget about copyright claims and get full monetization from day one. Over 150,000 YouTube creators use their service, so you’re in with good company, and with over 30,000 tracks and hundreds of new tracks released monthly, you can can always find something you like - from house to hip hop! You can get a free 30 day trial and if you like their service, you can pay as little as £10 a month for all you can eat music!

Best Sites for Royalty-Free Music to Use in Your Video

Royalty free is attractive because the legal responsibilities with it are completely minimized. It is the closest you can get to public domain, yet still retain some legal rights if you are the original creator. The nice thing here is that your music or work can become widely used and gain exposure for original creator, yet it benefits the community at large with a free service. These works are free and allow you to use them without penalty or fees. Each site may have some stipulations on the way in which you use the work, so be sure to read the type of license they grant. Some good examples of royalty free music sites are:

Please Note: Royalty-free doesn't necessarily mean FREE to use - you will still have to pay something for the license. However, there are also some websites that offer free, royalty-free music sites that you could explore. If you are partnered with an MCN, some of those networks also have a royalty-free music library available to members.

Music: The Difference Between Sharing and Stealing

There is a very real difference between sharing someone's musical composition, and taking the same track and using it solely for your benefit, or personal gain. Let's take a look at both approaches:

  • Sharing is posting the link to your favorite artist’s latest song on your Facebook wall or Twitter page. Emphasis here is on the link. In this case, the owner retains the digital copy of the piece in question and you are simply sharing the way to find it.
  • Stealing is taking a copy of the music and loading it to your YouTube channel or Soundcloud. When you upload somebody else’s music or content to your own page, it removes the artist’s ability to monetize it and likely violates copyright.

Is Performing a Cover Version of a Song Copyright Violation?

Simply put, chances are yes. Of course it’s a lot more complicated than that in the long run, but realize that by its very nature a cover is your artistic interpretation of somebody else’s work. Some ways to avoid a copyright violation here include:

  • Create a cover that is transformative. That is to say, you’ve put such an original, creative spin on the piece of work that it is unrecognizable as the original.
  • Use the YouTube search feature before you cover a song to check the music rights associated with it. Doing the research will save you real problems later.
  • Use royalty free tracks that are licensed to you
  • Explore the options available to you via YouTube's own Audio Library.

What Will Happen if I Use Copyrighted Work in My Video?

Well, if you very, very lucky, at best, nothing will happen. But you had better hope you aren’t making money from that piece of work. One major determining factor is whether or not money is being made from the use of the copyrighted work. Make enough money and you are bound to catch the attention of somebody who wants a slice of your earnings. Some other things that could occur:

  • On YouTube, your Account may receive a strike (3 and you’re OUT!)
  • Your audio may be muted
  • Ads may be placed on your videos, the benefits going to the original artist/publisher
  • You could be sued by the owner of the work you are using

In December 2014, YouTube launched a new feature within its audio library that will give the creator a glimpse of what action the site will take against a video that uses copyrighted music as part of its soundtrack.

ContentID: How YouTube Determines a Copyright Violation

YouTube has a complex copyright tracking system called ContentID. It is an automated system that matches your content against a database of copyrighted material. If your video is flagged by the system, you will receive a notice and an opportunity to dispute the flag but your content may be monetized or blocked if you do not win that appeal.

You may think you just created the most amazing, original video and that there is no way for it to trip up on the Content ID system. Wrong. Did you use stock audio from your editing program? Chances are that this music may only be approved for personal use and uploading it to YouTube and monetizing it could have just violated that license. Always check the usage rights before you post content that includes something from a third party source.

What is “Fair Use?” and How Can I Benefit From It? 

First of all what is “fair use”? Basically fair use is a set of exceptions that limit the power behind copyrights when the usage of a piece of work is considered “fair”. A lot of the guidelines surrounding fair use are governed by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Fair use is really the ultimate grey area when it comes to copyright violations, but a few guidelines from section 107 of the DMCA can help you determine if what you are doing is fair use:

(1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;

(2) the nature of the copyrighted work;

(3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and

(4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

The fact that a work is unpublished shall not itself bar a finding of fair use if such finding is made upon consideration of all the above factors.

How to obtain permission for a song?

This can often be a major stumbling block and deal breaker when it comes to using copyrighted music. It can be difficult to contact the copyright holders, which often extend much further than just the artist. If you are a musician, https://loudr.fm/ is a great source for distribution and can be utilized to manage the copyrights held by other artists.


6 of the BIGGEST Myths about Copyright, Music, and Video

So, know that we've looked at some of the biggest concerns regarding copyright, music and video, let's take a look at some of the biggest myths surrounding the topic. This should clear up any questions you may have, or give you the extra knowledge you need as a video creator, or marketer:

  1. Nobody has contacted me, so I must not be violating their copyright.

The fact of the matter is the internet is a huge place. Copyright can be difficult to detect depending on the power1 behind it, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t being violated. The longer you benefit from somebody else’s copyright, the harsher the penalty may be when you are discovered.

  1. My work is just a fan video, so I’m covered.

Maybe. This one is a little complicated. The type of use is very important, but not the only way to determine if copyright has been violated. This type of use would fall under fair use and the four points we mentioned earlier should be considered.

The only time you have a nearly full-proof chance to monetize these works is if it’s a parody. Comedy, and specifically criticism, is heavily protected by US laws.

  1. I didn’t enable ads on/monetize my video, so it’s automatically fair use.

That’s not going to work. The original copyright holder may still be able to force a takedown of your material, even when it is used completely within that law. There are a lot more factors at play in fair use than whether or not something is monetized. Not monetizing a work is a great first step to covering your behind, but it’s not the only thing to worry about. The nice thing is that you’ll generally be safe from a major lawsuit when using something properly within fair use guidelines.

  1. I didn’t see a copyright notice, so it must not have one.

Think again. In the US and most other major countries, everything created is copyrighted and protected immediately, with no action required by the creator. A notice may increase the strength of that copyright and the damages received in the case of a violation, but it is absolutely not required.

  1. I found it on the public internet, so it must be in the public domain.

Not at all. As a matter of fact chances are more likely it is copyrighted material. Postings to the internet are not automatically in the public domain and do not grant any permissions for use just by being there.

  1. I wrote a little disclaimer in my description box crediting the artist and claiming I had no intention to violate copyright laws so I’m safe.

Nope. Somewhere, someone started the idea that this would absolve you of your copyright sins, but the fact of the matter is, if you are violating copyright laws, saying you didn’t intend to violate them doesn’t absolve you and you may still be punished to the full extent of the law. When it doubt, leave it out!

Resource Guide: Copyright, Law, Music and Video

 Source :  http://tubularinsights.com

Categorized in Internet Ethics

The proposals aren’t just bad for Google, but for everyone.

There’s a lot to like about the copyright proposals that the European Commission unveiled Wednesday—easier access to video across the EU’s internal borders, more copyright exceptions for researchers, and more access to books for blind people.

However, two elements in particular could be disastrous if carried out as proposed. One would make it more difficult for small news publications to be able to challenge legacy media giants, and the other would threaten the existence of user-generated content platforms.

In a way, it’s good that digital commissioner Günther Oettinger has finally laid his cards on the table. But the battles that begin now will be epic.

The first contentious proposal is the introduction of so-called neighboring rights for press publishers, also known as ancillary copyright.

The move sounds pretty obscure, but isn’t. Much as it is possible for someone to get rewarded for performing a work—as opposed to writing it, which involves copyright—publishers would get to command fees for the stuff their writers write, based their own (new) rights rather than the copyright held by the journalist.

In effect, this would allow publishers to try wrangling fees out of others for any “use of the work”—a dangerously vague term in this context. What’s more, they’d get to do so for a whopping 20 years after publication.

This idea has been tried before in Germany and in Spain, where large publishers used new laws to try getting Google GOOG 0.11%  News to pay for using snippets of their text and thumbnails of their images.

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Both times the attempts failed. In Germany, Google stopped reproducing snippets of text in Google News, and the publishers granted the firm a free (albeit temporary) licence once they saw how their traffic suffered. In Spain, the publishers had no such leeway and Google News ended up pulling out of the country, hammering the industry’s income in the process.

The Commission’s new proposals aren’t as suicidally rigid as what went down in Spain, but they’re also much vaguer than the German version. As currently phrased, they could allow press publishers to try charging for the reproduction of headlines, or even the mere indexing of their articles.

It’s hard to know whether the large press publishers who lobbied so hard for these measures really think Google will ultimately pay up, or whether their real goal is what happens when it refuses.

Because Google surely won’t pay for indexing their content or reproducing snippets of their text. It can’t—that would be the beginning of the end of its entire search engine business model, which can no longer scale if its links come with a cost.

If this law goes through and demands for licensing fees are rigidly enforced, Google will almost certainly pull Google News out of the entire EU.

Remember that it doesn’t run ads on Google News. It does run ads on its regular search engine, of course, and news results make that a fuller product, but it would have no reason to maintain Google News in Europe if it became a serious financial liability.

And if Google News exits the EU, the biggest victims will be the smaller publications, as happened in Spain. They rely on Google News and other aggregators because that’s how people find their articles, visit their sites, and view and click on their ads.

More established media outlets have much more brand recognition and traditional marketing clout, particularly in linguistically semi-closed markets such as Germany and France. They have everything to gain from reversing the Internet’s opening up of the media market; their rivals, and the reading public, have everything to lose. No wonder they’ve been pushing Oettinger to bring in ancillary copyright.

The other major flaw in the new proposals would also be bad news for smaller players, and for the rights of the public.

Under the e-Commerce Directive of 2000, the operators of user-generated content platforms—YouTube and SoundCloud and the like—are not liable for the content their users upload, as long as they take down the illegal stuff once someone flags it. That directive also explicitly says there can be no laws forcing platforms to generally monitor the content they manage.

Despite having consistently denied it is going to change these rules, the Commission is now proposing exactly that. In its new copyright directive proposal, it wants to force all user-generated content platforms to use “effective content recognition technologies,” which sounds an awful lot like generally monitoring content.

Of course, YouTube already has its Content ID technology for identifying and purging illegally uploaded films and so on, but what about new platforms? It cost Google more than $60 million to develop and implement Content ID, and it has to constantly tweak it to counteract those users who figure out ways to get around it.

You know how people upload movies to YouTube that are re-filmed from a funny angle, or that cut off the edges of the screen? That’s an attempt to circumvent Content ID and fighting it costs money, as does handling disputes when the system incorrectly flags videos as infringing copyright.

Quite apart from the fact that this would clash with another piece of EU legislation that’s trying to protect freedom of expression, this would be a huge burden for anyone trying to set up a new user-generated content platform, making it a problem for both innovation and competition.

Yes, creators deserve fair remuneration for the works they create. Yes, the Internet has turned their livelihoods upside-down by forcing them to compete with millions of rivals in an open market. Yes, lack of funding threatens media diversity. Yes, change is hard.

But these new proposals wouldn’t help creators make the best of the new landscape. All they would do is entrench the positions of the big players—the legacy media outlets in the case of ancillary copyright, and funnily enough Google in the case of the user-generated content proposals.

The European Parliament and the EU’s member states have a lot to fix over the next year or two, as this proposal wends its way through the legislative process.


Source : http://fortune.com/2016/09/14/europe-copyright-google/

Categorized in Internet Ethics

The European Commission is working on a plan to give news publishers greater rights over content appearing on search engines such as Alphabet's (GOOGL) Google, which is an Action Alerts PLUS holding.

Speaking to journalists in Brussels Friday, EC spokesman Christian Wigand said the proposal is due out in the second half of September, part of a broader effort to forge a so-called Digital Single Market in the 28-country European Union.

But Wigand downplayed media reports of plans to give European news publishers the right to charge Internet platforms for showing snippets of their articles.

In particular he said the aim is to recognize the role of publishers as investors in content "and give them a stronger position when negotiating with other market players. This is absolutely not about an EU levy on search engines."

He added that the overall objective "is to make sure that Europeans can access a wide and diverse legal offer of content, and therefore [to] strengthen cultural diversity, while ensuring that authors and other rights holders are better and more fairly protected."

At least one expert thinks the plan may not necessarily hurt big players like Google and its YouTube video-sharing site, but rather smaller players seeking to establish viable alternatives.

"These little guys are the ones that content owners will have no qualms about charging for access to their content," said Matthew Jones, a London-based partner with EIP Europe law firm, via e-mail.

"They are the ones that will not be able to afford to implement technology that will allow them to filter out content that is protected by copyright," he said. "As such, these smaller players may find themselves priced out of the market."

Source : https://www.thestreet.com/story/13686465/1/copyright-reform-to-give-news-outlets-more-say-over-search-engine-content.html

Categorized in Internet Privacy

ONE OF THE most important laws protecting online speech is also one of the worst. You’ve probably heard of it. In 1998, President Bill Clinton passed the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, or DMCA. It’s the law that, for example, makes it all too easy for companies to have embarrassing content removed from sites like YouTube by issuing bogus takedown requests, claiming that the content violates their copyright—no presumption of innocence required. But the DMCA also contains one incredibly important section: the so-called safe harbor provision. Thanks to safe harbor, companies can’t be held liable for copyright violations committed by their users, so long as the companies take reasonable steps to ensure that repeat offenders are banned from their services. Post a pirated copy of Ghostbusters to YouTube via your Comcast Internet connection? That’s on you, the DMCA says, not on YouTube or Comcast.

Companies fearing they’ll lose their safe harbor might start policing the content posted by their users.

But after a recent court decision, that safe harbor doesn’t look so safe anymore.

Last week a federal judge ruled that cable Internet provider Cox Communications must pay $25 million in damages to BMG Rights Management, which controls the rights to the music of some of the world’s most popular artists. The court found that Cox was liable for the alleged copyright infringement carried out by its customers, safe harbor or not. The decision might not rattle the giants of the Internet business, like Comcast, Verizon, Google and Facebook–at least not yet. But it could be bad news for smaller companies that can’t afford such costly legal battles. And if companies start fearing they’ll lose their safe harbor, they might have to start more carefully policing the content posted by their users.

Turning Off Notifications

It’s hard to overstate the importance of the DMCA’s safe harbor provision to the growth of the early Internet. Had providers and platforms faced liability for what users published, far fewer social networks and web hosts would have existed because of the legal risk. Those that did exist would have had to carefully screen what users posted to ensure no copyright violations were taking place. In short, the DMCA, for all its problems, enabled the explosion of online speech over the past two decades.


But that explosion has not been kind to some businesses, such as the music industry, which has seen its margins erode since the 1990s due to peer-to-peer file sharing. To fight back, BMG in 2011 hired a company called Rightscorp to monitor file sharing networks and catch people illegally sharing music that belonged to BMG. Whenever Rightscorp believed it had detected a copyright violation, it would forward notifications to the offending user’s Internet provider. The twist was that Rightscorp added a bit of language to its letters offering to settle the copyright dispute if the user was willing to pay a fee of around $20 to $30 per infraction. Cox refused to forward these letters on to its users because it believed the settlement offers were misleading, arguing the notifications of infringement were not in and of themselves proof that a user had actually broken the law.

Rightscorp refused to alter the language of the letters, so Cox refused to process any further notifications from the company. In 2014, BMG sued Cox.

Last year, US District Court Judge Liam O’Grady judge found that by refusing to process Rightscorp’s requests, Cox had failed to live up to its responsibilities under the safe harbor provision, and therefore was not eligible for its protections. A jury found Cox liable for $25 million in damages. Cox filed for a new trial but O’Grady denied the request last week, allowing the previous decision to stand.

Just a Pipe

While the decision does not set a binding precedent, some open Internet advocates worry the decision could embolden copyright holders to sue smaller companies. A company like Google can afford expensive lawyers. It can invest in multi-million-dollar digital rights management software to keep offending content off its sites. But smaller ISPs or web sites can’t. “If safe harbor is for anyone, it’s for Internet service providers that do nothing but carry information from sites to specific homes,” says Charles Duan, staff attorney at Public Knowledge.

Safe harbor issues aside, BMG’s argument also depends on the idea that users should be denied Internet access because of the mere accusation of copyright infringement, even if the accuser has never proven in court that those users had actually broken the law.

“It doesn’t take into account all the things people use the Internet for,” says Mitch Stolz, a staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation. “People use it for their jobs, to interact with government. The circumstances in which it’s reasonable to cut someone off are narrower now than 20 years ago.”

However flawed it is, the DMCA enables online speech to flourish. But if the BMG case does become a precedent, online service providers of all types will have to crack down on their users—even if no one has proven in court that those users committed a crime. If you don’t like what someone has to say, you could accuse them of copyright violations and not only have a video banned from YouTube, but have that person kicked off the Internet entirely. That’s not a future in which the Internet flourishes.

Source : http://www.wired.com/2016/08/internets-safe-harbor-just-got-little-less-safe/

Categorized in Internet Privacy

The pedagogical contribution of such sources can be more than aesthetic. In some cases, the medium is where the message lies: Art history, music, and film courses all rely on “owned” or copyrighted works. Unfortunately, even in small and private class settings, securing permissions for those materials (or using them appropriately in the grab-and-go Internet age) can prove difficult.

College students are all too familiar with expensive, awkwardly copied course packs or books that cost them hundreds of dollars because of licensing issues. Open-access materials, in contrast, provide faculty and students with relatively hassle-free sources, but are in painfully short supply. More often than not, universities are in the unenviable position of negotiating the use of jealously guarded intellectual property.

Imagine, however, what happens when a “classroom” has thousands or tens of thousands of students rather than 30. Some MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) may enroll as many as 200,000 students, as in the case of theHarvardX course CS50x, “Introduction to Computer Science,” available on theedX learning platform.

As a result, copyright has become a central consideration in the HarvardX course-development process, a necessary consideration for any institution engaged in new forms of online pedagogy. Not only does the availability of critical source materials shape what and how subjects can be taught, but the potential licensing and sale of courses, parts of courses, or modules poses further challenges.

Peter Suber, an authority on open-access issues and director of the Harvard Open Access Project, notes that this is not a new problem.

“It was a big issue in the pre-digital world, and it’s big now,” he said. “Copyright law limits the freedom of teachers to use the works of their choice in their courses. Sometimes they can’t afford the fees. Sometimes they only decide to use a work in mid-semester, in response to class discussions, and they don’t have time to secure permission.”

When the world is your classroom, the law gets even murkier. And, as has been seen with YouTube (students have been sued for sharing music, videos have been forcibly taken down), rights owners are on the lookout.

With the creation of HarvardX, the University-wide effort to improve teaching and learning on campus and online that launched in tandem with edX, faculty from all Schools have begun learning lessons more familiar to their colleagues in law and business.

Those lessons are ones that Kyle Courtney, the newly minted copyright adviser at Harvard, finds familiar. Operating out of the Harvard Library Office for Scholarly Communication, an endeavor promoting open access of faculty research, he is among a set of new experts, drawn from libraries, information technology units, and offices of general counsel, wrestling with how to best support faculty in the digital age.

For example, the Copyright Act and its accompanying legal guidelines has long provided those in higher education with a right of exception, letting educators reproduce copyrighted works as long as the material does not exceed fair use and is, in recent decisions, “transformative to the educational experience.”

“The concept of ‘transformative fair use’ allows the use of copyrighted material in a manner, or for a purpose, that differs from the original use in such a way that the expression, meaning, or message is essentially new,” Courtney said.

Yet with drag-and-drop technologies and the ability to cut and paste entire books or images, there are an increasing number of caveats. Faculty members are not just grappling with the fair-use question by reinterpreting “transformative use” in their lectures, they are also pioneering new kinds of collaborations with publishers for their traditional syllabus materials. Moreover, the explosion of online learning, experimental by nature, has proven a natural breeding ground for such test cases.

Take Gregory Nagy, Francis Jones Professor of Classical Greek Literature at Harvard and instructor of the HarvardX course “The Ancient Greek Hero.” Nagy collaborated with Harvard University Press (HUP) to provide a free, reduced-function version of course’s text, “The Ancient Greek Hero in 24 Hours,” for online learners.

In a first for both Nagy and HUP, a contract was created that allowed Nagy to forgo all his revenue from the sale of the print version of the book to gain an open and free copy of the textbook. The contract gave him the right to make an open-access copy, in addition to an HTML version for use with his open-online course.

The HTML copy was then enhanced with multimedia to enrich the experience for online students, while the open-access version was posted to the website of Harvard’s Center for Hellenic Studies, where Nagy serves as director.

“Such collaborations may be the future,” said Courtney. “They provide unique monetization strategies for publishers by giving them access to larger audiences than they have previously enjoyed.”

Despite the content being offered for free, HUP still benefited, gaining exposure in the form of nearly 30,000 registered enrollees, for the traditional print and formatted e-copy of the book. Many students, after all, still prefer ink and paper and are willing to pay for high-quality publications.

Not surprisingly, online leaning platforms such as edX and Coursera are developing novel partnerships with rights holders that respect copyright and preserve publisher profitability, while still fulfilling their mandate to transmit knowledge broadly to global students.

“A publisher today can, of course, still sell a work to the bookstores of, maybe, the top 10 major universities in the United States,” explained Courtney. “Or it can say, ‘We own this textbook. It’s open access and available for you in this course. Once the course is complete, you may wish to purchase it; here’s a discount code and some sales.’ All of a sudden, the publisher is reaching 50,000 or 80,000 people, depending on the class.”

As educational offerings get more enmeshed with new delivery models for both on-campus and online use, copyright is expected to become even more complicated for universities. Faculty at Harvard and elsewhere are often the individuals who own or control the desired materials. Both to preserve academic integrity as well as to benefit from their work, academics are not merely sitting on the sidelines.

“The new complexities will come from faculty demanding rights to their coursework and to the revenues it generates,” explained Suber.

Some open-access advocates hope for a still more radical possibility: the complete de-commodification of intellectual property. Suber believes it is highly unlikely, however, that the mega-audiences of online education and a newly broadened interpretation of fair use will combine to create such an outcome.

“The boundary between what fair use permits and what it doesn’t will remain fuzzy and contestable, and fair use itself will continue to evolve. But these facts do not suggest the ‘de-commodification of intellectual property entirely,’ even when we add in the fact that some people are calling for that de-commodification.”

Although scholars are increasingly pursuing clauses in publishing contracts that allow them to include their work in online repositories and open-source education platforms, the profitability of mass culture products such as movies appears to be more rigidly tied to current distribution models.

Suber added, “Careful observers may be reluctant to predict the future of fair use. But I think they’re safe to predict the continuing existence of copyright and patent law.”

For now, the fair-use doctrine continues to protect the ability of faculty to enrich learning with copyrighted material through a variety of current and emerging digital platforms, as well as to allow for continued innovations from ed-tech start-ups such as edX, Coursera, and Udacity.

“The rights holders that have been shopping lawsuits around the country the last 10 years or so are defending their very way of business, their very way of life,” said Courtney. “That’s why I think collaboration is a much better way of doing it.

For faculty and students who wish to delve into the particulars of copyright law, well, there’s a HarvardX course for that. William Fisher, WilmerHale Professor of Intellectual Property Law and Faculty Director of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society, is offering the second version of his copyright course, available here.

In addition, the Office for Scholarly Communications notes that this is Fair-Use Week. The original guidelines for fair use, codified in 1841, came thanks to another Harvard professor, Joseph Story. 



Categorized in Internet Privacy

Nowadays the Internet is a wide-open source for information, entertainment, and communication. Many people believe that anything and everything go in cyberspace. I believed that myself, until becoming more informed. Sometimes, in a quest for knowledge and entertainment Internet users cross over a hidden line. Without proper knowledge, users unintentionally break the copyright laws that govern the Internet. Many myths have caused people to believe copyright laws do not apply to the Internet. However, copyright laws are in effect in today's cyberspace.

One of the biggest mistakes that people believe is that if a work has no copyright notice, it is not copyrighted. The correct form of a copyright notice is "Copyright or (date) by (author/owner)" (Templeton 1). Many people believe that if this notice is absent, they can post, use, or take any work on the Internet. Although no name can be copyrighted, the owner's work is (Templeton 2). In fact, everything from April 1, 1989 is copyrighted by the owner or author whether is has a notice or not. Most nations follow the same rules set up by the Berne copyright convention (Templeton 1). The Berne convention created uniform laws for worldwide works (Lussier 1). One of these laws was everything created privately and originally after April 1, 1989 is copyrighted. All Internet users must assume that the work is copyrighted, unless otherwise specified by the author.
Many works on the Internet are available for public use. However, the author of the work must have explicitly granted it to public domain. If a work is in public domain, granted by saying "I grant this to the public domain," anybody who stumbles upon it can use, take, or copy without giving credit to the owner (Templeton 1). Although, frequently a user can contact the author of the work and be granted permission to use it (Templeton 4). I did that through electronic-mail and received positive results. Requesting permission is not hard. Most times the owner quickly grants a user access and respects him or her more for asking. The author granted me a background graphic that I have since put into a page I have created (http://www.pitt.edu/~skvarka/active/ski/). Often, access to works on the Internet is granted easily and can avoid costly legal matters.
So how does that apply to Internet users? Internet users cannot scan material from periodicals and post them on the Internet. Users cannot transfer graphics or works, without the knowledge of the owner, and post them somewhere else on the Internet (Templeton 1). Technically, no one can post electronic-mail, wholly. A user can refer to a statement in an electronic-mail just as in any research paper. These acts can be prosecuted in a civil court, because "copyright law is civil law" (Templeton 3). The owner can sue for damages to his or her works, if major enough. These laws can be frightening, but often, nothing can be done about violations, because they happen every day. Copyright law on the Internet is a new region for the court system, though ten copies with a value of $2,500 were made a felony in the United States. To be safe, Internet users should just ask first to insure everyone's safety. 


Categorized in Internet Privacy
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