SIIA Announces Major New Enforcement Effort: Will Now Target Wide Range of Intellectual Property Violations Beyond Piracy

After two decades operating one of the industry’s most aggressive and successful anti-piracy programs, the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA), the principal trade association for the software and digital content industries, announced today that it is significantly expanding its enforcement efforts.  SIIA will now target a broad range of intellectual property violations, on behalf of both software and content publishers.  As part of the new program, now called the Intellectual Property Protection Division or IPP Division, SIIA also announced that more companies will be able participate in the group’s intellectual property enforcement efforts.

Recognizing the changing anti-piracy landscape, the SIIA IPP Division will continue its anti-piracy efforts but will now investigate and resolve many more types of nefarious activities that can adversely affect a participating company’s brand, intellectual property or reputation, such as: counterfeiting, fraud, unauthorized access, fraudulent use of domain names, and more.  In addition to these enforcement activities, SIIA will, for the first time, assist participating publishers with the protection of their intellectual property.  These protection services will include such things as assisting publishers with registering their valuable IP with the U.S. Copyright Office and U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, registering their brands with the new domain name Trademark Clearinghouse, and more.

Additionally, as content publishers have grown more concerned about the illegal use of their content within and by organizations and online, the IPP Division will place a renewed emphasis on content piracy and offer a range of specialized services that address the varying needs of participating content publishers.

Our dramatically expanded program recognizes that companies’ intellectual property needs no longer begin and end with piracy. The move to the cloud is significantly changing the nature of IP violations.  While software and content piracy remains commonplace, new infractions – like illegal access to software and content in the cloud and misuse of popular brands online to defraud consumers – are becoming far more prevalent.   With these changes, SIIA is launching a much broader intellectual property enforcement and protection program that will be open to more companies and offer a range of specialized services.

There are many unique violations that do not fall under the “anti-piracy umbrella” that SIIA will now address.  For example, SIIA will take on scam artists who are using Craigslist and other sites to post fake job openings for well-known software and content companies.  In “applying” for what seems like a great job with a world-renowned company, these unsuspecting job applicants provide personal information, including social security numbers, which is then stolen by the fraudster.  Another example, of the sort of enforcement SIIA will conduct on behalf of software and information companies, is going after individuals who use the Internet to publicize rebate or discount codes that are not meant for general distribution.  More examples of the type of enforcement efforts SIIA will undertake are available in this blog post [link] by Kupferschmid.

More information about the new SIIA IPP Division is available here.

Our anti-piracy program has led to millions of dollars in fines and jail time for violators.  In broadening our work, we are leveraging our 20 years of experience in piracy investigations and enforcement, and we’ll take the same aggressive approach that has made our previous efforts so successful. The fact is, when the intellectual property of software and digital content companies is violated, there are significant costs for these businesses, for consumers, and for the U.S. economy.  With an expanded mission, the SIIA IPP Division will help strengthen the software and content industries and maintain American leadership in the innovation economy.

The specialized services offered under the new program include:

  • Internet Monitoring: Through a combination of automated and manual processes, SIIA monitors online marketplaces, P2P, and cyberlockers sites for participating companies.
  • Internet Investigation: SIIA offers several services relating to the collection of information about an infringement and the infringer. These include: doing a website “workup”, conducting test buys, and gathering information about the infringer.
  • Internet Countermeasure: SIIA will take numerous non-legal steps to ensure that a participating company’s intellectual property rights are adequately protected and that infringing products are not being made available online.
  • Internet Legal Protection: SIIA will take numerous legal actions to stop the infringing activity and/or pursue the infringer for damages. SIIA can also help protect a company’s IP by registering their copyrighted works and brand.
  • Corporate End-User Legal Protection: SIIA pursues cases of software and content piracy taking place within and by an organization.

SIIA’s IPP Division will now allow participation by software and digital content companies that are not full SIIA members.  These companies will be able to purchase an IPP Division-only membership, or purchase IP protection services a la carte.


Keith Kupferschmid is General Counsel and SVP, Intellectual Property Policy & Enforcement at SIIA. Follow Keith on Twitter at @keithkup and sign up for the Intellectual Property Roundup weekly newsletter here.

Congressman Lipinski releases report on Patent Trolls

Patent Assertion Entities (PAE’s), more commonly known as Patent Trolls, have been a problem for the tech community for a number of years.  Recently, they have started to branch out into suing retail companies, government agencies and other end users.  On June 25th Congressman Dan Lipinski (D-Ill) sent a letter to the FTC and released a report titled Trolling for a Public Trough: How Patent Assertion Entities Cost Tax Payers detailing how PAE’s are attacking the U.S. Post Office, city governments, utilities, and transit agencies including Metra in his district.

According to Dan Lipinski’s article, transit agencies are being sued by two notorious off-shore patent trolls — ArrivalStar S.A. and Melvino Technologies — over their use of GPS software that allows them to monitor the location of their trains/buses and to notify commuters when they will be arriving at  specific stops.  These companies have filed over 250 lawsuits against companies and agencies in the transportation industry.  According to Lipinski’s report, because of the millions of dollars it could cost to defend a patent suit, these companies and agencies prefer not to litigate the case in court and instead “opt to quickly settle, agreeing to purchase licenses for fees reportedly ranging from $30,000 to $100,000”.  Patent Trolls have brought suits against transit agencies in California, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Texas, and Washington.

“The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has drastically narrowed the patent owned by ArrivalStar after Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed a formal request to reexamine the patent’s legitimacy” was announced on Thursday in a ruling that will help to hopefully curb patent troll abuse in the future.

Ken WaschDenys Emmert is the Public Policy intern at SIIA. He has a degree in marketing and political science from Florida State University.

 

Summary of Publishing in an Open Access World Webcast

Open Access publishing is a dominant topic in the world of scientific research.

During the webinar, held on May 9th and hosted by both the SIIA Copyright & Licensing Working Group and Copyright Clearance Center, the presenters discussed how to develop or refine your Open Access plan and explained what publishers are doing to facilitate the demand for free access to publicly funded content. The speakers also discussed the challenges and ultimate benefits of enabling public access to scientific research from the publishers point of view.

View Online Now

Presenters:

 

 

 

 


Peter Binfield,
co-Founder and Publisher of Peer J
Peter Binfield, Ph.D. Co-founder & Publisher Physicist. Gigapixel photographer. Pete has worked in the academic publishing world for almost 20 years. Since gaining a PhD in Optical Physics, he has held positions at Institute of Physics, Kluwer Academic, Springer, SAGE and most recently the Public Library of Science (PLoS). At PLoS he ran PLoS ONE, and developed it into the largest and most innovative journal in the world.

Heather Joseph, Executive Director, SPARC
Heather Joseph serves the Executive Director of the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC), an international coalition of academic and research libraries that promotes the expanded sharing of scholarship. As SPARC’s Director since 2005, Heather has focused on supporting emerging publishing models, enabling digital archives, and establishing open access policies on the national and international levels.

Brian D. Scanlan, President, Thieme Publishers
Brian Scanlan, President of the International Division of Thieme who joined the team in 1995. Thieme, which was founded in 1886, is a privately held, global force that publishes international medical and scientific information that serves physicians, health professionals and students.

  • The power point slides of the presentation are available here.
  • The full recording of the webcast is available here.

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Learn more about Copyright and licensing through the following upcoming event:

Digital Policy Roundup: Copyright Office Declares Priorities, Cybersecurity and Cloud Computing Still a Focus for the Hill

Today, Maria Pallante, the U.S. Register of Copyrights, released a report outlining the Priorities and Special Projects of the U.S. Copyright Office through 2013. The Report articulates 17 priorities in the areas of copyright policy and administrative practice, as well as 10 new projects designed to improve the quality and efficiency of the U.S. Copyright Office’s services in the 21st century. This is the first time in recent history that the Office has published such a document. It provides an excellent roadmap for the most significant legislative, international and administrative copyright issues facing copyright holders and the Office now and into the immediate future.

In other IP news, indications from House leaders are still that the rogue websites legislation is expected to be introduced this week, as early as today. There has been a recent push by opponents of the legislation to stall it’s introduction, including a meeting last week with Cmte. staff where concerns about the potential implications of the bill were discussed.

On the cybersecurity front, the White House held a classified briefing with key Senate leaders last week. The meeting, including representatives from the FBI, DHS, NSA and bipartisan leadership of the Senate committees with jurisdiction over cybersecurity, was part of a continued effort by the White House to advance comprehensive cybersecurity legislation this year. While the meeting participants broadly agreed about the urgent need to address growing cybersecurity threats, there are several key issues that remain unresolved. To state the obvious, the clock is beginning to run out on 2011.

The FTC staff report on privacy is scheduled for release before the end of the year, but it is possible, and even likely, that issuance will go to the beginning of next year. The final report is likely to be very similar to the draft report. It will not be a major overhaul and will not contain any earth-shattering departures from the structure set out earlier. The major issues in play appear to be the definition and role of commonly accepted business, the role of data minimization, the application of privacy framework to both the online and off-line contexts and the distinction between first party and third party providers of online advertising. The report is likely to touch on the multi-stakeholder process that the Commerce Department is looking to establish and be consistent with it, but will focus more on principles and implementation rather than the process of developing self-regulatory codes of conduct. It is not yet clear whether the report will recommend legislation.

And as of last week, “cloud computing” is officially defined. That is, after a long time of working and reviewing, NIST last week released a FINAL version of their official definition of cloud computing, also known as SP 800-145. SIIA has worked with NIST throughout this process, and concur that this is a very solid definition, one that is widely referenced around the world. Of course, it’s breadth underscores why “cloud computing” is so challenging to define for policymaking purposes.


David LeDuc is Senior Director, Public Policy at SIIA. He focuses on e-commerce, privacy, cyber security, cloud computing, open standards, e-government and information policy.

 

DOC/DHS Push for Notice on Botnets and Malware, Supreme Court Hearing Major Copyright Protection Case

At an event hosted by CSIS last week, Cam Kerry, General Counsel of the Commerce Department and Howard Schmidt, Cybersecurity Coordinator for the Obama Administration, emphasized the importance of their recently launched initiative to develop models to advance voluntary corporate notification to consumers regarding the illicit use of computer equipment by botnets and related malware. DHS and DOC/NIST recently issued a notice on the issue, seeking comment on a range of issues relating to how various actors could participate in a multi-stakeholder process designed to reduce these security threats. SIIA is looking to file comments in this proceeding and is seeking input from members. Comments are due on November 4.

Also on the cybersecurity front on Wednesday, the House Republican Cybersecurity Task Force released their formal recommendations. The Task Force was created by House Republican Leadership on June 24th, and asked to provide recommendations to Leadership. As expected, the Recommendations favor many SIIA priorities, such as a narrow definition of “critical infrastructure,” incentive-based approach, rather than regulations, as international collaboration, heavy engagement with the private sector, and providing public awareness regarding threats and existing solutions and best practices. SIIA put out a statement supporting the recommendations and highlighting some of our key priorities.

Importantly, the Recommendations also reiterated the House Republican’s belief that a large, “comprehensive” bill is practical, rather stressing the need for relevant committees to consider legislation separately through regular order. Consistent with this approach, Rep. Goodlatte indicated this week that he will soon introduce a proposal to enhance enforcement of cybercrime.

Also last week, the Supreme Court heard on Wednesday heard oral arguments in Golan v Holder. Before the court was the issue of whether Congress can restore copyright protection to a work whose copyright protection had previously expired and was therefore in the public domain. The court will decided whether the Copyright Clause and/or the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution prohibit Congress from taking works out of the public domain. SIIA included a detailed summary of the oral arguments in our IP Policy Update.


David LeDuc is Senior Director, Public Policy at SIIA. He focuses on e-commerce, privacy, cyber security, cloud computing, open standards, e-government and information policy.

SIIA kept busy with Privacy Issues and Cloud Computing; Back from Recess, Congress tackles Patent Reform

Congress is back and patent reform is at the top of the Senate’s agenda this week.  The House-passed legislation (H.R. 1249) will be before the Senate for a procedural vote this evening, with votes on amendments and ultimately a final vote later this week.  The key issue still looks to be the funding provision, where amendments are expected to be offered to maximize PTO funding and prevent any fee diversion.  If the bill passes without amendment, it will be expedited to the President for enactment. However, any amendments would send the legislation back to the House.

Last week, SIIA joined the Future of Privacy Forum’s (FPF) Application Privacy Working Group and became a sponsor of the FPF project, ApplicationPrivacy.org, an effort to help develop voluntary privacy principles and best practices for mobile software applications.  SIIA joined the project out of the conviction that the industry does not need government regulation, but rather to help focus the industry’s voluntary adoption of transparent practices regarding collection, use and protection of consumer data.  SIIA strongly believes that a trusted environment for users is critical to ensure continued growth and innovation in the mobile marketplace.

Also last week, SIIA submitted comments to the European Commission’s (EC) cloud computing consultation, a public inquiry to develop a European cloud computing strategy that the Commission will present in 2012.  While this is a laudable objective to stimulate a European cloud industry, SIIA’s comments highlighted the challenges associated with trans-border data flows and urged caution regarding the development of harmful approaches like cloud-specific policies and localization requirements.

For SIIA policy updates including upcoming events, news and analysis, subscribe to SIIA’s weekly policy email newsletter, Digital Policy Roundup.

Copyright protected through ISPs, media, and law this week

Internet Providers to Help Thwart Online Piracy (New York Times)
Internet providers have reached a deal with major entertainment media companies that creates a uniform procedure for notifying customers about repeated instances of digital copyright infringement on their accounts. The system provides for a graduated response of six warnings that start at simple emails and escalate to slowed connections or a block from web surfing.

Judge Rules “Locker” Site is Not Direct Copyright Infringer (Ars Technica)
A federal judge in Miami has dismissed direct copyright infringement charges against online locker service Hotfile, but is allowing the case to proceed over the secondary liability charge to determine whether Hotfile is guilty of inducing its users to infringe copyrights.

Entertainment Companies Create New Website to Promote Anti-Piracy Effort (Los Angeles Times)
A coalition of major media companies and entertainment labor unions has launched a new website called Creative America to educate the public about content theft and promote anti-piracy legislation.

SAP to Argue for New Trial in Oracle Lawsuit (Computerworld)
SAP is seeking a new trial and a reduction of the $1.3 billion jury award it was ordered to pay.