Intellectual Property Roundup

IP News

The Right to Resell eBooks- Major Case Looms in the Netherlands (GigaOM)
A startup called Tom Kabinet opened the virtual doors on its secondhand ebook bookstore, pointing to a 2012 ruling by Europe’s top court regarding reselling licenses for downloadable software. A deadline the publishers set for the site to stop operations has passed, and the case looks set to go to court.

Fox Moves to Use Aereo Ruling Against Dish Streaming Service (The Guardian)
A day after the U.S. Supreme Court decision to outlaw streaming TV service Aereo, U.S. broadcaster Fox has moved to use the ruling to clamp down on another Internet TV service offered by Dish.

‘Failed’ Piracy Letters Should Escalate to Fines & Jail, MP Says (TorrentFreak)
The UK Prime Minister’s IP advisor says VCAP- the Voluntary Copyright Alerts Program- needs to be followed by something more enforceable, including disconnections, fines and jail sentences.

Staunch Opponent of Report Tapped to Head US Patent Office (Ars Technica)
The Obama administration intends to nominate Philip Johnson, the head of intellectual property at Johnson & Johnson, to be the next director of the US Patent and Trademark Office. The selection is a setback for the tech sector and a seeming 180-degree turn on the patent issue from the Obama administration.

Aereo Looks to Congress for a Lifeline (The Washington Post)
Days after Aereo suspended its service in response to a Supreme Court ruling against the company, the service is now calling on consumers to protest the disruption and pressure Congress to consider rewriting the Copyright Act.

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.

Intellectual Property Roundup

IP News

Lawmakers Blast China, Russia for Piracy (The Hill)
In a report released by the International Creativity and Theft-Prevention Caucus (formerly the Congressional International Anti-Piracy Caucus), the U.S. pointed to policies and enforcement practices in China, Russia, India and Switzerland that they said allow for the theft of U.S. intellectual property.

Justices Deny Patent to Business Methods (The New York Times)
The Supreme Court unanimously ruled that basic business methods may not be patented, even if computers are used to apply them. The ruling appeared to be modest and in line with earlier decisions of the court that were wary of stifling innovation.

U.S. Supreme Court Pulls the Plug on Aereo’s Streaming TV Service (NBC)
The U.S. Supreme Court dealt a potentially fatal blow to Aereo, finding that Aereo violates federal copyright law by retransmitting copyrighted programs without paying a copyright fee.

Government Control Emerges as Central Issue at ICANN Meeting (PC World)
More than 3,300 representatives from around the world met in London to discuss what will happen after the U.S. turns over control of ICANN, and government control over the Internet emerged as a central issue.

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.

Intellectual Property Roundup

Enforcement News

Chinese Company Works With MPAA in Piracy Fight (Associations Now)
The MPAA came to an agreement with a high-profile Chinese firm on piracy protections. The file-sharing firm will actively protect copyrighted materials such as TV shows and films.

Google Joins New Coalition to Stop Ad Revenue to Pirate Sites (TorrentFreak)
Google has reportedly joined a new coalition in Italy to cut off pirate sites from their ad revenue, following similar initiatives in the U.S. and UK.

Norway Moves to Block Piracy Sites (The Hollywood Reporter)
A Norwegian anti-piracy group is set to file a case aimed at forcing local ISPs to block access to sites illegally dealing in copyright protected material. The Pirate Bay is at the top of the target list.

Policy News

Nonprofits Allowed to Scan and Store Books to Enable Full-Text Search (The Washington Post)
The Second Circuit held in Authors Guild, Inc. v. HathiTrust that scanning and storing books so people can search, but not read, the full text is “transformative” and therefore a “fair use” and not a copyright violation.

Music Industry Officials Agree on Need for Licensing Rule Changes, But Little Else (The New York Times)
Entertainment and media executives repeatedly clashed with one another during a congressional hearing on music licensing, giving lawmakers a preview of how difficult it may be to satisfy all parties in the rapidly evolving but fractious music market.

Nadler Drafting Music Copyright Overhaul Bill (The Hill)
Rep. Jerry Nadler is working on a bill that would overhaul the music licensing system. Nadler says the bipartisan and comprehensive bill would address inequalities in current copyright law.

European Court: Viewing the Internet Doesn’t Require Copyright Permission (The Hollywood Reporter)
A court ruling in the European Union holds that copies of infringing content on browser screens and in hard drive cache are merely transient and incidental.

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.

SIIA Submits Statement on Copyright First Sale for the House IP Subcommittee Hearing

This morning the House IP Subcommittee held the first field hearing of their ongoing review of U.S. copyright laws. The hearing featured testimony from nine witnesses on the topic of “First Sale Under Title 17,” including remarks from SIIA member John Wiley & Sons President and CEO, Stephen Smith. SIIA submitted a statement for the record acknowledging the crucial role the copyright law’s first sale doctrine plays and the resulting harm to both industry and consumers if the doctrine’s application was extended to licensed material or digital transfers.

The software and information industries are predisposed to a licensing business model. As noted in SIIA’s comments, licensing affords many advantages to consumers including choice, convenience, ease of access, and quickly evolving content and product quality:

“Through licensing, software and information publishers are able to meet customer needs – whether their customers are the general public or discrete customer groups – and at the same time protect against misuse of their rights. Licenses have allowed software and information publishers the flexibility to tailor their products to their various customers, adjusting features, benefits, rights, and price according to the needs of each customer base rather than a ‘one size fits all’ model – a model which logically could require a higher price.”

It is SIIA’s belief that the principle of freedom of contract must be upheld by any new legislation and licenses on copyrighted works be respected. The danger to all of upsetting the balance between copyright owners’ distribution rights and the first sale defense is illustrated by the impact of the Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. decision. The Supreme Court’s 6-3 ruling decided that the first sale doctrine applies to copyrighted products that were made abroad and intended for distribution only outside of the U.S. The post-Kirtsaeng world is bad for everyone,

[Read more...]

Intellectual Property Roundup

Enforcement News

Oracle Wins Copyright Ruling Against Google Over Android (Reuters)
Oracle won a legal victory against Google as a U.S. appeals court decided Oracle could copyright parts of the Java programming language, which Google used to design its Android smartphone operating system.

Fighting Fakes: Ahead of IPO, Alibaba Takes a Tougher Line (Reuters)
Alibaba is taking a tougher line against counterfeit items sold on its online marketplaces as the Chinese e-commerce giant heads towards a U.S. stock listing that could be the world’s biggest technology company IPO. Some security experts say Alibaba’s stricter standards on piracy and fake goods may even surpass those of Amazon and eBay.

Hadopi Makes New Recommendations for Fighting Piracy (Complete Music Update)
French anti-piracy agency Hadopi published a report recommending new measures to help with the battle against online piracy. One new proposal is the creation of a super takedown notice that would go quite a bit further than the US DMCA.

More Ad Dollars Flow to Pirated Video (The Wall Street Journal)
Due to the rise of automated ad-buying technologies, sites brimming with pirated movies and television shows are being supported inadvertently by major marketers that buy ad space on them.

Samsung to Fight Apple Smartphone Trial Verdict (Bloomberg)
Samsung will challenge a jury’s $120 million award to Apple in a patent infringement verdict that the company’s lawyer says was “unsupported by evidence.”

Policy News

House Panel Votes to Delay U.S. Ceding Oversight of Internet Addresses (Reuters)
A U.S. Congressional panel advanced a bill opposed by the Obama administration that would delay a plan to cede U.S. oversight of the nonprofit group that manages the Internet’s infrastructure.

Will the U.S. Patent Bill Regain its Momentum? (Reuters)
After moving quickly through the U.S. House of Representatives and winning Senator Leahy’s support, the closely watched patent bill appears to have stalled over two provisions in the bill that would affect how infringement lawsuits are written and when discovery would begin.

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SIIA Welcomes Administration’s Privacy and Big Data Report; Says Current Regulatory Framework Can Respond to Potential Problems

SIIA today responded to the release of the Administration’s Report on Privacy and Big Data.  SIIA welcomed the report’s assessment that big data provides substantial public benefits and will provide more benefits in the future.  The organization believes the current regulations are adequate to address potential concerns.

As the report recognizes, the collection and analysis of data is leading to better consumer products and services and innovations in healthcare, education, energy, and the delivery of government benefits.  SIIA member companies are driving this innovation by leading the development of techniques for analyzing big data, while also working to safeguard personal data.  We will continue to work with the Administration to promote the responsible use of data to drive innovation, job-creation and economic growth.

The Administration’s work to examine discrimination concerns is extremely important.  It is our view that current law works.  Vigilantly enforced consumer protection and antidiscrimination laws are strong and flexible enough to prevent unfair practices.  Industry efforts are also safeguarding data privacy and preventing discriminatory practices.  Burdensome new legal requirements would only impede data-driven innovation and hurt the ability of U.S. companies to create jobs and drive economic growth.

As recently as three weeks ago the Federal Trade Commission used existing authority under the Fair Credit Reporting Act to bring cases against companies that used data in ways that violated the Act’s consumer protection provisions. Other possible unfair or discriminatory practices in the use of data may already be regulated under other statutes, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, the Fair Housing Act and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008.

In addition, SIIA is delighted that the report recognized the need to reform the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA). As users increasingly store email and other communications remotely, it is critical to reform ECPA to establish a warrant requirement for access to these communications, regardless of where they are stored.

Mark MacCarthy, Vice President, Public Policy at SIIA, directs SIIA’s public policy initiatives in the areas of intellectual property enforcement, information privacy, cybersecurity, cloud computing and the promotion of educational technology. Follow Mark on Twitter at @Mark_MacCarthy

Intellectual Property Roundup

IP News

Court Rules on Standard for Fees in Patent Cases (The Washington Post)
The Supreme Court ruled unanimously in two companion cases this week, finding that trial judges have discretion to award fees in patent cases that are particularly frivolous or unreasonable. The rulings could deter lawsuits from so-called patent trolls.

Akamai Patent Case Before Supreme Court (The Boston Globe)
The Supreme Court is hearing a long-running patent infringement case between Akamai Technologies and Limelight Networks. What’s unusual about the case is that it will test an expanded version of a legal theory called “divided infringement” that has the technology and life sciences communities flocking to weigh in.

Knockoffs Thrive on Alibaba’s Taobao (The Wall Street Journal)
The large number of counterfeit goods on Taobao, the online marketplace run by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group, could raise awkward questions as Alibaba prepares to list in the U.S. in what’s expected to be one of the world’s largest public offerings ever.

UK Copyright Law Change Will Let You Rip CDs Starting June 1 (CNET)
The UK is making changes and updating its copyright law so that starting June 1, UK consumers will be allowed to make personal copies of media they own.

“Rogue” Video Site Gets Raided By Police (Torrent Freak)
A site listed as a notorious pirate market by the USTR decided to distance itself from infringement by blocking pirate videos and shifting to licensed content, but the move came too late for Chinese authorities who carried out raids on the company just days later.

Senators Seek Breakthrough on Patent Reform (The Hill)
The Senate Judiciary Committee next week is once again scheduled to mark up a patent reform bill from Chairman Patrick Leahy. Leahy has already delayed action on the bill multiple times as he sought a compromise with support from members on both sides of the aisle.
[Read more...]

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