Intellectual Property Roundup

Adobe to Shut China R&D as Sour Business Climate Bites (Reuters)
Computer software maker Adobe Systems Inc. will shut its Chinese research and development arm, as U.S. technology firms face an increasingly hostile government in the world’s second-biggest economy.

Google Fires Back at News Corp; Defends Search, Piracy Practices (Reuters)
Google defended itself against News Corp’s statement calling Google a platform for piracy and an “unaccountable bureaucracy.”

Judge Rules Against Grooveshark in Copyright Infringement Case (The New York Times)
A federal judge in New York ruled that Grooveshark, an online music service long vilified by the major record companies, infringed on thousands of their copyrights by hosting music files without permission and making millions of songs available for streaming.

Pirate Bay Goes to College: Free Textbook Torrent Downloads Soar Amid Rising Costs (International Business Times)
American college students struggling to afford textbooks are sharing copies of their books illegally on TextbookNova, the Pirate Bay and some of the same torrent sites that crippled the music industry. Many of the most popular books are available for free, with a correlation between the number of downloaders and the price of the book.

Parody Copyright Laws in UK Set to Come Into Effect (BBC)
Changes to UK legislation are to come into force this week allowing the parody of copyrighted works, as long as it is fair and does not compete with the original version.


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

Online Piracy Thrives in Internet Cloud (MSN)
A recent study says online piracy of music, films and other content has moved to the Internet cloud, reaping big profits for digital thieves.

New Bill Would Protect the Market for Used High-Tech Goods (The Los Angeles Times)
U.S. Rep. Blake Farenthold has introduced a bill named “You Own Devices Act,” a bill that aims to restore the first-sale rights for software-powered devices.

Anti-Piracy Police Begin Targeting Ebook Pirates (Torrent Freak)
PIPCU, the City of London Police’s Intellectual Property Crime Unit, has taken down their first ebook-related domain, OnRead.

Court Says SiriusXM Must Pay Turtles For Pre-1972 Recordings (GigaOM)
A federal judge in Los Angeles sided with sixties band The Turtles in a closely watched copyright case that has big economic implications for SiriusXM and other digital radio providers like Pandora.

Head of U.S. Copyright Office Will Tell Lawmakers Office is Understaffed (Roll Call)
The U.S. Copyright Office is understaffed and could face additional strains in the future, according to testimony by the head of the U.S. Copyright Office.


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.

Digital Policy Roundup

Groundbreaking Study of U.S. Software Industry Shows Wide-Ranging Impact on GDP, Productivity, Exports and Jobs

At a lunch time event Wednesday – featuring an armchair discussion with U.S. Deputy Secretary of Commerce Bruce Andrews – SIIA released the results of a comprehensivestudy of the economic impact of the U.S. software industry. The software industry has had a substantial, transformative impact on the American economy. Regarded as an enabling technology in use by virtually all sectors, software has become a critical driver of productivity, growth and employment. Disputing claims that automation hurts jobs, the SIIA analysis found that software contributes to job growth in three critical ways.

To produceThe U.S. Software Industry: An Engine for Economic Growth and Employment, SIIA worked with independent economic analysis firm Sonecon and its chairman and co-founder Robert Shapiro, former undersecretary of commerce for economic affairs under President Bill Clinton. The study represents a rigorous empirical analysis of the economic effects arising from the diffusion of software across U.S. businesses and households.

To read the executive summary, click here. To access a brief power point presentation of Shapiro’s findings, click here.

SIIA Applauds Passage of H.R. 5233, the Trade Secrets Protection Act

Wednesday, the House Judiciary Committee passed H.R. 5233, the “Trade Secrets Protection Act of 2014,” and voted to favorably report it to the House of Representatives. SIIA released a press statement in favor of the bill’s passage. . H.R. 5233 would establish a cause of action in federal court by an owner of a trade secret who is injured by the misappropriation of a trade secret that is related to a product or service used in or intended for use in the interstate or foreign commerce. During the markup, a few members questioned whether legislation was needed since almost all states provide protection for trade secrets under the Uniform Trade Secrets Act, but otherwise there was broad bipartisan support for the measure. At the conclusion of Wednesday’s markup Chairman Goodlatte noted that the bill will not be taken up in the House until sometime during the post-elections “lame duck” session. The bill and an amendment adopted during the markup will eventually be found here.

SIIA Participates in FTC Big Data Workshop

On Sept. 15, SIIA VP of Public Policy, Mark MacCarthy, participated in the Federal Trade Commission’s workshop: Big Data: A Tool for Inclusion or Exclusion? Speeches by FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez and FTC Commissioner Julie Brill provided an overview of the key objectives of the FTC in this area. Particularly they are assessing current laws and potential gaps in the law that could allow “big data” or analytics to lead to discrimination or “digital redlining.” To that end, Commissioner Brill reiterated her challenge to “the data broker industry,” urging them to “take stronger, proactive steps right now to address the potential impact of their products that profile consumers by race, ethnicity or other sensitive classifications, or that are proxies for such sensitive classifications.” In particular she urged data providers to investigate how their clients are using data and stop doing business with those whose use is “inappropriate.” In addition to seeking to prevent discrimination, the FTC is encouraging industry to take affirmative steps to utilize data and technology to empower the underserved.

Data is increasingly a strategic, core component of SIIA members’ business models, and many of these companies are leaders in providing data analytics and data-driven innovation. Therefore, SIIA has been a strong proponent policies that data-driven innovation. Prior to the FTC workshop, SIIA hosted a workshop on Capitol Hill highlighting the uses of data and data analytics for empowerment and risk mitigation.

In conjunction with the workshop, the FTC is accepting additional comments. SIIA will work with members to submit comments on this important issue on behalf of members and the industry.

Outgoing European Commission Vice-President for the Digital Agenda Neelie Kroes Delivers Swansong Speech at Georgetown University

Kroes spoke of her hope for a transatlantic digital single market. The Vice-President delivered a mostly positive upbeat talk, although she did mention the surveillance revelations. Kroes emphasized that for a transatlantic digital market to flourish, online transactions must be secure, and that networks and systems must be protected from attack. She supported the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. The Commission official added that within the EU alone, a digital single market could be worth 4% of GDP, i.e. $1500 per EU citizen. She emphasized the importance of an open Internet. A recurring theme in her speech was that ICT was not a purely American invention. Kroes said: “25 years ago, a network first devised for the U.S. military, benefited from protocols developed by a British scientist working in Switzerland. Today, the Internet is now used by 3 billion people across the world, the platform for billions of dollars of trade.”


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. Follow the SIIA public policy team on Twitter at @SIIAPolicy.

Hatch-Coons-Heller Bill Increases Privacy Protections for Non-U.S. Citizens

SIIA supports the proposed “Law Enforcement Access to Data Stored Abroad Act,” which was introduced by Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Chris Coons (D-DE), and Dean Heller (R-NV) on September 18.  The legislation increases privacy protection for data held by U.S. companies and stored abroad. It directly addresses some of the concerns abroad that U.S. law is insufficiently protective of the privacy interests of non-U.S. citizens, and so it would help substantially in the critical effort to restore trust in EU-US data flows.  The bill also significantly improves privacy protections for U.S. citizens.

One of its provisions requires that when seeking information about non-U.S. citizens stored abroad on servers owned by U.S. companies, the U.S government would have to comply with the law of the country in which the data is stored. It could not use a warrant issued in the United States to compel a U.S. company to disclose information about a non-U.S. citizen that is stored abroad.  Instead, the U.S. government has to work directly with the foreign government to obtain this data using a mechanism such as a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT).  The European Commission has specifically called for using “existing Mutual Legal Assistance and Sectoral agreements to obtain data.”

The key idea in the bill is that local governments should be able to use their own local laws to protect privacy interests.  As just noted, this concept protects non-U.S. citizens by ensuring that a U.S. warrant is not sufficient for U.S. government access to information about non-U.S. citizens.  But even for information about U.S. citizens, a U.S. warrant may not be sufficient if providing the data would contravene the law in the country where the server is physically located.

The legislation would also provide a much-needed update to current law applied in the U.S. leveling the playing field for law enforcement access to communications stored remotely by requiring a warrant for data held in the United States.  Today, prosecutors do not need warrants to access this information, instead relying on a much lower standard of obtaining a subpoena.

Legislation along these lines should contribute to restoring trust in EU-US data flows.  SIIA welcomes the introduction of this bill and looks forward to its passage into law.


Carl Schonander is Director of International Public Policy at SIIA.

Intellectual Property Roundup

Software Patents Are Crumbling, Thanks to the Supreme Court (Vox)
The practical consequences of the Supreme Court’s June ruling on the patentability of software is now coming to light as a series of decisions from lower courts show the pendulum of patent law is now swinging in an anti-patent direction.

HarperCollins Now Uses Invisible Watermarks to Combat Ebook Piracy (Slash Gear)
HarperCollins’ new tool to battle piracy involves using Digimark technology to tag their ebooks with an invisible and traceable watermark.

Alibaba Has a Major Counterfeit Problem (CNN)
Alibaba has been on a mission to rid its virtual shopping malls of counterfeit goods as it cleans house before a massive initial public offering, but industry experts and company executives say that fades skill flourish on Alibaba’s popular platforms.

Jury Finds CBS Infringes Podcasting Patent, Awards $1.3 Million (Ars Technica)
A jury in Texas found the infamous “podcasting patent” was infringed by CBS’s website and said the TV network should pay $1.3 million to patent holder Personal Audio LLC. The verdict form shows the jury found all four claims of the patent infringed, but awarded substantially less than what Personal Audio was seeking.

UK Copyright Cops Crush 34 Pirates and 3,000 Sites in First Year (Recombu)
The City of London Police’s anti-piracy squad PIPCU has arrested 34 people and shut down nearly 3,000 illegal file-sharing sites in its first year.


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.

Brookings Event on the Mobile Economy Highlights Key Role of Patents

Brookings Institution Vice President and Director of Governance Studies Darrell M. West hosted an interesting event today on “The State of the Mobile Economy: Innovation, Investment and Economic Impact around the World.”   During the event, West and a panel discussed “The State of the Mobile Economy, 2014: Its impact and Future.”  Panelists included Todd Dickinson (former Executive Director of the American Intellectual Property Law Association), Deanna Tanner Okun (partner at Adduci, Mastriani & Schaumberg LLP), Derrick Brent (Associate General Counsel at Masimo), and Keith Mallinson (Founder of the mobile telecom consultancy WiseHarbor).

West presided over a substantive conversation that focussed heavily on the importance of the patent system as a key driver for the mobile economy.  What is particularly striking is the rise of China as a location for filing patents.  China currently holds the lead with the United States coming in second place.  The panelists agreed that this is a significant development, although Keith Mallinson cautioned that it is important to monitor carefully the possibility that competition policies could have the practical effect of undermining the value of patents in China.  This is certainly true and a policy issue that the Beijing-based United States Information Technology Office (USITO – SIIA is one of the founders of USITO) reviews closely.

The West report also includes the results of a Time Magazine September 2-27, 2013 survey of 6,133 adults in 17 countries asking the question of whether they consider inventions to be important for their societies.  Again, China came out on top with 95% of respondents saying inventions were important to their country vice 81% in the United States.  It is important not to read too much into this survey in terms of the public supporting specific patent policies.  Having said that, the survey does suggest that publics around the world are open to the idea that a strong patent system is essential for innovation.

Clearly, a strong patent system, including strong protections for software, is critical for sectors which are at the cutting edge of spearheading today’s and tomorrow’s economic growth.  Watch the webcast of today’s event and read the report, and you will gain a deeper understanding of why this is the case for the mobile economy.

About SIIA
The Software & Information Industry Association is the principal trade association for the software and digital content industries. SIIA provides global services in government relations, business development, corporate education and intellectual property protection to the leading companies that are setting the pace for the digital age.


Carl Schonander is Director of International Public Policy at SIIA.

Intellectual Property Roundup

Google Settles With Photographers Over Book Scanning Lawsuit (The Next Web)
Google has announced a settlement with a coalition of photographers over use of their work in its Google Books scanning project.

Getty is Suing Microsoft Over Photo-Embedding Widget (The Wall Street Journal)
Getty Images, owner of one of the largest collections of digital photographs, said it sued Microsoft for copyright infringement over a tool that lets website owners embed images generated by the Bing search engine.

Fox News Suffers Major Legal Defeat to TVEyes (The Hollywood Reporter)
In the copyright infringement suit Fox News brought against the video monitoring company TVEyes, a service that monitors and transcribes video from cable, broadcast and radio for subscribers, a New York federal judge issued a significant “fair use” ruling, and in the process, handed Fox News a major legal loss in its attempts to protect its news shows from exploitation.

BBC Says Heaby VPN Users ARe Probably Pirates (The Register)
BBC Worldwide told the Australian government that heavy VPN users should be assumed to be engaged in piracy and that ISPs should surveil their users.


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.

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