Intellectual Property Roundup

D.C. Court Decision is an Important Victory for Whistleblowers Who Report Piracy

SIIA announced that it has prevailed in its nine-year battle to protect the identity of an anonymous informant who reported an alleged copyright infringement to SIIA. This case is a critical victory for SIIA and its anti-piracy efforts for corporate whistleblowers generally. The nine-year battle, and eventual win, demonstrates the lengths SIIA will go to protect against the disclosure of the identity of those who allege piracy. Read the full announcement here.

Enforcement News 

Apple Declines to Fund Patent Troll Intellectual Ventures (GigaOM)
Intellectual Ventures is seeking a major new investment to expand its controversial patent trolling operations, but Apple has turned down an invitation to join Microsoft and Sony in backing a new IV patent acquisition fund.

RIAA Sues Megaupload Over Copyright Infringement (Ars Technica)
Just three days after the Motion Picture Association brought a civil lawsuit against Megaupload, the Recording Industry Association jumped in with its own case, bringing the number of lawsuits filed against Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom and his colleagues to three.

Media, Rights Groups Urge Court to Revisit Takedown of Anti-Muslim YouTube Video(Ars Technica)
Several media groups and rights organizations, including the Los Angeles Times and New York Times, have rallied behind Google to urge a federal appeals court to revisit its takedown order of an inflammatory anti-Muslim video on YouTube, saying the decision allows subjects of news events to control coverage.

Broadcasters Seek an Aereo ‘Plan B’ (The Wall Street Journal)
The nation’s largest television broadcasters are considering contingency plans in case they lose a high-stakes Supreme Court battle against online video startup Aereo Inc.

IP Policy News

Leahy Walks Tightrope on Senate Patent Bill (The Hill)
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy is hoping to advance a complex patent reform bill when the Senate returns from its two-week recess, but will have to balance the competing interests of Republicans and Democrats to get his bill across the finish line.

Keeping the Internet Free – For Now (The Wall Street Journal)
Less than a month after announcing its plan to relinquish control of ICANN, the White House is having second thoughts about surrendering America’s online oversight, following objections by Bill Clinton, a warning letter from 35 Republican Senators, and critical congressional hearings.

Pirated Downloads Now Prohibited in the Netherlands (PC World)
The Dutch Ministry of Security and Justice has banned downloading pirated content following a ruling of the Court of Justice of the European Union, finally making this illegal for people in the Netherlands.
[Read more...]

Intellectual Property Roundup

Enforcement News

ISP’s “Six-Strike” System is Now in Full Force, Says Industry Official (GigaOM)
A U.S. Chamber of Commerce official stated that the “six-strike” anti-piracy program involving major Internet service providers is now in full effect, more than a year after news of the so-called Copyright Alert System was first reported.

ICANN Chief: Russia, China Will Not Hijack Internet Oversight (Reuters)
The head of ICANN defended the U.S. government’s move to cede oversight of the body, and downplayed concerns that Russia, china or other countries could exert control and restrict the web’s openness.

Rightscorp Finds Shortcut to Expose Alleged Bittorrent Pirates (TorrentFreak)
Anti-piracy firm Rightscorp has found a shortcut to obtaining the personal details of account holders connected to pirating IP-addresses. Instead of having a judge decide, Rightscorp obtains DMCA subpoenas which only a court clerk has to sign off on.

Document Reveals When Copyright Trolls Drop Piracy Cases (TorrentFreak)
A submission to an Illinois court that was supposed to remain under seal has revealed when Malibu Media, a so-called “copyright-troll,” will dismiss cases against alleged pirates.

Diller Sees Aereo in Every Major City if Backed by Court (Bloomberg)
Barry Diller plans to expand Aereo’s streaming-TV service into every major U.S. city if the startup prevails in its fight with broadcasters before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Studios File New Lawsuit Against MegaUpload and Its Founder (The New York Times)
Hollywood’s major film studios added a new civil lawsuit on copyright infringement to the legal challenges facing MegaUpload’s owners.

Policy News

House Republican Working on Patent Demand Letter Bill (The Hill)
Rep. Lee Terry (R-Neb) pledged to introduce a bipartisan bill to curb demand letters from “patent trolls,” saying the bill will likely establish requirements about what information must be included in demand letters.

Senate Patent Markup Pushed Back Again (The Hill)
The Senate Judiciary Committee’s consideration of Chairman Patrick Leahy’s patent reform bill, the Patent Transparency and Improvements Act, has been pushed back a third time as committee members negotiate contentious provisions.

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

District Court Upholds FTC Data Security Authority

On April 7, U.S. District Judge Esther Salas in New Jersey upheld the Federal Trade Commission’s authority to bring cases against firms for failure to observe reasonable security practices. The FTC has brought over 30 data security cases in the last decade, but the hotel chain Wyndham World challenged that authority in court in 2012 after the FTC brought a case against them. The judge refused to “carve out a data-security exception to the FTC’s authority” to protect consumers, saying Wyndham’s position would “bring us into unchartered territory.” The judge, however, also said her ruling “does not give the FTC a blank check to sustain a lawsuit against every business that has been hacked.” The ruling was silent on the merits of the underlying complaint, and Wyndham said it continued to believe that the FTC lacked authority to bring the case.

European Court Rejects Data Retention Mandate

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled today that the 2006 EU directive requiring telecom operators to retain data for two years in invalid. The directive, which was passed as an anti-terrorism measure after the July 7, 2005 London subway and bus terrorist bombings, obliged telecom firms to keep data for two years about customer locations, calls texts and emails. The operators were not obliged to keep the contents of these communications. However, the ECJ still ruled that the directive contravened the EU’s Charter of Fundamental Rights and therefore recommended that the directive be overturned. The directive has been controversial since it was passed and some member states such as Germany have not passed legislation implementing it. The ECJ heard the case in response to complaints from civil society groups about telephone data retention laws in Ireland and Austria. Those laws can now be challenged. Member of the European Parliament and General Data Protection Regulation Rapporteur, Jens Albrecht, welcomed the ruling.

House Committee Ponders Preservation and Reuse of Copyrighted Works

Last week, the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, IP and the Internet held a hearingon Preservation and Reuse of Copyrighted Works. The hearing spanned a wide range of topics, and Committee Chairman Goodlatte (R-VA) expressed interest in several key issues, including digitization in cases of deterioration of works caused by age and decay; the notion that Copyright Act is outdated in the digital age; how to best allow public access to works that may have been abandoned; and technological platforms to connect users and copyright owners. However, there was no uniform view from the six witnesses testifying, nor were there consensus positions demonstrated by committee members. In all, the hearing provided another significant input into the Committee’s ongoing copyright review process. For more information about the hearing and witness testimony, check out the Cmte site.

Recommended Read: The Global War for Internet Governance

Professor Laura DeNardis discussed her book: “The Global War for Internet Governance” at the New America Foundation on April 3. DeNardis book is timely, especially given the Commerce Department’s March 14 decision to privatize the Internet Domain Name Function. She stated that this decision was, in fact, a “big deal.” Brazilian Embassy Minister Counselor Benoni Belli said that as a result of the decision, the atmosphere surrounding the April 23-24 Internet Governance “Netmundial” conference in Sao Paulo is much better. Briefly, the management of the Internet’s root zone file will be transferred from ICANN and Verisign to a multistakeholder body as early as 2015 when the ICANN/Versign contracts with the Department of Commerce lapse. There are conditions though, chiefly that whatever model emerges supports and enhances the multistakeholder approach. DeNardis supports “multistakeholderism,” although she cautioned that the multistakeholder approach is not the answer to every Internet Governance challenge.

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 @SIIAPubPolicy.

Intellectual Property Roundup

Enforcement News

Apple’s War on Samsung Has Google in Crossfire (The New York Times)
Officially, it’s Apple versus Samsung Electronics in another tech patent face-off in a San Jose courtroom this week, but Google also has a lot at stake in the case.

Hollywood’s Antipiracy Efforts Add New Voice (The New York Times)
Ruth Vitale, executive director of CreativeFuture, is aiming to steer Hollywood’s digital future.

Top EU Court Backs Internet Bootlegging Ruling (The Wall Street Journal)
The European Union’s highest court said that Internet service providers may have to block access to websites that infringe copyrights.

Aereo to Supreme Court: We Have Broken No Law (CNET)
In a brief to the Supreme Court, Aereo says that it has stayed within the realm of U.S. copyright law and that TV broadcasters have no right to royalties from its television streaming.

Policy News

House Republicans Move to Block Internet Management Switch (The Hill)
A group of House Republicans introduced a bill that would prohibit the Obama administration from moving forward with its announced plans to relinquish oversight of the technical side of the Internet’s Web address system.

Pat Leahy’s Patent Reform Bill To Be Taken Up Again This Week (Washington Examiner)
The Senate Judiciary Committee took up the Patent Transparency and Improvements Act, or Senate Bill 1720, but was tabled until the April 3rd meeting.

U.S. Top Court Wary of Major Change to Software Patent Law (Reuters)
U.S. Supreme Court justices stepped gingerly into a raging debate over computer software on Monday, voicing concerns about vaguely defined patents but signaling they would avoid any radical change to existing law.
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Digital Policy Roundup

SIIA Weights in with White House on “Big Data and Privacy”

On Monday, SIIA submitted comments in response to the White House’s request for information on how the government can best protect citizens’ privacy in the age of “big data” analytics. SIIA’s overarching recommendation for policymakers is to proceed cautiously when considering new data policies, as these are likely to steer the future of data-driven innovation and the scope of what is possible for American innovation for decades to come. Policies that seek to curb the use of data could stifle this nascent technological and economic revolution before it can truly take hold. Additional inputs for the ongoing Obama Administration big data review process include full day workshops at UC Berkely on April 1st, and NYU on March 17th. The Administration is expected to release the outcome of the 90 day review on April 17th.

Student Data Privacy Legislative Update

Student data privacy bills are pending in a majority of state legislatures, though few have reached the finish line. Most notably, SB 167 was defeated in Georgia, a significantly modified version of NY S6007 was included in the NY State Budget signed into law yesterday, and discussions are ongoing regarding CA SB 1177. SIIA continues to emphasize the need to limit restrictions to “personally identifiable” information, the challenges to schools of parent opt-in/out policies, the important use of meta-data to drive product algorithms, and that one-size requirements on service providers will not work if they fail to address school primary governance in areas such as breach notification, data deletion, and access and correction. Meanwhile, U.S. Senator Markey (MA) indicates continued work toward introducing a bill to amend the Federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). SIIA members interested in student privacy should contact SIIA’s Mark Schneiderman.

New School Technology Funding Advances

State and federal initiatives are advancing around technology access, infrastructure and related educator supports. The 2014-2015 New York State Budget signed into law yesterday will authorize up to $2 billion from state bonds to fund school broadband infrastructure and student devices, pending voter approval, with funding distributed on a needs-base formula over the next few years to schools with a state approved technology plan. Equity in technology access was among the SIIA recommendations in testimony 18 months ago to Governor Cuomo’s education reform commission. At the federal level, the FCC issued a second NPRM for the E-rate, calling for comments on their proposed rules, including to prioritize new funding for internal connections including school Wi-Fi, eliminate or phase out voice support, and potentially provide funding eligibility to caching servers and network filtering software. Finally, President Obama’s 2015 Education Budget proposal includes $200-$500 million for a new ConnectEDucators program, which would provide competitive grants for teacher and principal professional development in the improvement of curriculum and instruction through technology.
[Read more...]

Intellectual Property Roundup

Leader and Co-Conspirator of Android Mobile Device App Piracy Group Plead Guilty (
Florida Individuals Represent First U.S. Convictions for Distributing Counterfeit Apps.

ICE, CBP announce year-end intellectual property seizure statistics; Seizures increase as collaboration at the IPR Center continues (
The number of IPR seizures increased nearly 7 percent from 22,848 in FY 2012 to 24,361 in FY 2013.

Ex-MP3tunes Chief Held Liable in Music Copyright Case (Reuters)
The former chief executive of bankrupt online music storage firm MP3tunes was found liable for infringing copyrights for sound recordings, compositions and cover art owned by record companies and music publishers once part of EMI Group Ltd.

Megaupload’s Dotcom Loses Case to Access Extradition Evidence (Reuters)
Kim Dotcom suffered another blow to his fight against extradition to the U.S. to face online piracy charges after New Zealand’s highest court rejected his appeal to access evidence to be presented at the hearing.

CinemaCon: MPAA Chief Chris Dodd Won’t Stop Challenging Silicon Valley Over Piracy (Hollywood Reporter)
“We have both the right and responsibility to express our concerns about piracy undermining our industry on a global level,” Hollywood’s top lobbyist tells theater owners.

Copyright Office Announces New Fee Schedule; First Since 2009 (Copyright Office)
The Copyright Office is adopting new fees for the registration of claims, recordation of documents, special services, Licensing Division services, and FOIA requests. These fees will take effect on May 1, 2014. More info here. The final rule establishing the new fee schedule was published in the Federal Register and is available here.


SIIA Announces New Intellectual Property Protection Division

SIIA is significantly expanding its enforcement efforts, and will now target a broad range of intellectual property violations, on behalf of both software and content publishers. The new program, now called the Intellectual Property Protection Division or 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.

SIIA will also 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. The IPP Division will also place a renewed emphasis on content piracy and offer a range of specialized services that address the varying needs of participating content publishers.

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

Important Message About Protecting Your Brands

Late last year, ICANN began approving the first new gTLDs. Like all new domain names that are or will be approved by ICANN, these new gTLDs will not go live until after brand owners are given a brief window to register addresses using their own brands before anyone else can. For more information about this process see this SIIA alert and FAQs. SIIA has created a new domain name alert system for those companies that are interested in knowing what new domain names are approved, when they will go live and how to protect themselves. Those who sign up for the alert will receive a weekly email from SIIA notifying them what new gTLDs have been approved by ICANN, and other relevant information. If you are interested in receiving these alerts, please email me at so that we can add your name to the list of alert recipients.

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.

The European Commission Should Consider Licensing Models as a Critical Element in the EU Review of Copyright Rules

SIIA today filed comments with the European Commission’s Directorate General for the Internal Market regarding the public consultation on the review of the EU copyright rules. SIIA is working to ensure that the Commission makes licensing models a central component of the review.

Our top priority is to ensure that the licensing model is an indispensable component of the review of the European copyright framework. Our member companies, which are major employers and investors in European Union countries, have a vital stake in the copyright framework. Licensing is a critical way for both the software industry and traditional publishers to deliver high quality and increasingly varied content.

We look forward to working with the Commission and interested stakeholders on the many important and complex issues surrounding the review.  We want to work together to promote the software and information industries in Europe and the United States.

Carl Schonander is Director of International Public Policy at SIIA.