Intellectual Property Roundup

Leader and Co-Conspirator of Android Mobile Device App Piracy Group Plead Guilty (Justice.gov)
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 (ICE.gov)
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 keithk@siia.net 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.

Intellectual Property Roundup

Enforcement News

Web Domain Name Revolution Could hit Trademark Defense (Yahoo)
The UN’s intellectual property body warned that the mass expansion of Internet domain names could cause havoc for the defense of trademarks in cyberspace.

U.S. Plains to Give Up Oversight of Web Domain Manager (The Wall Street Journal)
The U.S. Commerce Department said it plans to relinquish its oversight of ICANN, a move that could bring more international cooperation over management of the Web, but will make some U.S. businesses nervous.

Viacom and Google Settle YouTube Lawsuit (Financial Times)
Viacom and Google have settled a $1 billion copyright infringement suit tied to Google’s YouTube digital video service, ending a seven-year battle between the two companies.

‘Netflix for Piracy’ Popcorn Time Saved By Fans (BBC)
Popcorn Time, a service that offers a Netflix-like interface for accessing pirated films, has already resurfaced just days after being closed down.

Policy News

Senate Takes Next Steps on Patents (The Hill)
The Senate is moving forward with its patent reform efforts and will begin considering Sen. Leahy’s bill at an executive session on March 27.

The GOP Freak Out Over the U.S. ‘Losing the Internet’ Has Begun (The Wire)
Republicans see the Obama administration’s decision to relinquish control of the Internet to the international community as a big, and even dangerous, mistake.

Congress Looms Large in Piracy Battle (The Hill)
While the content and tech industries are coming together to try and solve the problem of online piracy, Congress looms large in the background, threatening to step in if the stakeholders can’t come to an agreement.


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 keithk@siia.net 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.

SIIA Welcomes DHS Secretary Jeh Johson, Urges Continued Leadership in Protecting America’s IP

SIIA is proud to join the Coalition Against Counterfeiting and Piracy in welcoming the appointment of Secretary Jeh Johnson as the Secretary of Homeland Security. We look forward to working with Secretary Johnson and his department, and urge him to continue the Department’s strong position of leadership in protecting America’s intellectual property against online theft.

More than 40 million American jobs depend on intellectual property, and those jobs are threatened by websites offering fake goods under U.S. companies’ brand names. Pirate sites sell copyrighted work, including software, and take advantage of consumers by exposing them to identity theft and financial fraud.

The Department has been effective in its enforcement program administered by Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the National IPR Center: Operation in our Sites (OiOS). These efforts have shut down over 2,713 websites, and protected consumers and industries from the threats posed by online piracy and the sale of counterfeit goods.

The problem of IP theft continues to plague our country. Secretary Johnson should continue and expand upon the good work that has been done to date, and use all the resources possible to combat this serious issue. SIIA looks forward to working with the Secretary and his department in support of these efforts.

Join the conversation using #SafeSites.


Laura Greenback is communications director at SIIA. Keep up with the SIIA policy team on Twitter at @SIIAPolicy.

Intellectual Property Roundup

President Calls for Patent Reform in SOTU (The Hill)
President Obama repeated his calls for patent reform during his State of the Union address, calling on Congress to “pass a patent reform bill that allows our businesses to stay focused on innovation, not costly and needless litigation.”

Court: Google Infringed Patents, Must Pay 1.36% of Adwords Revenue (Ars Technica)
Vringo, a tiny company that purchased some patents from Lycos in 2011 and then used those patents to sue Google, has been awarded a 1.36% running royalty on US-based revenue from Google’s Adwords.

U.S. Justice Department Files Lawsuits Over Counterfeit Apps (PCWorld)
The U.S. Department of Justice has filed its first lawsuits over counterfeit smartphone apps, charging four men who now face up to five years each in prison. The defendants are accused of conspiring to copy Android apps and distributing more than a million copies through their online markets.

India Undermining IPR: US Chamber of Commerce (Business Standard)
Unveiling the 2014 global IP index by its Global Intellectual Property Center, the US Chamber of Commerce accused India of allowing the deterioration of the intellectual property climate in the country, and asked the Obama administration to enforce IP rights.

New App Rewards Consumers For Reporting Counterfeits (ABC)
A new app called “uFaker” allows consumers to report counterfeit products and earn rewards like online discounts.

Dutch Court Finds Pirate Bay Block Ineffective, Ends It (Computerworld)
The Court of Appeals in The Hague lifted a block on The Pirate Bay in the Netherlands because the measure was ineffective and disproportionate for two ISPs.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge Set Up Companies to Protect ‘Intellectual Property Rights’ (Metro)
Prince William established the firm APL Anglesey, and Kate set up CE Strathearn, in order to protect their intellectual property rights.

Three-Strikes Laws Don’t Stop Piracy, Researchers Say (Torrent Freak)
New findings published by U.S. and French researchers show that the “strikes” systems designed to warn and punish P2P file-sharers do not stop or even reduce piracy.

Judge Issues Devastating Ruling Against Online Copyright Crusaders (Business Insider)
Washington District Judge Robert Lasnik ruled that IP addresses are not individuals, and that a suspected Internet pirate should not be prosecuted solely because his computer’s IP address was identified.

Teens’ Photo Feed is a Viral Hit- and a Copyright Conundrum (GigaOM)
A popular Twitter account run by two teenagers publishes historical photos and is delighting its nearly million followers, but also raising questions of how to define artistic ownership and attribution in an age of ubiquitous images.


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: The Latest IP Policy & Enforcement News

Enforcement News

Kim Dotcom’s Mega-Lawsuit Could Make Him a Multi-Millionaire Again (Wired)
MegaUpload founder Kim Dotcom filed a seven-figure lawsuit against the New Zealand government over the 2012 raid on his mansion, and the electronic spying that preceded it.

Aereo Claims DC Injunction Doesn’t Affect It (GigaOM)
Broadcasters and upstart streaming TV service Aereo are skirmishing in Boston over whether an injunction issued in DC against another streaming service should affect Aereo. Aereo claims the two companies’ technology are not the same, and that the DC ruling misunderstands copyright law.

Fashion Designers Look to Patents to Fight Knockoffs (Reuters)
Because U.S. copyright and trademark laws often do not apply to new, logo-free designs, fashion designers are applying for design patents — patents that protect the way something looks — to protect clothing and other accessories from being targets for knock-offs.

MPAA Report Says Google, Other Search Engines a Major Gateway to Piracy (Los Angeles Times)
A study released by the Motion Picture Association of America alleges that search engines are making it too easy for consumers to find pirated content online, even when they’re not looking for it. The MPAA says it found no evidence that the change Google made to its algorithm last year to take into account the number of copyright takedown notices a site has received affected search-referred traffic to illegal sites.

IP Policy News

Senate Judiciary Chairman Crafting Bill to Combat ‘Patent Trolls’ (The Hill)
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy plans to introduce legislation in the coming weeks to limit frivolous patent lawsuits.

Expanded Anti-Piracy Bill Hits Russian Parliament (RIA Novosti)
A new bill allowing for websites to be blocked if they contain any copyright-infringing content was introduced in the Russian parliament, expanding an earlier law against film piracy that was met with considerable public outcry.


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.

How Big is the Piracy Problem, Really?

People can disagree about whether anti-piracy laws go too far or not far enough, whether and how the copyright law should be updated, or whether or not piracy can provide any benefits to those being pirated. One thing that cannot be argued, however, is the size of the piracy problem. We know it’s big—really big. But just how big is it?

Turns out, it’s big enough that 327 million people sought out infringing material online in the first month of 2013 alone. That’s an increase of almost 10% in 15 months, and makes up a whopping 26% of the total Internet user population, according to a report published today by NetNames called “Sizing the Piracy Universe.”

The number is even more staggering when you consider what it means for the future of Internet piracy. It’s not likely that these pirates are the AARP card holders who use the Internet mainly for email and web surfing. Consider how many younger, web-savvy Internet users must have a pirating habit to comprise that 26% of total Internet users. Next time you ride the metro, look to your left and right–at least one of you is probably consuming infringing material on a regular basis.

If that seems dismal, there’s at least one hopeful figure in the report. The portion of Internet users who use cyberlocker sites to access infringing material has dropped by almost 8%. This significant drop is largely due to criminal action by the U.S. and other governments against Megaupload in New Zealand.  Shortly after this action many other cyberlockers shuttered and many infringing users migrated elsewhere. This shows the impact that one strategic, well-publicized enforcement action can have on the entire piracy landscape.  We certainly need more of these wins if we are going to make a dent in the piracy problem.


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

Russia Establishes Specialized Court for Intellectual Property Rights (Intellectual Property Watch)
A specialized court for intellectual property rights has been instituted within the commercial court system of the Russian Federation.  The judiciary is currently being formed and will consist of at least 30 judges.

Google Defeats Publishers Over Web Copyright in German Vote (Bloomberg)
German lawmakers decided in a parliamentary vote that Google and other news aggregators may continue to show short news items on their Internet sites without being required to pay.

France’s Anti-Piracy Watchdog Ponders Evolution, Faces Extinction (ZDNet)
French anti-piracy authority Hadopi recently published a report examining possible models the organization might adopt going forward, and how best to fight the growth of illegal streaming and downloading of copyrighted material.

As Pirates Run Rampant, TV Studios Dial Up Pursuit (The Wall Street Journal)
Piracy of TV shows and movies is increasing because of improved Web technology, and TV studios like NBCUniversal are ramping up efforts and increasing staff to combat the piracy.

 Newspapers Go All-In for Copyright Fight Against Clipping Service (Ars Technica)
The nation’s largest newspapers, including The New York Times, filed an amicus brief in support of The Associated Press in its copyright battle with online news-clipping service Meltwater Group.  AP sued Meltwater last year, arguing that Meltwater is not a search engine but a competitor engaging in copyright infringement of AP’s content.

For regular IP updates subscribe to SIIA’s weekly Intellectual Property Roundup email newsletter.


Keith Kupferschmid is General Counsel and SVP, Intellectual Property Policy & Enforcement at SIIA.

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