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      Sony’s Ancient Lawsuit vs. Cheat Device Heads in Right Direction – Sony’s Defeat

      news.movim.eu / TorrentFreak · 7 days ago - 18:05 · 4 minutes

    psp When today’s home video gaming market took its first tentative baby steps thanks to more affordable hardware in the early 1980s, the details of Sony’s lawsuit against Datel would’ve been dismissed as outrageous.

    This was a time of experimentation; one that thrived on the energy of pushing unimaginably incapable hardware by today’s standards, to perform in unexpected ways that often exceeded manufacturers’ expectations. In some cases, that included being able to run half-decent games, or even games at all.

    Sony Wins Early But Cooler Heads Prevail

    Software quite rightly receives protection under copyright law but in Datel, Sony wants a ruling that outlaws the modification of variables generated by software that only ever exist in RAM and form no part of the underlying copyrighted source code. Datel’s software simply ran alongside games like Motorstorm Arctic Edge, tweaking values in memory to modify how the game played.

    In January 2012, the Hamburg Regional Court found largely in favor of Sony. The Court found that Datel’s software (Action Replay PSP and Tilt FX) intervened in the ‘program flow’ of Sony’s games and, by changing the flow, the original code was modified to create a derivative of Sony’s copyrighted game code.

    The decision was overturned on appeal in 2021 and the case was dismissed. Sony appealed to the Federal Court of Justice which referred key questions to the Court of Justice of the European Union for a preliminary ruling.

    If Sony has its way and the protection software enjoys under the 2009 Computer Programs Directive is extended to transient variables in RAM, those who modify those variables – the users of tweaking software – would become direct infringers under copyright law. Creators of the software, in this case Datel, could be held secondarily liable.

    Advocate General’s Opinion Nudges Case in the Right Direction

    Advocate General Szpunar’s published opinion is not binding and the CJEU could ultimately decide on its own path.

    The challenge, should one exist, would be to dismiss AG Szpunar’s conclusions as anything other than legally sound, impeccably researched, and flawlessy logical.

    “[T]he value of the variables is not an element of a computer program’s code. They are merely data, external to the code, which the computer produces and reuses when running the program,” he writes.

    “Those data do not exist at the moment that the program is created by its author or when it is loaded into the computer’s memory, since they are generated only while the program is running. They are therefore not such as to enable the program – or even a part of it – to be reproduced.”

    Variables Are Not Creative Works

    According to case law, the protection conferred by Directive 2009/24 is limited to source code and object code, both of which satisfy the criterion of originality set out in Article 1(3). Variables in RAM, on the other hand, do not satisfy the criterion of originality.

    The variables are not the author’s own intellectual creation, AG Szpunar points out. On the contrary, the variables are the result of progress made in the game, and a direct result of the player’s behavior.

    “It is indeed true that the author designed the categories of the variables that are recorded as well the rules whereby their value is determined in the course of the game. However, that value itself escapes the author’s creative control, since it is necessarily dependent on factors which cannot be foreseen in advance, such as the player’s behavior. That value therefore cannot enjoy copyright protection.”

    Noting that the variables are “transitory, temporary and provisional,” and “often reset to zero” when a program is next run, the variables fail to meet the threshold for copyright protection since they cannot be identified with “sufficient precision and objectivity.”

    More Restrictions, More Money

    AG Szpunar’s opinion is lengthy, technical, and at times quite challenging to absorb. The blame for that sits squarely with Sony, whose mental gymnastics appear laser-focused on what it needs to win the case, and oblivious to almost everything else.

    It’s perhaps telling that various intellectual property law firms commenting on the opinion are noting the AG’s advice, while also advancing theories that generated variables in RAM could reasonably be considered part of the overall creative package.

    When work for companies like Sony pays the bills, advocating for greater restrictions on existing freedoms doesn’t lead to less business, let’s put it that way. That the opposite is being argued in legal matters relating to output from generative AI, is certainly interesting, if nothing else.

    AG Szpunar’s Conclusion

    Ultimately, AG Szpunar draws the following conclusion:

    Article 1(1) to (3) of Directive 2009/24/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2009 on the legal protection of computer programs must be interpreted as meaning that the protection conferred by that directive pursuant to that provision does not extend to the content of the variables which the protected computer program has transferred to the RAM of the computer and uses in running it, in the situation in which another program operating at the same time as the protected computer program changes that content, without however the object code or the source code of the latter program being changed.

    Full opinion available here

    From: TF , for the latest news on copyright battles, piracy and more.

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      Biggest IPTV Piracy Trial in U.S. History Underway and Already Controversial

      news.movim.eu / TorrentFreak · Wednesday, 12 June - 20:27 · 7 minutes

    Almost half a decade ago, eight Las Vegas men were indicted by a grand jury for conspiring to violate criminal copyright law via two IPTV services, Jetflicks and iStreamitAll.

    The indictment accused the defendants of reproducing tens of thousands of copyrighted TV shows without authorization, and distributing that content to tens of thousands of paid subscribers across the United States.

    At one point, Jetflicks was said to have made available more than 183,200 different TV show episodes. iStreamitAll allegedly made available more than 118,479 TV shows and 10,980 movies; at the time more content than Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime offered.

    The Road to Trial

    After pleading guilty to copyright infringement and money laundering, in 2021 a key defendant was sentenced to 57 months in prison and a $1m forfeiture order. In the same year, another pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit copyright infringement and was sentenced to one year and a day in prison.

    Other defendants dug in to fight a case that had become unusually complex , for a range of reasons, many of which are still not for public consumption.

    After reportedly generating 19TB of data and 175,000 pages of print discovery, the defense previously estimated that it would take “at least a couple of months” just to take a copy of the data needed for trial; by then a bewildering 63TB in total.

    Trial Begins in Las Vegas, Nevada

    Since instructions issued by District Judge Richard F. Boulware, II, state that transcripts must not be made available online for several weeks, reporting daily events in detail presents challenges. Nevertheless, there’s no shortage of general information available that shows the scale of the matter in hand and the mood of the parties involved.

    On May 28, day one of the trial, the government had four attorneys listed for appearance, alongside an FBI Special Agent and an IT expert. Listed for lead defendant Kristopher Lee Dallmann, three counsel, a paralegal, an investigator, and two interns. For Felipe Garcia, two counsel and a paralegal; for Douglas Courson, Jared Edward Jaurequi, and Peter H Huber, two counsel each.

    At 09:28, prospective jurors were called to the courtroom and at 09:43, a total of 85 were in attendance. By 11:00, they numbered ‘just’ 50.

    Day Two to Day Four

    After two jurors raised concerns at the start of day two, each spent some time with the Judge. The nature of those concerns and the outcome are absent from the docket.

    The government’s opening statement arrived just before noon, with defendants’ counsel delivering their statements early afternoon, before jury members were excused for lunch at 14:30. A direct examination of a Supervisory Special Agent at the FBI by counsel for the government brought the second day to a close.

    The fourth day of the trial began with counsel for Peter Huber informing the Court about an issue with her client. While that has no explanation either, counsel for Kristopher Dallmann advised the Court of a forthcoming motion on behalf of his client; details of that matter are substantial.

    Dallmann Files Motion For Mistrial

    On Saturday, May 25, the government provided a PowerPoint presentation to the defense that it intended to use in opening statements to the Court. Counsel for Dallmann notified the government on Monday, May 27, that they intended to object to the proposed use of the presentation, details of which were also provided to the Court.

    “Counsel for Mr. Dallmann specifically noted that they would seek a mistrial if the exhibits were permitted to be shown during opening statements,” Dallmann’s motion for mistrial notes.

    The government ultimately went ahead anyway, prompting counsel for Dallmann to respond as promised.

    “Here, a mistrial is warranted because the government was permitted to show inadmissible and highly credible legal conclusions to the jury during opening statements with no qualification or limiting instructions,” the motion continues.

    “Inadmissible and Impossible to Disregard”

    One of the exhibits shown to the jury was a letter dated July 22, 2011, sent by HBO to Jetflicks c/o Dallmann.

    “While the letter is framed as a notice, it is based on a finding that copyright infringement occurred (otherwise, the letter would not have issued). That finding constitutes a legal conclusion,” the motion continues.

    “Steven Rosenthall was not just any lawyer—he was the Director of Anti-Piracy in HBO’s legal department. There can be no question that someone who has ascended to that position is scrupulous, detail-oriented, and credible. Furthermore, the legal department at HBO is not some ragtag team of vagabonds. It’s the legal department within a massive, flagship American media organization. Consequently, a legal conclusion by HBO’s legal department carries significant weight.”

    In summary, counsel for Dallmann argues that the jury was exposed to an inadmissible legal conclusion that will be impossible to disregard, in a letter sent by someone who is not noticed as a government witness, so cannot be cross-examined. The only solution, therefore, is a mistrial.

    MPAA Infringement Notice, PayPal Correspondence

    Similar concerns are leveled at an infringement notice sent by the then-MPAA to Dallmann dated November 16, 2012. While not mentioned by the defense, it refers to infringement on jetflick.mobi, a domain for which no records appear to exist, since it may have never been registered. Jetflicks.mobi may have been the intended target, however.

    An email dated October 24, 2016, sent by PayPal to Dallmann to advise his account had been temporarily limited due to violation of the company’s Acceptable Use Policy, also came in for criticism.

    “The email is hearsay, and no PayPal witness has been noticed who can testify about the email. The email is prejudicial because the government used it to establish that Mr. Dallmann had engaged in copyright infringement,” the motion continues.

    Other, apparently contentious, items include records provided by Google in response to a warrant, listing details of several searches allegedly carried out by Dallmann. An extract of a conversation that allegedly took place between Dallmann and Coulson, with the source listed as ‘IPhone 7 Plus/mobile/Library/SMS/sms.db’, appears to contain details of business planning.

    In any event, the defense insists that the slides are inadmissible on several grounds, including a lack of authentication and failure to adhere to rules governing coconspirator statements.

    Government Opposition to Motion

    In its 10-page opposition, the government notes that before these items were shown to the jury, they were previewed by the Court and defense counsel. In all instances, “..the Court determined that the slides could properly be displayed during opening statement.”

    In broad terms, the defense argues that the exhibits were presented as proof of copyright infringement, contrary to the government’s claim that they would be offered “for the effect on the listener and not for the truth of the matter.”

    What that means in practice is explained in a statement by the Court in response to the defense’s objection to the MPAA letter of infringement being shown to the jury.

    “The defense objected again during court proceedings, and the Court similarly responded, ‘If it’s being offered for the same reason, which is for your client’s state of mind, not for the fact that it’s true, but for the fact that he received it, then it wouldn’t be hearsay’,” the government explains.

    “The Court repeated its view that use of the exhibit in the opening as a demonstrative was acceptable ‘so long as I find that there’s a likelihood that the evidence would be admitted’.”

    In a nutshell, the documents were shown to the jury (the PayPal documents were apparently withheld) to demonstrate that Dallmann had received notice, that victims and/or their representatives believed his conduct was infringing, and they had ordered him to stop. The ‘effect on the listener’ amounts to Dallmann’s conduct after he took possession of those notices.

    Every Detail Subject to Challenge

    When viewing progression in this case from indictment to day one of the trial, with every detail a potential avenue for prolonged argument, the potential for some kind of derailment seems higher than normal for this type of case.

    That being said, the government is backed by heavyweight artillery, as this sample of witnesses heard thus far reveals.

    • Alexis Brown, Special Agent, FBI
    • Joseph Varani, Digital Investigative Analyst, DoJ, Cyber Crime Lab
    • Thomas Song, Deputy Director Cybercrime Lab, DoJ
    • Michael Housley, Senior VP, Counsel of Content Protection, Paramount Global
    • Matthew Andrews, Director of Global Content Protection, Netflix
    • John Kern, IT Specialist, Digital Forensic Examiner, FBI
    • Laura Peterson, Digital Forensic Analyst, Department of Homeland Security
    • Lucia Rangel, VP Content Protection, Warner Brothers Discovery
    • Jan van Voorn, Chief Executive Officer, IP House (previously MPA/head of ACE)
    • Daniel Cooper, Senior VP of Intellectual Property, NBC Universal
    • Daniel Ogden, VP Cyber Operations, OUR Rescue
    • Michael Poston, Supervisory Special Agent, FBI

    Dallmann’s motion for mistrial / government’s opposition available here and here (pdf)

    From: TF , for the latest news on copyright battles, piracy and more.

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      Court Denies ISP’s Request to Dismiss Music and Movie Piracy Liability Claims

      news.movim.eu / TorrentFreak · Tuesday, 2 April - 10:44 · 4 minutes

    pirate-flag Online piracy continues to present massive challenges for the entertainment industries.

    It’s a global issue that’s hard to contain, but the major U.S. record labels and several movie companies believe that Internet providers can offer a helping hand.

    For roughly a quarter-century, rightsholders have sent copyright infringement notices to ISPs, informing them about alleged copyright infringements carried out by subscribers. While many providers forwarded these notices to their customers, they rarely led to follow-up action.

    This is a problem according to some rightsholders, who want ISPs to terminate the connections of subscribers repeatedly linked to pirating activity. They point to the DMCA, which states that online service providers must terminate the accounts of repeat infringers “in appropriate circumstances.”

    In an earlier case, Internet provider Cox was ordered to pay a billion dollars in damages after a jury found the ISP liable for copyright infringement. This damages award was recently reversed but the liability finding remains. Meanwhile, other ISPs are fighting similar legal battles.

    Frontier vs. Music and Movie Companies

    Most of these lawsuits take place in federal courts, but the New York bankruptcy court is dealing with a similar dispute. In two separate cases, one filed by several movie companies and the other by record labels , Internet provider Frontier Communications stands accused of failing to terminate repeat infringers.

    The financially challenged Internet provider emerged from bankruptcy and is trying to rebuild its business. However, ghosts of the past continue to follow the company, including piracy liability allegations.

    Last December, Frontier hoped to sway both cases in its favor. The ISP submitted a motion for judgment on the pleadings, asking the court to dismiss the claims from the movie and music companies, noting that these fail “as a matter of law.”

    The motion’s central argument stems from the ‘ Twitter vs. Taamneh ‘ Supreme Court decision, where it was determined that social media platforms were not responsible for ISIS terrorists who used their services to recruit and raise funds. In a similar vein, Frontier believes that it shouldn’t be held liable for subscribers who pirate content.

    Based on these and other arguments, Frontier asked the bankruptcy court to dismiss all piracy liability claims. Needless to say, the movie and music companies disagreed and both filed objections, urging the court to keep the claims intact.

    Court Denies Dismissal Request

    A few days ago, Chief U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Martin Glenn ruled on the motion, which brought bad news for Frontier. After reviewing the matter, Judge Glenn saw no reason to dismiss the copyright liability claims at this stage.

    In a detailed memorandum opinion, the court concludes that the Supreme Court ruling in the social media case doesn’t directly translate to the matter at hand. While both deal with third-party liability, terrorism and copyright infringement are certainly not the same thing.

    The Supreme Court ruling made it clear that secondary liability for online services doesn’t always apply. However, the court believes that decades of copyright infringement liability jurisprudence can’t be overlooked.

    “The Court declines to graft an analysis of secondary criminal liability for aiding and abetting terrorism onto the well-established branch of law governing secondary liability for copyright infringement. Under the relevant standard, Claimants have alleged facts sufficient to state a claim,” Judge Glenn writes.

    Pirates vs. Terrorists

    The court notes that Internet providers are not automatically liable for everything that happens through their service. Even general knowledge of potentially illegal activity doesn’t automatically lead to a liability finding; context is key.

    In the ‘Twitter vs. Taamneh‘ case, the terrorist attacks happened outside of the platform, at a nightclub in Istanbul. While the terrorists may have used Twitter and other social media platforms to facilitate their operations, there was no direct connection to the attack.

    The movie and music companies alleged a more direct connection (nexus) between Frontier and the alleged copyright infringement in their case and the bankruptcy court agreed.

    “The Reina attack was not carried out on or through a social media platform, but rather in Istanbul by terrorists who had maintained accounts on the platforms; in contrast, the copyright infringement alleged here took place via Frontier’s network itself. Twitter is thus distinguishable and does not compel dismissal,” Judge Glenn notes.

    The court further clarifies that this doesn’t mean that ISPs are automatically liable for everything subscribers do through their connections. The DMCA has set clear guidelines Internet providers must adhere to if they want to rely on safe harbor protection.

    In addition to simply providing an Internet connection, contributory copyright infringement also involves specific knowledge of infringement and the continued provision of the means to infringe. These issues play a role here too and, based on the pleadings, a dismissal is premature.

    All in all, the court denies Frontier’s request to dismiss all the movie and music companies’ piracy liability claims. This is important for the present dispute, but it may also foreshadow what other courts may conclude in similar cases going forward.

    glann conclude

    A copy of Chief U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Martin Glenn’s order is available here (pdf) . Frontier’s originating motion can be found here (pdf) and the music and movie company responses are available here ( 1 , 2 )

    From: TF , for the latest news on copyright battles, piracy and more.

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      ‘Operation 404’ Results in First Prison Sentence for Pirate IPTV Operator

      news.movim.eu / TorrentFreak · Wednesday, 27 March - 10:05 · 2 minutes

    operation 404 In the fall of 2019 , Brazilian law enforcement agencies launched the first wave of anti-piracy campaign ‘Operation 404,’ referring to the well-known HTTP error code.

    With help from law enforcement in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Argentina, the authorities took down more than a hundred sites and services, while several suspects were arrested.

    Following its initial successes, several new waves ‘Operation 404’ were initiated over the ensuing years. Each wave led to raids and takedowns across the country, with assistance from international law enforcement partners. It was clear that Brazil had its enforcement apparatus in order, but the outcomes of these efforts in terms of follow-up actions were largely unknown.

    This week, anti-piracy group ALIANZA booked its first ‘404’ related victory in court. Following a criminal complaint from the group, Judge Marina Figueiredo Coelho of the Fifth Criminal Court of Campinas, Sao Paolo, convicted the operator of a pirate IPTV service that was taken down in 2020.

    Prison for Flash IPTV Operator

    The operator of Flash IPTV, who is referred to by the initials A.W.A.P., was found guilty of criminal copyright infringement and sentenced to five years and four months in prison.

    Flash IPTV was a relatively large IPTV service with 13,547 active users at its peak. According to local news reports , the service generated R$4,542,034 ($912,000) in revenue over twelve months, before it was taken offline in 2020 as part of the second ‘Operation 404’ campaign .

    Speaking with TorrentFreak, ALIANZA says that this is a historic verdict, as it’s the first criminal IPTV prosecution linked to ‘Operation 404’ in Brazil.

    “We appreciate the commitment of the police and judicial authorities in resolving this important case. The conviction of A.W.A.P. is a milestone that reinforces our commitment to defending the rights of creators and fighting against illegal practices that harm the creative economy,” says Víctor Roldán, ALIANZA’s executive director.

    More to Come?

    A copy of the verdict wasn’t released to the public, as is common with these types of convictions, so further details are scarce.

    While Operation 404 resulted in many arrests over the years, follow-up prosecutions have been rare in Brazil. Previously, ALIANZA did score a similar victory in Ecuador , where the operator of the pirate IPTV service IPTVlisto.com was sentenced to a year in prison.

    Last fall, Brazilian authorities conducted the sixth wave of Operation 404 and more are expected to follow in the future. These enforcement initiatives are broadly praised by rightsholders and the recent conviction will only strengthen their support.

    There’s always room for improvement, of course. A few weeks ago, the International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA) recommended Brazil to remain on the US ‘ Special 301 ‘ Watch List of countries with IP-related challenges.

    IIPA saw various positive developments, especially regarding Operation 404. However, disagreement between rightsholders over enforcement action could still improve.

    “Brazil still suffers from a lack of specific norms and regulations regarding the enforcement of copyrighted works over the Internet and a lack of resources and staff to support enforcement actions considering the reach and amount of content piracy in the region,” IIPA wrote.

    From: TF , for the latest news on copyright battles, piracy and more.

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      Publishers Secure Widespread Support in Landmark Copyright Battle With Internet Archive

      news.movim.eu / TorrentFreak · Monday, 25 March - 22:41 · 5 minutes

    internet archive The Internet Archive (IA) is a non-profit organization that aims to preserve digital history for generations to come.

    The digital library is a staunch supporter of a free and open Internet and began meticulously archiving the web over a quarter century ago.

    In addition to archiving the web, IA also operates a library that offers a broad collection of digital media, including books. Staying true to the centuries-old library concept, IA patrons can also borrow books that are scanned and digitized in-house.

    Publishers vs. Internet Archive

    The self-scanning service offered by the Internet Archive (IA) differs from the licensing agreements entered into by other libraries. Not all publishers are happy with IA’s approach, resulting in a major legal battle two years ago.

    Publishers Hachette, HarperCollins, John Wiley, and Penguin Random House filed a lawsuit, equating IA’s controlled digital lending (CDL) operation to copyright infringement. Earlier this year a New York federal court concluded that the library is indeed liable for copyright infringement .

    The court’s decision effectively put an end to IA’s self-scanning library, at least for books from the publishers in suit. However, IA is not letting this go without a fight and in December the non-profit filed its opening brief at the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, hoping to reverse the judgment .

    High Profile Support

    The importance of this legal battle is illustrated by the large number of amicus briefs that are filed by third parties. Previously, IA received support from copyright scholars and the Authors Alliance, among others.

    A few days ago, another round of amicus came in at the Court of Appeals, this time to back the publishers who filed their reply last week . In more than a handful of filings, prominent individuals and organizations urge the Appeals Court not to reverse the district court ruling, arguing that this would severely hamper the interests of copyright holders.

    The briefs include positions from industry groups such as the MPA, RIAA, IFPI, Copyright Alliance, the Authors Guild, various writers unions, and many others. Legal scholars, professors, and former government officials, also chimed in.

    RIAA, MPA, et al.

    The RIAA and MPA submitted an amicus brief together with the NMPA and the News Media Alliance. These industry groups draw a parallel between the impact Napster and BitTorrent had on music and movie sales, and the threat IA’s self-scanning library poses today.

    “Digital piracy has inflicted a huge economic toll on those industries and, by extension, on their ability to invest in new creative works and the artists who make them. Internet Archive’s theory of fair use represents a threat just as grave.”

    napster amici

    Industry groups fear that if the Internet Archive is allowed to digitize and lend books, it could set a precedent for other forms of media. For instance, if services were able to lend music, movies, or news media to the general public, these industries might face similar challenges.

    “Deeming Internet Archive’s mass reproduction and distribution program to be fair use would no doubt embolden not only Internet Archive itself but also other online platforms to freely ‘lend’ all types of copyrighted works to the public in digital formats,” they write.

    “That would catastrophically harm the digital markets on which the music industry, the movie and television industry, the news industry, and similar industries depend to profitably create and distribute their works—and would thereby undermine the incentive for the creation of new works that copyright law exists to protect.”

    According to the amici, there is nothing fair about IA’s digital library; instead, they see it as “unambiguous copyright infringement.”

    Copyright Experts, Professors, and Lawmakers

    A second amicus brief is submitted by more than a dozen professors and scholars of copyright and intellectual property law. They stress that IA’s practice should not be seen as “transformative” fair use, arguing that the library offers a “substitution” for books that are legally offered by the publishers.

    This sets the case apart from current legal precedents including the Google Books case , where Google’s mass use of copyrighted books was deemed fair use.

    “IA’s exploitation of copyrighted books is thus the polar opposite of the copying that was found to be transformative in Google Books and HathiTrust . IA offers no ‘utility-expanding’ searchable database to its subscribers. What it does offer is access to full-text books as a clearly competing substitute for the versions licensed by book publishers,” the legal scholars write.

    Another amicus brief adds more heavyweight support for the publishers. This includes former judges and two dozen government officials and lawmakers, including Lamar Smith, former Chair of the House Judiciary Committee, and Bob Goodlatte, former Chair of the House Judiciary Committee.

    This brief also rejects the Internet Archive’s fair use arguments, framing the library as a threat instead.

    “IA does not further the public interest, but rather undermines incentives to create and disseminate books that benefit society. Thus, its actions are decidedly not protected by fair use,” their brief reads.

    IA and AI

    The final amicus brief we want to highlight comes from a broad collection international and regional trade groups from outside the United States. These include the International Publishers Association, the International Video Federation, and the Association of Canadian Publishers.

    These groups also reject the fair use arguments. They stress that in addition to directly competing with the interests of publishers, IA’s library is also an indirect ‘artificial intelligence’ threat as the digitized books can be used as AI training material.

    “The Internet Archive is an obvious source of high-quality works for AI training since these works have been professionally edited and improved by publishers. Entering the terms ‘Internet Archive DRM’ into any search engine results in a number of links to software tools that remove the Internet Archive’s DRM technology along with instructions on how to use it.

    “Even if AI training is ultimately determined by U.S. courts to not be a fair use, Amici fear that the Internet Archive’s CDL collection has already been used as an AI training tool,” the international trade groups add.

    In summary, the book publishers have plenty of external support for their legal battle. However, it remains to be seen whether any of these amici, including those in favor of IA, will influence the eventual outcome of the appeal.

    Below is an overview of the amicus briefs that were filed over the past few days, all in support of the publishers.

    RIAA, MPA, NMPA, News Media Alliance .
    Former government officials, former judges, and intellectual property scholars .
    Copyright Alliance .
    Various organizations that represent the interests of writers and other creators .
    Professors and scholars of copyright and intellectual property law .
    International and regional trade bodies .

    From: TF , for the latest news on copyright battles, piracy and more.

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      Judge Blocks 8M Telegram Users After Platform Failed to Help Identify Pirates (Updated)

      news.movim.eu / TorrentFreak · Monday, 25 March - 13:31 · 9 minutes

    telegram -2-2024 Sports leagues and their broadcasting partners across Europe believe that their piracy problems begin with the existence of illicit suppliers.

    It follows that if those illicit suppliers can be prevented from reaching their subscribers, reasons for buying TV packages from the black market will be mostly eliminated and legal subscription sales will ensue.

    As the legal owners of the rights in question, these corporate giants have the luxury to frame the issue however they choose. However, when the war on piracy begins to take a toll on those not even remotely involved, it raises the question of who has the authority to step in and where the threshold for intervention lies.

    On Friday, a judge handling a copyright case concluded that since messaging platform Telegram had failed to help rightsholders identify the operators of certain Telegram channels, something needed to be done. Insisting that there was no other option available, the judge issued an order for Telegram to be blocked by ISPs throughout Spain.

    The judge described the measure as “necessary” and “proportional” and in a few hours’ time, if not already, around eight million users of Telegram in Spain will have a chance to chime in with their opinions, but not via Telegram, obviously.

    Update: March 25, 2024 : Amid a huge backlash in Spain, including criticism of the decision and the government by opposition parties, the blocking order has been suspended. See update below.

    Media Giants Want to Unmask Telegram Channel Operators

    Existence of the order and some general details were revealed by Telecinco on Friday.

    The publication reported that as part of a copyright complaint previously filed by anti-piracy group EGEDA, Mediaset España, Atresmedia, and Movistar Plus, the rightsholders had demanded information from Telegram that could help them identify the operators of piracy-linked Telegram channels.

    Despite the involvement of the court, Telegram failed to respond; Judge Pedraz concluded that since the investigation would now take more time, in the interim Telegram would have to be blocked by ISPs throughout Spain.

    Telegram has previously been blocked by Iran, China, and Pakistan, among others, but the addition of Spain came as a surprise. Expecting to find considerable unreported nuance, TorrentFreak tracked down the order; issued by Juzgado Central de Instrucción Número 5 and dated March 22, 2024, it begins with a section marked “Factual Background.”

    Case Background as Reported in the Order

    The order describes the present proceedings in connection with the “continued infringement of intellectual property rights,” carried out by “owners of various channels created on the Telegram social network,” and an ongoing investigation involving the prosecutor’s office.

    In a report dated March 8, 2024, the prosecutor’s office requested a six-month extension of the investigation period. This followed an EGEDA request and a writ filed on behalf of rightsholders Telefónica Audiovisual Digital (TAD), Movistar+, and Movistar Plus+.

    After detailing the rules concerning investigations and time limits, the Judge notes in the absence of an extension, the current investigation is set to expire on March 29, 2024, having run for the maximum 12 months allowed under Article 324.1 LECrim .

    Request for Judicial Assistance

    The order then turns to the corporate entity operated by Telegram in the British Virgin Islands and the letters rogatory (letters of request) sent by the Spanish court to the Virgin Islands seeking judicial assistance.

    “For the successful completion of the investigation, it is necessary to carry out the proceedings contained in the rogatory commission sent to the Virgin Islands, but so far there has been no news of compliance with the aforementioned instrument of cooperation,” the order reads.

    “Numerous diligence of investigation will be pending depending on the information that will be provided by the execution of the above-mentioned international rogatory commission. Therefore, the period of investigation should be extended for six months in order to carry out the pending proceedings.”

    Information Required For a Private Criminal Prosecution

    The order reveals that non-compliance with the international rogatory commission sent by the Judge to the Virgin Islands on July 28, 2023, has effectively brought the investigation to a halt. The information sought by Judge Pedraz is required to support a private criminal prosecution brought by the media companies, not the state.

    Private prosecutions in criminal cases are favored by sports rightsholders in the UK; as the alleged victim, rightsholders conduct their own investigations, harvest their own evidence, then act as the prosecution in the same case. There are no restrictions on the amount of legal firepower they’re permitted to deploy, meaning that in most cases defendants face the best lawyers money can buy.

    Lack of Cooperation from Virgin Islands

    Whether this aspect of the request is known to Telegram isn’t clear from the order. Indeed, the order makes no comment on whether Virgin Islands authorities even passed on the request, raising the question of what Telegram knows, or even if it knows anything at all.

    “Telegram was requested to inform about certain technical data that would allow the identification of the holders of the accounts used for the infringement of the intellectual property rights of the entities appearing as Private Prosecutor. The lack of collaboration of the authorities of the Virgin Islands, who are only requested to communicate with the managers of the social network TELEGRAM, leads to the adoption of the precautionary measures requested by the private prosecutors,” the order reads.

    “This repeated commission of the crime against intellectual property rights justifies the adoption of the requested precautionary measures, since the principles of necessity, suitability, and proportionality are met. The requested precautionary measures are the only possible measures in view of the lack of collaboration of the Virgin Islands authorities. There is no other type of measure that could stop the reiteration of the facts denounced.”

    From this statement it’s clear that the rightsholders requested a complete block of Telegram in Spain and the Judge considered that a reasonable request.

    Blocking Millions of Telegram Users is Acceptable

    “The measure is suitable because its execution could put an end to the infringement of intellectual property rights denounced to prevent access through the TELEGRAM network to the contents of the aforementioned rights. The measure is proportional to the seriousness of the conduct denounced and in this analysis is related to the necessity of the measure,” the order continues, with the legal justification (translated from Spanish) as presented below.

    The ISPs instructed to carry out the blocks within three hours of receiving the order are: Vodafone España, Orange Espagne, Orange España Virtual, MASMOVIL IBERCOM, Digi Spain Telecom, Telefónica España, Telefónica Móviles España, AVATEL TELECOM, ADAMO TELECOM IBERIA, AIRE NETWORKS DEL MEDITERRÁNEO, and PROCONO .

    The Telegram assets to be blocked are: Telegram Web (https://web.telegram.org/k/), Telegram Messenger (https://telegram.org/), and Telegram Apps for Android and iOS. It appears the rightsholders were well-prepared since they mandate the following:

    Apps: disable and block the connection [IP addresses, protocols, ports and any other connection element], to suspend the operation of the ‘Telegram’ application (app) of the connections from Smartphone and/or Tablet of the Operators’ users who have the “Telegram” “app” installed on their devices, operated from any operating system (Android, iOs).

    Blocking Telegram or Denying Access to Non-Infringing Users

    Judge Pedraz frames these measures as the blocking of Telegram but the mechanism chosen clearly shows that Telegram can still reach Spanish ISPs but the blocks they’re required to put in place prevent Telegram users from accessing the platform. That’s especially the case in respect of the apps where interference is directed towards functionality of apps on users’ devices.

    While some may dismiss this as semantics on the basis that blocking pirate sites operates similarly, Telegram is not a pirate site and most Spanish users of Telegram are not pirates.

    Whereas it might be reasonable to assert that most Spanish visitors to The Pirate Bay do so to infringe and therefore have no legal basis to visit the site, most visitors to Telegram do not visit the platform to infringe. Even of those that do, only a tiny minority will visit the channels in question. Nevertheless, millions of innocent Telegram users will soon be prevented from going about their entirely legal business.

    That raises the fundamental question of the nature of the scales used to weigh the competing interests in this case and, more fundamentally, who is actually being punished here; Telegram as claimed, or non-infringing Spanish users?

    Three Days to Appeal, Including Weekend

    “An appeal for reform may be filed against this order, within a period of three days, before this Central Preliminary Examining Court, and/or, if applicable, an appeal, in a single effect, before the Criminal Chamber of the National High Court,” the order concludes.

    As far as we’re aware there’s no recent news to indicate an appeal. These types of cases have traditionally seen ISPs step in but since the major ISPs in Spain are either rightsholders in their own right or have a commercial interest in blocking going ahead, an appeal from that direction seems unlikely.

    We’re currently unaware of any comment from Telegram but given the scale of the response versus the problem to be solved, this matter is likely to attract international attention and scrutiny. Common wisdom suggests that when an adversary is making a mistake, he should be allowed to do so without being interrupted, so we may hear from Telegram in due course.

    Update: March 25, 2024 : Amid a huge backlash in Spain, including criticism of the decision and the government by opposition parties, the blocking order has been suspended. National Court Judge Santiago Pedraz has requested a report from the General Information Commissioner’s Office (Comisaría General de Información) to provide data on the characteristics of Telegram and an assessment of the impact the measure could have if implemented.

    A statement from the Podomos party criticized the government for failing to act in the face of “genuine censorship” at the hands of the “oligopoly of complainant communication companies” whose interests are “taking precedence” over the “freedoms of many citizens.”

    Update: Official statement from the communications office of the National Court (translated from Spanish)

    The judge of the National Court Santiago Pedraz issued an order this Monday in which he agreed, prior to the temporary suspension of the resources associated with Telegram, to request a report from the General Information Commissioner’s Office on the Telegram platform. The magistrate requests information about its characteristics as well as the impact that the temporary suspension, that he agreed to in an order last Friday and whose execution remains suspended, may have on users.

    In the aforementioned order, the magistrate ordered the telecommunications and Internet access operators to temporarily suspend Telegram in the framework of a procedure against the owners of various channels created on the social network, for continued violations of intellectual property rights.

    In his resolution, Pedraz explained that the measure has legal support contemplated in article 13.2 of the LECrim: “In the investigation of crimes committed through the internet, telephone or any other information or communication technology, the court may agree, as first steps, ex officio or at the request of a party, precautionary measures consisting of the provisional removal of illicit content, the provisional interruption of the services offered by said content, or the provisional blocking of both when they are located in a foreign country.”

    From: TF , for the latest news on copyright battles, piracy and more.

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      DoodStream: Hollywood, Netflix, Amazon & Apple Sue “Rogue Cyberlocker”

      news.movim.eu / TorrentFreak · Sunday, 24 March - 20:28 · 4 minutes

    doodstream The Motion Picture Association’s interest in file-hosting platform DoodStream first came to light in a submission to the USTR in October 2022 .

    The MPA described DoodStream as a video hosting service offering free storage and premium services including priority encoding and an ad-free experience. Videos uploaded to the platform were embedded on many other streaming sites, the MPA reported, and as a result, traffic was booming.

    The MPA estimated the site received 82.7 million visits in August 2022, while using the services of DDoS-Guard in Russia and OVH in France.

    “DoodStream operates a partner program that offers financial remuneration, either per download or stream depending on the country of origin,” the MPA informed the USTR in its ‘notorious markets’ submission.

    DoodStream rates doodstream-partner

    A year later in a new submission to the USTR, the MPA described DoodStream as a ‘top priority’ for its anti-piracy efforts.

    DoodStream in the Spotlight

    In its October 2023 submission to the USTR’s notorious markets report, the MPA’s cyberlocker and video streaming category listed DoodStream front and center as the priority problem. The MPA still believed the site was operating from OVH in France but also listed other companies as hosts, including Online S.A.S., Hetzner Online GmbH, and Interkvm Host10 SRL.

    The MPA noted that the Delhi High Court had ordered ISPs to block DoodStream in 2023, a measure also handed down by a French court during the same year. The Paris court noted that the site “encouraged the infringement of copyright and related rights by setting up tools specifically designed for the mass and illicit sharing of protected content.”

    “The operators are located in India,” the MPA informed the USTR.

    Entertainment Giants Team Up Against DoodStream

    Two months later, Karyn Temple, Senior Executive Vice President and MPA Global General Counsel referenced DoodStream before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet ( pdf ) . DoodStream continued, business as usual, until now.

    In a lawsuit being heard at the High Court of Delhi, eight plaintiffs are listed as follows: Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc., Amazon Content Services LLC, Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc., Disney Enterprises, Inc., Netflix US, LLC, Paramount Pictures Corporation, Universal City Studios Productions LLP and Apple Video Programming.

    A total of six defendants include the domains doodstream.com, doodstream.co, dood.stream and their underlying websites (defendants 1-3), plus a server (defendant 4) used by defendants 1 to 3 which allegedly facilitates storing and dissemination of illegal content. Defendants 5 and 6, neither of whom have been named, are reportedly site operators.

    According to counsel for the plaintiffs, “rogue cyberlocker websites provide an infrastructure specifically designed to incentivize hosting, uploading, storing, sharing, streaming, and authorize the downloading of copyrighted material without obtaining authorization from the plaintiffs.

    Claims Against The DoodStream Defendants

    The plaintiffs allege that a massive amount of infringing content to which they have exclusive rights, is uploaded by users on the defendants’ websites.

    “Counsel for plaintiffs say the studios approached defendants upon noticing this infringing content, first in June, 2023, after they discovered the identity as to who was operating these websites, who happen to be individuals based in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, India, arrayed as defendants nos. 5 and 6,” an order from the court reads.

    “This, according to plaintiffs’ counsel, was achieved after some effort since the WHOIS details of defendant nos. 1 to 3 were masked.”

    The court notes that the plaintiffs continuously pursued the defendants to take the infringing content down. However, despite promises to comply, a mechanism built in to the site simply generated new links whenever content was supposedly removed.

    “Further, uploaded content would also generate a link which could be disseminated by the uploader and therefore, potentially could be disseminated through parallel websites. Thus, as per counsel for plaintiffs, the takedown itself was elusive and of no effect, since the system immediately permitted generation of a new link.”

    The court notes that through this mechanism, DoodStream becomes a “hydra-headed monster” that is difficult to police through takedowns alone.

    Plaintiffs Want DoodStream Shut Down

    The plaintiffs submit that DoodStream should either be comprehensively blocked or a Local Commissioner should be appointed to take over the administration of the sites. However, counsel for the defendants told the court that their clients are prepared to “exhaustively and completely” remove the plaintiffs’ content from the platform.

    Due to the link generation mechanism in operation on the site, the plaintiffs expressed concern that content taken down would nnot stay down. The defendants offered assurances that they would “change the features on their websites’ architecture” to ensure that once the process of takedown is complete, regeneration would not be allowed.

    In view of this undertaking, the court ordered ( pdf ) all content belonging to the plaintiffs to be taken down within 24 hours, and ordered the defendants to hire a chartered accountant to disclose all revenue generated by the sites since their launch.

    The case is listed for hearing on April 8, 2024.

    From: TF , for the latest news on copyright battles, piracy and more.

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      ISP’s Landmark Piracy Liability Case Doesn’t Get a Do-Over in Appeals Court

      news.movim.eu / TorrentFreak · Wednesday, 20 March - 11:52 · 2 minutes

    pirate flags Late 2019, Internet provider Cox Communications lost its legal battle against a group of major record labels, including Sony and Universal.

    Following a two-week trial, a Virginia jury held Cox liable for its pirating subscribers. The ISP failed to disconnect repeat infringers and was ordered to pay $1 billion in damages .

    That wasn’t the end of it. Following the initial verdict Cox launched several challenges, including an appeal that delivered a mixed result earlier this year. The Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit kept the contributory copyright infringement ruling intact but reversed a finding of vicarious copyright infringement.

    The latter was good news for the ISP, especially since the appeals court concluded that the scale of the damages award should be redetermined in the district court.

    Both Parties Request a Rehearing

    Neither Cox nor the labels were satisfied by this outcome so both requested a rehearing . The music companies want the $1 billion damages award to remain and noted that Cox already waived its right to appeal. Cox, in turn, would like the contributory copyright infringement ruling to be reversed.

    The ISP argued that the landmark liability ruling results in more terminations of Internet connections, based on piracy accusations from third parties. This shapes a “draconian regime” that threatens the Internet connectivity of millions of people.

    Cox’s request received support from several amici, including the American Library Association, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and Public Knowledge. The latter detailed the stakes in a blog post recently, stressing that courts shouldn’t turn ISPs into the Internet police.

    “The root of the problem is that the court failed to recognize that ISPs are infrastructure providers, not content police. Like other common carriers such as phone companies, broadband providers should not be liable for how their subscribers use their services,” Public Knowledge wrote .

    “In today’s world, where broadband is essential infrastructure more akin to electricity or water than a luxury, an ISP’s role is to provide reliable internet access – not to work on behalf of the music industry. We urge the Fourth Circuit to rehear this case en banc and correct its erroneous decision on contributory liability.”

    Request Denied

    Despite fierce opposition from both sides, the court of appeals won’t reconsider its earlier decision. A few hours ago, it ruled on the rehearing requests, denying both without providing further detail.

    “The court denies the petition for rehearing en banc and the petition for rehearing and rehearing en banc. No judge requested a poll […] on the petition for rehearing en banc,” the order reads.

    denied

    This means that Cox will remain contributorily liable for the pirating activities of its users. Given what’s at stake, it wouldn’t be a surprise if this matter eventually ends up at the Supreme Court.

    The $1 billion damages award remains vacated and a new trial will have to determine the scale of the damages, taking into account that Cox is no longer liable for vicarious copyright infringement.

    From: TF , for the latest news on copyright battles, piracy and more.

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      Microsoft offers legal protection for AI copyright infringement challenges

      news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Friday, 8 September, 2023 - 22:40

    A man in an armor helmet sitting at a desk with a protective glowing field around him.

    Enlarge (credit: Getty Images / Benj Edwards )

    On Thursday, Microsoft announced that it will provide legal protection for customers who are sued for copyright infringement over content generated by the company's AI systems. This new policy, called the Copilot Copyright Commitment, is an expansion of Microsoft's existing intellectual property indemnification coverage, Reuters reports .

    Microsoft's announcement comes as generative AI tools like ChatGPT have raised concerns about reproducing copyrighted material without proper attribution. Microsoft has heavily invested in AI through products like GitHub Copilot and Bing Chat that can generate original code, text, and images on demand. Its AI models have gained these capabilities by scraping publicly available data off of the Internet without seeking express permission from copyright holders.

    By offering legal protection, Microsoft aims to give customers confidence in deploying its AI systems without worrying about potential copyright issues. The policy covers damages and legal fees, providing customers with an added layer of protection as generative AI sees rapid adoption across the tech industry.

    Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments