Obama administration sides with RIAA, supports $150,000 fine per music track

David Kravets, Threat Level/Wired

The Obama administration for the first time is weighing in on a Recording Industry Association of America file sharing lawsuit and is supporting hefty awards of as much as $150,000 per purloined music track.

The government said the damages range of $750 to $150,000 per violation of the Copyright Act was warranted.

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Pirate Bay: a guilty verdict is an attack on the Internet

Nate Anderson, Ars Technica

The Pirate Bay trial wrapped up today in Sweden as the defendants gave their closing statements; the verdict is currently scheduled for April 17th. In the meantime, "I think we're going to go party," said defendant Peter Sunde Kolmisoppi in a brief press conference after the trial.

The Pirate Bay website was down yesterday after power failures at one of its data centers, but defendant Fredrik Neij brought it back online today from within the court, even as the four lawyers stood one by one to defend the legality of the site.

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Data retention bills would benefit copyright holders

Declan McCullagh, CNet

If a new federal proposal announced this week requiring Internet providers and Wi-Fi access points to keep records on users for two years becomes law, police would not be the only ones to benefit.

So would individuals and companies bringing civil lawsuits, including the Recording Industry Association of America and other large copyright holders, many of which have lobbied for similar data retention laws in other countries.

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Obama administration shares ACTA copyright treaty info with select insiders

Jamie Love, Knowlege Ecology International

On November 4-6, 2009, the next round of negotiations for the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Negotiations (ACTA) will take place in Seoul, Korea. The following is another strange chapter in the secrecy surrounding this negotiation.


Since ACTA was first announced, KEI has pressed the negotiating governments to provide more transparency, including recently, for example

(For more examples, search the the kei web page for acta and secret).

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FCC puts the MPAA on hold

Jim Healey, LA Times

Looks like Hollywood isn't going to unleash selectable output control, a controversial anti-piracy technique, any time soon.

The MPAA had sought the Federal Communications Commission's permission to use selectable output control on a new type of service to be offered by cable and satellite TV operators: movies made available on-demand shortly after they debuted in theaters, well before they were released on DVD. Studios could use the new technique to turn off the analog outputs on cable or satellite receivers, allowing the movies to be transmitted only through encrypted digital outputs. Closing the so-called "analog hole" would make it harder for people to make pristine digital copies of the movie. But it would also prevent consumers who have older TV sets, which weren't equipped with encrypted digital inputs (including early HDTV models), from taking advantage of the new service.

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Recording industry drops filesharing lawsuits in favor of ISP deals

SARAH MCBRIDE and ETHAN SMITH, Wall Street Journal

After years of suing thousands of people for allegedly stealing music via the Internet, the recording industry is set to drop its legal assault as it searches for more effective ways to combat online music piracy.

The decision represents an abrupt shift of strategy for the industry, which has opened legal proceedings against about 35,000 people since 2003. Critics say the legal offensive ultimately did little to stem the tide of illegally downloaded music. And it created a public-relations disaster for the industry, whose lawsuits targeted, among others, several single mothers, a dead person and a 13-year-old girl.

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FCC's Tate wants DRM, ISP filtering, and a new job

Nate Anderson, Ars Technica

Five commissioners head the Federal Communications Commission. Most of its decisions remain arcane and of interest only to specialists, but this year alone, the Commission has taken assertive steps against certain P2P throttling techniques and in favor of white space devices in high-profile cases have a direct impact on your end-user Internet experience. So, when one of the five commissioners gives a speech (pdf) in which DRM is praised as "very effective," ISP filtering is portrayed as a Great Leap Forward, and a government partnership with the RIAA to "educate" schoolkids is promoted, it matters. Fortunately, however, it won't matter for too much longer.

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Music industry future may relent on copy-protected downloads

Stifled by copyright, McCain asks YouTube to consider Fair Use

The media's job is to interest the public in the public interest. -John Dewey