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The Media

RIAA Chief Whines That SOPA Opponents Were "Unfair" 525

First time submitter shoutingloudly writes "In a NY Times op-ed today, RIAA chief Cary H. Sherman accuses the opponents of SOPA of having engaged in shady rhetorical tactics. He (wrongly) accuses opponents such as Wikipedia and Google of having disseminated misinformation about the bills. He lashes out at the use of the term 'censorship,' which he calls a 'loaded and inflammatory term.' Most Slashdot readers will get the many unintentional jokes in this inaccurate, hypocritical screed by one of the leaders of the misinformation-and-inflammatory-rhetoric-wielding content industry lobby." A gem: "As it happens, the television networks that actively supported SOPA and PIPA didn’t take advantage of their broadcast credibility to press their case. That’s partly because 'old media' draws a line between 'news' and 'editorial.' Apparently, Wikipedia and Google don’t recognize the ethical boundary between the neutral reporting of information and the presentation of editorial opinion as fact."

Universal Uses DMCA To Get Bad Lip Reading Parody Taken Down 298

Joren writes "Bad Lip Reading is an independent producer known for anonymously parodying music and political videos by redubbing them with his humorous attempts at lip-reading, such as Everybody Poops (Black Eyed Peas) and Gang Fight (Rebecca Black). According to an interview in Rolling Stone, he creates entirely new music from scratch consisting of his bad lip readings, and then sets them to the original video, often altering the video for humorous effect and always posting a link to the original off which it is based. Although his efforts have won the respect of parody targets Michael Bublé and Michelle Bachman, not everyone has been pleased. Two days ago, Universal Music Group succeeded in getting his parody Dirty Spaceman taken down from YouTube, and despite BLR's efforts to appeal, in his words, 'UMG essentially said "We don't care if you think it's fair use, we want it down."' And YouTube killed it. So does this meet the definition of parody as a form of fair use? And if so, what recourse if any is available for artists who are caught in this situation?"

RIAA Math: Sell 1 Million Albums, Still Owe $500k 355

An anonymous reader writes "For all the complaints from the RIAA about 'pirates,' who are the real pirates in this scenario? Through a variety of contractual tricks, it's nearly impossible for artists signed to major labels to get paid. The article and video detail how an artist who thinks he's getting a 10% royalty is actually getting closer to 2.5% through various tricks placed in the contract. The labels, then, end up with 97.5% of the gross revenue, and anything they 'spend' on the artist continues to come out of the royalties, not the labels' cut."

IMSLP Taken Down By UK Publishers Group 117

gacl writes "According to a post at the IMSLP Journal, the IMSLP, the largest site on the 'net providing public domain sheet music, has been taken down yet again. The UK-based Music Publisher's Association has sent GoDaddy, the IMSLP's domain registrar, a DMCA takedown notice. The IMSLP argues that the notice is bogus. More detailed discussions on the matter can be found at the IMSLP Forums."

Former Senator Chris Dodd Set To Head MPAA 181

Hugh Pickens writes writes "The Hill reports that former Democratic Senator Chris Dodd of Connecticut is set to become the new chairman of the Motion Picture Association of America, taking over the $1.2 million position and the job of coordinating the policy goals of the various member studios. Interim CEO and president Bob Pisano says the organization's unwavering focus on its top priority will remain: increasing the federal government's efforts to stop online film piracy. The MPAA is optimistic about its legislative prospects this Congress, thanks to the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act, which passed the Senate Judiciary Committee (headed by Dodd's close friend Senator Patrick Leahy) last year before stalling in the full Senate. The bipartisan bill would make it easier for the Justice Department to shut down websites that traffic pirated music, movies and counterfeit goods. While a member of the Senate, Dodd was an adamant opponent of the FISA bill that granted retroactive immunity to telecoms who engaged in warrantless wiretapping."

CRIA Files Massive Canadian Suit Against IsoHunt 160

An anonymous reader writes "After claiming for years that Canada has lax copyright laws that can't deal with downloading, 26 record labels have secretly filed a massive lawsuit against isoHunt. The suit was filed three weeks before Canada introduced the Canadian DMCA, yet the industry did not disclose the suit and regularly claimed it was powerless to do anything about the site."

Obama Nominates RIAA Lawyer For Solicitor General 463

Xiph1980 writes "President Barack Obama on Monday nominated former Recording Industry Association of America lawyer Donald Verrilli Jr. to serve as the nation's solicitor general. The solicitor general is charged with defending the government before the Supreme Court, and files friend-of-the court briefs in cases in which the government believes there is a significant legal issue. The office also determines which cases it would bring to the Supreme Court for review. Verrilli is best known for leading the recording industry's legal charge against music- and movie-sharing site Grokster. That 2003 case ultimately led to Grokster's demise when the US Supreme Court sided with the RIAA's verdict."

RIAA Threatens ICANN Over Music-Themed gTLD Standards 174

think_nix writes "A letter to ICANN (PDF) from Victoria Sheckler, Deputy General Counsel for the RIAA, demands modifications to the future implementation of the .music gTLD, threatening to 'escalate the issue' if certain concerns about 'wide scale copyright and trademark infringement' are not addressed by ICANN in compliance with the RIAA. 'Under the current proposed standard, we fear that we will have no realistic ability to object if a pirate chooses to hijack a music themed gTLD to enable wide scale copyright infringement of our works,' Sheckler said."

DHS Seized Domains Based On Bad Evidence 235

An anonymous reader writes "Back over Thanksgiving, the Department of Homeland Security's Immigration and Customs Enforcement unit (ICE) made a lot of news by seizing over 80 domain names. While many of these involved sites that sold counterfeit products, five of the domains involved copyright issues. Four of them involved hiphop-related blogs — including ones that hiphop stars like Kanye West and others used to promote their own works, and the last one was a meta search engine that simply aggregated other search engines. Weeks went by without the owners of those sites even being told why their domains were seized, but the affidavit for the seizure of those five sites has recently come out, and it's full of all sorts of problems. Not only was it put together by a recent college graduate, who claimed that merely linking to news and blog posts about file sharing constituted evidence of copyright infringement, it listed as evidence of infringement songs that labels specifically sent these blogs to promote. Also, what becomes clear is that the MPAA was instrumental in 'guiding' ICE's rookie agent in going after these sites, as that appeared to be the only outside expertise relied on in determining if these sites should be seized."
The Almighty Buck

RIAA Paid $16M+ In Legal Fees To Collect $391K 387

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "In a rare outburst of subjectivity, I commenced my blog post 'Ha ha ha ha ha' when reporting that, based upon the RIAA's disclosure form for 2008, it had paid its lawyers more than $16,000,000 to recover $391,000. If they were doing it to 'send a message,' the messages have been received loud & clear: (1) the big four record labels are managed by idiots; (2) the RIAA's law firms have as much compassion for their client as they do for the lawsuit victims; (3) suing end users, or alleged end users, is a losing game. I don't know why begrudges the RIAA's boss his big compensation; he did a good job... for the lawyers."
The Courts

Federal Court Issues Permanent Injunction For Isohunt 212

suraj.sun writes with this excerpt from NewTeeVee: "Judge Stephen Wilson of the US District Court of California, Southern District, issued a permanent injunction (PDF) against the popular torrent site Isohunt yesterday, forcing the site and its owner Garry Fung to immediately prevent access to virtually all Hollywood movies. The injunction theoretically leaves the door open for the site to deploy a strict filtering system, but its terms are so broad that Isohunt has little choice but to shut down or at the very least block all US visitors. ... The verdict states that they have to cease 'hosting, indexing, linking to, or otherwise providing access to any (torrent) or similar files' that can be used to download the studios' movies and TV shows. Studios have to supply Isohunt with a list of titles of works they own, and Isohunt has to start blocking those torrents within 24 hours."
The Courts

Swedish Court Rules ISP Must Reveal OpenBitTorrent Operator's Identity 230

2phar writes "An ISP must hand over the identity of the operator behind OpenBitTorrent, a court in Sweden ruled [Wednesday]. The ISP must now reveal the identity of its customer, operator of probably the world's largest torrent tracker, to Hollywood movie companies or face a hefty fine. 'OpenBitTorrent is used for file sharing, and we suspect that it is the Pirate Bay tracker with a new name. It is added by default on all of the torrent tracker files on Pirate Bay,' Hollywood lawyer Monique Wadsted said in an earlier comment. The ruling covers the customer behind the IP addresses and and/or any other IP addresses in Portlane's entire range ( – which have been allocated to since August 28, 2009."

Court Allows Unmasking of P2P Downloaders 244

bricko writes "A federal appeals court says copyright-infringing downloaders can now be outed. If you use or have used P2P, this may interest you. From Wired: 'The RIAA detected what it claimed to be infringing activity on an IP address the university linked to the student. The unidentified student moved to quash a federal judge’s order that the university forward the student’s identity to the RIAA. The student asserted a First Amendment right of privacy on the Internet, in addition to a fair-use right to the six music tracks in question. The appeals court ruled in the RIAA’s favor (PDF) after balancing a constitutional right to remain anonymous against a copyright owner’s right to disclosure of the identity of a possible “trespasser of its intellectual property interest."'"

Obama Backs MPAA, RIAA, and ACTA 703

boarder8925 writes "In a move sure to surprise no one, Obama has come out on the side of the MPAA/RIAA and has backed the ACTA: 'We're going to aggressively protect our intellectual property,' Obama said in his speech, 'Our single greatest asset is the innovation and the ingenuity and creativity of the American people [...] It is essential to our prosperity and it will only become more so in this century. But it's only a competitive advantage if our companies know that someone else can't just steal that idea and duplicate it with cheaper inputs and labor.'"
Open Source

Use Open Source? Then You're a Pirate! 650

superapecommando writes "There's a fantastic little story in the Guardian today that says a US lobby group is trying to get the US government to consider open source as the equivalent to piracy. The International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA), an umbrella group for American publishing, software, film, television and music associations, has asked the US Trade Representative (USTR) to consider countries like Indonesia, Brazil, and India for its 'Special 301 watchlist' because they encourage the use of open source software. A Special 301, according to Guardian's Bobbie Johnson is: 'a report that examines the "adequacy and effectiveness of intellectual property rights" around the planet — effectively the list of countries that the US government considers enemies of capitalism. It often gets wheeled out as a form of trading pressure — often around pharmaceuticals and counterfeited goods — to try and force governments to change their behaviors.'"

The best way to avoid responsibility is to say, "I've got responsibilities."