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EU

Key Music Industry Lawyer Named EU Copyright Chief 74

halfEvilTech writes "The European Union's new point person on copyright policy won't take up her post until mid-April, but she's already stirring up controversy. That's because Maria Martin-Prat spent years directing 'global legal policy' for IFPI, the global recording industry's London-based trade group, before moving back into government. The appointment raises new questions about the past private-sector work of government officials, especially those crafting policy or issuing legal judgments on the same issues they once lobbied for."
Government

DoJ Defends $1.92 Million RIAA Verdict 386

Death Metal points out a CNet report saying that the Justice Department has come out in favor of the $1.92 million verdict awarded to the RIAA in the Jammie Thomas-Rasset case. Their support came in the form of a legal brief filed on Friday, which notes, "Congress took into account the need to deter the millions of users of new media from infringing copyrights in an environment where many violators believe that they will go unnoticed." It also says, "The Copyright Act's statutory damages provision serves both to compensate and deter. Congress established a scheme to allow copyright holders to elect to receive statutory damages for copyright infringement instead of actual damages and profits because of the difficulty of calculating and proving actual damages."
The Courts

Pirate Bay Retrial Denied, Judge Declared Unbiased 331

bonch writes "A Swedish court has ruled that the judge in the PirateBay trial is unbiased and there will be no retrial. Stockholm District Court defended the judge's membership in copyright organizations as a necessity to 'keep up with developments in the field' and that merely endorsing the idea of copyright law was not grounds for a mistrial. The defendants must now rely on the appeal process, while one defendant has written on his Twitter account that the PirateBay will also be suing Sweden for human rights violations."
Government

Submission + - Pirate Party Being Sabotaged in EU Elections

JoonasD6 writes: "Sweden's Pirate Party, Piratpartiet, is apparently facing sabotage in its first European Parliament elections. In his blog, Rick Falkvinge mentions reports coming that officials are refusing to accept voting ballots for Piratpartiet. It was even caught on film (in Swedish). The antagonists seem to be the members of the current parties in the Swedish parliament. The pirate movement sure seems to put the governmental and legal systems through a stress test here. Will the pirates end up being more virtuous than the current statesmen?"
The Courts

Oregon Judge Says RIAA Made 'Honest Mistake,' Allows Subpoena 175

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "In Arista v. Does 1-17, the RIAA's case targeting students at the University of Oregon, the Oregon Attorney General's motion to quash the RIAA's subpoena — pending for about a year — has reached a perplexing conclusion. The Court agreed with the University that the subpoena, as worded, imposed an undue burden on the University by requiring it to produce 'sufficient information to identify alleged infringers,' which would have required the University to 'conduct an investigation,' but then allowed the RIAA to subpoena the identities of 'persons associated by dorm room occupancy or username with the 17 IP addresses listed' even though those people may be completely innocent. In his 8-page decision (PDF), the Judge also 'presumed' the RIAA lawyers' misrepresentations were an 'honest mistake,' made no reference at all to the fact, pointed out by the Attorney General, that the RIAA investigators (Safenet, formerly MediaSentry) were not licensed, rejected all of the AG's privacy arguments under both state and federal law, and rejected the AG's request for discovery into the RIAA's investigative tactics."
Republicans

Not All the DOJ Missing Emails Are Missing 656

Hylas sends us to Democracy Now for a newscast on the missing emails, an interview with investigative journalist Greg Palast. Here's Palast talking about the fired US attorney from New Mexico, David Iglesias: "Iglesias believes the real reasons for the firings are in what are called the missing emails, emails sent by the [White House political advisor Karl] Rove team using Republican Party campaign computers, which Rove claims can't be retrieved. But not all the missing emails are missing. We have 500 of them. Apparently the Rove team misaddressed their emails, and late one night they all ended up in our inboxes in our offices in New York City." This story has had zero play in the US media; it's been being carried on the BBC.
Communications

Thousands of White House E-mails Deleted 799

kidcharles writes "The Washington Post reports that in the midst of an investigation by the U.S. Congress into the firing of eight U.S. Attorneys by the Department of Justice, numerous White House e-mails have been lost. Among them are communications from presidential adviser Karl Rove. Parallels are being drawn with the infamous '18 minutes' missing from the Nixon Watergate tapes. Also at issue is the use of Republican National Committee e-mail domains (such as gwb43.com and georgewbush.com) rather than the official White House domain. This is a violation of the Presidential Records Act."
Privacy

Widespread Spying Preceded '04 GOP Convention 471

Frosty Piss alerts us to a story in the New York Times reporting on details that are emerging of a far-flung spying operation lasting up to a year leading up to the 2004 Republican National Convention. The New York Police Department mounted a spy campaign reaching well beyond the state of New York. For at least a year before the convention, teams of undercover New York police officers traveled to cities across the US, Canada, and Europe to conduct covert observations of people who planned to protest at the convention. Across the country undercover officers attended meetings of political groups, posing as sympathizers or fellow activists. In at least some cases, intelligence on what appeared to be lawful activity was shared with other police departments. Outlines of the pre-convention operations are emerging from records in federal lawsuits brought over mass arrests during the convention.
Businesses

Halliburton Moving HQ To Dubai 555

theodp writes "Much-maligned defense contractor Halliburton is moving its corporate headquarters from Houston to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. Dubai's friendly tax laws will add to Halliburton's bottom line. Last year the company earned $2.3B in profits. Sen. Patrick Leahy called the company's move 'corporate greed at its worst.' Halliburton, once headed by VP Dick Cheney, has been awarded contracts valued at an estimated $25.7B for its work in Iraq."

How to Hack the Vote and Steal the Election 587

divisionbyzero writes "Many people have asked for it so that the government will have to deal with it. So here it is: a guide to stealing an election that uses electronic voting machines written by Jon Stokes over at Arstechnica. From the article: "In all this time, I've yet to find a good way to convey to the non-technical public how well and truly screwed up we presently are, six years after the Florida recount. So now it's time to hit the panic button: In this article, I'm going to show you how to steal an election.""

FCC Orders Anti-Monopoly Report Destroyed 273

jagger writes "According to an article on MSNBC a report, written by two economists in the FCC's Media Bureau, showed local ownership of television stations adds almost five and one-half minutes of total news to broadcasts and more than three minutes of 'on-location' news. The conclusion is at odds with FCC arguments made when it voted in 2003 to increase the number of television stations a company could own in a single market. Senior managers at the agency ordered that 'every last piece' of the report be destroyed."

Canadian Gov't Gives Big Bucks to Copyright Lobby 173

5degreez writes "The Toronto Star is reporting that the Canadian government is providing hundreds of thousands of dollars to a copyright lobby group that claims that education groups are 'devoted to abolishing creators' rights on the Internet.' Documents obtained under the Access to Information Act by Prof Michael Geist reveal that government officials recognized that the funding established a bad precedent, yet they still plan to pay big bucks until 2008."

U.S. Joins Hollywood in War on Piracy 358

Section_Ei8ht writes to mention a Washington Post article about a new joint initiative between the U.S. government and the entertainment industry. The government will now be aiding efforts abroad to stop copyright infringement. They cite the recent Pirate Bay fiasco, as well as the problems Russia is having with the WTO as a result of their thriving IP black market. From the article: "The intellectual property industry and law enforcement officials estimate U.S. companies lose as much as $250 billion per year to Internet pirates, who swap digital copies of 'The DaVinci Code,' Chamillionaire's new album and the latest Grand Theft Auto video game for free."

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