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President Signs Law Creating Copyright Czar 555

I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes "President Bush has signed the EIPRA (AKA the PRO-IP Act) and created a cabinet-level post of 'Copyright Czar,' on par with the current 'Drug Czar,' in spite of prior misgivings about the bill. They did at least get rid of provisions that would have had the DOJ take over the RIAA's unpopular litigation campaign. Still, the final legislation (PDF) creates new classes of felony criminal copyright infringement, adds civil forfeiture provisions that incorporate by reference parts of the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970, and directs the Copyright Czar to lobby foreign governments to adopt stronger IP laws. At this point, our best hope would appear to be to hope that someone sensible like Laurence Lessig or William Patry gets appointed."
The Almighty Buck

eBay To Disallow Checks and Money Orders In US 412

Sir_Kurt writes "In eBay's latest FAQ, they explain that sellers (for the good of the buyers) will no longer be allowed to accept checks or money orders as payment. They can take electronic payments only. So, will Google Checkout, Checkout by Amazon or Amazon Flexible Payment be allowed? No, says eBay: 'Google's and Amazon's products and services compete with eBay on a number of levels, so we are not going to allow them on eBay.' Options are limited to PayPal, ProPay, direct credit payments to the seller, and 'payment upon pickup.' But remember, this is for our own good!" eBay ran into trouble earlier this year for trying to restrict payment options.

Senate Judiciary Committee Approves Copyright Cops 483

I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes "The Senate Judiciary Committee has approved the EIPA (the Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights Act of 2008), which would create copyright cops. And these cops would take over the RIAA's War on Sharing by filing civil lawsuits and using civil forfeiture laws to take any and all computers engaged in infringement. Worse, they would even seize computers (such as servers or database farms) that house the data of innocent people, and these people would not have any right to get their data back. At best the 'virtual bystanders' who happened to have data on a computer used for infringement could get a protective order saying that no one should go rummaging through their stuff. Perhaps the only good thing in the bill is that they've excluded DMCA circumvention from the list of grounds for seizure. So while the Senators believe this is needed to combat foreign copyright infringement cartels, it's entirely likely that innocent people will be harmed by this law."
The Courts

J. K. Rowling Wins $6,750 In Infringement Case 521

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "J. K. Rowling didn't make enough money on Harry Potter, so she had to make sure that the 'Harry Potter Lexicon' was shut down. After a trial in Manhattan in Warner Bros. v. RDR Books, she won, getting the judge to agree with her (and her friends at Warner Bros. Entertainment) that the 'Lexicon' did not qualify for fair use protection. In a 68-page decision (PDF) the judge concluded that the Lexicon did a little too much 'verbatim copying,' competed with Ms. Rowling's planned encyclopedia, and might compete with her exploitation of songs and poems from the Harry Potter books, although she never made any such claim in presenting her evidence. The judge awarded her $6,750 and granted her an injunction that would prevent the 'Lexicon' from seeing the light of day." Groklaw has an exhaustive discussion of the judgement.

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