Anti-piracy action: a win for social networks in EU; book file-sharing sites targeted; Megaupload profile

The anti-piracy battle continues to rage. Thousands have taken to the streets against the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement in Europe. Yesterday, there were reports that Bulgaria and the Netherlands are refusing to sign ACTA, an international pact that aims to standardize anti-piracy regulations. Among its critics’ complaints: It would limit online freedom and innovation, and it was negotiated in secret. In the United States, the Justice Department is reportedly looking to hire more prosecutors to pursue intellectual-property cases as the entertainment industry pressures the government to help it fight piracy. Here are some developments in the ongoing battle against copyright infringement.

• A European Union court has ruled that social networks need not establish filters to keep copyrighted material off their sites, saying it would limit those sites’ freedom to share information and possibly lead to blocking of lawful content. The ruling favored a European social network, Netlog, which was sued by SABAM, a collector of music royalties.

• Meanwhile, a group of book publishers have reportedly moved to close down a couple of file-sharing sites in Europe. The publishers say Ireland-based sites and linked to more than 400,000 copyrighted e-books, and accused the sites of making more than $10 million in revenue, according to the Guardian. The Verge reports that has been shut down; appears to be operational today.

• And finally, in an in-depth Businessweek profile of Kim Dotcom, founder of Megaupload, his attorney says the file-sharing site was “copyright agnostic,” and “not in the position to be the arbiters of whether other people are using it for good or bad reasons.”

Megaupload was shut down by the U.S. government last month, accused of enabling piracy, shortly after a handful of popular musicians appeared in a video to tout the site — drawing the ire of Universal Music Group, which demanded that the video be taken down. Dotcom sued Universal. Not too long afterward, and on the heels of the protests that shelved U.S. copyright legislation SOPA and PIPA (Stop Online Piracy Act and Protect IP Act), Megaupload was taken down and Dotcom was arrested. (See In the World Wild Web, Anonymous, Megaupload, SOPA all play a part.)


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  • Leven

    Technology is growing exponentially, and we’re going to continually escape physical limitations, getting rid of the many problems of scarcity. Lets not make the mistake of artificially creating scarcity, when there is none. Senator Orrin Hatch wants the Government to literally start blowing up computers by the hundred of thousands to combat copyright infringement.

  • richelle

    …maybe the universal, warner, etc, are upset because they put mind influencing codes and message in their intellectually protected products. you download this, and the brainwashing message is…GONE!!!

  • Bryan Harrison

    I steal entertainment content not out of poverty or any desire to deprive artists of income, but because I regard my consumption of it as an addiction. There’s something aesthetically right about refusing to pay for the dirty high that’s killing me, even as it sucks out my soul, impoverishes my heart, and renders my life meaningless. That this gesture in the direction of transgression is as empty as our entertainment’s gesture toward art only renders the act more gratifyingly symmetrical.

    It’s also deeply satisfying to acquire the content without the inevitable and increasingly mandatory attached advertising. Knowing the cheese is poison in no way reduces the pleasure of escaping the mousetrap. I find that refusing to buy anything I don’t absolutely need further enhances the pleasure of wallowing in a media sewer which exists only to inspire consumer dysentery. To willingly drown in the result of others’ incontinence while keeping my own sphincter firmly clenched has become a sort of spiritual discipline: the martyrdom of Saint Nobody by the Capitalists.

    Hollywood steals my dreams, sucks the life out of them, and demands that I pay ransom to retrieve the desiccated corpse of what I might have been. What better way to repay this metaphorical impoverishment than to return a more literal sort?

    When living in a debased culture and watching one’s species thrash its way to extinction, perversity becomes a survival trait, even as survival grows ever more pointless.

  • alfie

    Bryan Harrison – rocks – that was really funny dude – could’nt agree more with you……..