With the exception of one piece of good news, most all other copyright news over the past few months has been either BAD or HORRIBLE!!!
Take the rise of the “Copyright Trolls.”
We’ve got the US Copyright Group suing over 15,000 people for allegedly downloading Far Cry, The Hurt Locker and other lesser known movies. Not to be outdone, we’ve also got adult film producers suing people they accuse of downloading various XXX adult videos. Now… how’d you like to get one of those infringement letters? Wanna’ go public & fight for your innocence??? If that’s not extortion, then what is it?
Then we have the lovely firm Righthaven, who’s scouring the web not only for full articles but even excerpts of articles from the Las Vegas Review Journal. When they find one, they purchase the copyright from the newspaper & then sue the individual(s) for $150,000 for copyright infringement. They even demand that the entire domain name of the allegedly infringing site be turned over to them. No takedown notice, no nothing! Of course, they’re perfectly willing to “settle” for a few thousand dollars (which just happens to be a few thousand less than what it would cost you to defend yourself in court). Again… extortion anyone???
Next we have Europe, whose been rather unsupportive of what ACTA (Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement) has been trying to force down their throats, but now they’ve formally adopted a report (the Gallo report) which calls for a Europe-wide legislative framework to deal with online piracy, including measures to enforce intellectual property rights.
And finally, the US Senate (Patrick Leahy & Orin Hatch) is at it again, this time crafting yet another bill for the content industry titled “The Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act” (COICA). This RIDICULOUS bill would not only give the Justice Department the ability to shut down US sites accused of providing access to “unauthorized copyrighted works”, but to also block sites outside the US accused of hosting or offering access to “unauthorized copyrighted works” (i.e., The Pirate Bay). Can you say “C E N S O R S H I P”? Despite all the negative attention to this proposed bill in the press, it apparently has plenty of supporters in our “RIAA/MPAA–Friendly” administration.
And the good news? A recent article in Ars Technica pointing out a federal judge in South Dakota that recently quashed a US Copyright Group subpoena targeting an ISP in his state.
All in all, I must say I find the copyright news over the past several months extremely depressing. A famous quote (Thomas Fuller?) states It is always darkest just before the day dawneth. Well… let’s hope — for copyright’s sake — that a new ‘day of copyright’ is about to ‘dawneth.