Swiss privacy watchdog demands withdrawal of Swiss Street View: “The Swiss privacy watchdog has told Google to take down its Street View service because it violates Swiss privacy law. Google has said it is ’surprised’ at the request.”
(Via OUT-LAW News.)
Unmasked blogger Rosemary Port to sue Google for $15m$: “Google is to be sued for $15 million ($£9 million) by an anonymous blogger who was unmasked by the internet search company.
Families could lose broadband access as Mandelson takes on web pirates Lord Mandelson has been accused of caving into a ‘big lobbying operation’ after ordering a change in policy on internet piracy.
Mininova were sued this spring by BREIN, an outfit which protects the rights of several large entertainment industry corporations.
Today, the judge ruled that the world’s largest BitTorrent indexer has been ordered to clean up its site and remove all torrents that link to infringing content.
BREIN’s intention was not to shut down the site. Instead, the organization called for a filter based on infringing keywords and possibly digital fingerprints to guarantee that the rights holders have sufficient means to protect their content.
The court agreed with BREIN’s assessment that Mininova is not doing enough to protect the rights of copyright holders, and ordered the site to remove all torrent files that link to infringing content within three months, or pay a penalty of 1000 Euro per infringing torrent with a maximum of 5 million euros ($7 million).
Mininova’s notice and takedown policy that allows copyright holders to remove infringing torrents is not sufficient, the court said. Interestingly, the recently announced copyright filter that Mininova launched together with the Motion Picture Association (MPA) wasn’t mentioned in the verdict.
The court did not agree with Mininova’s defense that it is impossible to moderate all torrents that are uploaded to the site. It further said that Mininova is encouraging its users to download copyrighted material, helped by the several moderators that the site has in place.
The moderators keep the site clean and ‘family friendly’ be removing torrents that link to adult content, viruses and fake files. They do this proactively and in response to user feedback, the court concluded, pointing out that they should also be able to moderate torrents that link to copyrighted material.
It was further concluded that Mininova profits from copyright infringement though the ads that appear on the site.
Mininova co-founder Erik Dubbelboer said in a response: ‘We are obviously not happy with the verdict.’ Mininova is considering to appeal the decision, which they have to do within three months
News: NDSNew ideas to allow for swifter and more flexible measures to tackle unlawful peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing are published today by the Government.
The Government is seeking views on the idea of including a power, under the forthcoming Digital Economy Bill, for the Secretary of State to direct Ofcom to introduce technical measures to clamp down on piracy, if necessary.
This would involve an obligation on Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to take action against individual, repeat infringers – for example by blocking access to download sites, reducing broadband speeds, or by temporarily suspending the individual’s Internet account.
Evidence on whether such action is required would be provided in regular reports from Ofcom to the Secretary of State.
Previously, it had been proposed that Ofcom would undergo a detailed process in order to ascertain that technical measures were required. With this approach, the earliest that measures could come into play was during 2012. The Government has now reached the view that, if action was deemed necessary, this might be too long to wait given the pressure put on the creative industries by piracy. The new ideas outlined today would potentially allow action to be taken earlier.
The Government is also considering adding account suspension to the list of technical measures that could be used only as a last resort against the hard core of copyright pirates.
To enable stakeholders to provide feedback on the new ideas, the Government has today issued an explanatory statement and extended the current consultation on unlawful P2P file sharing to 29 September. Responses received so far will still be given full consideration.
Minister for Digital Britain, Stephen Timms said:
‘Technology and consumer behaviour is fast-changing and it’s important that Ofcom has the flexibility to respond quickly to deal with unlawful file-sharing.
‘We’ve been listening carefully to responses to the consultation this far, and it’s become clear there are widespread concerns that the plans as they stand could delay action, impacting unfairly upon rights holders.
‘So we look forward to hearing views on our new ideas, which along with those already received, will help us determine the best way to tackle this complex challenge.’
After listening to views from all sides, the Government is also seeking views on how the costs of the process should be covered. It proposes that some costs, such as the operating costs of sending out notifications and Ofcom’s costs as the Regulator, should be shared equally between ISPs and rights holders.
Notes to editors
1.The explanatory statement on P2P file-sharing can be viewed at : http://www.berr.gov.uk/files/file52658.pdf
2. On 16 June, the Government set out its action plan for the digital economy in the Digital Britain report http://www.culture.gov.uk/what_we_do/broadcasting/5631.aspx
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When it comes to confusion and contradiction, the UK’s Digital Britain report is in a league of its own. Just days after denying the reports that Lord Mandelson would be toughening things up when dealing with alleged copyright infractions, it turns out that it’s true. Also, despite assurances last year that the whole process would have a factual basis, that also turns out to be a lie.
It would seem that wherever Peter Mandelson goes, controversy soon follows. He’s resigned from the British cabinet twice before over allegations of improprieties, so he’s just the sort of person qualified to head up the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) (or the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) as it was renamed in June).
The timing is seen as suspicious by some, coming just days after he took a holiday with David Geffen. A government source told The Times ‘Until the past week Mandelson had shown little personal interest in the Digital Britain agenda. Suddenly Peter returned from holiday and effectively issued this edict that the regulation needs to be tougher.’
The proposal, released in a statement by the BIS today says that waiting to see how the previous recommendation – of seeing how things were going over the next few years, with technological measures to come into force by 2012 – were going to be too slow. As such, they want to push forward with the measures, even if unnecessary, as they make clear:
Previously, it had been proposed that Ofcom would undergo a detailed process in order to ascertain that technical measures were required. With this approach, the earliest that measures could come into play was during 2012. The Government has now reached the view that, if action was deemed necessary, this might be too long to wait given the pressure put on the creative industries by piracy. The new ideas outlined today would potentially allow action to be taken earlier. (emphasis added)
Of course, if action is NOT deemed necessary, if the facts to back up the claims can’t be found for instance, then much of the legislation requested by the copyright industries will not go ahead. That evidence would be hard to find, since at least two separate examinations of content industry figures have shown little to no impact on box office movie sales, or music sales. This may be why there is the sudden push for the legislation, based again on a claim of need, rather than facts.
The ISPs are up in arms about this as well, with Talktalk’s Andrew Heaney telling the BBC: ‘Disconnecting alleged offenders will be futile given that it is relatively easy for determined file-sharers to mask their identity or their activity to avoid detection.’ They are rightly concerned with disconnecting the wrong people, based either on mis-identification by investigators, or the use of open/inadequately secured wifi spots.
The music industry is enthusiastic though, with the BPI happy. ‘Digital piracy is a serious problem and a real threat to the UK’s creative industries,’ it said in a statement to the BBC, while yet again failing to release any data to back up their claims. ‘The solution to the piracy problem must be effective, proportionate and dissuasive,’ it then says, omitting that these proposals are none of these, just as the 1865 Locomotive Act was not effective, proportionate or dissuasive to the take-up of the personal motor vehicle, or in protecting the railway and equine-based industries from the progress of technology.
Meanwhile, as one commenter indicates in a comment on the Digital Britain site, more people will be joining the UK Pirate Party, although the party currently says it’s experiencing only a slight increase in membership. Its members, however, are livid.
Stephen Timms, minister for Digital Britain also made the following statement: ‘We’ve been listening carefully to responses to the consultation this far, and it’s become clear there are widespread concerns that the plans as they stand could delay action, impacting unfairly upon rights holders. So we look forward to hearing views on our new ideas, which along with those already received, will help us determine the best way to tackle this complex challenge.’
Clearly he hasn’t been listening to the comments made by 6 million file-sharers in the UK, but there’s no harm in making him more aware. The consultation is open until September. So there’s still time to make your voice heard, but please, keep it civil and factual – even if the Content Industry can’t manage the second.