Spanish court throws out copyright infringement claims against youtube – The Inquirer: “Spanish court throws out copyright infringement claims against Youtube
Says content owners must do their homework
By Lawrence Latif
Thu Sep 23 2010, 17:41
VIDEO SHARING WEBSITE Youtube has had copyright infringement charges against it dropped by Spain’s federal court in Madrid.
The case was brought by Spanish broadcaster Telecinco, which claimed that Youtube was liable for user uploaded videos that contained copyrighted content. The owner of Youtube, and just about everything else on the web it seems, Google said the decision was a ‘clear victory for the Internet and the rules that govern it’.
Youtube already has procedures in place for copyright owners to identify and notify the website of any videos that allegedly breach copyrights. The Spanish federal court’s decision follows European Union law, which states that the onus of notification is on content owners not websites such as Youtube. Once notification has been made, it then becomes the responsibility of the website, in this case Youtube, to remove the allegedly infringing content.
If Youtube had to screen videos prior to making them available, it is likely that the viability of the entire operation would come into question. Google claims that 24 hours of video are uploaded to Youtube every minute and having to pre-screen all of these uploads would cause Youtube to ‘grind to a halt.’
Throughout its statement of victory, Google was careful to say that it respects copyright laws. It even talks about ContentID, a system that it claims ‘prevents copyright abuses and gives owners control over their content’. Apparently many broadcasters already use ContentID throughout Europe, allowing them to not lose out on potential revenue should their copyrighted videos be uploaded to Youtube.
It’s likely that as case law builds up in favour of Youtube, other broadcasters will realise that going to court against an equally well-funded outfit that is simply offering them a chance to make even more cash isn’t really such a good idea.
This latest European court victory for Youtube should help Google turn the web’s most popular video sharing website into a profitable venture. µ”
A proposed code of practice which implements legislative measures aimed at reducing online copyright infringement has today been published by Ofcom, as part of its new duties under the Digital Economy Act 2010.
The Act requires that the code of practice is implemented no later than eight months from Royal Assent, including approval from the European Commission.
Subject to consultation and approval, Ofcom expects the code to come into force in early 2011.
The code of practice
The draft code sets out how and when Internet Service Providers (ISPs) covered by the code will send notifications to their subscribers to inform them of allegations that their accounts have been used for copyright infringement.
In passing the Act, Parliament’s intention was that Ofcom should apply the obligations in a proportionate way, with the code initially covering only the larger fixed-line ISPs, but with the clear message that, should levels of copyright infringement on other networks, including mobile, increase then those ISPs will similarly be required to comply with the obligations.
Ofcom proposes, therefore, that fixed-line ISPs with over 400,000 subscribers will be covered initially.
This would mean that the seven largest ISPs – BT, Talk Talk, Virgin Media, Sky, Orange, O2 and Post Office – will be covered by the code from the outset.
Ofcom proposes to regularly review evidence of online copyright infringement across all service providers and to extend the scope of the code if appropriate.
Online copyright infringers
The code also sets out the threshold for including subscribers on a copyright infringers list which must be compiled by ISPs.
ISPs will have to record the number of notifications sent to their subscribers and maintain an anonymised list of alleged serial copyright infringers.
Copyright holders can then request information on this list and pursue a court order to identify serial infringers and take legal action against them.
Ofcom is proposing a three stage notification process for ISPs to inform subscribers of copyright infringements and proposes that subscribers which have received three notifications within a year may be included in a list requested by a copyright owner.
Ofcom’s approach is guided by the need to protect the interests of consumers and citizens. Ofcom will establish an independent, robust subscriber appeals mechanism for consumers who believe they have received incorrect notifications, arrangements for enforcement and dealing with industry disputes, as well as sharing the costs arising from the code.
Additional measures to reduce copyright infringement
The code of practice forms part of a wider set of industry activity to tackle online copyright infringement including consumer education, the promotion of lawful alternative services and targeted legal action against serious infringers.
Ofcom intends to monitor how these develop and will report regularly to Government on both the effectiveness of the code and on the additional measures.
UK – Indexing company liable for users infringement, says High Court (OUT-LAW News)
A company which indexes and sorts postings to Usenet groups is liable for the copyright infringement of its users when they download films, software and television programmes, the High Court has said. Newzbin is a company that charged users 30p per week for access to its indexing and collation of media files posted to discussion groups on the Usenet system. It claimed that it did no more than a search engine such as Google and should not be liable for its users’ actions but the Court heard that it told volunteer editors to carry out collating and reporting tasks to make it easier to download material and told them to focus their activity on films. Because of its knowledge of the infringements and its editorial involvement in making that infringement easier it shares liability for the downloading, the Court said. Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation v Newzbin  EWHC 608(Ch). See also Why the Newzbin ruling helps web hosts.
(Via QuickLinks Update.)
Mandybill The LibDems shadow culture minister in the Lords has tabled an amendment allowing the Courts to grant injunctions against ISPs – blocking off sections of the internet found to host infringing material. It’s similar to the DMCA-style proposal punted by the BPI in the new year, which we exclusively revealed.…
(Via The Register – Public Sector.)
UK Lord Provides Overview of File-Sharing Threat Schemes
March 2, 2010, by enigmax 2
In yesterday’s House of Lords debate on the Digital Economy Bill, Lord Lucas provided a rather accurate summing up of the ‘pay up or else’ scheme being targeted at alleged file-sharers in the UK by ACS:Law and Tilly Bailey & Irvine.
Summary of the ACS:Law and now Tilly, Bailey & Irvine schemes to chase alleged file-sharers, as published yesterday by Lord Lucas.
The game works roughly like this. You find an owner of an obscure bit of copyright that is available on the internet, preferably something pornographic and extremely nasty.
You then employ a piece of software whose innards have never been exposed to the public, or tested in a court, to produce allegations that a particular set of IP addresses have made that copyright material available for upload over the internet.
You then take tens of thousand of these cases to court and, using a Norwich Pharmacal order, obtain the details of the relevant subscribers from their internet service providers. You then write them a letter, which has basically three elements to it.
First, it says: ‘You have committed this transgression of copyright’.
Secondly, it says: ‘If you force us to take you to court, we will pursue you for a very large sum of money’.
Thirdly, it says: ‘But we offer you this opportunity to settle for a mere £500 or £800″ – or whatever the figure is – ‘and we will forget all about the perils of court and the vast sums for which you might otherwise be liable, because basically we are very good people, and all that we are seeking to do is to protect our copyright’.
This scam works because of the impossibility of producing proof against this allegation. How can you prove that you did not do this thing?
You have an internet connection, and they say that it was done over that internet connection. It is no good producing your computer, because you committed the offence using a different computer. It is no good saying that you are a 97 year-old widow and that you hardly know how to use the telephone, let alone the internet, because, nevertheless, you have an internet connection and they say that it was abused.
It is extremely difficult to produce evidence to gainsay this. All you can do is deny it, and one of the things that they say in the letter is, ‘Don’t bother to deny this without producing evidence that you didn’t do it’.
The result is that a very large people of number pay up, as a result either of the first letter or of the letters that follow. As far as I can discover, despite the tens of thousands of orders that have been granted, the solicitors involved have never taken a seriously contested case to court, because getting money out of people on the basis of the compromise offer is actually what is lucrative.
There may or may not be truth at the root of this, but this is a route for obtaining redress for copyright abuse which has been neglected, and with good reason, by the reputable end of the copyright industry. It produces a great deal of distress and indignation among many thousands of our citizens, and it ought not to be allowed to continue now that we are producing a better and proper route for redress for copyright owners, particularly where we are looking at volume cases-where we are looking at large volumes of infringement. That is exactly what the Bill aims to deal with.
My Amendments 15 and 31 look at a couple of possible ways of dealing with this. We could act on the internet service providers and give them a defence against revealing the details of their subscribers – we could say that either they or a court must be satisfied that a fair and accurate process was being used – or we could give the court the power to say, ‘No, here is this Act which provides a proper remedy for copyright owners who are suffering from the sort of abuse which is alleged in these letters. Let them use that route because that is fairer for consumers and a fairer basis on which to operate, which is what Parliament has decided, and lay off the techniques which are being used to extract money at present’.
Mostly, to date, one firm has been involved, but now a second firm is getting involved. The news of how lucrative this is has spread. If we do not do something about it, we will have more firms creeping into this business. There is plenty of copyright in unpleasant material. There are plenty of opportunities for these firms to make money.
It is high time that we do something effective to put a stop to it.
I do not mind which of the amendments the Government choose. I suspect that if I was forced to choose between them, I would choose the one put forward by the Liberal Democrats. It might not be perfectly drafted, but if we get it into the Bill now, the Government will have an opportunity to redraft it for Third Reading. But this must not be allowed to continue. I beg to move.
Christmas Blues for isoHunt – Liable for Inducing Copyright Infringement: “A California court has granted Columbia Pictures a summary judgment against Gary Fung, the owner and administrator of isoHunt.com, TorrentBox.com, ed2k-it.com and Podtropolis.com. In the summary judgment, Judge Stephen Wilson found little different in Gary Fung’s operation from other products such as Napster, Grokster or Usenet.com. The court found that Gary Fung was liable for inducing copyright infringement.”
Virgin Media to roll out copyright infringement detection tool: “(Computing)
Virgin Media is trialling a copyright infringement tool that could be built into the technology underpinning its upcoming music download subscription service. The Detica-supplied system is now being tested by the internet service provider (ISP) in what is claimed to be a UK first. According to Virgin, the trial is aimed at understanding how consumer behaviour is changing and will also support upcoming government requirements for measurement of copyright infringement levels on ISP’ networks. see also Net piracy: The people vs the entertainment industry (New Scientist) and What does Detica detect? by Richard Clayton.
(Via QuickLinks Update.)
Europe’s ISPs object to secret copyright treaty talks: “Secret trade talks on counterfeits and copyright threaten to undermine citizens’ rights without giving them a voice in negotiations, European internet service providers (ISPs) have warned.”
(Via OUT-LAW News.)
Lisbon Treaty could strengthen EU powers in IP and data protection: “The European Union has strengthened its powers to change intellectual property and data protection laws in future, according to one EU law expert. The structure of the European Union changed today when the Lisbon Treaty came into force.”
(Via OUT-LAW News.)
Claims from minister Stephen Timms this morning that the Digital Economy Bill has widespread support have been thrown into question, after the Internet Service Providers Association insisted it is strongly opposed to aspects of the legislation.…
(Via The Register – Comms.)