The European Commission has today requested that France, Poland and Romania fully implement Directive 2011/77/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 September 2011 amending Directive 2006/116/EC on the term of protection of copyright and certain related rights. The Directive extends the term of protection for performers and sound recordings from 50 to 70 years and contains accompanying measures, e.g. the “use it or lose it” clauses which now have to be included in the contracts linking performers to their record companies. The deadline for the implementation of the Directive in national law was 1 November 2013. However, France, Poland and Romania have so far not notified implementing measures to the Commission. The Commission's request takes the form of a reasoned opinion, the second stage of the EU infringement procedures. If no measures are notified within two months, the Commission may decide to refer France, Poland and Romania to the EU Court of Justice. More information on term of protection.
Australia will amend copyright laws to allow courts to order the blocking of overseas websites used for illegal downloads and streaming. The government has given internet service providers (ISPs) and copyright holders a four-month deadline to develop a new industry code which should canvass a “fair” sharing of the cost of notifying and educating customers about infringement.
Case C-500/14 Ford Motor Company is a reference made by the Tribunale ordinario di Torino, Italy, for a preliminary ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) on a matter that has been raised before the Italian courts on a number of occasions in recent years -- the unauthorised manufacture of "spare part" wheel trims bearing the trade marks of the original manufacturer in order to enable the purchaser to make sure that his purchase matches the appearance of the rest of his car. The subtle twist here is not however whether there is an infringement of any trade mark rights but whether there is a defence based on European design law.
Often DRM isn't just an infringement of your speech rights under copyright law, but more fundamentally an infringement of your rights as a consumer (you might be prevented not only from lending a book, but even from reading it). That's why a new wave of consumer protection laws around the world are also beginning to address the problems of DRM, by holding purveyors of digital products to the same standards as their physical counterparts. For example, since 2011, Europe has had a Consumer Rights Directive [PDF] that requires vendors of digital products to disclose up-front any DRM restrictions or interoperability issues, in clear and comprehensible language.
Documents that were brought to light by the December 2014 Sony hack revealed the MPAA's plans to create SOPA-like Internet censorship mechanisms through agencies outside of the federal legislature in order to purposefully skirt the public oversight that comes with Congressional rule making. The first explosive revelation was that the MPAA had been colluding with, and even financing, state attorneys generals to go after Google.
But another set of documents revealed Hollywood's other crooked plan—to persuade the International Trade Commission (ITC) into forcing Internet service providers to block sites that allegedly distribute copyright-infringing content. The ITC is a federal, quasi-judicial agency that regulates the importation of goods coming into the United States. It recently held in a patent case (which is under appeal) that its authority extends to data transmitted online. The MPAA wants to take advantage of the ITC's expansive new interpretation of its mandate to fight contraband online, and extend that to blacklist content in the name of fighting piracy.
Every month, TorrentFreak reports on absolutely ridiculous takedown notices issued by copyright holders to Internet service providers related to allegedly infringing content, using the process created by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). This month, TorrentFreak tore apart a series of takedown notices sent to Google by the German-based Total Wipes Music Group targeting, among other things, an EFF webpage describing how to use PGP for Mac OS X—a webpage within our Surveillance Self-Defense guide.
Indeed, the notice that cites the EFF webpage as an “allegedly infringing URL” purports to protect an album called “Cigarettes” on Spanish music label Mona Records. But not one of the seven allegedly infringing URLs listed in the notice even refers to the album, let alone in an infringing way. Another notice issued by Total Wipes to Google two days earlier purports to target pirates of the album “In To The Wild – Vol.7″ on music label Aborigeno Music. Again, not one of the 95 allegedly infringing URLs had anything to do with music, as TorrentFreak reported. The notice instead listed generic download pages for some of the world’s most popular online services, including Skype, Tor, Dropbox, LibreOffice, Python, and WhatsApp.