News blog

ACS:Law prevented from dropping file-sharing case

By Peter Bradwell Feb 08 2011

Judge Birss of the Patents County Court has ruled that ACS:Law and MediaCAT cannot drop the remaining 26 cases. Proceedings to continue in March. Judge Birss said letters sent to thousands of consumers “materially overstates the untested merits of Media C.A.T Ltd’s approach”.

 

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Tweeting Allowed in UK Supreme Court

By Phil Feb 04 2011

The Supreme Court has issued new guidance on tweeting in the Court. In a press release published today the Court stated that given that cases in the  Supreme Court ‘do not involve interaction with witnesses or jurors, and because there is rarely any reason why what is said in court should not be placed immediately in the public domain, the Justices of the Supreme Court are content with legal teams, journalists and members of the public communicating to the outside word what is happening in the courtroom.’ 

However, tweeting will not be allowed in cases where there are formal reporting restrictions or in ‘cases involving the welfare of a child, and cases where publication of proceedings might prejudice a pending jury trial.’ Lord Phillips stated that ‘an undoubted benefit is that regular updates can be shared with many people outside the court, in real time, which can enhance public interest in the progress of a case and keep those who are interested better informed.’

Read more: http://ukscblog.com/tweeting-allowed-in-supreme-court

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ACS:Law and MediaCAT cease business

By Phil Feb 04 2011

Hot on the heels of the recent announcement in court that ACS:Law will stop chasing alleged file-sharers, comes an even more dramatic development. According to a document seen by TorrentFreak, both ACS:Law and their copyright troll client MediaCAT have just completely shut down their businesses. The news comes just days before a senior judge is due to hand down a ruling on the pair’s activities.

Read more: http://torrentfreak.com/acslaw-and-mediacat-completely-shut-down-both-their-businesses-110204/

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UK: OFT Begins E-Book Price Probe

By Phil Feb 02 2011

The U.K. trade regulator said Tuesday it is investigating antitrust complaints related to digital-book pricing, a move that comes about six months after state authorities in the U.S. began similar probes.

The Office of Fair Trading said in a statement that it began to investigate pricing arrangements between book publishers and digital retailers after receiving "a significant number of complaints." It didn't elaborate on the source of the complaints, and said it is looking to see whether the arrangements breach antitrust rules.

Read more: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704124504576118331673014792.html#ixzz1CqAmMFaG

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Google Starts Censoring BitTorrent, RapidShare and More

By Phil Jan 27 2011

Torrentfreak reports:  

"All combinations of the word “torrent” are also completely banned. This means that “Ubuntu torrent” will not be suggested as a user types in Ubuntu, and the same happens to every other combination ending in the word torrent." (...)

"RapidShare is one of the most popular websites worldwide. Every day hundreds of thousands of users rely on our services to pursue their perfectly legitimate interests. That is why Google has obviously gone too far with censoring the results of its suggest algorithm. A search engine’s results should reflect the users’ interests and not Google’s or anybody else’s,” [Rapidshare] added. (...)

"Jamie King, the founder of Vodo – a platform where artists can share their work with million of people at no cost – agrees with this assessment. Searching for one of their perfectly legal releases on Google used to suggest the word “torrent” with a link to the download page, but not anymore."

Source: http://torrentfreak.com/google-starts-censoring-bittorrent-rapidshare-and-more-110126/

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Online sales divide MEPs ahead of consumer rights vote

By Phil Jan 26 2011

"Consumer groups have warned of missed opportunities in the EU's draft Consumer Rights Directive ahead of a crucial vote on the legislation in the European Parliament next week (1 February), which sees MEPs split over its direction."

[EU consumer group BEUC said this week that] it would represent a "missed opportunity to establish essential rights for online digital purchases" like music, video and software, which BEUC believes are not adequately covered by current legislation which predates the digital revolution.

"There is currently a gaping hole in the rights of consumers with regard to digital products," BEUC said, warning that despite the growing popularity of the digital market, "Europeans currently don't benefit from clear rules or appropriate means of redress if things go wrong".

Source: http://www.euractiv.com/en/food/online-sales-divides-meps-ahead-consumer-rights-vote-news-501584

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EU Parliament publishes study on the application of the Consumer Rights Directive to digital content

By Phil Jan 21 2011

Now available on the EU Parliament's Internal Market and Consumer Protection page: a report on the application of the proposed pan-EU consumer rights harmonisation Consumer Rights Directive and how it will affect consumer contracts for streaming, downloads and other digital services.

Read the report (PDF)

A recent ORGZine article on the topic of DRM, eBooks and consumer protection

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Brussels report challenges Google's museum & library digitisation deals

By Phil Jan 12 2011

When European libraries allow Google to digitise their collections, they typically grant Google a 15 year period during which Google is the sole body allowed to commercially exploit the scans. These agreements typically cover works already in the public domain, long after copyright has expired. Reducing this exclusive period to 7 years could encourage rivals and would promote digital access to Europe's cultural wealth, say independent experts in a report submitted this week to the European Commission in Brussels.

http://www.thebookseller.com/news/143634-eu-proposes-seven-year-limit-on-google-scanning-agreements.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/11/business/global/11google.html?_r=1

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Hackers attempting to restore PC-like functionality to PS3 face Sony legal action

By Phil Jan 12 2011

Last week a group of hackers, aiming to restore original functionality (later removed from all consoles, even those already purchased, by Sony software updates), published rootkeys to the system, allowing 'jailbreak'-like exploits. Trying to shut the stable door after the horse has bolted, Sony has turned to the courts to defend the PS3 from 'jailbreak' endeavours, seeking an injunction against the actions of the "fail0verflow" group, which insists it is not planning on engaging in video game piracy, but on unlocking the full potential of the PS3's powerful hardware.

George Hotz's website, with copies of documents in the case

GeoHot and fail0verflow explain their reasons for hacking their PS3s at a recent conference

BBC News, March 2010: Sony to disable PlayStation 3 operating system feature

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Despite record-breaking sales, lobbyists renew call for drastic anti-piracy action

By Phil Jan 12 2011

TF reports (source):

"Last week the BPI released their overview of 2010 sales volumes in the UK. As always, their press release was filled with claims that piracy is ruining their industry and most mainstream media was quick to republish this propaganda. However, we can use the very same data to show that more music is being sold than ever before, and argue that piracy is likely to have had very little impact.

Read the original BPI press report (extracts below)

"meaningful action to tackle illegal downloading remains absolutely critical if we are to stabilise British music sales, let alone return to growth.  Without it, investment in new digital services and in British musical talent will begin to dry up"

"It is now crucial that action to stem illegal downloading, incentivising continued investment in this popular art form, is implemented decisively and urgently."

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