1. Weird

    The Real Reason We Don’t Need SOPA or PIPA: We Already Have Broken Copyright Law, DMCA

    Now don't get me wrong, there are awful, awful aspects to both SOPA and PIPA. The prospect of DNS blocking is egregious censorship. The prospect of cutting off funds and ad revenue to "infringers" without due process is egregious. Even without those provisions, though, we still don't need or want SOPA or PIPA. Why? Because we already have dangerously broken copyright law: The Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

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  2. Tech

    Universal Casually Mentions Takedown Agreement With YouTube That Is Not Limited To Copyright Infringement [UPDATED]

    The latest development in the Universal-MegaUpload battle is almost as unexpected as it is troubling, and suggests that YouTube probably isn't the neutral party you thought it was. In order to protect the Mega Song and get it back up on YouTube where it could stay unmolested, MegaUpload filed a restraining order against Universal that would keep them from messing with the video until they could provide proof of infringement, thereby validating the DMCA taked0wn request. In a bizarre twist, Universal has said that won't be necessary: The takedown was not a DMCA affair but rather the result of a private contract between Universal and YouTube, the critera of which are not limited to mere copyright infringement. Say what?

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  3. Tech

    Universal Has Episode of Tech News Today Pulled From YouTube, Continues To Flip Out Over MegaUpload Song

    Getting videos pulled from YouTube seems to be all the rage these days. First we had Viacom pull the trailer for The Last of Us for absurd reasons, and now Universal is following suit by having an episode of Tech News Today pulled from YouTube for the sole reason that the episode covered the MegaUpload song debacle. The episode in question contained two clips of the song -- only one of which was played with the accompanying audio -- during a discussion of the impending lawsuit between MegaUpload and Universal. Apparently, those short clips felt like salt in the wound to Universal, who had the episode pulled immediately and successfully, despite the lovely little thing we like to call "fair use."

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  4. Entertainment

    Warner Bros. Admits to Sending Bogus Takedown Requests to HotFile

    I understand that everyone is protective of material to which they hold the copyright. I understand that it's important that they have control over it, but some recent shenanigans involving Warner Bros. have shown, yet again, the fissures in a system that errs on the side of taking things down at a moment's notice. It seems that Warner Bros. has fessed up to filing all kinds of takedown requests at HotFiles regarding material they had no kind of actual copyright claim to, including some open source software.

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  5. Tech

    Prankster Uses Bogus DMCA Notices to Take Down Bieber’s YouTube Channel

    Just like I predicted on several occasions, YouTube's over-the-top, self-defensive copyright policy has been purposefully abused on a large scale in order to trick YouTube into haphazardly removing videos it had no business being worried about. A currently unknown person registered with the username iLCreation, hopped on YouTube and claimed copyright to each and every Justin Beiber music video. What do you think YouTube did? Took the copyright notifications of an exceedingly famous artist's every video 100% seriously and shut down Beiber's entire Vevo channel without asking for any sort of proof of the claims. As if that weren't enough, a similar attack affected Rihanna, Lady Gaga and Bruno Mars. It makes sense that YouTube enacts their policy this way in order to protect themselves, but this really lays bare how ridiculously extreme that policy is. If the process hadn't been automated and they had given even one second's thought to the situation, you'd think they might come to the conclusion that "Hey, about 5 pop superstars are participating in copyright infringement against one dude and he just noticed and thought to do something about it now, all at once? Hey, wait a minute...." Except that YouTube's all-complaints-are-true, automated copyright policy kept them from arriving at that second sentence.

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  6. Entertainment

    MP3Tunes Court Decision Could Be a Big Win for Music Lockers

    In what could become a landmark court decision, New York district court Judge William Pauley has ruled that music locker service MP3Tunes does indeed qualify as a Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) "safe haven," thwarting attacks by music labels against the service. In their reporting, Ars Technica says that the ruling could bolster the arguments of other music locker services like Google and Amazon that their activities are legal, pending an inevitable appeal. For those unaware, music lockers are online services that allow users to upload their digital music to remote servers and then stream that music from a computer or mobile device.  MP3Tunes, the brainchild of Michael Robertson, gives users this uploading and streaming ability, but also a service called to search for tracks already available online and transfer them into the users' lockers. In their suit, lead plaintiff EMI maintained that streaming user-uploaded tracks without a license from the music's copyright owner is illegal. Furthermore, they claimed the service gave users access to music they had not paid for, thus perpetuating piracy. The suit also attacked MP3Tunes' use of a process called "deduplification" where instead of hosting thousands of copies of a song, such as Richard Harris' MacArthur's Park, the service hosts one copy and streams it to multiple users.

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  7. Tech

    Fraudulent DMCA Notices Claim Yet Another YouTube Video, YouTube’s Copyright Policy Ripe for Abuse

    Universal Music has recently been accused of using a fraudulent DMCA notice in order to corner an artist for the purpose of licensing his song. Here's the rundown. Skepta, a hip-hop artist from London, premiered one of his tracks on YouTube earlier this month. Jimmy Iovine, founder of Interscope, (owned by Universal) the label to which Eminem is signed, heard Skepta's track and decided he wanted to license it for use by Eminem. Naturally, Iovine took the next logical step and, allegedly, filed a bogus DMCA notice to get the track removed, essentially calling dibs and buying him time to get to Skepta and license the track before anyone else could hear it or associate it with its original artist instead of Eminem. Totally the next logical step, right? Now, if you had been following the YouTube Nyan Cat video kerfuffle, you would know this isn't the first time someone has had an issue with a bogus DMCA notice. If you weren't: This isn't the first time someone has had an issue with a bogus DMCA notice. The whole mess is documented here, but in short, it consisted mainly of Joe Schmo getting the video removed simply by claiming to be the copyright holder followed by the actual owner failing to have the video reinstated by repeatedly providing proof of his copyright.

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  8. Tech

    Sony Takes Legal Action Against PS3 Hacker GeoHot

    Hacker GeoHot is finally in a legal bind due to his notorious, hackery ways: Sony has served papers to Geohot and hacker group fail0verflow after they recently released hacks for the PlayStation 3, which basically allow anyone to run unsigned code on the system. Though unsigned code technically counts as homebrew applications - -something usually beneficial for the gaming scene -- the ability to run unsigned code usually results in people running pirated software. So, one can imagine why Sony isn't to thrilled with the hackers. Hack on past the break for more details, including the actual papers with which GeoHot was served.

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  9. Entertainment

    Marvel is Cracking Down on Scanners

    A couple of Marvel employee tweets from late last week, joking about the bedbug infestation of Google headquarters, were all the hint we had that Marvel and Google might be communicating publisher-to-search-engine about who-knows-what. Bleeding Cool says they have an answer, and (as we all might have guessed) it's about piracy.

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  10. Weird

    Hitler “Downfall” Parodies Falling off YouTube over Copyright Claims

    Der Untergang, or Downfall, is a dense, powerful, three-hour German film centered around Adolf Hitler's final days in power in Nazi Germany, but here on the Internet, it's best known as grist for endless memes. There's one famous scene in the 2004 movie where Hitler slams his hand against his desk, shouts "nein, nein, nein!" and generally flips out which has been repurposed to rants about getting banned from XBox Live, having problems with Windows Vista, the iPad ... you name it.

    But now, Constantin Film, the German film production and distribution company behind the film, is launching an aggressive, successful DMCA campaign to get the Hitler Downfall parodies taken off YouTube -- though ironically, many people wouldn't have heard of the original if it wasn't for the waves of parodies.

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