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copyright infringement

  1. Starting Now, Downloading Copyrighted Material in Japan Could Land You Two Years in Jail

    Back in June, Japan forced through a rather stringent copyright amendment that included some odd provisions for those caught downloading copyrighted material. Most anti-piracy legislation deals with those caught uploading content that infringes, but Japan's apparently going after the other end of the spectrum as well. As of today, those individuals that are caught downloading could face a fine of 2 million yen -- about $25,680 -- or even two years in jail. Meanwhile, in the United States, being charged with assault could get you less time.

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  2. Author Puts Torrent Up for His Free Book, Google Disables Ads Because of Copyright Infringement

    Google apparently wants absolutely nothing to do with anything even tangentially related to piracy. At least, they don't want their ads plastered all over sites they designate as infringing upon copyright. Unfortunately, due to the convoluted rules involved, this means that they sometimes target folks that appear to be doing nothing wrong. This is the situation Cody Jackson finds himself in after putting up a torrent of his free book Start Programming with Python.

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  3. Judge Rules Subscribers Not Required to Secure Wi-Fi to Prevent Piracy

    The problem inherent in a number of ongoing copyright infringement lawsuits is that they rely on the spurious reasoning that an IP address can be directly connected to a person. In reality, an IP address is just a label given to a device accessing the Internet. By this logic, when someone doesn't secure their Wi-Fi connection, and piracy occurs through it, the whole illegal matter will trace back to the subscriber. A judge in California has now ruled that subscribers have no legal duty to secure these connections, meaning they're not liable for said piracy.

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  4. EA Sues Zynga for Copyright Infringement

    What? You're telling me that Zynga steals games, repackages them, slaps "Ville" on the title, and then unashamedly releases them? Say it ain't so! But today, the folks over at Zynga realized that there are always bigger fish out there. Electronic Arts, Inc. didn't take too kindly to the blatant ripping-off of their game, The Sims Social, in the form of Zynga's brand-new game, The Ville. The folks over at EA decided to sue Zynga back to the Stone Age and have published a 50-page legal complaint describing in detail how The Ville is essentially identical to The Sims Social in everything from the animation sequences to the RGB color values in the custom skin tones. Zynga messed with the bull and they seem surprised about what they're about to get.

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  5. Piracy Is Not Theft But Unwarranted Takedowns Are

    Who ever would have thought that one of the most relevant issues to copyright infringement and piracy in the 21st century would be something as seemingly insignificant as a semantic distinction? Yet, here we are. Granted, "copyright infringement" is an unweildy term, and "piracy" is one that can feel overly broad, but "theft" -- in almost any digital context -- is flat-out inaccurate and, frankly, misleading. Many people, myself included, will get dragged into arguments all the time for saying "piracy is not theft" and having it misconstrued as some kind of value statement. It isn't; it's a statement of fact. But beyond all that, there's another reality of digital media sharing, consumption, and control that is woefully ignored: Piracy is literally not theft, but the unwarranted takedown of non-infringing material is.

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  6. Summit Entertainment Goes After Non-Twilight-Related Art, Claiming Infringement on Twilight

    what is this I don't even

    Take a look at this picture to the left. What does it remind you of? Anything? Or is it just a sketch of a woman with pretty hair? This piece of work by artist Kelly Howlett is actually the latter. It has no real title, except for the date "11-20-09." If that date sounds familiar to you because you are a die-hard fan of The Twilight Saga, it's because that is the same date that New Moon was released. You are probably still wondering what we're writing about here, because this seems like these two things -- Howlett's sketch and Twilight -- have nothing to do with each other. Well, Summit Entertainment, which owns all rights to The Twilight Saga, thinks it has enough to do with Twilight to warrant an email to Zazzle, where the sketch was being sold, claiming "infringement." We'll remind you: This sketch has nothing to do with Twilight.

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  7. Judge: Custom Batmobiles Are Subject to Copyright

    where does he get those wonderful toys

    A judge in California has ruled that custom Batmobiles, like the ones made by Gotham Garage owner Mark Towles and owned by toddler pop music sensation Justin Bieber, are subject to copyright law because cars, apparently, do not fall under the "useful articles" exception. I have no idea what this really means for people who spend their money on Batmobiles, but if it means trouble for Justin Bieber, then that is more fun for everyone.

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  8. Marvel Comics Listed As A SOPA Supporter

    BAD IDEAS FROM SMART PEOPLE

    The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), or Protect-IP Act as it's called in the House of Representatives, has been the talk of the internet-town (and regular towns) for  months. Once everyone realized the implications this particular bill, they got extremely nervous and concerned phone calls and letters started pouring into Washington. The matter is still waiting to be settled when Congress returns from their winter recess but a list has surfaced showing particular companies who are in support of the controversial bill. And one of them is Marvel Entertainment. 

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  9. Latest SOPA Defense: Sweden’s Apparently Non-Existent Yet Thriving Film Industry

    Rights of Passage

    The lawmakers on Capitol Hill are running out of ways to get people on board to vote for the U.S. Senate's highly controversial Stop Online Piracy Act (known as the Protect-IP Act in the House of Representatives), so now they're claiming that those scurvy-ridden internet pirates have completely obliterated the film industries of several countries, including Sweden. Sweden, a country that has apparently not produced any feature films since the advent of the internet ... except for, I don't know, Let the Right One In, the entire original Millennium Trilogy, you know. Nothing anyone's ever heard of ... if they are living under a Washington Monument-sized rock. Or they're just lying. But here's the good news: one lawmaker has a great idea to make this bill seem really unsavory to support: porn.

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  10. What the Deal Was With Tumblr Today (And A Few Other Sites): The Protect IP Act

    Rights of Passage

    To the left is a screencap of Tumblr from earlier today, and you're probably curious to know what it's about. Well, we're here to tell you, and you're not going to like it. And not like "Kristen Stewart might be in Akira" "not like it." Like "the United States government is taking cues from Iran and China and wants to put people in prison for five years for linking to a copyrighted site" "not like it." In the name of protecting "prosperity, creativity, entrepreneurship, and innovation," there is a bill currently being debated in Congress, the PROTECT-IP Act and its House version, the Stop Internet Piracy Act (SOPA), concerning censorship of the internet that intends to leave legal windows open to prosecute regular users like you, me, and your Aunt Ethel, who just wanted to show you what her cat was doing on YouTube and happened to be playing the soundtrack to Phantom of the Opera in the background. This is a matter of taking freedom of expression out of the hands of the people and giving it to corporations, who can then turn to all their consumers and say, "We have PR firms and advertising agencies to tell people about our TV show/album/movie -- stop linking to it or we'll have you pay for it." And the worst part is that anyone who tries to read this thing in order to better understand it will find themselves even more confused -- and possibly in serious trouble.

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