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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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  11. Rebecca Black’s “Friday” Mysteriously Removed From YouTube

    Well, it looks like tomorrow is Saturday since Friday is no longer available. Good news if you're looking forward to the weekend. Rebecca Black stole our hearts by letting us know the order of the days of the week and asking us for seating advice, but now the fun fun fun fun is over and the 160 million hit video is nowhere to be found. YouTube is reluctant to say whether or not Miss Black herself had anything to do with the video's takedown, but reminds everyone that
    “YouTube takes copyright infringement very seriously. When we receive a complaint alleging that a video infringes another person or company’s copyrights, we remove that video. Users who believe that a video was removed in error can appeal the copyright takedown.”

    In the meantime, you'll just have to wait to see what day tomorrow actually is, then maybe write a song explaining it.

    (via Mashable)

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  12. Life-Sized AT-AT, Star Trek PADD App Will Not Happen

    We Can't Have Nice Things

    Alas, there will be no life-sized AT-AT, nor will there be an app that makes your Smartphone look like the PADD from Star Trek. For those fans who wanted these projects to happen, copyright issues have stopped any further production and funding. To say nothing of the whole "it's not really feasible to build a life-sized AT-AT" thing. But there are no hard feelings. At least not where the Lucasfilm camp is concerned.

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  13. Guy Who Leaked X-Men Origins: Wolverine Before Release Faces Prison

    the internet is serious business

    Not an April Fool's Day joke: Bootlegs might land you in prison. Back in 2009, Gilberto Sanchez bought a bootleg of X-Men Origins: Wolverine off the street and uploaded it to MegaUpload weeks before its official May 1 release. He was arrested and pleaded guilty to "one count of uploading a copyrighted work being prepared for commercial distribution." Now, he faces sentencing on September 19, which could mean three years in prison and/or a $250,000 fine or "twice the gross gain or gross loss attributable to the offense, whichever is greater." Yikes. But what's a little disturbing about this is that Sanchez was not the person initially responsible for the leak. That person has yet to be found.

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  14. Boston College Tells Students That Using a Wireless Router Is a Common Sign of Copyright Infringement

    Which one of these items doesn't match the others? In a list of "common examples of copyright infringement" available on its website, Boston College includes "using a wireless router in your room," alongside such clear-cut offenders as joining file-sharing networks and emailing or IMing copyrighted songs to friends. The college's reasoning: "others may share illegal material through your router, giving the appearance that you are the guilty party." That's it: We're switching to AOL dial-up. (As an aside, copyright lawyer Ray Dowd says that using a wireless router is routinely a legitimate defense against copyright infringement charges, not a sign of liability, and he excerpts three federal court opinions to back this up.) It's worth noting that BC (like many universities) is rather quick to roll over in the face of the music and film industries: "For any computer on the BC network, a specific IP address is assigned. The music and film industries monitor activity on file-sharing networks, and they contact Boston College with the IP addresses that are found to be illegally sharing files. BC, by law, is bound to release the identities of the individuals tied to those IP addresses." In actuality, Title II of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act, which governs ISPs' copyright responsibilities, including those managed by universities, does not say "turn over people's IP addresses as soon as you get a notice": According to the University of Texas' guidelines on DMCA compliance by schools, the correct procedure is for the agent designated by the university to receive notices from copyright holders to "make the determinations described below regarding whether the DMCA limitations apply to us, whether we wish to utilize the detailed procedures and whether a notice received is sufficient under the law." The approach outlined by BC cedes much of that power of judgment to the music and film industry reps sending the notices. (via TechDirt | BC website)

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  15. How Has Rob Granito Taken His Scam This Far?

    And That's Terrible

    The man pictured above is named Rob Granito, and according to numerous people, he has been ripping off artists and collectors for years. He runs a table at conventions, selling what he calls "original" art when it has clearly and blatantly been ripped off from other artists. Not only that, but he also pads his résumé like nobody's business. Bleeding Cool's Rich Johnston has been digging deep into this, and what he's found is pretty infuriating. And illegal. See for yourself after the jump.

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