Author: Annie Berlin

In Denmark, a legal trend in Grooveshark case?

Biedermanblog editor Jasleen Ahuja contributed to this post. The days in which an internet service provider could sit idly by and allow users access to any website they choose may be coming to an end: A Danish court has issued an order forcing ISPs to block access to Grooveshark, an online music website that serves as a blend between a P2P and music streaming service. What makes Grooveshark unique is that its users have a large amount of control over playlists and songs they want to hear.  Unlike Pandora, where users pick stations based on an artist or style of music, Grooveshark’s audience members can select an infinite amount of songs and add them to their playlists. Geek.com says Grooveshark has the biggest, best library of any music streaming service and the service also lets users upload their music so they can listen to songs anywhere. But might Grooveshark and the legal challenges against it all be swept up in a developing European approach to copyright enforcement and anti-piracy? Where other sites like Pandora and Spotify get licenses for content, Grooveshark, at least in the United States, has been sued by major record labels with EMI joining Universal, Sony and Warner in a legal action against the company for failing to pay royalties.  EMI was the only company that Grooveshark had a licensing deal with; after finding evidence that Grooveshark executives knew...

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In Spain, anti-piracy law looms over key ruling

In Spain, the entertainment industry has suffered a loss in its running battle against copyright piracy as a Spanish court dismissed a case against Cinetube.es, a video-indexing site that directs users to copyrighted material.  While in some jurisdictions simply linking to infringing content in certain instances can constitute copyright infringement, Spanish courts generally have been unwilling to hold such websites liable. This view has enabled Cinetube to successfully argue that the video-sharing site did not violate any laws merely by linking to potentially infringing material.  In a recent Billboard article, Andres Cala discusses why the judge ruled that Cinetube has not committed any crimes — though the issue also may prove moot, if lawmakers adopt a new anti-piracy law. Even though this decision may offer a breather to those pursued in Spain as pirates, there’s more choppy waters ahead as Madrid in just weeks will take up new anti-piracy legislation named after the former Spanish Culture Minister Angeles Gonzalez-Sinde and known as the Sinde law.  Under the current system, a copyright holder can have infringing material removed only after demonstrating lawful ownership.  The Sinde law will create administrative commissions to replace courts in interpret and decide infringments under copyright legislation.  A BBC article explains that this law would allow for rights-holders to report websites that contain or are hosting infringing content to a government commission, which then would rule if...

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Did Justice roll dice on Megaupload case?

The Department of Justice’s decision to indict Megaupload for copyright infringement has caused an uproar due in part to the potential harm that could occur if legitimate users lose data they had stored with the firm in “the cloud.”  This may happen because Justice’s decision to freeze Megaupload’s funds has made it impossible for the company to pay its server costs.  If Justice prevails against Megaupload, this data loss might be seen as an unfortunate casualty in the war on infringement; if Justice loses, consumers likely will castigate it for bringing a costly case without merit. So what to think of the legal issues in this matter? That’s what Jennifer Garnick, general counsel of Worldstar Management LLC, tackles in an intriguing post  Megaupload: a Lot Less Guilty Than You Think. She details how this case is far from rock solid, in particular how this  indictment relies on novel intersections of copyright law and criminal liability. She examines for The Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School how DMCA safe harbor might play a big role in this case as well as the idea of secondary copyright liability and criminal law. For those that have yet not heard the Megaupload story, you can get caught up by watching Slate News Channel’s one-minute video....

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L.A. porn regulation: wrapping up or starting?

Can the adult movie industry either wrap up one of its key resources or successfully wrap itself in the First Amendment and its possible protections from new regulation by the city of Los Angeles, and, maybe Los Angeles County? The answer may take a few reels …The Los Angeles City Council has voted 9-1 for a new ordinance to require all porn performers to wear condoms during their filming in the city — but this measure can be enforced only if any kind of municipal permits are involved (it does not affect shoots in studios, for example). Council members acted on Jan. 17 after the L.A.-based AIDS Healthcare Foundation collected enough signatures to force a June municipal ballot measure on a porn-condom ordinance, a voter consideration that could have cost the financially strapped city millions for an election decision. (The group is still pushing for a similar countywide ballot initiative for November.) The porn industry vehemently opposes the condom ordinance — signed into law on Tuesday by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa — and has threatened to leave Los Angeles if it takes effect.  The fear that the multibillion-dollar industry would flee its San Fernando Valley base may not exactly send shivers through municipal policy-makers and there may be constitutional challenges to this ordinance long before any props get packed for any moves. Indeed, those who advocate for the adult entertainment...

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