Posts Tagged ‘European Law’

The State of Three Strikes

It’s spring training season, and that’s as far as I really feel like taking this metaphor at the moment.  Recently, a number of nations have considered implementing a “three strikes and you’re out” rule for illegal downloaders, wherein ISPs would disconnect the infringing user after they were caught pirating copyrighted material a third time.  France introduced the law in September 2009 and while it has yet to go into effect, early studies question its potency. New Zeland put a similar system in place, but had to retinker the law and soften the blow, completely removing the disconnect provision after significant protest. Dynamo agent Ari Emmanuel, inspiration for the Ari Gold character on HBO’s “Entourage” and little brother of White House chief of staff Rahm Emmanuel, has been using his juice to push the President for a simliar system in the United States.

The Obama Administration has remained relatively tight-lipped about its plans for their overall plans, but has insisted that they plan to aggressively protect the nation’s intellectual property.  One of the weapons in their arsenal is the soon-to-be-released Anti-Counterfeiting  Trade Agreement (“ACTA”).    The drafters of the agreement are notoriously silent, but have recently come under fire due to leaked rumors that there will be a “three strikes” provision in the trade agreement.  In response, the European Union has demanded that the US release a draft version of the ACTA in order to show that it does not, in fact, contain the provision.  The EU has taken a hardline stance that it will refuse to accept any sort of provision.  There’s a lot of he-said she-said going on here, and this will be tricky to implement across multiple nations.  With sentiment growing that internet access may be a basic human right, along with a vastly varying stance on piracy by country, agreement to a full disconnect for users seems somewhat unlikely.  Look for the ACTA to address this issue but in a somewhat lighter manner once the bill is released.


2010 Starts With a Bang for File Sharing

Not even two weeks into the new year, the war on file sharing is already heating up.  Over the holidays, the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California held that the site admin of popular torrent tracker isoHunt was guilty of copyright infringement and not entitled to DMCA safe harbor protection. (PDF link to decision here).  This case is one of the first to apply the precedent established in MGM v. Grokster to BitTorrent trackers.  Unsurprisingly, the court held that the technology is irrelevant, and like Napster and Grokster and a slew of others before it, isoHunt’s taxonomical data induced and aided its users in committing copyright infringement.  Eric Goldman nails the analysis over on his blog.

Over on the other side of the pond, the trial against Alan Ellis, the owner of music torrent tracker Oink, began on friday.  Ellis is on trial for the somewhat bizarre charge of “conspiracy to defraud the music industry.”

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