Alabama bill for incentivizing in- state film making

http://www.montgomeryadvertiser.com/article/20120226/NEWS02/202260339/Bill-would-increase-incentives-making-films-Alabama

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The IP Piracy Saga: ACTA Update

In a recent update on the piracy front, the European Commission stalled the approval of ACTA this past Wednesday in response to widespread protests claiming the legislation will not only have a significant impact on free speech around the world, but might also reduce or eliminate the availability of such essential products as generic brand medications in developing countries due to some of ACTA’s provisions on patents and patent infringement.

Although the EC has stalled ACTA’s final approval, however, the Comission did express support for the legislation in a formal statement explaining its actions.  The Commission has referred ACTA to the European Court of Justice, Europe’s highest court, and clarified that the “European Commission has a responsibility to provide our parliamentary representatives and the public at large with the most detailed and accurate information available. So, a referral [to the European Court of Justice] will allow for Europe’s top court to independently clarify the legality of this agreement.”

For more information, including a link to the European Commission’s statement on ACTA, see:

ACTA Approval Stalled by European Commission

Regarding the ACTA protests, the picture included in the above article shows members of Poland’s Palikot’s Movement protesting their country signing ACTA at the end of January by holding up the “V for Vendetta” Guy Fawkes mask, further popularized by hacker group Anonymous:

Polish lawmakers protest ACTA with Anonymous Guy Fawkes masks

People across Europe have also taken to the streets to oppose ACTA’s approval.  More information, and a list of the latest countries with citizens engaging in such protest, can be found here:

Thousands Protest Against ACTA

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5 Ways Twitter Is Changing Media Law

http://mashable.com/2012/01/30/how-twitter-changes-media-law/

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The 25 Greatest Legal Movies (According to ABA Journal)

http://www.abajournal.com/magazine/article/the_25_greatest_legal_movies/

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Updates: SOPA, PIPA, and Related News (ACTA)

The saga of SOPA and PIPA has certainly progressed since our last post in December.

Last Wednesday, January 18, Wikipedia and Reddit temporarily blacked out their sites in protest of the bills, with a number of others joining the effort: smaller sites similarly took themselves down for a day; Google covered its logo with a censor bar and provided a link to information on the protests; Firefox faded its users’ default homepages to black and displayed an message in support of the anti-SOPA protests.  In the face of a truly massive internet response, both SOPA and PIPA are now dead or dying: Rep. Lamar Smith–lead sponsor of SOPA–killed the House bill at the end of last week; and in the Senate, the cloture vote on PIPA originally scheduled for Tuesday, January 24, has been delayed, tabling the legislation for the time being.

SOPA and PIPA: What Went Wrong?

However, last Thursday the U.S. government also arrested the founder of file-sharing site MegaUpload–Kim Dotcom–and three of his primary supporters in New Zealand, with charges against three more individuals who as of last week “remain[ed] at large.”

7 Charged as F.B.I. Closes a Top File-Sharing Site

MegaUpload was taken down upon Dotcom’s arrest, and rival websites FileSonic and Uploaded.to have since announced that they are “voluntarily limiting their file-sharing services and allowing users to only retrieve the files they have personally uploaded.”

But the arrest of Kim Dotcom and the shutdown of MegaUpload introduced another player in the game on the protestors’ side: the “hacktivist” group Anonymous.  Upon MegaUpload’s official takedown last Thursday, the group–a leaderless but vast collective of hackers–promptly posted this YouTube response to the developments:

Anonymous then proceeded to temporarily take down the websites of the Department of Justice, the FBI, Warner Music Group, and the U.S. Copyright Office, as well as (a few days later) CBS.com, the official sites of Universal Music and its parent company Vivendi, the official website of the French government, and a number of Brazilian sites as well as websites connected to the Polish government.

Anonymous did not follow through with its heavier threats of taking down the servers of the United Nations, Facebook, Twitter, and several banks, but it remains to be seen what further action the group may take in future, particularly in the face of a ‘SOPA alternative’ that has now come to the fore: the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, or ACTA.  The international scope of Anonymous’ most recent targets seems to have been due to international support for this treaty, which as it is drafted would have much more serious and far-reaching effects even than SOPA.

ACTA was first drafted in 2007 and has progressed fairly quietly, with the general public only recently taking notice of its existence.  ACTA is global-scale legislation: a treaty that has already been ratified by a number of countries.  Importantly, ACTA also “goes much further than the internet [in its attempts to curb piracy], cracking down on generic drugs and making food patents even more radical than they are by enforcing a global standard on seed patents that threatens local farmers and food independence across the developed world.”

For more information on the potential problems with ACTA (as well as a link to a petition to protest its ratification), see:

If You Thought SOPA Was Bad, Just Wait Until You Meet ACTA

And also:

Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement

Finally, Reuters has a quick but interesting note on why rather than deterring piracy, actions such as the shutdown of MegaUpload may end up harming innovation and end users of copyrighted content:

Analysis: Megaupload shutdown unlikely to deter piracy

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The Stop Online Piracy Act

Hello all,

Congratulations on the end of exams!! Although it’s vacation time and very nearly Christmas, there is some important activity on the intellectual property law front that definitely bears checking out in the midst of holiday preparations.  You may have heard in recent weeks of the Stop Online Piracy Act (alternatively known in the Senate as the “Protect IP Act of 2011″), a pending piece of legislation currently before Congress containing language that could essentially legalize government censorship of the internet in the USA.  If you have been wondering about the legislation’s implications, and/or if you have been searching for a concise legal analysis of both SOPA and Protect IP, may we direct you to:

Don’t Break The Internet

In this article, Mark Lemley (William H. Neukom Professor at Stanford Law School), David Levine (Assistant Professor at Elon University School of Law) and David Post (Professor at Beasley School of Law, Temple University) break down the most problematic aspects of both bills–namely, language that could allow for explicit violations of the rights of due process and freedom of speech.

Before even reaching issues of constitutionality, both SOPA and Protect IP contain language capable of attacking the fundamental infrastructure of the internet:

“Credit card companies, banks, and other financial institutions could be ordered to ‘prevent, prohibit, or suspend’ all dealings with [a] site associated with [a] domain name [deemed to be "dedicated to infringing activities"]. Online advertisers could be ordered to cease providing advertising services to the site associated with the domain name. Search engine providers could be ordered to ‘remove or disable access to the Internet site associated with the domain name,’ and to disable all hypertext links to the site.”

But both bills go further still, allowing for “these remedies [to be] meted out by courts after nothing more than ex parte proceedings—proceedings at which only one side…need present evidence and the operator of the allegedly infringing site need not be present nor even made aware that the action was pending against his or her ‘property.’”

Check out the article for a complete analysis of the issue, and we will try to keep this blog updated as Congress continues to deal with both SOPA and Protect IP.

Happy Holidays!

LIF

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And Last But Not Least…

…good luck on exams, and have a great Christmas break!!

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