Posts Tagged dmca

PIPA SOPA ACTA and TPP Designed to Eliminate Safe Harbors

Back in 2000 Congress passed the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. This was pre Napster. There was a provision in the DMCA called Safe Harbors that would shield providers from lawsuits if they registered with the copyright office and removed any material that copyright holders complained about. This provision was hotly contested by Hollywood, the media, newspapers and other content creators but the provision made it in just barely as a compromise. How important was that provision? If it had not passed it would have killed the Internet as we know it in its infancy. There would be no Facebook, Google, Youtube, blogs, Twitter, Flickr or any sites that allow user generated content.

Since then Hollywood, the music industry, and the media have vowed to either eliminate Safe Harbors completely or render it meaningless. Bills such as SOPA and PIPA are designed to do just that. Now we have ACTA and TPP and other international agreements that are designed to do the same thing without any input from the public, effected industries, or civil liberties groups and even sidestep Congress and government bodies around the world.

The gist of the matter is if we lose Safe Harbors we have lost the Internet.

Next week negotiations will be held in Hollywood for TPP (Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership). Negotiations will be secret with no public input. Hollywood will be well represented but no tech, internet companies, or civil liberties groups have been invited to participate.

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New Federal Judge and Former RIAA Lobbyist Becomes Darling of Copyright Trolls Everywhere

Newly minted Federal Judge Beryl Howell, of the Federal District Court of Washington DC, who’s resume includes being a lobbyist for the RIAA, Helped Draft the DMCA, and was a lawyer for a company that specializes in tracking down and suing alleged copyright violators, in one of her first rulings has opened the floodgates to mass lawsuits by copyright trolls. With her long history of being on one side of the copyright law it would have behooved her to recuse herself as to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest but instead issued a ruling that essentially overturned other judges in other districts who had thrown out so called John Doe or reverse class-action lawsuits as being an unconstitutional violation of due process and the rights of the accused.

She also denied Time Warners request to limit the number of subpoenas to 28 a month so they and other ISPs would not be unduly burdened and in doing so handed the plaintiffs a zero – infinity number of defendants they can find and opening the flood-gates to a deluge of paperwork that will take years to process. She also denied the motion to limit all subpoenas to potential defendants that reside in her district. Taking a huge overstepping of her authority she granted nationwide supeana power to the plaintifs. Only after a defendant has been named during discovery could the defendant then make a motion challenging the jurisdiction but there is no limit to where they can pursue them.

http://www.scribd.com/doc/51383490/COTW-doc-no-40

When the defendants are named, they will have the opportunity to file appropriate motionschallenging the Court’s jurisdiction and that will be the appropriate time to consider this issue.The Court and parties are in no position yet to evaluate each putative defendant’s specificconnection with this jurisdiction. Quashing the subpoenas would effectively bar the plaintiffs’from obtaining discovery pertinent to that evaluation, and this Court declines to cut off jurisdictional discovery prematurely when the defendants are named, they will have the opportunity to file appropriate motions challenging the Court’s jurisdiction and that will be the appropriate time to consider this issue. The Court and parties are in no position yet to evaluate each putative defendant’s specific connection with this jurisdiction. Quashing the subpoenas would effectively bar the plaintiffs’from obtaining discovery pertinent to that evaluation, and this Court declines to cut off jurisdictional discovery prematurely.

The defendants that are identified may have to wait till the discovery period is over, which could be years if ever, before they could even attempt to defend themselves. Meanwhile they will be hounded relentlessly by lawyers seeking settlements. In many cases the cost of litigation will be too high and many will not be able to afford lawyers and be forced to settle regardless of the merits of their individual case.

Judge Beryl Howell has become the darling of copyright trolls everywhere. Hopefully this ruling will be overturned on appeal but one thing is curtain Judge Beryl Howell has taken her life’s work to the bench and has way overstepped her authority. If this is not a conflict of interest nothing is.

“Unquestionably, there are online crooks who are getting away with impunity. Victims are fending for themselves.” – Beryl Howell.

I have created a Facebook group “Impeach Judge Beryl Howell for Conflict of Interest” to bring awareness of this judge and track, discuss, and document her rulings. Anyone with a Facebook account can join.

http://houstonlawyer.wordpress.com/2011/03/29/judge-beryl-howell-how-her-decision-affects-copyright-infringement-defendants-cases/

http://www.switched.com/2011/03/29/judge-beryl-howell-used-to-be-riaa-lobbysit/

http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2011/03/riaa-lobbyist-becomes-federal-judge-rules-on-file-sharing-cases.ars

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