EU copyright reforms pit creative industry against internet activists, consumers

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Europe’s creative industries are urging EU lawmakers to back a proposed overhaul of the bloc’s copyright rules, putting them at odds with internet activists who oppose a requirement to install filters to block copyright material.

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People protest against the planned EU copyright reform in Berlin, Germany March 23, 2019. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke

The European Commission wants to reform copyright rules to protect Europe’s cultural heritage and ensure fair compensation to publishers, broadcasters and artistes. The European Parliament is due to vote on the Commission’s proposal on Tuesday.

More than a thousand artists have signed an online petition calling on EU lawmakers to endorse the overhaul while others have ran op-eds in newspapers in support of the changes, lobbying group Impala said in a statement.

Artists in favour of the proposed changes include film producers Pedro Almodovar and Michel Hazanavicius, Benny Andersson from Abba and author Ali Smith, as well as independent music labels.

A vote in favour by the European Parliament would pave the way for the reforms to become law.

Google, internet activists and European technology start-ups, however, oppose the overhaul and were joined on Monday by consumer lobbying body BEUC.

A requirement for Google’s YouTube, Facebook’s Instagram and other sharing platforms to install filters to catch copyright violations known as Article 13, but now renumbered to Article 17, has triggered protests, with an online petition garnering more than 5 million signatures so far.

Google senior vice-president for global affairs Kent Walker has said the article could prompt online platforms to over-block content to limit legal risks.

Critics also say filters are costly and could lead to erroneous blocking.

Publishers, artistes and actors had also originally been vocal critics of the Commission’s proposal to rewrite the copyright rules but reversed their position after successfully lobbying for Google to pay them for using their work online.

BEUC said it opposed the copyright reforms, arguing that consumers may not be able to share pictures and holiday videos with background music if automated filtering becomes the norm.

“This is not the modernised copyright law that creators and consumers need, but rather another attempt to protect an industry that has consistently resisted to deal with the impact of technological change on their business model,” BEUC’s Director General Monique Goyens said in a statement.

The European Parliament’s approval is the final step in a process which the European Commission kicked off two years ago.


Oculus Ordered to Pay $500 Million in ZeniMax Copyright Infringement Case

Oculus Ordered to Pay $500 Million in ZeniMax Copyright Infringement Case
A US jury Wednesday ordered Facebook and creators of its Oculus Rift to pay $500 million (roughly Rs. 3,370 crores) to gaming software firm ZeniMax in a lawsuit that claimed the virtual reality technology was stolen.

The Texas jury made the award in a trial in which Oculus was accused of basing its Rift headset on technology stolen from ZeniMax’s virtual reality software, court documents showed.

The lawsuit claimed Oculus founder Palmer Luckey and his colleagues developed the virtual reality gear using source code illegally obtained from the gaming firm.

The jury dismissed the charge that Oculus stole or misappropriated trade secrets but found Oculus liable for copyright infringement and other violations.

Luckey was ordered to pay $50 million of the award and another former Oculus executive, Brendan Iribe $150 million.

The two executives were accused of violating a non-disclosure agreement with ZeniMax and copying the source code and other documents on a USB storage device.

ZeniMax had sought $4 billion in damages in the case, in which Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg testified to defend his company.

ZeniMax pleased, Oculus appeals
Maryland-based ZeniMax said it was “pleased” about the award for “unlawful infringement of our copyrights and trademarks, and for the violation of our non-disclosure agreement with Oculus pursuant to which we shared breakthrough VR technology that we had developed and that we exclusively own.”

Robert Altman, ZeniMax’s chairman and chief executive, said in the statement: “Technology is the foundation of our business and we consider the theft of our intellectual property to be a serious matter.”

In its statement, Oculus said: “The heart of this case was about whether Oculus stole ZeniMax’s trade secrets, and the jury found decisively in our favor.”
Oculus said it plans to appeal the verdict and was “undeterred” in its efforts to bring virtual reality technology to consumers.

“Our commitment to the long-term success of VR remains the same, and the entire team will continue the work they’ve done since day one – developing VR technology that will transform the way people interact and communicate,” the Oculus statement said.

“We look forward to filing our appeal and eventually putting this litigation behind us.”

Facebook acquired Oculus in 2014 for more than $2 billion and last year began selling the Rift headsets as part of the social network’s push into virtual reality.

According to the ZeniMax allegations, the four founders of Oculus had no expertise or backgrounds in VR other than Palmer Luckey.

But ZeniMax said Luckey “could not code the software that was the key to solving the issues of VR.”

The ZeniMax statement added that “we will consider what further steps we need to take to ensure there will be no ongoing use of our misappropriated technology, including by seeking an injunction to restrain Oculus and Facebook from their ongoing use of computer code that the jury found infringed Zenimax’s copyrights.”

The news came as Facebook was releasing its earnings for the fourth quarter.

Zuckerberg, in his opening statement to analysts, sad Facebook would “keep making big investments in VR content, and I am excited about what is coming in 2017 from games to more immersive experiences.”

Tags: Facebook, Oculus Rift, ZeniMax, Oculus ZeniMax Trial, Wearables, Social, Entertainment, Gaming


Oracle and Google Set to Replay ‘World Series’ of Copyright Trials

Oracle and Google Set to Replay 'World Series' of Copyright Trials

Oracle Corp. and Google step before a jury a second time with potentially $9.3 billion on the line, and the prospect of profoundly changing how software is protected and licensed.The “World Series” of intellectual property, as the judge who presided over the earlier trial dubbed it, was left at a stalemate four years ago with Google’s Android trophy untarnished.

As the judge said then, there can be “only one winner” in the end. If that turns out to be Oracle, Google will have to pay fees for the operating system used in 80 percent of the world’s mobile devices.

The central question of the trial starting Monday in San Francisco federal court will be the same as in the last one: Did Google cheat by using part of Oracle’s Java programming language to develop Android without a license? Oracle, saying monetary damages alone won’t compensate for its loss, also seeks a court order “reasonably tailored” to the case that it says would put an end to Google’s infringement.

(Also see:  ‘Little Risk for Google in Retrial Versus Oracle Over Android’)Several potential witnesses are repeats from the 2012 trial, including Oracle founder Larry Ellison and Safra Catz, who became the company’s co-chief executive officer during the interlude. On Google’s side, CEO Larry Page may be there with Chairman Eric Schmidt for the company now called Alphabet Inc.

“This case has revived the possibility of using software copyright much more broadly than it had been used for the previous two decades,”said Tyler Ochoa, a professor at Santa Clara University School of Law who has followed the case closely since it was filed in 2010.

If Google wins, nothing much will change, Ochoa said, because software copyrights are limited in scope.

“If Oracle wins, software copyrights become much more powerful and much more important than they have been since the 1990s,” he said. An Oracle victory would make it more likely other software companies will try to use copyright to sue competitors, he said.

Even though Google came close to an outright win four years ago, it’s a “fool’s errand” to try to predict the outcome of the case with a new jury, Ochoa said.

Ochoa was one of 41 academics who agreed with Google that the code at issue didn’t merit copyright protection and urged the US Supreme Court to take the case.

The high court declined last year to intervene, leaving in place a federal appeals court ruling that the Java coding at issue is copyrightable and setting the stage for the new trial.

The case hinges on whether Google made “fair use” of 37 Java application programming interfaces, or APIs, when it developed Android. Java’s APIs are critical shortcuts that allow developers to write programs that work across software platforms.

The 2012 jury concluded Google infringed Oracle’s copyrights, but was deadlocked on whether the use was justified under the legal doctrine of fair use. Jurors will again be asked to determine whether Google’s use was permitted without Oracle’s consent. Google argues that was allowed, partly because it transformed the use of the code by adding something new rather than merely copying it.

Oracle didn’t obtain the rights to Java until January 2010, when it acquired Sun Microsystems for $7.4 billion, almost three years after Android was introduced.

Google has said it wasn’t until May 2010, after a meeting with Ellison failed to produce a “business relationship” over Android, that Oracle began “rattling its litigation saber.”

The search engine giant will argue that it wrote original code to build Android. In a filing, Google said it used Sun’s “free and open” Java programming language, and copied only the “labels attached to the 37 APIs.

Oracle will argue to the jury that Google made a business decision to copy “thousands of lines of Oracle’s computer code,” as well as the organization of Java’s APIs.

“When licensing negotiations broke down, Google faced a choice: It could forgo use of Java or it could copy Java without permission,” an Oracle spokeswoman, Deborah Hellinger, said in a statement. “It did the latter.”

By Oracle’s reckoning, Android has generated revenue of $31 billion and $22 billion in profit, which a lawyer for the company said shows the “extraordinary magnitude of commerciality” in Google’s infringement.

Both sides face risks in the new trial, according to Michael Risch, a law professor at Villanova University School of Law in Pennsylvania.

He said it will be “tough” for Google to establish that it made fair use of Oracle’s copyrights. But he voiced skepticism about Oracle’s attempt to link its damages claim to Android profits.

“The money is only big if you follow Oracle’s view of the world,” Risch said. “It’s not at all clear that the profits fall the way Oracle claims.”

© 2016 Bloomberg L.P.

Tags: Android, Apps, Google, Internet, Java, Lawsuit, Mobiles, Oracle, Tablets

Vimeo Wins US enchantment in tune Copyright Case

Vimeo Wins US Appeal in Music Copyright Case

Video-sharing website Vimeo LLC cannot be held responsible for copyright infringement for unknowinglyhosting older song uploaded by means of its customers, a US appeals court ruled on Thursday, dealing a blow to document labels seeking broader protections.

In a victory for internet provider carriers, the 2nd US Circuit courtroom of Appeals in new york also held that the mere fact that Vimeo employees had regarded videos with copyrighted sound recordings becameno longer sufficient to show the company omitted crimson flags of infringement.

The case, pursued by means of Capitol facts and Sony Corp units, was closely watched in Silicon Valley, with Vimeo’s appeal drawing aid from fb Inc, Twitter Inc , Alphabet Inc’s Google, and other businesses.

cutting-edge ruling by the second one Circuit is a massive win for not simply Vimeo, but all onlineplatforms that empower creators to percentage content with the arena,” Michael Cheah, Vimeo’s generalsuggest, stated in a announcement.

A lawyer for Capitol information, a unit of Vivendi SA, and the Sony devices declined to provide immediateremark.

The case focussed on the interpretation of the digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

The law protects internet service vendors from liability whilst users upload copyrighted content whilerequiring them to put off the material in the event that they get hold of notice or otherwise end up privy to the infringement.

The lawsuit, filed in 2009, alleged copyright infringement over track in 199 movies that Vimeo users had uploaded to the web page.

US District decide Ronnie Abrams in 2013 dominated Vimeo changed into protected underneath the DMCA secure harbour provisions with regard to 153 motion pictures.

however she held that the secure harbour was not applicable to recordings from before 1972, the yrCongress first blanketed them inside the scope of federal copyright regulation. Pre-1972 recordings areblanketed by way of nation law.

She additionally stated Vimeo may want to face trial over whether or not it had recognised of “red flags” that made infringement apparent.

Thursday’s ruling reversed those holdings. Writing for the 3decide panel, US Circuit choose Pierre Levalsaid that deciphering the act as leaving carriers exposed to legal responsibility under kingdom copyrightlegal guidelines might defeat Congress’ purpose.

service companies might be forced both to incur heavy costs of tracking each posting to make certain it did now not comprise infringing pre-1972 recordings, or incurring potentially crushing liabilities beneathkingdom copyright legal guidelines,” he wrote.

The case is Capitol facts LLC et al v. Vimeo LLC et al, 2d U.S. Circuit courtroom of Appeals, No. 14-1048.

© Thomson Reuters 2016

Disclaimer: This story has now not been edited by means of NDTV body of workers and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.

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Tags: Apps, fb, Google, domestic amusement, internet, Twitter, Vimeo, Vivendi