WikiLeaks Reveals ISPs to Disclose Copyright Infringer Details Under TPP

WikiLeaks has been revealing details of the Trans-Pacific Partnership since the deal was agreed (but not signed) by Australia, the United States, New Zealand, Canada, Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia, Japan, Mexico, Peru, Brunei, and Chile last week after years of negotiation, and the latest documents show that internet service providers in participating countries will be forced to hand over the details of any user thought to be infringing upon copyrighted materials.

The leaked document (which can be found on the WikiLeaks website), while representing a draft with the final wording yet to be agreed, purports to be the “final” version of the intellectual property chapter.

“This is the highly sort-after [sic] secret ‘final’ agreed version of the TPP chapter on intellectual property rights,” the document released by WikiLeaks reads. “There is still a finishing ‘legal scrub’ of the document meant to occur, but there are to be no more negotiations between the parties … The document is dated October 5, the same day it was announced in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, that the 12 nations had managed to reach an accord after five and half years of negotiations.”

Under the agreement, ISPs will be subject to “legal incentives” to encourage them to block copyright infringing materials and assist the copyright owners in preventing the transmission of storage of such materials. ISPs are considered liable for its users; therefore, if one of its users is found infringing copyrighted material, the ISP is considered responsible, presumably to force it into shopping its users rather than take the rap for piracy. Copyright holders can submit a list of infringing IP addresses to ISPs and expect to receive details of the offending users in return.

TPP is still being ratified by its 12 member countries prior to signing. Organisations like the Electronic Frontier Foundation are still fighting against TPP, specifically the Intellectual Property Chapter.

Thank you ZDNet for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Alochonaa.

Hollywood Sues US Popcorn Time Users

The studio responsible for producing maligned Adam Sandler comedy The Cobbler, which currently holds a risible 9% on Rotten Tomatoes, has filed a lawsuit in Oregon against 11 people who watched the film through ‘Netflix for pirates’ app, Popcorn Time. This is the first time that a copyright holder has taken legal action against a Popcorn Time user, though film studios have a long history of going after torrenters of its movies.

Cobbler Nevada LLC has filed the motion with Oregon District Court, citing 11 anonymous IP addresses of people suspected to have watched The Cobbler illegally via Popcorn Time, and requesting that Comcast reveals the personal details of the account holders.

“Each defendant’s IP address has been observed and confirmed as both viewing and distributing plaintiff’s motion picture through Popcorn Time,” the complainant claims. “Popcorn Time exists for one purpose and one purpose only: to steal copyrighted content,” the statement continues, asserting that users should be aware of this.

“Without a doubt, each user of Popcorn Time is provided multiple notices that they are downloading and installing software for the express purpose of committing theft and contributing the ability of others to commit theft by furthering the Bit Torrent piracy network,” it continues.

The producers want a permanent injunction against the 11 defendants, plus a $150,000 fine, though, like most “copyright trolls”, they are likely to accept a settlement.

Thank you TorrentFreak for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Mashable.

Lawyers Tell UK Government You Can’t Jail Online Pirates for 10 Years

The UK Government, currently in consultation over a proposed revision to current copyright infringement, has been told point-blank by the British and Irish Law, Education and Technology Association (BILETA) that sending pirates to jail for 10 years – one of the government’s proposals – is “unacceptable, infeasible and unaffordable.”

The consultation, commissioned by the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO), was public, meaning anyone with an objection to the proposals could speak up, which is exactly what BILETA did. “There is no need to change the existing law [because] legitimate means to tackle large-scale commercial online copyright infringement are not only already available, but also currently being used,” BILETA’s response read.

Mike Weatherley MP, the intellectual property adviser to the Prime Minister, initiated the consultation after he concluded that the “disparity in sentencing between online and offline crime […] sends out all the wrong messages. Until this is changed, online crime will be seen as less significant than traditional theft.”

Weatherley’s 12-page consultation document went even further, saying:

“There is no doubt that copyright infringement is serious and there is no strong case for treating online infringement any differently to physical infringement. The government believes that this change will send a clear message to rights holders and criminals that copyright infringement online will not be tolerated. This is furthermore supported by the Conservative manifesto commitment that sentencing should reflect the seriousness of the crime.”

But BILETA argues that not only is the 10-year prison sentence proposal impractical, it cannot be fairly implemented. “The system has been overcrowded every year since 1994. Whilst the capacity has been increased, there is a continuing rise in the number of people being held in prison which continues to outstrip the number of places available,” BILETA’s statement reads. “In addition to difficulties relating to jurisdiction there are practical issues when seeking to identify those who run and own large websites or services which facilitate copyright infringement on a criminal scale. To begin with, the registration procedures for websites are not sufficiently verified.”

Any UK revisions to intellectual property law, though, could become redundant anyway as the European Commission is set to propose new copyright laws that will supersede any UK law.

Thank you The Register for providing us with this information.

Hollywood Issuing DMCA Takedowns for Content on Their Own Computers

Are you familiar with this message?

“In response to a complaint we received under the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act, we have removed 1 result(s) from this page. If you wish, you may read the DMCA complaint that caused the removal(s) at ChillingEffects.org.”

It appears at the bottom of Google search results, usually when looking for pages related to an intellectual property, and comes as a result of DMCA takedowns issued by the copyright holder. Say you’re searching for The Avengers: Age of Ultron; it’s likely that the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) has found instances of piracy related to the movie, and submitted DMCA takedown notices to have the infringing pages removed from Google searches.

A recent DMCA takedown sent to Google, related to dino blockbuster Jurassic World, looks like any other.

Except, on closer inspection, one of the infringing URLs is listed as http://127.0.0.1 which, as I’m sure most readers will know, is the localhost address of the person sending the DMCA. That means that the DMCA takedown includes materials on the submitter’s computer.

NBC Universal made the same mistake when issuing a DMCA takedown for 47 Ronin:

While Workman Publishing also had the infringing content – in this case, the Life of Pi audiobook – on their computers:

A search through ‘Chilling Effects’, Google’s database of DMCA notices, will present a plethora of infringing 127.0.0.1 URLs. Maybe Hollywood should be held to account for its role in online piracy, too.

Thank you The Next Web for providing us with this information.

Online Pirates in UK Could Face 10 Years in Prison

The UK government is considering a law that would see online pirates face up to 10 years in jail. At present, online piracy carries a maximum sentence of 2 years in prison, in extreme circumstances, but MPs have begun a consultation regarding increasing the penalty to 10 years, which would match it to the punishment for physical copyright infringement. According to government sources, the harsher sentence would be a “significant deterrent.”

The creative industries – those that represent the film, music, and literary arts, particularly – have long lobbied for stricter punishment for copyright infringement, arguing that 2 years in prison is not enough to discourage piracy.

The new measures proposed by ministers are aimed at distributors of pirated materials – large-scale operations that create copies of movies, TV shows, and music – rather than those that download those materials.

“The government takes copyright crime extremely seriously – it hurts businesses, consumers and the wider economy both on and offline,” said Baroness Neville-Rolfe, the Minister for Intellectual Property. “Our creative industries are worth more than £7 billion to the UK economy and it’s important to protect them from online criminal enterprises.”

“By toughening penalties for commercial-scale online offending we are offering greater protections to businesses and sending a clear message to deter criminals,” Baroness Neville-Rolfe added.

“Online or offline, intellectual property theft is a crime,” Detective Chief Inspector Peter Ratcliffe, head of the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit, said. “With advances in technology and the popularity of the internet, more and more criminals are turning to online criminality and so it is imperative that our prosecution system reflects our moves to a more digital world.”

Thank you BBC for providing us with this information.

White House Wants to Make Illegal Downloads a Felony Offense

The White House has weighed in on the issue of media copyright infringement online, asserting that illegal downloads should be made a felony offense. Alex Niejelow, Chief of Staff to the US Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator and National Security Council’s Head of Cybersecurity Policy, said in a statement, “we believe that federal criminal law should be modernized to include felony criminal penalties for those who engage in large-scale streaming of illegal, infringing content in the same way laws already on the books do for reproduction and distribution of infringing content.”

The White House affirmed its position on the matter in response to two online petitions calling for more leniency in intellectual property laws, citing the failed Stop Online Privacy Act (SOPA) and Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA) as dangerously restrictive.

Source: The Hill

Nvidia Post Great Q3 Fiscal Results and Reveal Licensing Plans

Nvidia has posted some very impressive Q3 fiscal year 2015 results. The GPU manufacturer had a revenue of £1.23 billion during that period, an impressive increase by 16% year-over-year. The overall revenues are at £3.43 billion and that is 15% over last year.

The new generation of graphics cards with the second generation of Maxwell GPUS is undoubtedly the reason for these great results. The two new cards, the GeForce GTX 970 and GTX 980, didn’t just take the reviewers by storm but overclockers and consumers alike. The refined 28nm architecture displayed increased performance at a significant lower power consumption. This is well reflected in the results posted as GPU sales were up by 13% over the previous year. Notebook sales also took off and they actually doubled over the same period last year.

Nvidia’s mobile Tegra chip also did very well with a 51% increase over the same time period last year. This is most likely fueled by Tegra-in-vehicles being a both a big success and market for Nvidia.

During the earnings call, Nvidia’s CEO Jen-Hsun Huang indicated that the company was actively discussing licensing its GPU technology in the mobile space. There wasn’t any specific companies or partners mentioned, but Huang did their “licensing discussions are very active. And we have many in important stages.”

So far, Nvidia is the only one manufacturing their Intellectual Property (IP), unlike ARM for example. They are just the opposite by designing the components, but not building any of them and instead rely on third party manufacturers to build actual products. Now it looks like Nvidia could look to increase their revenue even further by allowing other companies to incorporate their IP into other products, in the same way as ARM does.

Nvidia already has their own mobile Tegra K1 processors that have been shipping since this summer while the next generation is expected to the of 2015. With this in mind, it will be interesting to see how Nvidia will be handling the licensing in relation to their own products, keeping the cost reasonable without damaging their own brand; a fine balance.

Thanks to Tweaktown and BrightSideOfNews for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of Tweaktown

The word iPhone becomes banned in Mexico after trademark ruling

We hear enough these days about how Apple is taking on Samsung for the nth reason yet again, but over the last few months there has been another case brewing with Apple, but this time it is against them. In Mexico, a company known as iFone S.A. de C.V. registered their name way back in 2003, where their business model is to provide bespoke services to call centres and businesses. The key fact here is that Apple did not register their mobile handset; the iPhone until later in 2007.

All around the world, the word iPhone is close to a household name and whilst there are a few small time spin offs, particularly in China, for the most part it is what it is. This can’t be said for Mexico however as iFone S.A. de C.V. have been upholding their case with the Mexican Intellectual Property Agency, urging them to ban the later Apple name due to the fact that it is pronounced in the exact same way and therefore there is no way to distinguish between the two.

After months of debate and arguments flowing around the table, last Thursday a ruling was settled in favor of iFone, meaning that mobile phone carriers are no longer allowed to use the work iPhone in any of their contracts or advertisements and to rub salt into the wounds, each carrier has to pay a fine of $104,000 – even though they were not the ones who decided on the name, they simply act as a third-party that sells the products.

Whilst the ban is effective as of now, Apple are allowed to set an appeal to the ruling, in hope that they can once again have the word in circulation, however the chance of this happening is as much as that of Apple themselves not suing someone else in the future and if that was not enough, there is word that the Mexican firm could meet Apple in the courts, where they would sue them for anything up to an estimated $1.5B.

Considering this is not the first time that the word iPhone has landed an argument over who has the rightful ownership over it, whilst Apple may have made the word a household name, perhaps finding a more local alternative such as iTeléfono may be more appropriate – there’s no mistaking between the two that way – they’re phonetically different so surely that would be acceptable? Time will tell I guess.

Source: Fudzilla, Image courtesy nixsense.net

Patent Royalties Getting Out of Hand: Could Exceed $120 Per Smartphone

Anyone who follows smartphones will know that the rise of patent wars, patent trolls and massive battles over intellectual property has already started to get out of hand – you only have to look to the endless lawsuits between Apple and Samsung to see that. However, to paraphrase the latest report in some London slang “you ain’t seen nothing yet”. The latest report, which is a working paper by an Intel in-house counsel and two Wilmer Hale lawyers, suggests that the licensing cost of patents and intellectual property per smartphone is rising rapidly. The term “Royalty Stacking” is used to describe the way in which the cumulative cost of patent licenses is growing so high per device that it is increasingly unprofitable to produce smartphones. The estimates suggest we could observe up to $120 patent licensing costs on a $400 smartphone, which equals the costs of the components! The conclusion is that “those costs may be undermining industry profitability–and, in turn, diminishing incentives to invest and compete”. Of course this is a hypothetical study based on industry document analysis, so this is not what is actually happening right now. However, the potential is there: if all potential royalty demands end up being converted into royalty payments then the price of smartphones could continue to soar and as a result the industry could be brought to its knees by a generation of “patent trolling” and patent wars. Check out a detailed analysis of the working paper below at Foss Patents or check out the actual working paper at the source link.

Source: Wilmer Hale (Working Paper), Via Foss Patents

Image courtesy of Ideas2Market Blog