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This Week In Techdirt History: May 21st - 27th

Five Years Ago This week in 2012, the jury in the Oracle/Google patent trial ruled that there was no infringement , while Judge Alsup revealed his coding knowledge on the copyright side. MPAA boss Chris Dodd was saying they should stop calling infringement "theft" despite the MPAA's own website doing exactly that many times, Congress proposed giving ICE another ten million dollars to fight intellectual property infringement , and TV network...
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Congress Busted Using Cable Lobbyist Talking Points In Attacks On Net Neutrality

By now, most Techdirt readers realize that far too many members of Congress don't so much have thoughts about technology policy, as they do bulleted mental lists of talking points provided by a lobbyist happy to do their thinking for them. That has been particularly true when it comes to telecom policy over the last few months, especially the GOP's ham-fisted attack on popular consumer broadband privacy protections and the telecom sector's ...
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Senate Should Either Fix Or Get Off The Pot On Copyright Office Bill

The U.S. Senate is about to consider mostly pointless legislation that would make the nation's register of copyrights—the individual who heads the U.S. Copyright Office, officially a part of the Library of Congress—a presidential appointment that would be subject to Senate confirmation. While the measure has earned praise from some in the content industry, including the Motion Picture Association of America , unless senators can find better...
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FBI Insider Threat Program Documents Show How Little It Takes To Be Branded A Threat To The Agency

Jason Leopold has obtained the FBI's training slides for its "insider threat" program . This would be the same program the FBI refused to discuss in detail with the Senate, walking out of the briefing when asked how the program would avoid sweeping up legitimate whistleblowers. The federal government acts as though it's receptive to whistleblowing, but then undermines that sentiment with pretty much everything else it does. These insider th...
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Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

This week, we covered the disturbing story of a cop whose huge number of impaired driving arrests turned out to stem from his arbitrary decisions about who was impaired as though it was some sort of magical ability. Roger Strong took a firm line on responding to this, and enough people agreed to make it the first place winner for insightful : Officer T.T. Carroll is a known serial liar. The Cobb County police department supports and encoura...
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Senate Given The Go-Ahead To Use Encrypted Messaging App Signal

Certain senators have repeatedly pushed for encryption bans or encryption backdoors, sacrificing personal security for national security in a move that will definitively result in less of both. Former FBI Director James Comey's incessant beating of his " Going Dark " drum didn't help. Several legislators always managed to get sucked in by his narrative of thousands of unsearched phones presumably being tied to thousands of unsolved crimes a...
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As The Battleground For Warfare Moves To Cyberspace, DOD Contemplates Altering Recruitment Requirements

While we've viewed much of the hyped up discussions about cyberwarfare with some trepidation here, we now live in a reality where it would be clearly silly to suggest that the internet and internet-connected devices are not an emerging battleground for rival nations. While much was made these past few years about what mostly amounted to the penetration of private business networks, the discussion about several democratic elections throughou...
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It's Time For The FCC To Actually Listen: The Vast Majority Of FCC Commenters Support Net Neutrality

The vast majority of consumers (from both parties) support net neutrality. This has been supported repeatedly not only by independent polls , but even the cable industry's own surveys . Yet for most of the last decade, ISP lobbyists and think tankers have managed to frame the subject in the media as a partisan one -- quite successfully using the country's deep political divisions to fuel disagreement and stall real progress. In reality, our...
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Makers Of Payday 2 Donating DLC Profits To Help 2 YouTubers Fight Copyright Lawsuit

The landscape of YouTubers who do reviews or takes on video games, including Let's Plays, and their interactions with the game makers themselves is one that lacks any sort of norm or uniformity. Some game developers understand the value these YouTubers bring to their businesses, while some tend to go on the attack with copyright claims. Some developers appreciate an open and honest ecosystem of reviews, including snarky reviews, while other...
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Hollywood Helps China Set Up National Surveillance And Censorship System To Tackle Copyright Infringement

The Copyright Society of China has just launched a new site, called the 12426 Copyright Monitoring Center , whose job is to scan the entire Chinese Internet for evidence of copyright infringement. As a post on the EFF site explains, its scope is incredibly wide : This frightening panopticon is said to be able to monitor video, music and images found on "mainstream audio and video sites and graphic portals, small and medium vertical websites...
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This Week In Techdirt History: May 7th - 13th

Five Years Ago It was the previous week in 2012 that we learned the sad news of the death of the Beastie Boys' Adam Yauch (better known as MCA), and it was this week that the EFF called for an end to the war on sampling as a tribute to his legacy. Little did we know that, the very next day, Tuf America would sue the Beastie Boys over an unauthorized sample, which is some stunningly insensitive timing. And that wasn't the only copyright fuck...
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Leaked NSA Hacking Tool On Global Ransomware Rampage

Welp. What was that we were saying about the problems of the NSA creating hacking tools that leak , rather than helping patch security flaws ? Oh, right. That it would make everyone less safe . And here we are. With a global ransomware rampage , referred to as "WannaCry" putting tons of people at risk, thanks to leaked NSA malware: Leaked alleged NSA hacking tools appear to be behind a massive cyberattack disrupting hospitals and companies ...
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Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

We've got a double winner on the insightful side this week, with PaulT taking both the first and second places spots. In first place is his response to our thoughts on why Netflix was unconcerned about the hacker trying to extort them by threatening a leak : "That, in turn, is largely because Netflix's flat-rate, relatively-inexpensive pricing model provides enough value that users don't find piracy to be the superior alternative (read: the...
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How Moral Panics Can Turn Into Therapeutic Tools: The Dungeons And Dragons Edition

It seems there must be something in our human DNA, something that hasn't been filtered out over the generations, that causes the masses to engage in moral panics . When you peruse our previous posts about moral panics new and old, it highlights how laughably absurd they tend to be. Specifically, if past is prologue, you get a fair understanding of how our current moral panics will be viewed in the future, as we laugh now at the consternatio...
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Atlus Loosens Streaming Restrictions For Persona 5, Still Has In-Game Checkpoints For Streaming Rules

Recently, we discussed an odd post by the American division of Atlus, the company behind the recently released game Persona 5. The post basically outlined restrictions on streaming the game in the popular "let's play" format. Those restrictions were pretty clearly geared towards keeping spoilers for the game's stories off of the internet, with indications that discussing or streaming game content that occur after an in-game date was verbott...
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262 Hits

Copyright Troll Sends DMCA Notices Targeting Anti-Troll Websites & Lawyers

We talk a lot around here about the many problems with the copyright trolling industry. Those problems take several forms, but they can be best globalized as a problem of the copyright troll's basic business model. These groups claim to tackle piracy in defense of the content creators with whom they contract, but they do so not by spear-fishing confirmed infringers with sound evidence, but rather they cast as wide a net as possible based on...
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185 Hits

NSA Statements On 'About' Collection Shutdown Contradict PCLOB's Findings

The impact the dropping of the "about" collection will have on the NSA's upstream harvesting will either be massive or minimal, depending on who you ask. The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board's report on the "about" collection noted a few things , one of them being the supposed impossibility of preventing inadvertent collection. All of these types of “about” communications can provide intelligence value, helping the government lea...
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208 Hits

This Week In Creative Commons History

Since I'm here at the Creative Commons 2017 Global Summit this weekend, I want to take a break from our usual Techdirt history posts and highlight the new State Of The Commons report that has been released. These annual reports are a key part of the CC community — here at Techdirt, most of our readers already understand the importance of the free culture licensing options that CC provides to creators, but it's important to step back and loo...
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207 Hits

The Email Collection The NSA Shut Down Has Been Abused For Years

As was noted here earlier , the NSA surprised many people by shutting down its email collection. This collection was authorized by the FISA Amendments Act, which is due for renewal at the end of this year. Since the point the collection began, it was clear the NSA was also harvesting ( inadvertently, it said ) US persons' communications. Ron Wyden, along with a few other lawmakers, has been asking the NSA for years to turn over information ...
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222 Hits

Indian State Of Kashmir Bans 22 Social Networks For A Month

We've seen random attempts by governments to block access to social media sites or even the internet as a whole, but the Indian state of Kashmir has ordered 22 social networks to be blocked for at least a month. Journalist Nazir Masoodi, who is in Kashmir, tweeted out screen shots of the government order, noting "This could be my last tweet." This could be my last tweet.Govt bans twitter, whataapp, Facebook and all other social networking s...
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206 Hits

More IP Attorneys Predict More Craft Beer Trademark Disputes As The Industry Continues To Grow

If you want to take the temperature on where the craft beer brewing industry is on the convergence of an exploding industry and the greater use of trademark law, you need only look at what intellectual property lawyers are saying. We had just discussed a Q&A with several IP attorneys in wine country lamenting on how trademark law is throwing up roadblocks to a likewise expanding wine industry and the need for a more nuanced interpretation o...
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224 Hits

New Survey: Most Millennials Both Pay For Streaming Services And Use Pirate Streams When Content Isn't Legally Available

For any of the entrenched entertainment players seated comfortably in their lofty offices, quite used to counting stacks of money and calling it a profession, they likely already know this fearful mantra: the millennials are coming. Millennials, and even more so the generations younger than them, are driving changes in the entertainment industry. These younger consumers are largely responsible for the cord-cutting trend winding its way thro...
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This Week In Techdirt History: April 16th - 22nd

Five Years Ago This week in 2012, following widespread protests, ACTA was on the verge of death — but that hadn't stopped G8 countries from already preparing to replace it . Similarly, following the SOPA defeat, the usual copyright maximalist suspects were regrouping to come up with new tactics for fighting the public (and surely the revolving door between the MPAA and the federal government would help out on that front). Meanwhile, the law...
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219 Hits

British Columbia Winery Has Trademark Opposed By Pre-Packaged Foods Company For Some Reason

I have personally made something of a crusade as of late out of my position that the world's trademark offices need to be more nuanced when it comes to the alcohol industry. Far too many disputes have arisen recently between beer breweries, wineries, and spirit-makers, when anyone with a base understanding of those industries realizes how separate they actually are, rendering the potential for customer confusion a moot argument. To the layp...
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267 Hits

Tech Companies Continue To Tell Courts To Reject Trump Travel Exec Order

Earlier this week we noted that 162 tech companies (including us) had signed an amicus brief for the appeal in the 4th Circuit (in Virginia) arguing that President Trump's travel ban executive order was unlawful. The same group of companies (plus one more -- as it looks like Pandora was added to the latest) have filed basically the same amicus brief in the appeal in the 9th Circuit (which is the appeal of the decision in Hawaii that a small...
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253 Hits

Cop Arrested, Fired After Wife Captures His Abusive Actions On His Own Body Camera

This is one of the strangest " but for video " cases ever. We know many cops are hesitant to clip body-worn cameras on themselves for a variety of reasons. The official statements always express concern about privacy, as though people interacting with public servants somehow believe these interactions are private. Others show concern for police officers' privacy, as though the public is really hoping to FOIA footage of officers sitting in t...
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Microsoft Follows Valve Down The Road Of Refunds On Digital Game Purchases

With Steam's policy for providing refunds on digital game purchases being roughly two years old, many people forget the context of the time when Valve began offering those refunds. It's worth being reminded that at that time nobody in the neighborhood of the Steam client's popularity was offering any real avenue for getting refunds on digital game purchases. Those that did mostly did so under the most restrictive conditions, with insane sin...
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248 Hits

Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

This week, the silver lining on a horrible story of police battering an arrestee was that the deputy, at least, lost his immunity. One anonymous commenter won most insightful comment of the week by giving a nod to the victim's courage and resilience : the real story here is not the creep. it's paul stephens. that man must have the soul of nelson mandela to have withstood that abuse and kept his wits about him. all due respect. For second pl...
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278 Hits

Copyright Society's 'World IP Day' Lesson: Give Us Your Copyrights For Nothing

Every year around April 26th, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) hosts a weird dog and pony show of copyright/patent/trademark maximalism that it calls World IP Day . In the past, we've pointed out that the events and festivities are disturbingly one-sided and frequently clueless. For example, two years ago, WIPO used Bob Marley's famous line "Get Up, Stand Up" as the theme for World IP Day, ignoring the history of Jamaican...
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Initiative for Open Citations Takes Alternative Approach To Freeing Up Knowledge

We've just written about widespread frustration at the slow pace of the shift to open access publishing of academic papers, and about how some major funding organizations are trying to address that. Open access aims to make entire publications publicly available, and that is meeting considerable resistance from traditional publishers who derive their healthy profits from charging for subscriptions. Rather than continue to tackle publishers ...
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263 Hits