Intellectual Property Enforcement
At the end of May, the Swedish Police raided the location where the PirateBay.org website was located and shut down the site seizing several servers. However, after less than 1 month, the site, which is considered the world's biggest BitTorrent tracker being visited by 10 million to 15 million daily users, resumes its activity from Sweden.
The Motion Picture Association of America quickly reacted after the Police raid considering that: "The actions today taken in Sweden serve as a reminder to pirates all over the world that there are no safe harbours for Internet copyright thieves."
After just a couple of days from the raid, PirateBay.org was back online, hosted somewhere in Netherlands. The operators of the website fought back considering that their actions were not illegal as The Pirate Bay only
The European Commission has revived a proposal to criminalise infringement of all intellectual property rights "on a commercial scale" after a European Court of Justice ruling that the Commission may include criminal offences in their Directives.
The proposal would also criminalise the "attempting, aiding or abetting and inciting" of infringement, and introduce multi-year jail sentences, confiscation of equipment and fines of hundreds of thousands of euros. This goes much further than the EU's obligations under the World Trade Organisation's Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). Right holders could participate in police investigations into infringement.
While the Commission focuses in its press release on counterfeiting by organised criminal gangs, the legislation would have a much wider
About 2000 new legal actions are taken in 10 countries by the International Federation of Phonographic Industry (IFPI) against file-sharers amounting now to a total number of 5500 cases outside US.
IFPI persists in its actions against uploaders, stating it targets persistent file-sharers, who typically upload thousands of music files. "The campaign started in major music markets where sales were falling sharply; now these legal actions have spread to smaller markets." said John Kennedy, the chairman and chief executive of IFPI.
In UK only, where the music industry states a loss of over £1.1bn over the last three years, there are 153 ongoing cases. The first cases have occurred in Portugal as well where the IFPI states sales of tradition al music formats have fallen by 40% in the last four years.
With its succession of coups de theatre, the pathetic show of the French EUCD transposition (DADVSI draft law) is going on. After the surprising adoption, on Christmas Eve, of an amendment legalising the exchange of music and video files on the Internet as private copies, compensated by a monthly fee ('global license') collected by ISPs on customers who engage in a certain amount of downloading and uploading, the French National Assembly started a renewed debate on 7 March 2006, based on a deeply modified draft text submitted by the government.
This new version includes two major modifications. The first modification is that the French government has now introduced many exceptions to the author right and related rights, which were already included in the EU Copyright Directive. This is a very welcomed progress since initial versions of the
The Italian parliament has caused controversy by two new legislative acts. A newly adopted law against child abuse gives overly broad powers to the police, while a proposed new law on the protection of intellectual property gives too much leeway to organisations for collective rights management.
On 23 January 2006 the Italian Parliament approved a modification of Law 269/1998, in order to fight child pornography, The modified provisions give a very broad power to the police. The text of the act includes a series of vague terms and descriptions which may lead to subjective interpretation.
Art.14bis of the law introduces the National Centre that should check "incriminated" sites and individuals.
Under the law, the internet providers become investigators who are obliged to control and announce to the National Centre any company or individual who
SlySoft, a company registered in Ireland, has released software that allows users to convert their own DVDs to formats they can watch on mobile phones, Playstation Portables, video iPods and similar devices.
This is one of the first examples seen in the wild of a "circumvention device" which bypasses the copy restriction technology contained in the DVD format - something that is illegal under the Irish law transposing the European Union Copyright Directive of 2001.
Those publishing DVDs now have the right to sue SlySoft for copyright infringement. Will they risk the bad publicity and possibility that Irish courts might set a precedent not to their liking?
Guide to the EU Copyright Directive
On Tuesday 24 January the Irish High Court made an order requiring three ISPs to hand over the personal details of 49 alleged file-sharers. This decision follows a similar decision in July 2005, and was made by the same judge (Kelly J.) in essentially identical terms, including an undertaking that the information would only be used for the purpose of litigation. The judge did, however, specify that the plaintiffs could, if they wished, also pass this information to the authorities for criminal prosecution, describing file sharing as "a modern form of thieving".
Digital Rights Ireland wrote to the parties in advance seeking to have two issues brought to the attention of the court: whether users should be notified of the application and given a chance to respond, and whether the use of the US-based MediaSentry was in breach of national
As a result of the modification of the copyright law in Italy through Urbani Law, an administrator of an OpenNap server, « Soniknap5 » was condemned for illegal sharing of music files.
The Italian Urbani law modified in March 2005, stipulates administrative penalties for those downloading copyrighted files from the Internet but penal sanctions for those sharing on the Internet with other users copyrighted files. According to the law, the condemned persons may pay penal fines as an alternative to imprisonment.
As an alternative to two months and ten days of prison, the Italian administrator of OpenNap was fined to the payment of 3660 Euros for having shared music files to about 2500 users. This condemnation came as a result of a large international operation involving several Italian server