Copyright police

Why Righthaven fell apart
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A blogger reads an online news article and reposts it on his website.

It happens every day, and probably seems harmless enough to the blogger. But reposting an entire article will likely violate copyright law.

The basics of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act

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The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) is a federal law that addresses a range of copyright issues. Perhaps most importantly for bloggers and other publishers, its “safe harbor” provisions can minimize liability for unlawfully posting the copyrighted works of others.

In order to be shielded from liability under the “safe harbor” provisions, Internet service providers must follow very specific “notice-and-takedown” procedures once notified of potentially infringing material. To qualify for safe harbor protection:

Publicly accessible trade secrets not entitled to court sealing

Kristen Rasmussen | Secret Courts | Feature | January 6, 2012
January 6, 2012

The maker of the iPhone and iPad failed to convince a federal judge in California that court documents in its lawsuit against a maker of Mac computer clones should remain shielded from public view.

Federal judge preserves blogger's anonymity

Chris Healy | Privacy | Feature | November 17, 2011
November 17, 2011

A federal court in California has ruled that an unnamed internet critic of an international spiritual organization can maintain his anonymity -- at least for now.

News aggregator not liable for 'hot news' misappropriation

Christine Beckett | Content Regulation | Feature | June 20, 2011
June 20, 2011

Financial news aggregator Inc. cannot be held liable for "hot news" misappropriation because the New York state law is preempted by the federal Copyright Act, the U.S. Court of Appeals in New York City (2nd Cir.) held Monday in Barclays Capital Inc. v., Inc.

Removing photo credit creates DMCA liability

Aaron Mackey | Libel | Feature | June 16, 2011
June 16, 2011

Individuals who physically remove credit lines attached to photographs violate a federal law that prevents people from stripping out copyright ownership information from works, the U.S. Court of Appeals in Philadelphia (3rd Cir.) ruled earlier this week.

Federal court orders Gawker to pull Palin's book excerpts

Stephen Miller | Prior Restraints | Feature | November 22, 2010
November 22, 2010

The U.S. District Court in New York City ordered Gawker Media Saturday to remove excerpts of former U.S. vice presidential candidate and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s forthcoming book from its website pending a hearing next week regarding a lawsuit filed by the book’s publisher, HarperCollins, according to court documents.

Website admits copyright, "hot news" violations

Rosemary Lane | Content Regulation | Feature | November 17, 2010
November 17, 2010

Financial news service settled a lawsuit with Dow Jones & Co. last week after the website admitted to violating the federal Copyright Act and “hot news” doctrine by systematically republishing time-sensitive headlines and articles from Dow Jones.

Las Vegas newspaper sues websites over use of content

Brian Westley | Newsgathering | Feature | June 14, 2010
June 14, 2010

The Las Vegas Review-Journal is suing dozens of websites that are using the newspaper’s content without permission.

Righthaven LLC, a Nevada company that represents the paper, has filed 37 lawsuits since March against various organizations for copyright infringement, including blogs that discuss reforming marijuana laws, sports betting and real estate.

“We believe we’ve only scratched the surface of dealing with this issue,” Righthaven Chief Executive Steven Gibson said. “There are literally oceans of infringement out there.”

Supreme Court rules freelancer settlement can stand

Nadia Tamez-Robledo | Content Regulation | Quicklink | March 2, 2010
March 2, 2010

The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled that a federal court in New York did in fact have the authority to approve a 2005 settlement between publishers and freelance writers over the inclusion of their work in online databases, Reuters reported.