For years, Paul Hansmeier terrorized internet users through his copyright trolling racket Prenda Law, evading the law through shell companies and fraud, until, finally, he was brought to justice and pleaded guilty last August. Read the rest
Oliver Brotherhood is a British vlogger with over 3 million subscribers who has produced a string of very popular Minecraft-related videos under the name Mumbo Jumbo; yesterday, in the space of two hours, a quarter of his videos were claimed by music publishing giant and notorious copyright fraudsters Warner Chappell, who will now get revenues from those videos, and can take them down at will. Read the rest
Torrentfreak published an article disclosing the fact that screeners of American Gods had leaked online ahead of their air date (they did not make the screeners available, nor did they link to any of the places where the screeners could be downloaded from) and they tweeted about the story. Read the rest
Youtube's ContentID system allows rightsholders to upload video and audio and block videos that contain their works (or put ads on those videos and take the revenue they generate), and to have the accounts of repeat copyright offenders permanently deleted, along with all their videos. Read the rest
Entertainment giant Lionsgate is allegedly using contentID, YouTube's internal copyright arbitation process, to remove criticism of its movies. (Note that "Angry Joe", the author of the viral video embedded above, uses a lot of NSFW language and gets very angry indeed.)
The top comment on the main Reddit thread sums up the key problem with contentID: if the claimant refuses to back down, the claimant wins automatically after it manually affirms the claim. Counterclaims are a sham that dooms the counterclaimant to penalties and jeopardizes their account. YouTube tells the victim to sue the claimant in court if the video is in fact falsely claimed.
False contentID claims can therefore be used to take control of the revenue generated by videos that would, at least, pass muster as fair use under copyright law, but which sometimes contain no copyrightable material at all!
Some fraudsters profit from contentID claims on content they know they don't own. But the ContentID system is so shambolically defective it can also be gamed by victims. Popular games YouTuber Jim Sterling includes numerous short clips in every video which he knows will generate competing contentID claims for the whole upload. This prevents YouTube contentID bots and sharks from monetizing his work or taking it down.
The brick wall that all YouTubers face, though, is that YouTube gets to decide what is on its own website and who it wants to give money to. If you choose it as a platform, you are agreeing to subject yourself to its intentionally-broken copyright arbitration system, and you are agreeing to let it pay other people for your work. Read the rest
Back when Sony's fraudulent copyright claims resulted in a 47 second recording of pianist James Rhodes playing Bach, apologists argued that Sony and Youtube's copyright bots couldn't be expected to tell the difference between a highly skilled Bach performance and the ones in their own catalog. Read the rest
Today, the EU held a routine vote on regulations for self-driving cars, when something decidedly out of the ordinary happened... Read the rest
Annabelle Narey hired a London construction firm called BuildTeam to do some work, which she found very unsatisfactory (she blames them for a potentially lethal roof collapse in a bedroom); so she did what many of us do when we're unhappy with a business: she wrote an online complaint, and it was joined by other people who said that they had hired BuildTeam and been unhappy with the work. Read the rest
A group of activist lawyers/documentarians have made a vocation of fighting copyfraudsters in the courts, first forcing Warner Chapell to relinquish its bogus claim over "Happy Birthday" and then targeting Ludlow Music Inc. and The Richmond Organization who had spent decades fraudulently collecting licensing fees for the public domain civil rights hymn "We Shall Overcome." Read the rest
Update: Zillow has dropped all its absurd copyright claims after hearing from EFF and McMansion Hell is coming back!
The Electronic Frontier Foundation has published its letter to Zillow, explaining in eye-watering detail how wrong the company was to threaten the McMansion Hell blog over its use of realtors' glam-shots of shitty houses. Read the rest
McMansion Hell is a hilarious blog where Johns Hopkins Peabody Institute graduate student Kate Wagner posts scorching critiques of the architecture of McMansions -- but this week, Wagner announced that she had shut down her blog after spurious legal threats from Zillow, which admits that it doesn't even hold the copyrights to the images it wants Wagner to stop using. Read the rest
The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation publishes several excellent podcasts, notably the As It Happens feed; like every podcast in the world, these podcasts are available via any podcast app in the same way that all web pages can be fetched with all web browsers -- this being the entire point of podcasts. Read the rest
Samsung's got problems: its Galaxy Note devices are bursting into flames, and have been banned from the skies. Read the rest
Photographer, public domain enthusiast, and national treasure Carol M Highsmith is suing Getty Images for $1B because they took the photos she'd donated to the Library of Congress and started asking people who'd used them to pay for them (they even sent Highsmith an invoice!); now it turns out that Highsmith is not alone: independent news agency Zuma is suing Getty for doing the same thing with 47,000 of their images. Read the rest