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RIAA and file sharing

Who’d have guessed that movie studios would entrust populist Mississippi Attorney General and longtime Overlawyered favorite Jim Hood with key water-carrying tasks in pushing their rights as copyright owners against online services and search engines? Not I [Eli Lehrer, Weekly Standard] More from Mike Masnick at TechDirt: “it appears the MPAA and the major Hollywood studios directly funded various state Attorneys General in their efforts to attack and shame Google.” Related: The Verge.

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“…settle instead for $20 per song.” Rightscorp, a new for-profit copyright cop, “is now preparing technology that could flood the Internet with ‘hundreds of millions of notices’ to alleged copyright infringers.” [Joe Mullin, ArsTechnica]

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July 18 roundup

by Walter Olson on July 18, 2013

  • “This is just stunning. DOJ is soliciting tips from the public in order to build a case against a single citizen.” [@radleybalko, William Jacobson, @andrewmgrossman] Apparently, Florida Gov. Rick Scott has the power to remove prosecutor Angela Corey from office, and her post-verdict description of Zimmerman as “murderer” is the sort of unprofessionalism that might advance that day [Ian Tuttle with much more about her career, earlier] Ken doesn’t hold back from telling us what he thinks of Nancy Grace [Popehat, earlier]
  • Washington Post covers USDA mandate of disaster plan for magicians’ rabbits [Lowering the Bar, David Fahrenthold/WaPo, earlier]
  • “Joel Tenenbaum’s $675,000 Music Downloading Fine Upheld” [AP]
  • “Hey look, an actual Third Amendment case” may be premature regarding this Nevada dispute, especially if we’re not sure cops = soldiery [Ilya Somin]
  • “Why The State Attorneys General’s Assault On Internet Immunity Is A Terrible Idea” [Eric Goldman, Forbes]
  • Connecticut: “Supreme Court Upholds $2.9 Million Award For Injured Bicyclist” [Courant]
  • The ABA’s annual Blawg 100 nominations are now open, in case, you know, (nudge)

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The House Republican Study Committee calls for reconsideration of over-restrictive copyright law, then un-calls for it a day later [TechDirt, rueful update; Alex Tabarrok]

P.S. And check out this upcoming Dec. 6 Cato discussion of the newly published Copyright Unbalanced: From Incentive To Excess (Mercatus Center; Jerry Brito, ed.)

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Update: That’s what we get for posting hastily on a holiday weekend. We — and a great many other sites from CBS News to Business Insider to The Onion — took the below report seriously, but per Mike Masnick at TechDirt, it’s both outdated — Judge Kimba Wood rebuked RIAA’s damage demand as excessive, and the LimeWire case settled for a far lower amount — and more broadly questionable (while the original demands might have reached trillions, and were justly subject to ridicule on that account, the jump to $72 trillion seems to be at best someone’s subjective extrapolation).

Masnick’s story is here. What follows is the original post.

“It’s no secret that LimeWire was once a hotbed of peer-to-peer music piracy, but the RIAA has now attempted to sue it for $72 trillion – more money than exists in the world today. LimeWire was shut down in October 2010, but litigation continues from music bodies around the world…” [Ultimate Guitar]

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And the next thing you know, they sue him [Josh Wright, Mike Masnick] The blog post by Enrique Dans, who is professor of information systems at IE Business School, is here.

Scam pretend-lawyers pose as real Hollywood lawyers firing off nastygrams to shake cash out of illicit downloaders. [Above the Law]

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They understand not the wisdom of SOPA [Julian Sanchez, Cato at Liberty]

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After SOPA protest day

by Walter Olson on January 20, 2012

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Among those closed today are Wikipedia, Reddit and Twitpic [Mashable, Kravets/Wired; Mike Masnick; Dan Fisher on yesterday's player-piano threat; our SOPA/PIPA coverage; Cato event tomorrow on Capitol Hill via David Boaz]. Matt Sherman: “Please note that what Google, Reddit and others are doing today is corporate political speech.” Flickr’s protest idea is brilliant: it’s letting users censor each other.

Update: lawmakers have been jumping ship on the bills over the course of the day, including Senate co-sponsor Mario Rubio (R-Fla.). (Bumped to keep on top of page).

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SOPA on the ropes?

by Walter Olson on January 14, 2012

Welcome news, if true: key members of Congress are said to be backing away from the rogue-sites legislation as currently written and in particular are willing to drop the hotly contested provisions on domain name blocking. [Timothy Lee, Sandoval/McCullagh, CNET, Mike Masnick/TechDirt] And suddenly the Obama administration is sounding skeptical notes too [Lee] As recently as last week the copyright enforcement bills were reported to be on a toboggan to quick passage [Industry Standard, earlier] More: Masnick.

Some advocates of the legislation cook the books when they count (and double-count and triple-count) the costs of piracy. [Julian Sanchez, Cato; Mike Masnick, TechDirt]

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SOPA fight heats up

by Walter Olson on December 29, 2011

Brad Plumer in the Washington Post summarizes the provisions of the bill as well as the state of play on it in Congress as of mid-month. Although much commentary has assumed that persons determined to visit blocked sites could readily find ways around the SOPA restrictions, David Post notes that the draft bill authorizes the Attorney General to seek injunctions against persons who assist in circumventing the law, which might include websites that publish “here’s how to evade SOPA blocking” information. Timothy Lee at ArsTechnica notes growing opposition to the bill among conservatives, while Joshua Kopstein at Motherboard reviews a comic markup session. Meanwhile, “Gibson Guitar & Others On SOPA Supporters List Say They Never Supported The Bill” [Mike Masnick, TechDirt] Earlier here and here.

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My Cato colleague Julian Sanchez argues that a bill rapidly moving through Congress would give far too much power to authorities to close down websites without due process, yet would be readily circumvented by actual IP pirates. More: Sanchez/Cato, BoingBoing, Declan McCullagh (software execs blast proposal), Derek Bambauer/Prawfs (“Six Things Wrong With SOPA”), Stewart Baker/Volokh.

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April 26 roundup

by Walter Olson on April 26, 2011

  • Study of how class action lawyers interact with their named clients [Stephen Meili via Trask]
  • California releases numbers on how bounty-hunting lawyers did in 2010 under Prop 65 environmental-warning law [Cal Biz Lit]
  • According to the tale, lender errors in foreclosure gave Florida borrower home free and clear. Actual story may be more complicated than that [Funnell]
  • The very long discovery arm of the Philadelphia, and Pennsylvania, courts [Drug & Device Law, more]
  • UK law firm “could face big bill” after sending thousands of file-sharing demand letters [ABA Journal]
  • Goodbye to men’s track at U. of Delaware, and the women’s team is suffering too, as often happens with Title IX [Saving Sports]
  • OSHA’s proposed “illness and injury prevention program” (I2P2) termed a “Super Rule” with potentially widespread economic impact [Kirsanow, NRO]

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April 25 roundup

by Walter Olson on April 25, 2011

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Federal judge Kimba Wood in Manhattan applies some skepticism to the quantum of damages demanded by record companies in copyright actions against file-sharing service LimeWire. [American Lawyer]

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So far it’s mostly smaller and adult producers filing the suits. Will the broader film industry wind up going down the much-lawyered record-label route? [Hollywood Reporter THR, Esq.] Related: “Lessons from the Texas Downloading Dismissal – Why Due Process Matters” [Paul Alan Levy, CL&P]

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