February 22, 2005

Broadcast Flag Hearing Notes [7:26 pm]

Court questions FCC’s broadcast flag rules [via Copyfight]

A federal appeals court on Tuesday sharply questioned whether the Federal Communications Commission has the authority to ban certain types of digital TV receivers, including peripheral cards, starting in July.

Two of the three judges on the District of Columbia Circuit panel said the FCC never received permission from Congress to undertake such a sweeping regulation, which is intended to encourage the purchase of digital TV receivers that curb Internet distribution of over-the-air broadcasts of programming such as movies and sports.

“You’re out there in the whole world, regulating. Are washing machines next?” asked Judge Harry Edwards. Quipped Judge David Sentelle: “You can’t regulate washing machines. You can’t rule the world.”

Washington Post’s APWire article: Court Debates Anti-Piracy TV Technology [pdf]

BBC: Courts question anti-piracy rule

Later: Slashdot’s wishfully-titled Broadcast Flag in Trouble and the earlier Court Says FCC Out-of-Bounds With Digital TV; The Register - FCC ‘crosses the line’ with broadcast flag - court

A related Slashdot discussion: Preparing for the Broadcast Flag?

Later: Prof Susan Crawford’s take - Broadcast Flag: Good news and bad news

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Lexmark Request To Reinstate Injunction Denied [7:24 pm]

Lexmark suffers second knock back in DMCA case

A federal appeals court has denied Lexmark’s request to consider reimposing an injunction against a firm that makes components that allow generic replacement ink cartridges to work in Lexmark printers. The ruling by the US Courts of Appeals, Sixth Circuit, leaves Lexmark’s lawsuit against Static Control Components in bad shape.

Later: Infoworld’s Court rules against Lexmark in printer case

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit has ruled against Lexmark’s request that it reconsider an earlier decision that favored Lexmark’s opponent in the case, Static Control Components (SCC), a maker of components used by third parties to make refurbished cartridges.

The earlier decision allowed SCC, in Sanford, North Carolina, to continue selling its chips for Lexmark laser printers at least until the case came to trial, expected later this year. Lexmark had asked the appeals court for a hearing to reconsider that decision, but the appeals court turned down its request on Feb. 15, SCC announced Monday.

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Accident? [7:21 pm]

Probably, given just how egregious - but it still raises the question of who gets to control access, and how the controls are implemented: Microsoft compensates blocked Dutch web firm

Not too long ago Microsoft released a beta version of its anti spy software, which offers the choice of signing up for real-time protection. Windows AntiSpyware can monitor the PC and warns when unwanted software is installed.

Apparently, it also blocked Startpagina, one of the most popular directory pages in the Netherlands. Internet users that wanted to select Startpagina as their home page, were forced to use MSN.com instead.

Ilse wasn’t amused: the company is a fierce competitor of MSN on the Dutch market.

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AllofMP3 in the Crosshairs [7:18 pm]

Jurisdiction and copyright: MP3s for pennies? Russian cops say no

The Russian site claimed it had licenses to do so from a local clearing house, but record labels have maintained that the licenses weren’t valid. After long-standing complaints, the Moscow City Police Computer Crimes division completed an investigation earlier this month and recommended that prosecutors charge the site’s operators with criminal copyright infringement.

“We have consistently said that AllofMP3.com is not licensed to distribute our members’ repertoire in Russia or anywhere else,” Igor Pozhitkov, regional director of IFPI Moscow–part of the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry–said in a statement. “We are pleased that the police are bringing this important case to the attention of the prosecutor.”

The investigation marks a potentially substantial step forward in Russia for copyright holders. Record labels and movie studios have sometimes had difficulty persuading Russian law enforcement to deal with piracy problems.

Also Russian police probe cheap downloads site

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