DirecTV lost an important case on Tuesday. Programmers, security researchers, and anyone who believes in a limited government won.
In a 2-1 split decision, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals tossed out a default judgment against a pair of alleged DirecTV television pirates, saying an “unauthorized decryption device” law the company invoked against them does not apply. That law promises statutory damages of $100,000 per violation.
[…] The reason this could be an important decision is because it strikes at the heart of DirecTV’s dubious strategy of treating purchasers of smart-card programmers as if they were necessarily criminals themselves.
In a dragnet of cases filed over many years, DirecTV has been suing people who dared to buy smart-card programmers. Those can, it’s true, be used to repair pirate access cards disabled by DirecTV countermeasures (this type of card is sometimes called an “unlooper”).
They also have perfectly benign uses. […]
Of course, overreaching by pop stars is nothing new, but I fail to see why this request to get the Safe Harbor provisions changed to task the host with policing content is going to get any further than anyone else’s try — but I guess that’s what lawyers are for. After all, it just takes one judge to decide to be expansive and we’re off to the races: Prince to sue Youtube, eBay over music use — pdf
U.S. pop star Prince plans to sue YouTube and other major Web sites for unauthorized use of his music in a bid to “reclaim his art on the Internet.”
The man behind hit songs “Purple Rain,” “1999” and “When Doves Cry” said on Thursday that YouTube could not argue that it had no control over which videos users posted on its site.
“YouTube … are clearly able (to) filter porn and pedophile material but appear to choose not to filter out the unauthorized music and film content which is core to their business success,” a statement released on his behalf said.
[…] In addition to YouTube, Prince also plans legal action against online auctioneer eBay and Pirate Bay, a site accused by Hollywood and the music industry as being a major source of music and film piracy.