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June 30, 2010

Achte-Neunte v. Does Activity [1:36 pm]

BBC News - Court questions net pirate hunt

US civil liberties group the Electronic Frontier Foundation will give evidence in a Washington court on Wednesday, aimed at stopping the US's largest net pirate hunt.

It wants the court to throw out thousands of lawsuits against alleged illegal file-sharers, brought by the US Copyright Group.

EFF argues the mass litigations deprive individuals of a fair trial.

The case has implications for other countries pursuing similar cases.

The US Copyright Group, a Washington-based law firm, has filed lawsuits on behalf of seven film-makers, accusing over 14,000 individuals of downloading films illegally, including Oscar-winning movie The Hurt Locker.

[...] EFF and other groups have been concerned about the tactics being employed by some law firms pursuing alleged file-sharers.

The methods used to track down infringers are not fool-proof because they identify the computer that downloaded the material rather than the actual individual.

The EFF’s Achte-Neunte v. Does webpage; their press release — EFF Argues Against Mass Copyright Infringement Lawsuits in Wednesday Hearing

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Depressing, But Unsurprising [9:18 am]

Glenn Greenwald points to a Kennedy School of Government student paper that confirms what anyone who regularly reads a newspaper has noticed over the past decade: Torture at Times: Waterboarding in the Media

Abstract

The current debate over waterboarding has spawned hundreds of newspaper articles in the last two years alone. However, waterboarding has been the subject of press attention for over a century. Examining the four newspapers with the highest daily circulation in the country, we found a significant and sudden shift in how newspapers characterized waterboarding. From the early 1930s until the modern story broke in 2004, the newspapers that covered waterboarding almost uniformly called the practice torture or implied it was torture: The New York Times characterized it thus in 81.5% (44 of 54) of articles on the subject and The Los Angeles Times did so in 96.3% of articles (26 of 27). By contrast, from 2002?2008, the studied newspapers almost never referred to waterboarding as torture. The New York Times called waterboarding torture or implied it was torture in just 2 of 143 articles (1.4%). The Los Angeles Times did so in 4.8% of articles (3 of 63). The Wall Street Journal characterized the practice as torture in just 1 of 63 articles (1.6%). USA Today never called waterboarding torture or implied it was torture. In addition, the newspapers are much more likely to call waterboarding torture if a country other than the United States is the perpetrator. In The New York Times, 85.8% of articles (28 of 33) that dealt with a country other than the United States using waterboarding called it torture or implied it was torture while only 7.69% (16 of 208) did so when the United States was responsible. The Los Angeles Times characterized the practice as torture in 91.3% of articles (21 of 23) when another country was the violator, but in only 11.4% of articles (9 of 79) when the United States was the perpetrator.

As Greenwald notes, that’s why they’re called the “Establishment media.” Too bad that’s not what the phrase used to mean.

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Rumblefish and (Amateur) Content Creation [8:55 am]

Rumblefish to Offer Music for YouTube Users [pdf]

Publishing a video with copyrighted music requires a license for the song. And securing that can be a cumbersome task — track down the record label, make a deal — especially for amateurs just looking to post a video of the family vacation.

But on Tuesday, the music licensing company Rumblefish is introducing a service that allows users to buy a license to a copyrighted song for $1.99. For that price, the user gets the full version of the song and can edit it as well.

The new service, Friendly Music, can be used only for noncommercial purposes — like posting family or wedding videos online. Any commercial purpose, like including it in a video intended to sell a product, requires a different license.

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