Tag Archives: criminalization


We wouldn’t that happening to you or to me.  So this week, while I am guest-blogging at Overlawyered, I will probably not have all that much to say that’s new over here.

I can, however, recommend some fine, very recent Overlawyered posts that are topical to this blog.  These two are by me:

  • Paulie Unsaturated:  About the silly trademark lawsuit between one Paulie and another Paulie.  One of them is on a TV show.  The New York Post, meanwhile, is utterly confused by the whole intellectual property concept.  Or concepts. Hilarity ensues.
  • Assigned Counsel:  The latest revolting developments in the Righthaven lawsuits.
These two aren’t by me, but should have been LIKELIHOOD OF CONFUSION® posts themselves, and perhaps someday they will be:Edison's first phonograph
  • Vintage Sound Recordings:  Many such finds are lost in a copyright maze, applying American copyright rules that “infuriate scholars, archivists, musicians and the conservationists who preserve fragile recordings. They fret that by the time the recordings become available, many will be beyond salvation.”
  • Annals of Criminalization: “The Senate Judiciary Committee has unanimously approved S. 978, a bill that would raise from a misdemeanor to a felony the unauthorized performance or streaming of a copyrighted work when the infringement takes place at least ten times and either reaps $2,500 or more in revenue, or avoids the payment of license fees whose fair market value would exceed $5,000.”  Walter links to two dissenting opinions about whether this is such a bad thing or not.

What web developers should know about copyright

For some reason (maybe a weeklong trial?) I kind of missed the Megaupload story from mid-January.  My bad.

What story?  Oh, this Megaupload story:

Police in New Zealand raided homes and businesses with links to the founder of Megaupload.com, one of world’s biggest Internet file-sharing sites U.S. authorities shut down Friday. U.S. official sources say the site earned $42 million in 2010 alone.

U.S. authorities are accusing Megaupload.com of facilitating illegal downloads of films, music and other copyrighted content making owners lose at least $500 million in revenues. New Zealand Police, according to Huffington Post, served 10 search warrants at several businesses and homes connected to Megaupload.com.

Yeah, that story.  Which, of course, implicates the whole SOPA and PIPA thing.  And for some reason it didn’t seem to impress most of the “usual suspects” among IP blogs (i.e, those I usually read) so much as the tech-blog crowd.  Notable, and unsurprising, exception:  Mike Masnick, who writes:  “DOJ Gives Its Opinion On SOPA By Unilaterally Shutting Down ‘Foreign Rogue Site’ Megaupload… Without SOPA/PIPA.”  The post kind of writes itself!

Here’s another good IP-blogger rundown on the storyfrom Rick Sanders, who also started out behind the curve, as I was and am, but has done a fine job catching up.  His first piece:

[T]he dramatic events of January 20, when New Zealand authorities descended on the multi-million dollar pad of Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom (and cutting him out of a “safe room” —  What’s the point of a “safe room” if the police can still cut you out? ), are old news now. The fall-out has shaken out, with several music-sharing/locker services radically altering their business practices.

[A] few days ago, the Department of Justice filed a superseding indictment against MU (which you can access here). It’s honestly not that big a deal, but I can pretend it’s significant enough to write a couple of “timely” blog posts.

Looked at one way, the MU Indictment isn’t that strange or rare. The DOJ indicts wealthy people for white-collar crime all the time. Here in Nashville, we’ve had a rash of criminal indictments against companies and executives for financial and real-estate fraud, packaged together with charges of money laundering and racketeering. Nobody comes to the defense of these guys, alleges that there is a government conspiracy to destroy a line of business, and certainly nobody calls these guys “heroes.” It’s just the DOJ doing its job.

Looked at another way, the MU Indictment is breathtaking. Read More…