Enforcement of Copyright Holders’ Rights Must Strike a Fair Balance with Other Fundamental Rights Rules ECJ

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) recently ruled on this issue involving the intersection of protecting copyrights and protecting the freedom to conduct business, the protection of personal data and the freedom of information (paraphrased):

Consistent with EU Directives and the European Convention on the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, are Member States permitted to authorize a national court to order an ISP to install a system for filtering all electronic communications on its network, particularly those using peer-to-peer software, for the purpose of identifying electronic files containing musical and other works in which the applicant seeking the order claims to hold rights, and to block the transfer of such files?

(Opinion paragraph 28).

 

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No Reasonable Expectation of Treats for a Thieving Big Dog

Shy (a.k.a. The Big Dog) stole a bunch of training treats off of the kitchen counter the other day.  We have been putting training treats there ever since puppy Pip came to live with us over 7 months ago.  Shy’s recent theft was the first time he helped himself to the treats.  I cut up some high value treats – lamb hearts and wieners – for Pip to eat at conformation handling class.  Shy watched me expectantly as I cut up the treats and I let him have some.

When I put the leftover treats back in the same spot after class, it seems that Shy was overcome by temptation and devoured the treats without making a sound.  We know he most likely did it, and not one of the other dogs, because Dee caught him putting his paws up on the counter later that day.  We now put the treats out of his reach farther away from the edge of the counter, but where they are easily accessible to randomly treat good behavior from all of the dogs, with the primary training focus on Pip.

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No Reasonable Expectation of Privacy in IP Address Information Rules Twitter-Wikileaks Court

The decision in this case arose out of the U.S. government’s grand jury investigation of several individuals associated with Wikileaks:  Jacob Appelbaum, Rop Gonggrip and Birgitta Jonsdottir.  The government obtained an order under the Stored Communications Act for Twitter to provide the non-content Twitter account records of these individuals.

The Twitter account holders moved to quash the order and to unseal court records, raising arguments under the Stored Communications Act (SCA), the Fourth Amendment, the Due Process Clause and the First Amendment.  This blog post discusses the court’s SCA and Fourth Amendment analyses in denying the motion to quash the order.

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Stop Online Piracy Act Would Make Major Changes to Existing Law

The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA)(pdf) was introduced in the House of Representatives on October 26, 2011.  The purpose of the bill is

To promote prosperity, creativity, entrepreneurship, and innovation by combating the theft of U.S. property, and for other purposes.

(SOPA pdf page 1).

The bill is divided into two main parts:  1. Combating Online Piracy and 2. Additional Enhancements to Combat Intellectual Property Theft.

1. Combating Online Piracy. The sections under this heading would all be new laws.

Section 102.  Action by Attorney General to Protect U.S. Customers and Prevent U.S. Support of Foreign Infringing Sites.  This section allows the Attorney General to commence an action against a domain name registrant or owner of a foreign infringing site.  A foreign infringing site is a foreign site directed at and used by U.S. users, which commits certain U.S. criminal violations and which would be subject to seizure by the Attorney General if it were a U.S. website.  The Attorney General may bring an action against the site itself if the registrant or owner cannot be found in the U.S. 

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Modern Dog Design Sues Target and Disney for Copyright Infringement of Dog Artwork

Seattle design studio Modern Dog Design Company filed a complaint against Target and Disney (pdf), a few of their subsidiaries and others for infringing the copyright on some of Modern Dog’s dog drawings.  Modern Dog’s book, “Modern Dog:  20 Years of Poster Art,” contains the material that was allegedly infringed.  The inside front cover of the book consists of drawings of the heads of dogs of various breeds and is entitled “Dogs We Know.”  The inside back cover of the book likewise consists of drawings of the heads of dogs of various breeds and is entitled “Dogs We Don’t Know.”  (Dogs We Know, Dogs We Don’t Know, Exhibit 5 to the complaint, pdf).  The defendants are accused of infringing Modern Dog’s copyright in the drawings of 26 of the 136 total drawings on the inside front and back covers.

The complaint alleges that the defendants Target and Disney partnered in producing a line of clothing called “D-Signed” and that they infringed Modern Dog’s copyright in the dog drawings in three ways:

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