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Watch Tower DMCA Subpoena Case Hots Up as Anonymous Objector Gains Traction

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/watchtower-dmca-subpoena-case-hots-up-as-anonymous-objector-gains-traction-200407/

Last month we reported on what appeared to be a relatively straightforward DMCA subpoena application filed by the supervising body and publisher for the Jehovah’s Witness religious group.

After discovering that a number of its video sermons had been uploaded to YouTube, the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania went to court in New York requesting that the video-hosting platform hand over the personal identifying information of ‘JW Apostate’, the operator of the channel of the same name.

Watch Tower told the court that it had fulfilled all the requirements for obtaining a subpoena and its sole purpose was to “obtain the identity of an alleged infringer or infringers” so that its copyrighted content could be protected. The subpoena was granted but before YouTube could hand over any information, a rather angry and apparently motivated individual stepped in.

In a motion to quash, Jane / John Doe – who identifies as a “noted author and journalist” – told the court that the DMCA subpoena application amounted to an illegal attempt by the religious group to violate the First Amendment rights of journalists by attempting to obtain information about confidential sources. From here, however, the objections became rather more personal.

“[T]he Court utterly failed in its duty to balance the interests of news reporters from stupid fishing expeditions by angry pedophile and pedophile enablers in its hurried effort at rubber stamping whatever documents are handed to the Court in an effort by this judge to appease stupid religious cults who live in her neighborhood,” the motion continued.

“The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society is no stranger when it comes to DMCA subpoena applications or indeed Judge Seibel. The religious cult has attempted to obtain several subpoenas in New York courts against Facebook and YouTube users, filing around 60 applications overall since June 2017. This is complete BULLSHIT(to use a legal term).”

A little under two weeks later, Watch Tower attorney Paul Polidoro filed an opposition to the motion to quash, noting that Watch Tower had applied to the US Copyright Office for registration of all of the allegedly infringed works, citing the registration or application numbers for each.

Polidoro further noted that YouTube-owner Google had advised him that until the court ruled on the matter, no identifying information would be handed over.

“JW Apostate (hereinafter ‘Movant’) posted a number of Watch Tower’s complete videos. There were no transformative efforts made in these postings. Rather, as is clear from the motion, he/she asserts the right to unfettered use of Watch Tower’s corporate intellectual property,” Polidoro wrote.

“The filthy diatribe he/she submitted claims this right is grounded in reporter’s shield laws, and the First Amendment right to anonymous speech. As both arguments are without any legal support, his/her motion should be dismissed.

“Movant also seeks refuge in the right of anonymous speech. The law in this circuit is clear: there is no right to anonymously infringe copyrights,” the attorney added.

Late last week, Jane / John Doe hit back in a new filing which describes the Jehovah’s Witnesses as a “notorious group of criminal pedophiles running a scam ‘religion’ who are guilty of abuse of process and emotional extortion through sham litigation in their pathetic efforts at discovering leaks and moles and whistleblowers.”

“Unfortunately for them,” the filing continues, “this is the year 2020 and things like VPNs, anonymous proxies, and TOR exit nodes frustrate them at every turn.”

With those claims out of the way, the Doe movant states that Watch Tower does not have a valid copyright claim for any of the videos allegedly made available via YouTube because the necessary registration process wasn’t completed before legal action was taken.

Furthermore, the movant alleges that the videos posted were either “secret recordings” or “edited videos” which only displayed material in such volumes necessary to “inform the public about these anti-government, child molesting religious fanatics.”

In a quite extraordinary filing, the movant makes additional, and at this stage totally unsupported, claims about the relationship between Watch Tower’s attorney and the presiding judge, suggesting that a friendship might be undermining the judicial process.

“The whole point of this response, Judge Seibel, is to get you to think first before you pull out your rubber stamp when these assholes show up on your doorstep hollering about alleged copyright violations,” the anonymous movant continues.

“Lives are at stake here in what you do, Judge Seibel. You need to be more cognizant of the fact that these people are a bunch of damn liars, pedophiles, and bullies.”

Given the outrageous tone of the filings objecting to Watch Tower’s demands for a DMCA subpoena, one could be forgiven for thinking that Judge Seibel might not respond as the movant might’ve hoped. However, the Judge now appears to be taking the objections seriously.

In initial comments, Judge Seibel rejects the notion that the movant is being asked to reveal a journalistic source. She further states that the First Amendment does not protect acts of copyright infringement. However, the claim that Watch Tower keeps requesting DMCA subpoenas appears to have piqued her interest.

“[M]ovant challenges the good faith of Watchtower’s representation that its purpose in seeking a DMCA subpoena is solely to identify a potential defendant for a copyright infringement action, alleging that Watchtower has invoked the [sic] 59 times without ever then bringing such a lawsuit,” Judge Siebel writes.

“The Court can imagine reasons for that fact (if it is a fact) that do not evidence lack of good faith, but Watchtower should address (by declaration or affidavit of someone with knowledge) whether it is true, and if so, why I should not conclude that it evidences lack of good faith.”

Furthermore, the Judge also wants to get a closer look at what content was obtained and the context in which it was posted to YouTube. This is important because, under certain circumstances, there may not have been any infringement at all.

“Watchtower suggests that Movant posted full videos produced by Watchtower. Movant says he posted: 1) ‘undercover’ videos of meetings, in which (he suggests) Watchtower would have no copyright rights; and 2) portions of videos produced by Watchtower, which (he implies) would be fair use because it was part of criticism,” the memo reads.

“Accordingly, Watchtower should address (by declaration or affidavit of someone with knowledge) what exactly it claims was infringed by Movant and how,” Judge Siebel concludes.

DMCA subpoena applications are usually open-and-shut cases but at least in this instance, the evidence will now be subjected to additional scrutiny. Where that will lead is open to question but determining fair use is often a complex not to mention expensive matter.

The various filings can be found here 1,2,3,4 (pdf)

Image credit: Pixabay

Drom: TF, for the latest news on copyright battles, torrent sites and more. We also have an annual VPN review.

‘YouTube is Not Required to Share Email and IP-Addresses of Movie Pirates’

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/youtube-is-not-required-to-share-email-and-ip-addresses-of-movie-pirates-200402/

YouTube’s users upload millions of hours of videos every month. As with any user-generated content site, this also includes copyright-infringing content.

This abuse is a thorn in the side of some copyright holders. Although they can send takedown requests to remove pirated content, some companies want to go after the infringers.

This is what happened in Germany, where the local company “Constantin Film” went after three YouTube users. These account holders had uploaded copies of the movies “Scary Movie 5” or “Parker” without permission, which were then viewed thousands of times.

The movie company demanded that Google and YouTube should share the email addresses, IP-addresses, and phone numbers that were tied to these accounts and took the matter to a local court.

Initially, this request was turned down by the Frankfurt District Court, but the Higher Regional Court later ruled that YouTube should hand over the associated email addresses, but not the IP-addresses and phone numbers.

Neither party was happy with this outcome and the case was sent to Germany’s Federal Court of Justice for another ruling. Before making a final judgment, the German court sent some questions to the EU Court of Justice, asking for input on how to interpret EU law in this matter.

While both German and EU legislation grant copyright holders the right to know who the copyright infringer is, it’s not clear what information should be handed over. Article 8 of the EU Copyright Directive from 2004 doesn’t go any further than mentioning “names and addresses” without any further specification.

To clarify the position, Germany’s Federal Court asked whether the law should be interpreted in a way that also covers email addresses, phone numbers, and IP-addresses. In an advisory opinion released by EU Advocate General Henrik Saugmandsgaard Øe, this should not be the case.

The Advocate General believes that the ‘names’ and ‘addresses’ mentioned in Article 8 should be interpreted literally. In other words, it refers to the usual meaning in everyday language, which doesn’t cover email addresses, IP-addresses, and certainly not phone numbers.

“There is little doubt that, in everyday language, the concept of a person’s ‘address’, about which the referring court asks in particular, covers only the postal address, as YouTube and Google have rightly submitted,” Saugmandsgaard Øe writes.

The Advocate General understands that Constantin Film would like this language to be updated, so it also includes digital addresses, but he adds that this is something that lawmakers must address, not the court.

“Article 8(2) […] must be interpreted as meaning that the concept of ‘names and addresses’ set out in that provision does not cover, in respect of a user who has uploaded files which infringe intellectual property rights, the email address, the telephone number, the IP address used to upload those files or the IP address used when the user’s account was last accessed.

“Accordingly, the Member States are not obliged, under that provision, to provide for the possibility, for the competent judicial authorities, to order that that information be provided in the context of proceedings concerning an infringement of an intellectual property right.”

This means that, based on this opinion, Germany’s Federal court can order YouTube and Google to hand over the names and postal addresses of the uploaders, but not the emails, IP-addresses, and phone numbers.

The Advocate General’s advice is not binding. However, in most cases the recommendations are followed by the EU Court of Justice, which will likely issue its final verdict later this year.

Drom: TF, for the latest news on copyright battles, torrent sites and more. We also have an annual VPN review.

YouTube Refuses to Process DMCA Counternotice for ‘Creepy Bugs’ Cartoon

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/youtube-refuses-to-process-dmca-counternotice-for-creepy-bugs-cartoon-200328/

Earlier this week we reported on a dark parody cartoon depicting a washed-out Bugs Bunny as a sex pest. The controversial video was created by Hunter Hancock, the person behind the MeatCanyon channel.

It was hit with a copyright complaint by Warner Bros. As a result, the MeatCanyon channel received a copyright strike and the cartoon was taken down.

When a video is targeted by a copyright holder with a manual complaint (i.e one not actioned as a result of ContentID matching), users can generally refer to the DMCA for guidance. This means that if they believe their content was not infringing (under fair use guidelines, for example), they can submit a DMCA counternotice to YouTube explaining why the content should not have been taken down.

This is exactly what Hancock did in response to the Warner complaint.

“This is my own creation. I animated every frame, composed the music, recorded the audio and made the backgrounds,” he told YouTube in his counternotice shared with TorrentFreak.

“This creation is under fair use,” he continued. “The characters have been stylized by myself to not reflect directly with the traditional characters. There is no branded logo to incite that this is a real video owned by Warner Brothers, but is in fact a parody video created by none other than by myself.”

As required under the law, Hancock swore that he had a “good faith belief” that the material had been removed due to a mistake and also consented to the jurisdiction of his local federal court, in case Warner chose to sue him – something it must do within two weeks to prevent the content from being restored. Should that time pass with no lawsuit, then the content would’ve been put back up and the strike removed.

In the event, however, none of those things happened. In short, YouTube declined to accept the apparently valid DMCA counternotice filed by Hancock and refused to pass it on to Warner.

“Based on the information you provided, it appears that you do not have the necessary rights to post the content on YouTube. Therefore, we regretfully cannot honor your request. It has not been forwarded to the original claimant, and we will not be able to restore your video,” YouTube’s correspondence reads.

While this response from YouTube runs counter to what most people would expect under the DMCA counter-claim process, it is not unprecedented. The EFF previously reported that agreements YouTube has with rightsholders may effectively deny access to the system.

“In many instances, even if you successfully submit a DMCA counter-notice, the video will not be reinstated. These agreements are opaque, and scope of what’s allowed under them is unknown. They may be short-term, or long-term,” the EFF previously explained.

In this case, the refusal of YouTube to allow a counter-claim represents a double-edged sword. While Hancock submitted the notice in good faith, genuinely believing he was in a good position to put his side of the argument by insisting he was protected under fair use doctrines, the reality of dealing with a lawsuit, should one be initiated, is a serious proposition and not to be underestimated.

After being denied by YouTube and further consideration, he decided that fighting probably wasn’t the best option after all.

“I am in no place to fight this in court due to financial reasons. It seems unnecessary to start a GoFund me or ask for help, because it’s between me and Warner Brothers,” he told TF.

“It also made me think YouTube wanted the video off the platform. It is a very crude video so I can’t blame them for that, but it would’ve been nice to have been given more information on why this video was unacceptable to stay up on my page. It’s very disheartening.”

While the decision by YouTube will be viewed by some as anti-consumer and a denial of due process, in this case the platform arguably did the animator a favor. Instead of expending resources he doesn’t have on a legal process that could go either way and could even prove financially ruinous, he can now concentrate on creating new content for fans.

Some battles are worth fighting but it’s definitely worth weighing the costs first.

Drom: TF, for the latest news on copyright battles, torrent sites and more. We also have an annual VPN review.

Jehovah’s Witness Body Uses DMCA to Subpoena YouTube For ‘Apostate’ Identity

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/jehovahs-witness-body-uses-dmca-to-subpoena-youtube-for-apostates-identity-200308/

Reddit user Darkspliver, a member of the Jehovah’s Witness community, was recently targeted by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society with claims that his postings infringed their copyrights.

The case drew the attention of the EFF which mounted a defense on the user’s behalf, claiming that the subpoena against Reddit was invalid since Darkspliver’s use of Jehovah’s Witness material were covered under fair use. The court agreed.

“Our client shared comments and concerns about the Watch Tower organization — something they have every right to do,” said EFF Staff Attorney Alex Moss this week. “We are glad that Darkspilver is safe from unmasking, and that a judge saw the important free speech and fair use issues at play here.”

While the identity of Darkspliver is now safe, the religious organization now has a fresh target. According to documents obtained by TorrentFreak, the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania has obtained a DMCA subpoena that requires Google to reveal the personal details of a YouTube user who uploaded Jehovah’s Witness sermons to the video platform.

The subpoena targets an account called ‘JW Apostate’ which advertised itself as a place for “leaking Watch Tower videos”.

At least initially, the channel had many videos listed for viewing but the DMCA subpoena application lists just five.

“Watch Tower conducted a good-faith fair use analysis of numerous infringing posts on the account at issue,” the application filed at a New York court reads. “This content infringes copyrights held by Watch Tower.”

Watch Tower informed the court that it had fulfilled all the requirements for obtaining a subpoena and its sole purpose is to “obtain the identity of an alleged infringer or infringers” so that copyrighted content can be protected.

The allegedly-infringing YouTube channel listed a Reddit account for correspondence so on discovering the application, TorrentFreak contacted the associated user for comment. Very shortly after, the Reddit account, YouTube channel and all of its videos were deleted, leaving nothing in their wake.

A day later, District Judge Cathy Seibel signed off on the Watch Tower request and ordered the clerk of the court to issue the subpoena against Google LLC.

“This matter comes before the Court upon the ex parte application of movant Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania along with the Declaration of Paul D. Polidoro, Esq. and supporting documents for the signing of a Subpoena directing Google, LLC to produce the identity of entities or persons believed to be infringing on the copyright of Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania,” the order reads.

“Having considered the Declaration and all documents submitted in support of the instant application, the Court finds good reason to issue an order directing the clerk to issue said subpoena.”

The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society is no stranger when it comes to DMCA subpoena applications or indeed Judge Seibel. The religious group has attempted to obtain several subpoenas in New York courts against Facebook and YouTube users, filing around 60 applications overall since June 2017.

Considering that the aim of most Christian-based religions is to spread the word as widely as possible around the world, it appears that those at the top of the Jehovah’s Witness group would prefer to control access to their information much more tightly.

The application, proposed DMCA subpoena, and order granting subpoena can be found here (1,2,3 pdf)

Image credit: Pixabay

Drom: TF, for the latest news on copyright battles, torrent sites and more. We also have an annual VPN review.

YouTube Fair Use: Documentary Makers Defeat Gaye, Thicke, Bee Gees & Jackson

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/youtube-fair-use-documentary-makers-defeat-gaye-thicke-bee-gees-jackson-200223/

Late last year, TorrentFreak covered issues facing Copy-Me.org, a group dedicated to informing the public on copyright-related matters.

As architects of the web-series Creativity Delusion, Copy-Me had published an episode entitled “Geniuses Steal”, which explored the notion that no one really creates something out of nothing and even the greatest minds rely upon the inspiration of others. Unfortunately, the work fell victim to claims from not one but four separate directions.

According to the automated claims that appeared in the group’s YouTube panel, their use of snippets of songs by Marvin Gaye, Robin Thicke, Bee Gees and Michael Jackson constituted an infringement of the various labels’ rights, despite being fairly obvious examples of fair use.

However, after a bold fightback, Copy-Me has now emerged victorious, as the group’s Alex Lungu explains.

“The claims in question were on samples from different songs we used to talk about the ethical & legal problems when dealing with art and copyright. The Marvin Gaye vs Blurred Lines case is one of the biggest copyright suits ever. Marvin Gaye’s family won five million dollars and we find that insane,” Lungu informs TF.

“So to prove how similar Marvin Gaye’s song is to plenty of other songs from its time, we played them side by side with You Should Be Dancing (Bee Gees), Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough (Michael Jackson), Everybody Dance (Chic) and September (Earth, Wind & Fire).

The group received copyright claims on four samples – Got to Give It Up, Blurred Lines, You Should Be Dancing and Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough. That meant that Sony Music Entertainment and Universal Music Group got to play ads against the documentary show, even though Copy-Me never monetized the content in the first place.

“I filed disputes immediately on the grounds of fair use. We used small samples and we didn’t affect the owner’s market, so I knew the video was safe,” Lunge says.

“But the thing with Youtube’s copyright claim system is that it doesn’t matter how legal or illegal the use is. It’s in its own world. The copyright claimant is the judge and jury and there’s no third party assessing the claim. There’s no penalty if the claim is wrong or the claimant lies. So you’re left with reading up on the law, fully understanding the forms YouTube asks you to fill and hoping for the best.”

The responses to the disputes were mixed. Three received absolutely no response from the claimants and after 30 days waiting, were automatically dropped by YouTube’s system. But that still left the fourth claim and dispute concerning Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough up in the air. That proved less easy to purge.

“One dispute was rejected (Michael Jackson, Sony Music Entertainment/SME), so there was probably a real person there who thought they can actually make money off our work. So we were left with a video which was monetized in some countries by SME on the grounds that SME alone thought we were illegally using their song – which we weren’t,” Lunge says.

Lunge admits that at this point, he was “a bit afraid” to file an appeal on the grounds that he would have to give all of his personal information to Sony who could then sue him or delete the documentary. Again, with no oversight or penalty if their claim wasn’t valid, all “on the whim” of a “company intern”.

Lunge decided to go all the way, filed an appeal and explained himself yet again. He received no reply but with the clock ticking, things went his way. One month later the appeal expired and the claim against the documentary was released. Nevertheless, that wasn’t without cost. Not counting all of the administrative work and upheaval, it still took two months to counter all of the claims and get back on an even keel.

“That’s an incredible amount of time to have your video in copyright purgatory. I can’t even imagine what must go on inside someone’s mind who makes Youtube videos for a living,” he says.

“There are plenty of completely legal uses one can make with a song, without asking for any permission: criticism, parody, quotation and so on. Automated claims will never distinguish between legal and illegal ones. Only a judge can do that, but it’s insane to think one should decide for the thousands of videos uploaded every second.

“And I am genuinely concerned about the nature of online videos when big platforms like Youtube and Facebook will be forced to abide by the new European Directive on copyright filters,” Lunge concludes.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.

YouTube Copyright Strike Took Down Livestream Before it Even Started

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/youtube-copyright-strike-took-down-livestream-before-it-even-started-200131/

To protect copyright holders, YouTube uses advanced tools that flag and disable videos which are used without permission.

In addition to this Content-ID system, copyright holders can also submit manual takedown notices to remove infringing content.

Both routes have led to abuse in the past, resulting in takedowns of perfectly legitimate videos. This is particularly worrying for channel owners, as these allegations can potentially lead to multiple copyright strikes after which YouTube removes the entire account.

Over the years we have covered takedown mishaps in great detail. However, this week we learned something new. As it turns out, copyright holders also have the ability to remove content that doesn’t exist yet. A preemptive copyright strike, so to speak.

This unusual takedown strategy was revealed by Matt Binder, a reporter at Mashable who hosts a podcast named DOOMED, which is also live-streamed through YouTube.

Earlier this month, Binder scheduled a show discussing CNN’s Democratic candidates’ debate with progressive activist Jordan Uhl. The show was recorded after the broadcast and in preparation Binder scheduled the podcast’s livestream on YouTube, with “post-Democratic debate” in the title.

Many creators use this scheduling feature to announce their upcoming live streams. What’s new, however, is that Binder’s scheduled stream was removed before it even started. In other words, the content was deemed to be infringing before it existed.

Binder documented the unusual episode on Mashable where he also reveals that the takedown notice was issued on behalf of Warner Bros. Entertainment, which owns CNN.

“The notice informed me that I had received a copyright strike for my scheduled stream,” Binder writes, noting that YouTube immediately restricted his ability to stream content live.

“That one copyright strike was enough to disable livestreaming on my channel for the strike’s three-month duration. If I were to accumulate three strikes, YouTube would just shut down my channel completely, removing all of my content,” Binder adds.

Apparently, Warner Bros. and CNN were monitoring streams that could potentially infringe on their right to broadcast the Democratic candidate’s debate. Based on the title alone, they mistakenly concluded that Binder’s stream was going to be illegal, which it clearly wasn’t.

To correct the mistake Binder protested the takedown notice, hoping that it would be swiftly reversed. However, his first request was denied because it was unclear if he had a valid reason to file a counter-notification.

As a reporter, Binder followed up the story and reached out directly to YouTube, informing the company that he planned to write about the issue. That worked, as the mistake was soon corrected and the copyright strike disappeared as well.

One has to wonder, however, if the average Joe would be able to achieve the same result. In any case, it seems off that copyright holders can claim copyright infringement on content that has yet to be created.

We previously reported that Google search allows rightsholders to remove infringing URLs that are not yet indexed by the search engine. Binder’s case is similar but goes a step further as the allegedly infringing content didn’t exist when the stream was taken down.

YouTube constantly has to balance the interests of its users and those of copyright holders. It’s likely that the option to preemptively strike live streams is used to make it easier to take down scheduled broadcasts of sports games or other time-sensitive major broadcasts.

While this preemptive takedown option may be useful, Binder’s example shows that these powers can also lead to overblocking, which can seriously hurt legitimate content creators.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.

Crisis Looms as YouTube Faces Permanent Blocking by Russian ISPs

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/crisis-looms-as-youtube-faces-permanent-blocking-by-russian-isps-191224/

As the most popular video hosting platform on the Internet, YouTube is awash with both legal and unlicensed content. However, since the company is responsive to copyright complaints, it is largely protected by the safe harbor provisions of the DMCA.

The system is far from perfect and is nowhere near comprehensive. False positives, abusive copyright claims and the sheer volume of uploads make it almost impossible to police the platform to a standard acceptable to everyone. The same can be said of the Internet has a whole but with automated and manual takedown tools, YouTube does what it can.

One copyright holder that isn’t happy with YouTube’s efforts is Russian publishing giant Eksmo and its anti-piracy partner AZAPI, the Association for the Protection of Copyright in the Internet. It says the YouTube system “does not always work” so has decided to step up its efforts to protects its clients’ rights.

As a result, Eksmo recently filed a court case against YouTube and the video platform of local search giant Yandex, claiming that the sites offer pirated audio copies of the sci-fi novel ‘The Three-Body Problem’ by the Chinese author Liu Cixin.

The December complaint was initially rejected due to lack of evidence but on appeal, the Moscow City Court has now ruled that YouTube and Yandex.video must remove the content or face having it blocked by local ISPs. According to a report by local news outlet Vedomosti, the content in question still exists on both platforms.

According to a statement from the Moscow City Court published by TASS on Monday, it has now taken preliminary measures against both sites.

“The court ordered Yandex.video and YouTube to remove the link to the Cixin audiobook. As a security measure, the court imposed a block on this material on both hosting sites,” the press service said.

The Court spokesperson had no comment on the potential for YouTube or Yandex.video to be permanently blocked in Russia but it appears that AZAPI has plans for just that.

“We are ready to go to court using other books. If the complaints are satisfied, we can insist on the eternal blocking of Yandex.Video and YouTube in Russia,” AZAPI chief Maxim Ryabyko informs Vedomosti.

AZAPI represents the interests of Russia’s biggest publishers so the possibility for additional complaints is substantial. What remains unclear is the standard to which YouTube is being held. If the site receives a valid copyright complaint against a specific URL, it usually removes the content in a timely manner. However, that doesn’t necessarily prevent the same content from being uploaded again. At least from AZAPI’s perspective, this appears to be a case of repeat infringement.

“There were situations even when, after making a court ruling, we continued to find controversial copies on this platform,” Ryabyko says.

From the limited comments available, AZAPI seems to be demanding a “takedown, staydown” arrangement in response to its complaints, something which goes beyond Google’s responsibilities under the DMCA.

Whether AZAPI’s threats are ultimately designed to bring YouTube to the negotiating table is unclear but having the site blocked in Russia seems like the nuclear option, particularly when YouTube offers a number of special tools that may help to prevent further infringement.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.

Documentary Detailing How “Geniuses Steal” Hit With Blurred Lines Copyright Complaint

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/documentary-detailing-how-geniuses-steal-hit-with-blurred-lines-copyright-complaint-191218/

The phrase declaring that there is “nothing new under the sun” is well known.

At least in part, it suggests that everything we say, do, or create is copied from the people or material we learn from, after being processed through the intricacies of our own experiences.

This ‘human remix’ theory is the premise of a new documentary series produced by Copy-Me.org, a group that was featured on the main page of The Pirate Bay back in 2013. Titled the Creativity Delusion, the latest installment in the series declares that “Geniuses Steal.”

“We know geniuses are not real and minds don’t have Eureka moments. But we still cling to the idea of an original artist. That romantic notion of someone who creates something out of nothing, with their mind alone,” the introduction reads.

Speaking with TorrentFreak, Copy-Me’s Alex Lungu further explains that the episode focuses on the rarity of originality in history, art, and inventions.

“From Morse to Beethoven, from Shakespeare to Orwell, from Lynch to Tarkovsky, everything is a constant remix,” Lungu says.

“It makes us feel good to believe in a somewhat supernatural idea of a creator. But I think it’s much more liberating for anyone who makes anything to not put so much pressure on themselves, as it’s too much already. And yeah, one of the biggest downsides is that we lock our culture up believing that this will somehow lead to more creativity, not less.”

In common with any good documentary, The Creativity Delusion: Geniuses Steal goes into detail, providing clear examples of well-known quotes, pieces of art, film scenes, musical compositions and more, that were either copied from pre-existing works or provided inspiration for new creations.

Unfortunately, uploading such a documentary to YouTube is a risky endeavor, since the platform’s automatic ContentID system has no way to determine whether a piece of content had been truly pirated or should be subject to fair use exemptions.

As a result, after the documentary was uploaded on December 8, 2019, it was immediately targeted by YouTube’s bots. They determined that highlighting the similarities between well-known tracks, such as the Robin Thicke/Pharrell Williams track Blurred Lines and Marvin Gaye’s Got to Give it Up, with appropriate short samples, are an infringement of the labels’ copyrights.

This resulted in the documentary being subjected to not just one but four separate ContentID matches.

Copy-Me disputed all of the claims but fast forward ten days and the hits against the video remain in place and look to remain so for another three weeks. The disputes are reportedly “under review” but in the meantime, the entities behind these tracks get the benefit of the doubt that their content is being used illegally.

While the documentary highlights many clear instances of artists copying or basing their work on those of others, the fact that the section focusing on Blurred Lines seems to have caused the most issues is ironic, to say the least.

After a long legal battle that finally came to a close in 2018, a judge ruled that Thicke and Pharrell must pay $5m to the family of Marvin Gaye for copyright infringement because Blurred Lines bore too many similarities to Got to Give it Up.

Interestingly, just after that case went to an unsuccessful appeal, more than 200 musicians filed an amicus curiae brief in support of Thicke and Williams which warned that the verdict in the case “threatens to punish songwriters for creating new music that is inspired by prior works.”

This, of course, is the entire point of the Copy-Me documentary, that all artists and creators in various niches rely on those who went before to provide ideas and artistic inspiration. There truly is nothing new under the sun, but sadly that also includes highly questionable copyright hits on YouTube, pointing out that very thing.

“We used samples [from the songs] to make the point that the biggest copyright lawsuit of the decade ($5m) is a travesty that can have serious repercussions on inspiration and creativity,” Lungu says.

“The two songs are similar in the way any two funk songs are similar, and we play other samples from other songs to make that point. There’s no other way to show that… other than to actually play them. This is clearly covered by fair use: to use a fragment of a song in an educational material, for non-commercial purposes to make a point about that very song.”

It remains to be seen whether this problem will be resolved quickly, or indeed resolved at all. However, Lungu firmly believes that if a platform like YouTube uses automated detection systems, there must be a clear and simple way to dispute false positives.

“[The platform] should explain what you can do in the easiest way possible. It should explain how copyright actually works and how using someone else’s work can be completely legal, even without anyone’s permission,” he says.

“Copyright isn’t property, but not that many people know that. And we should have a strict way of taxing those who claim works that aren’t theirs. Why should repeat infringers have a three-strike policy, but repeat abusers shouldn’t?”

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.

Raspberry Pi capacitive-touch musical Christmas tree

Post Syndicated from Alex Bate original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/capacitive-touch-musical-christmas-tree/

What, your Christmas tree ISN’T touch-enabled?

Capacitive Touch Christmas Tree How To | Raspberry Pi | Bare Conductive Pi Cap

Turn your Christmas tree into a capacitive touch-interactive musical instrument using a Raspberry Pi and a Bare Conductive Pi Cap. You’ll be rocking around the Christmas tree in no time! /* Bare Conductive */ Pi Cap: https://www.bareconductive.com/shop/pi-cap/ Touch Board: https://www.bareconductive.com/shop/touch-board/ Code: https://github.com/BareConductive/picap-touch-mp3-py #RasberryPi #BareConductive #Christmas

Using the Bare Conductive Pi Cap, Davy Wybiral hooked up his fairy lights and baubles to a Raspberry Pi. The result? Musical baubles that allow the user to play their favourite festive classics at the touch of a finger. These baubles are fantastic, and it’s easy to make your own. Just watch the video for Davy’s how-to.

The code for Bare Conductive’s Pi Cap polyphonic touch MP3 utility can be found in this GitHub repo, and you can pick up a Pi Cap on the Bare Conductive website. Then all you need to do is hook up your favourite tree decorations to the Pi Cap via insulated wires, and you’re good to go. It’s OK if your decorations aren’t conductive: you’ll actually be touching the wires and not the ornaments themselves.

And don’t worry about touching the wires, it’s perfectly safe. But just in this instance. Please don’t make a habit of touching wires.

Make sure to subscribe to Davy on YouTube (we did) and give him a like for the baubles video. Also, leave a comment to tell him how great it is, because nice comments are lovely, and we should all be leaving as many of them as we can on the videos for our favourite creators.

The post Raspberry Pi capacitive-touch musical Christmas tree appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

Filmmaker Wins Piracy Lawsuit Against YouTube and Google India

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/filmmaker-wins-piracy-lawsuit-against-youtube-and-google-india-191209/

Every week, YouTube’s users upload millions of hours of videos. As with any user-generated content site, this also includes copyright-infringing content.

YouTube tackles this problem by processing takedown notices and using its Content-ID system to automatically remove allegedly infringing content.

However, according to copyright holders, this is not good enough. That includes Bollywood filmmaker Suneel Darshan, who filed a lawsuit against YouTube and Google India in 2011. Now, eight years later, a local court has ruled in his favor.

A few days ago, the District Court of Gurgaon held that the video platform did indeed infringe on the rights of the filmmaker. The Court issued an injunction preventing YouTube from violating his copyrights going forward and awarded roughly $700 in compensation.

The ‘damages’ amount is relatively low, especially after a prolonged legal battle, but Darshan says that he is planning to file a separate case to claim his full losses. A copy of the verdict has not been published online, as far as we know.

According to local media reports, YouTube and Google’s lawyers argued that the video platform was merely an intermediary, which should not be held directly liable.

In addition, the companies pointed out that they have a functional DMCA takedown policy that allows any copyright holder to request the removal in infringing content by pointing out specific URLs. This is something the filmmaker failed to do.

Darshan and his legal team held that YouTube and Google profited from the “unauthorized exploitation” of copyrighted works by sharing ad-revenue with the user who uploaded the content. As a result, the filmmaker lost part of his income.

The Court eventually sided with the copyright holder ruling that if Google and YouTube were aware of the content, they could have located the URLs to remove the infringing videos.

While the ruling is a setback for the video platform, the case is likely to be appealed. For now, however, the filmmaker is happy with the victory which he describes as an “encouraging judgment.”

That said, the journey towards this victory has been prolonged and difficult. YouTube and Google pushed back hard, Darshan says, quoted by the Free Press Journal.

“We faced many challenges while fighting this case. They made so many claims that it is not their jurisdiction and then they told me that I don’t hold the right to this content. So I had to prove my ownership, it is like parents proving that it is their child,” Darshan says.

YouTube hasn’t commented publicly on the case yet. The company is currently involved in several copyright infringement cases, including two that are with the European Court of Justice, which are expected to have a broad impact.

Similar to the Indian case, the top EU court will have to decide whether YouTube can be expected to go beyond responding to takedown notices that detail specific URLs.

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‘Royalty-Free’ Music Supplied By YouTube Results in Mass Video Demonetization

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/royalty-free-music-supplied-by-youtube-results-in-mass-video-demonetization-191118/

Matt Lowne is a very popular YouTuber with a passion for the simulation game Kerbal Space Program. Since 2013 he’s amassed close to 56 million views but late last week, his video world was turned upside down.

In common with many YouTubers, Matt didn’t want any copyright issues on his channel. So, to play things safely, he obtained the track ‘Dreams‘ by Joakim Karud from YouTube’s very own audio library for use in his intro. Unfortunately, this strategy of obtaining supposedly risk-free music from a legitimate source still managed to backfire.

Very early last Friday, Matt says he received a “massive barrage” of emails from YouTube, targeting “pretty much all” of his KSP videos. The emails said that Matt’s videos “may have content owned or licensed by SonyATV, PeerMusic, Warner Chappell, Audiam and LatinAutor.”

Some of the YouTube demonetization emails

A clearly exasperated Matt took to YouTube, noting that any ads that now show up on his videos “split up the revenue between all the companies listed” in the emails, with Matt himself “allowed to keep what’s left of that.” He doesn’t know what that amount might be, because he says there’s just no way of knowing.

After highlighting the vague use of the word “may” in YouTube’s emails to him, Matt then went on to describe the real “kick in the gut”, which revolves around the track itself.

‘Dreams’ composer Joakim Karud allows anyone to use his music on YouTube, even commercially, for free. And the fact that Matt downloaded the track from YouTube’s own library was the icing on this particularly bitter cake.

“So I guess this library can’t be trusted at all,” says Matt. “YouTube might just remove songs from it after the fact and then shrug off any consequences for videos that use that music as you know, shit happens.”

Matt said he had to time out to manually protest the automated claims against his account but he says his overtures were immediately rejected, “almost like it’s an automated bot or something.” But things get worse from there.

After contesting each claim and having all of those rejected, Matt says the only option left is to appeal every single one. However, if an appeal is lost, the video in question will be removed completely and a strike will be placed against his account.

It’s three strikes and you’re out on YouTube, so this is not an attractive option for Matt if the music companies somehow win the fight. So, instead, Matt is appealing against just one of the complaints in the hope that he can make some progress without putting his entire account at risk.

Matt says he won’t be able to risk putting any music in his videos in future, because even with the best intentions, a “billion-dollar corporation” can simply decide that they “would like to start benefiting off your blood, sweat and tears.”

Worryingly, searches online show that not only are other people affected by similar mass complaints, but there may — may — be an explanation for what is going on here.

“SonyATV & Warner Chappell have claimed 24 of my videos because the royalty free song Dreams by Joakim Karud (from the OFFICIAL YOUTUBE AUDIO LIBRARY BTW) uses a sample from Kenny Burrell Quartet’s ‘Weaver of Dream’,” a Twitter user wrote on Saturday.

Sure enough, if one turns to the WhoSampled archive, Dreams is listed as having sampled Weaver of Dreams, a track from 1956 to which Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC and Warner/Chappell Music, Inc. own the copyrights.

If the trend of claims against ‘Dreams’ continues, there is potential for huge upheaval on YouTube and elsewhere. Countless thousands of videos use the track and as a result it has become very well-known. Sadly, people trying to claim it as their own is nothing new but fingers crossed, common sense will sort out the present issues.

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RIAA Delists YouTube Rippers From Google Using Rare Anti-Circumvention Notices

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/riaa-delists-youtube-rippers-from-google-using-rare-anti-circumvention-notices-191108/

While music piracy has reduced in recent years due to the popularity of platforms such as Spotify, the major labels remain highly concerned over so-called steam-ripping services.

These sites allow users to enter a YouTube URL, for example, and then download audio from the corresponding video, mostly in MP3 format. This means that users can download music and store it on their own machines, negating the need to revisit YouTube for the same content. This, the major labels say, deprives content creators of streaming revenue.

Tackling this issue has become one of the industry’s highest anti-piracy priorities. Previously, YouTube-MP3 – the largest ripping site at the time – was shut down following legal action by the major labels. Since then, lawsuits have been filed against other platforms but the battle is far from over and recently a new strategy appears to have been deployed.

A pair of DMCA notices appeared on the Lumen Database late October, having been filed there by Google. The sender of both notices is listed as the RIAA, acting on behalf of its members including Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, and Warner Music Group.

They are worded slightly differently but each target the homepages of five major YouTube-ripping sites – 2conv.com, flvto.biz, y2mate.com, yout.com, and youtubeconverter.io. Both contain the following key claim:

“To our knowledge, the URLs provide access to a service (and/or software) that circumvents YouTube’s rolling cipher, a technical protection measure, that protects our members’ works on YouTube from unauthorized copying/downloading,” the notices read.

Unlike regular DMCA takedown notices filed with Google, these notices do not appear in Google’s Transparency report. However, Google has acted on them by delisting the homepages of all five platforms from its search results. Other URLs for the platforms still appear, but their homepages are all gone.

The notices are listed on the Lumen Database in the anti-circumvention section, meaning that the RIAA-labeled complaints demand action from Google under the anti-circumvention provisions of the DMCA, rather than demanding the takedown of URLs based on the claim they carry infringing music titles.

The ‘technical measures’ allegedly being circumvented (such as the “rolling cypher” referenced in the complaints) are those put in place by YouTube, which in turn protect the copyrighted content of the labels.

TorrentFreak contacted the RIAA yesterday, requesting comment and seeking additional information on the basis for the notices. Unfortunately, the industry group declined to make any further comment on any aspect of the complaints.

Nevertheless, the RIAA and its members are no strangers to the claim that by circumventing YouTube’s ‘technological measures’, so-called ‘ripping’ sites infringe their rights too. Two of the sites targeted in the recent notices – 2conv.com and flvto.biz – were sued by the labels in 2018. The original complaint contains the following text:

From the complaint

That circumvention (at least in respect of the labels’ works when users select them for download) may also amount to an infringement of the labels’ rights seems to be supported by comments made in the Disney vs VidAngel case.

An opinion from the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit stated that “[n]o person shall circumvent a technological measure that effectively controls access to a [copyrighted] work. Circumvention means ‘to decrypt an encrypted work.. without the authority of the copyright owner’.”

Nevertheless, it was previously argued by the EFF that stream-ripping sites are not by definition illegal since on top of the usual fair use exemptions, some creators who upload their content to online platforms grant permission for people to freely download and modify their work.

“There exists a vast and growing volume of online video that is licensed for free downloading and modification, or contains audio tracks that are not subject to copyright,” the EFF stresses.

“Moreover, many audio extractions qualify as non-infringing fair uses under copyright. Providing a service that is capable of extracting audio tracks for these lawful purposes is itself lawful, even if some users infringe.”

The anti-circumvention notices detailed above are not only relatively rare but also have an additional interesting property – they are harder to dispute than regular DMCA takedown notices.

As detailed here last year, Google told the target of a similar complaint requesting URL delisting that “There is no formal counter notification process available under US law for circumvention, so we have not reinstated these URLs.”

The pair of DMCA anti-circumvention notices can be found here 1,2 (pdf)

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Have Pirate IPTV Sellers on YouTube Lost Their Minds?

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/have-pirate-iptv-sellers-on-youtube-lost-their-minds-191103/

Anyone who has followed piracy and copyright infringement issues for years or even decades, few developments fall into the ‘WOW’ category anymore.

That torrent and streaming services are still getting sued or raided is frankly daily fodder and after the military-style raid on Kim Dotcom hit the headlines, pretty much anything is possible.

Over the past couple of years, however, something so bizarre – so ridiculous – has been developing on sites like YouTube to make even the most outspoken of pirates raise an eyebrow or two. We’re talking about the rise of the IPTV seller and reseller ‘celebrities’ who are openly promoting their businesses like a regular company might.

As reported this week, IPTV reseller company Boom Media LLC is getting sued by DISH Networks and NagraStar in the United States. That another one of these outfits is being targeted isn’t a shock. However, when promotional YouTube videos are produced in court evidence, with the alleged owner of the company personally appearing in them stating that “it’s pirated f**cking streams. It’s no different than buying f**king knockoff shoes. It’s black market shit,” one has to wonder what the hell is going on.

So, just one person has allegedly done something reckless or ill-considered, right? Wrong. This type of behavior is neither isolated or rare.

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been sitting through hours of YouTube videos produced by people selling or reselling ‘pirate’ IPTV packages. In a worrying number, particularly given the popularity of their services, owners, founders, or ’employees’ of these outfits appear in person.

Their names are publicly known and in some cases, even their addresses. These are not small players, not by any stretch. In some cases, we’re talking huge numbers of followers and many hundreds of thousands of views, selling well-recognized services.

While in some cases hyperbole is clearly part of the pitch, it’s child’s play to find operators of these companies bragging about how much money they’ve made or are making, and how many customers they have. They speak to their subscribers, in person via live-streams, conduct detailed Q&A sessions, while ‘confirming’ the supposed legality of what they’re doing.

In a surprising number of cases, negative comments by users concerning legality are passed off as ridiculous, with sellers describing the sale of pirate IPTV subscriptions as residing in a gray area with the law powerless to do anything about it. While we could have a detailed argument here about the intricacies of any number of laws, both criminal and civil, and any potential defenses to them, these people appear to be missing the point.

Just this week, Openload – a true Internet giant with considerable resources – was pummeled into submission by dozens of the world’s largest content companies after agreeing to pay substantial damages. This was a file-hosting goliath being beaten up dozens of bigger goliaths. No face on YouTube required.

Another example can be found in Kim Dotcom, who says he has spent upwards of $40m in legal fees, even though, on the surface, many argue he has a solid legal basis for mounting a successful defense in the United States. But that’s $40,000,0000 already, before trial, an amount that will no doubt skyrocket in the event he ever gets sent there.

But here’s the thing. The majority of these IPTV ‘celebrities’, for want of a better term, are actually living in the United States already. It’s not necessary to name any of them, they do enough of that themselves. But in addition to their self-declared IPTV empires, some have significant and legitimate additional business interests too, which could all be put in jeopardy, one way or another, should the proverbial hit the fan.

In a piracy world where many are discussing anonymity, encryption, proxies, cryptocurrency payments, to name just a few, these people are deliberately making their identities known. They are not hiding away and as a result, they are known by anti-piracy groups who probably can’t believe their luck.

They not only have their real names and their own faces splashed across their own IPTV-based YouTube channels, but also channels that cover other aspects of their sometimes flamboyant lives. Anti-piracy groups don’t need investigators to find out who they are anymore, it’s common knowledge. An alias? Not parading yourself on the modern equivalent of TV? That’s soooo 1999, apparently.

The big question is whether these people really have lost their minds, or do they actually know something that most other people don’t? When did putting your own face in multiple videos, selling access to an admittedly pirated product via a company in your own name, become part of a solid business plan? It’s truly bizarre and cannot end well.

Welcome to 2019, it’s a truly strange place to be.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.

YouTube Settles Lawsuit With Alleged DMCA Extortion Scammer for $25,000

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/youtube-settles-lawsuit-with-alleged-dmca-extortion-scammer-for-25000-191016/

YouTube’s copyright takedown policy poses one of the biggest threats to the streaming platform’s content creators.

YouTubers who receive three copyright infringement strikes can easily lose their channel, which for some equates to their livelihood.

This looming threat also provides an opportunity for scammers. As we reported a few months ago, YouTube’s copyright takedown process was being abused to extort YouTubers, including ‘ObbyRaidz’ and ‘Kenzo.’ Both repeatedly received ‘strikes’ against their channels.

The scammer in question pretended that he was the legitimate owner of the videos uploaded by the users and requested money to retract the false claims.

“We striked you. Our request is $150 PayPal, or $75 btc. You may send the money via goods/ services if you do not think we will cancel or hold up our end of the deal,” the scammer wrote.

This abuse didn’t go unnoticed by YouTube, which tracked down the alleged offender and took action.

Last month the video streaming service sued Nebraska-resident Christopher Brady, accusing him of violating the DMCA by falsely claiming the content of other YouTubers as his own.

According to YouTube, Brady repeatedly attempted to harass and extort money from content creators through his bogus copyright infringement claims.

The company believes Brady went as far as using the address of YouTube user Cxlvxn, which is shared with a rightsholder for the purpose of filing a lawsuit, in an attempt to dispatch a large number of police officers to his home.

In the complaint, YouTube demanded a jury trial but it didn’t get that far. A few hours ago they submitted an agreed judgment and permanent injunction to the Nebraska federal court, which settles the matter without any further bloodshed.

Under the proposed injunction (pdf), Brady is prevented from filing any bogus copyright claims going forward. In addition, he separately agreed to pay $25,000 for his misconduct, offering a public apology to all the people who were hurt by his actions.

“I, Christopher L. Brady, admit that I sent dozens of notices to YouTube falsely claiming that material uploaded by YouTube users infringed my copyrights,” reads the apology, which YouTube shared with The Verge.

“I apologize to the YouTube users that I directly impacted by my actions, to the YouTube community, and to YouTube itself,” Brady adds.

The proposed judgment and injunction have yet to be signed off by the court, but this is expected to happen later this week. It’s not clear whether any of the affected users will receive compensation, but YouTube says that it’s happy with this outcome.

“This settlement highlights the very real consequences for those that misuse our copyright system. We’ll continue our work to prevent abuse of our systems,” a YouTube spokesperson said.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.

Epic Games and ‘Cheating’ Fortnite Kid Settle Copyright Lawsuit

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/epic-games-settles-copyright-lawsuit-with-cheating-fortnite-kid-191007/

Frustrated by thousands of cheaters who wreak havoc in Fortnite’s “Battle Royale,” game publisher Epic Games has taken several to court.

The game developer isn’t trying to bankrupt these people financially. The main goal appears to be to stop the cheaters and prevent them from encouraging and facilitating others to do the same.

In most instances, the alleged cheaters are eager to settle the cases. However, a YouTuber called CBV, who was sued by Epic Games this summer, started out by returning fire. Despite his relatively young age of 14 years old, he showed no sign of backing off.

The alleged cheater lawyered up and responded by filing a motion to dismiss at a North Carolina federal court. Among other things, his attorneys pointed out that the Court doesn’t have jurisdiction over this client and that requiring a minor to defend himself in another state would be unreasonable.

The games company, which hit the minor (referred to as C.B. in the complaint) with several claims, including copyright infringement and breaches of the DMCA’s anti-circumvention provision, wasn’t planning on letting CBV get away with it though.

Epic Games countered that it had a solid case, noting that the defendant’s cheating activity continued despite the lawsuit.

With both sides choosing not to back off, the lawsuit seemed destined for a drawn-out fight. But it didn’t get to that. Behind the scenes, the parties came together to settle their differences without court intervention. This has now resulted in a settlement that’s formalized through an order of approval by the court.

With help from pro bono attorneys and his mother Kari as a General Guardian, C.B. reached a confidential settlement with Epic Games. It’s unclear whether there is a damages amount involved, but both sides have dropped their (counter)claims, effectively ending the dispute.

“Defendant’s General Guardian and Defendant agree and are satisfied that the Settlement Agreement that is the subject of this Order is fair and reasonable. In particular, Defendant’s General Guardian and Defendant believe that the terms of the Settlement Agreement properly account for C.B.’s status as a minor,” the order reads.

As part of the settlement, the defendant likely agreed not to engage in any cheating activities. This includes uploading cheat videos on YouTube, which he initially continued to do on a new YouTube channel.

The defendant also continued to develop and sell cheat software, Epic Games previously said. After the lawsuit was filed he created a new website, NexusCheats.us, which was advertised through his YouTube videos. At the time of writing, this website is no longer online.

When the lawsuit was first announced (C.B.) CBV responded with some quite aggressive language on his YouTube channel, but since then the channel has gone quiet. The last upload dates back three months and, given the settlement, it’s unlikely that any new Fortnite cheat videos will appear there going forward.

For Epic Games, these lawsuits are the only way to remove some cheat videos from YouTube. If a YouTuber continues to dispute a DMCA takedown request, as happened in this case, YouTube will restore the video unless a lawsuit is filed.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.

Members of Congress Question Google CEO about YouTube’s Content-ID System

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/members-of-congress-question-google-ceo-about-youtubes-content-id-system-190906/

To protect copyright holders, YouTube uses an advanced piracy recognition system that flags and disables videos that are used without permission.

This system, known as Content ID, works well most of the time, but it’s not perfect. In recent years it’s been heavily criticized by YouTube users and rightsholders alike.

YouTubers, for example, have repeatedly complained that their content has been inaccurately claimed. On the other side, there are tens of thousands of copyright holders who would love to join the Content ID program but are not allowed to.

For now, YouTube’s Content ID system is limited to a few thousand participants. These are claimants which own the exclusive rights to a “substantial body of material” that is “frequently uploaded” by YouTube users. In other words, not the average indie creator.

This exclusivity is a thorn in the side of smaller artists, who instead have to manually go through YouTube to find infringing content. While that’s no different from any other site on the Internet, they feel left out and disadvantaged by the video streaming site.

This issue hasn’t gone unnoticed by US lawmakers. This week, a group of eight members of Congress, including Sen. Marcha Blackburn, Sen. Christopher Coons, Rep. Jerrold Nadler, and Rep. Adam Schiff, invited Google CEO Sundar Pichai to a roundtable discussion specifically about Content ID.

The members explain that they are quite content with Google’s copyright enforcement efforts, but they are also concerned that smaller content creators are being left out.

“We are concerned that copyright holders with smaller catalogs of works cannot utilize Content ID, making it more difficult or impossible for them to effectively protect their copyrighted works from infringement and, ultimately, impacting their livelihoods,” they write.

The lawmakers stress that many copyright holders have been denied access to Content ID. While they are still able to take infringing content down manually, they have to do more work than some larger competitors and with fewer resources.

“We have heard from copyright holders who have been denied access to Content ID tools, and as a result, are at a significant disadvantage to prevent the repeated uploading of content that they have previously identified as infringing,” the letter explains.

“They are left with the choice of spending hours each week seeking out and sending notices about the same copyrighted works, or allowing their intellectual property to be misappropriated,” they add.

The Congress members hope to obtain more insight into the matter during a roundtable, where representatives of the creative community will also be present. They’ve prepared a set of questions for Google’s CEO, which they hope to have answered.

Among other things, the members want to know how the Content ID system works, what type of rightsholders are able to join now, whether Google plans to open it up to more rightsholders, and if it will be expanded to other Google services, such as Blogger.

The entire roundtable appears to be limited to the perspective of external rightsholders. There is no mention of the many inaccurate claiming requests YouTubers (who are also content creators) complain about, nor is Content ID abuse on the agenda.

The goal of the roundtable is clear. The Congress members want YouTube’s Content ID system to be available to a wider range of rightsholders, as clearly indicated in their closing words.

“Again, we appreciate the efforts that you have made to combat distribution of infringing content on YouTube. Given its apparent benefits to rights holders, we hope that you will consider making Content ID and the benefits it provides available to a larger category of content creators.”

A copy of the letter the Members of Congress sent to Google CEO Sundar Pichai is available here (pdf), via IPWatchdog.

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YouTube Sued For $720K Over Alleged Copyright Strike “Retaliation”

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/youtube-sued-for-720k-over-alleged-copyright-strike-retaliation-190829/

While most YouTube users are simply visitors to the site, a minority produce their own content and upload it to the platform for others to enjoy.

Some can make a decent living when they enter a revenue-sharing agreement with YouTube but when things go wrong, those earnings can stop in an instant. According to popular YouTuber DJ Short-E (real name Erik Mishiyev), this happened to him – and he’s blaming the whole thing on YouTube using copyright-strikes as “retaliation” to his threats of a lawsuit.

In a complaint filed in a California federal court Wednesday, Mishiyev describes himself as a “well-known Journalist and DJ, known as ‘Short-E’, who publishes original music, DJ mixes, and celebrity interviews in videos on YouTube.”

Since 2007, Mishiyev says he’s run two YouTube channels – ‘djshortehot4eva’ and ‘theshorteshow’. These channels were monetized following an agreement with YouTube and after developing a subscriber base of 250,000 users, his channels generated more than 110 million views. For this, YouTube paid him $310,000 over a five-year period.

In March 2016, Mishiyev claims he began receiving copyright claims on his “highest advertisement revenue videos”. He says he responded with counter-claims to avoid YouTube’s “three strikes” process which would’ve disabled his channel. However, he reports that all claims were won and his channel was re-instated for monetization.

A year later, Mishiyev says YouTube recognized him as a successful contributor by handing him a “Silver Creator Award” for reaching 100,000 subscribers. However, despite growing his audience at a rate of around 4,000 subscribers per month, views remained low when compared to similar channels.

“Plaintiff was concerned about this suspicious activity and sought confirmation numerous times from YOUTUBE that they were truly distributing his new videos to his fans and subscribers, but YOUTUBE failed to provide such confirmation, stating ‘They could not share this information’ with him,” the complaint notes.

Mishiyev includes an email from one of his subscribers to back up his claims that YouTube failed to promote his content as per his agreement with the company.

“I subscribed to both of your channels and turned my notifications on for you so I would know when you uploaded new videos,” it reads.

“I subscribed about 2 weeks ago and haven’t got a single notification from youtube but I noticed you have uploaded many new videos since I subscribed [to your channels]. Please fix this problem, i’m sure there are many other people who haven’t been notified either and that’s why I noticed your views are very low compared to other similar channels.”

According to Mishiyev, YouTube’s failure to promote his content would cause him to lose $125,000 in revenue over a three-year period but after losing faith in YouTube’s support team, he told the company he would be filing a lawsuit if its conduct persisted.

In response, on December 18, 2018, YouTube reportedly sent a notice saying that they would be terminating Mishiyev’s accounts and removing his content. The very next day, serious copyright problems began.

“On December 15, 2018 through January 15, 2019, Plaintiff was abruptly bombarded with copyright claims like he never had been before the entire time he had been managing and growing his channels,” the complaint notes.

A sample of the copyright notices received

On January 22, 2018, YouTube reportedly blocked access to all of Mishiyev’s videos, replacing them with a notice that they had been removed due “to a copyright claim.” YouTube then placed “strikes” on his account but Mishiyev says that YouTube’s actions were actually in response to his threat of a lawsuit.

“Although YOUTUBE stated they removed his channels and videos for copyright claims, the removals appeared to Plaintiff to be in retaliation for his placing them on notice that he would be filing a lawsuit,” Mishiyev’s lawyers write.

According to the YouTuber, he followed the company’s rules by submitting counter-notices as required by the DMCA, noting that every time he had done that in the past he had prevailed since no one ever filed a lawsuit against him.

Generally, when a counter-notification is filed and there is no lawsuit notification from a complainant, content goes back up. But YouTube apparently wrote back saying that at least some of Mishiyev’s counter-notices were “ineligible.”

The complaint adds that YouTube later retracted its statement that the videos were ineligible for counter-notification and promised to process them. It’s not clear what happened next but it didn’t help Mishiyev’s predicament.

“To date, Plaintiff’s strikes have not been removed, his counter claims have
not been processed, and his videos and channels have been permanently removed, though no claimants presented evidence that they filed any lawsuits. Thus, evidencing that YOUTUBE did not simply remove his content because of copyright claims, but instead in retaliation for placing them on notice that he was filing a lawsuit against them,” the complaint asserts.

As a result, the now-former YouTuber says he lost $90,000 in revenue between January 2019 and July 2019, adding that when lost subscribers, views, future views, performance bookings, and lost advertising and sponsorship deals are taken into account, YouTube’s actions have caused him damages of $720,000, for which he demands compensation in full.

Mishiyev is suing YouTube for breach of contract, interference with contractual relations, interference and negligent interference with economic advantage, and negligence. He also demands an injunction preventing YouTube from “banning Plaintiff from the full use of the internet and YOUTUBE’s services.”

The complaint plus supporting documents can be found here 1,2,3,4,5 (pdf)

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Keynote speeches from Scratch Conference Europe 2019

Post Syndicated from Alex Bate original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/keynote-speeches-scratch-conference-europe-2019/

This weekend, the Raspberry Pi Foundation hosted Scratch Conference Europe 2019 at Churchill College in Cambridge, UK.

Framing the busy weekend’s schedule were presentations from:

  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Lab’s Mitchel Resnick, co-inventor of Scratch himself
  • Science presenter Neil Monterio
  • Raspberry Pi favourite, the fire-loving Fran Scott

Since not everyone was able to travel to Cambridge to attend the conference, we wanted to make sure you’re not missing out, so we filmed their presentations, for you to watch at your leisure.

For the full Scratch Conference experience, we suggest gathering together a group of like-minded people to watch the videos and discuss your thoughts. Alternatively, use #ScratchEurope on Twitter to join in the conversation with the conference attendees online.


Mitch Resnick presents at Scratch Conference Europe 2019

Mitch Resnick addresses the attendees of Scratch Conference Europe, hosted by the Raspberry Pi Foundation at Churchill College, Cambridge, UK on 24 August 2019.

Neil Monteiro presents at Scratch Conference Europe 2019

Neil Monteiro closes the show on day two of Scratch Conference Europe, hosted by the Raspberry Pi Foundation at Churchill College, Cambridge, UK on 24 August 2019. In this show, Neil takes the audience on a journey into a dangerous labyrinth…in code!

Fran Scott presents at Scratch Conference Europe 2019

Fran Scott closes the show on day three of Scratch Conference Europe, hosted by the Raspberry Pi Foundation at Churchill College, Cambridge, UK on 25 August 2019.


The post Keynote speeches from Scratch Conference Europe 2019 appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

Can YouTube Be Liable For Copyright Infringing Videos? EU Court to Decide

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/can-youtube-be-liable-for-copyright-infringing-videos-eu-court-to-decide-190822/

Week in and week out YouTube’s users upload millions of hours of videos. As with any user-generated content site, this also includes copyright-infringing content.

YouTube tackles this by processing takedown notices and using its Content-ID system to automatically remove allegedly infringing content. However, according to some prominent copyright holders, this is not good enough.

In Austria, this complaint is at the center of a lawsuit between the local television channel Puls 4 and YouTube. In an initial order last summer, the court ruled that the video platform can be held directly liable for users’ copyright infringements. YouTube was not seen as a neutral intermediary and should do more to prevent infringing uploads.

The court noted that YouTube takes several motivated actions to actively organize and optimize how videos are displayed. By doing so, it becomes more than a neutral hosting provider. Therefore, it can’t rely on a safe harbor defense.

This ruling was overturned by the Higher Regional Court of Vienna earlier this year. According to the appeal court, YouTube doesn’t have an “active role” as its search, categorization, and advertising service are seen as part of the normal business models of hosting platforms, which do not make the company liable.

Puls4 was disappointed with this ruling and immediately decided to take the case to the Supreme Court. This case is still pending but before it rules on the matter, the highest Austrian court is seeking input from the European Court of Justice (CJEU) on several crucial questions.

The questions haven’t been published publicly on CJEU’s website yet, but TorrentFreak obtained a copy of the Portuguese versions and IP KAT did the same with the German questions. These questions reveal, as expected, that the EU’s highest court will have to decide the boundaries of Europe’s safe harbors.

The first question, for example, asks if a video host, under Article 14 of the EU’s Electronic Commerce Directive 2000, takes on an “active role” that can make it liable for copyright infringements when it categorizes videos, makes suggestions by topic, and uses targeted advertising, among other things. 

The EU Court is further asked to clarify whether Articles 12 to 14 of the EU’s Electronic Commerce Directive mean that providers are shielded from liability, even when their activity is seen as a communication to the public.

In addition, the Austrian Supreme Court wants to know if a court-ordered injunction only applicable if a service provider has actual knowledge of infringements which have been confirmed by a court?

The latter appears to deal with the question of whether sites such as YouTube have to remove content merely based on metadata (to prevent repeated uploads), as opposed to pointing out specific infringing content. That’s important because, in the Puls4 case, YouTube was not aware of any the contested infringements.

The CJEU’s decision will be a crucial one in the ongoing legal debate about the potential liability of third-party intermediaries such as video hosting providers.

Puls4 previously stressed that it believes that EU law is on its side. Among other things, the company pointed out other relevant CJEU decisions, including the case regarding the infringing nature of The Pirate Bay. In addition, it believes that recent developments regarding liability under the proposed Article 17 of the new EU copyright directive will help its cause.

Interestingly, this isn’t the only YouTube-related case on CJEU’s agenda. A German court also referred various copyright infringement-related questions last year. The Austrian Supreme Court was aware of this referral but believes that its questions deserve to be handled separately.

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YouTube Sues Alleged Scammer Over DMCA Extortion Scheme

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/youtube-sues-alleged-scammer-over-dmca-extortion-scheme-190920/

Obtaining multiple unresolved copyright complaints on a YouTube account can prove fatal to those who rely on the platform to make a living.

For those obtaining “three strikes”, it can mean the closure of an entire channel and along with it, access to potentially hundreds of otherwise revenue-generating videos.

Back in January, it was reported that a YouTuber known as ‘Obbyraidz’, who focuses on Minecraft content, was having this system turned against him.

After receiving two bogus strikes against his account, he took to Twitter to complain that he was being extorted by a scammer identifying as ‘Vengeful Flame’, who threatened a third and debilitating strike unless money was paid via PayPal or bitcoin.

A second YouTuber, known online as ‘Kenzo’ was also given similar treatment, with the scammer demanding money not to file complaints that could terminate his account.

Now, however, the tables are being turned after YouTube itself filed a complaint in federal court against Nebraska-resident Christopher Brady, the person who allegedly attempted to defraud both Obbyraidz and Kenzo.

“Defendant, Christopher L. Brady (‘Brady’), has repeatedly attempted to harass and extort money from YouTube content creators through bogus allegations of copyright infringement,” the complaint filed Monday begins.

“This lawsuit seeks to hold him accountable for that misconduct, and for the damage he has caused to YouTube.”

Detailing the DMCA takedown process in general and noting that notices can be used “maliciously to secure the removal of content that was not legitimately claimed to be infringing”, YouTube states it’s in a position to bring an action against a sender of bogus notices for damages.

“This is such an action,” the complaint reads.

According to YouTube, Brady sent the video platform dozens of DMCA notices falsely claiming that content posted by YouTube users infringed his supposed copyrights. He did this as part of a scheme to “harass and extort” innocent users, YouTube continues, in order to pressure them into payment and the avoidance of account closures.

Citing the work of three YouTubers – Obbyraidz, Kenzo and Cxlvxn – YouTube notes that between them they have uploaded around 1,000 videos related to video gaming. All are members of the YouTube Partner program, earning revenue from their work.

Brady allegedly targeted Kenzo and Obbyraidz “among others” by sending false DMCA notices to YouTube, claiming that he was the original creator of their videos, certifying as much “under penalty of perjury.” YouTube said it acted on these false claims, removing the videos.

However, when Kenzo and Obbyraidz went public with the extortion attempts, YouTube launched an investigation, restored the videos, and removed the strikes against their accounts.

The complaint alleges that in June and July 2019, Brady sent four more fraudulent notices, this time targeting Cxlvxn. However, this appears to have been an attempt to have Cxlvxn file a DMCA counter-notification, something that exposed his home address to Brady.

On July 10, 2019, six days after the counter-notification was filed, Cxlvxn reported he’d been ‘swatted’, something which YouTube describes as “the act of making a bogus call to emergency services in an attempt to bring about the dispatch of a large number of armed police officers to a particular address.” YouTube believes Brady was responsible.

As a result of the above actions, YouTube states that Brady is responsible for violations of 17 U.S.C. § 512(f). The company says it successfully traced back at least 15 online identities to the man, an investigation which caused it to expend “substantial sums” in an effort to bring the behavior to a halt.

The company is demanding preliminary and permanent injunctions against Brady, compensation to be decided at trial, costs, attorneys fees, and any further relief the court deems proper.

The YouTube complaint filed in Nebraska can be downloaded here (pdf)

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