The author, in this entry from a Web 2.0-centric blog, details Youtube’s recent efforts to both appease copyright holders and to promote creativity amongst its users. In January 2007, Youtube unveiled plans for a Revenue Sharing program which would give certain Youtube users a portion of ad revenue Youtube receives based on the number of hits their videos garner. Youtube will give even higher exposure to users labeled as “Directors,” people who are allowed to upload films greater than 10 minutes in length. Similarly, Youtube will share revenue with some copyright holders based on ad money they receive for the viewing of infringing videos. The author discusses the possibility that Youtube will have to increase the number of ads it shows to make up for the profit lost from the Revenue Sharing Program. This leads to the dilemma of Youtube losing viewers if advertisements begin to show up before minute-long clips. To increase the effectiveness of heightened advertising, Youtube may have to adopt a TV style model in which “an advertiser pays Youtube (and thus the content creator) X amount for every viewing.” To appease advertisers, Youtube’s new Audio Fingerprinting technology could be used to prevent inappropriate videos from being paired with reputable brands. This would be similar to Google Adsense which provides targeted advertising to firms. The problem relates to copyright because if Youtube adopts targeted advertising, which it has recently begun to do, it will be receiving revenue for ads placed in front of infringing videos for which it does not have deals settled with the copyright holders, thus increasing the possibility of them being vicariously liable. The solution, the author notes, is to use Audio Fingerprinting to detect copyrighted material and then inform the copyright holder, who will have the option to either remove the material or share revenue gained from the video with Youtube.
This system could potentially solve the problem of both Youtube and the copyright holder losing money from various transactions. Youtube loses money when it devotes bandwidth and time to a video only to have the video deleted due to a takedown notice. Similarly, the holder loses money wasting man hours filing takedown notices and finding the actual infringing material. If both groups work together, as Youtube intends, companies will be much less likely to sue Youtube, especially if they are actually making money from infringing videos posted online. Similarly, Youtube decreases its chance of liability because it is increasing its promotion of original works by paying some users. By offering directors a part of the revenue earned from their original and creative works, Youtube is encouraging users to make their own films rather than simply splicing together copyrighted material (which leads to zero profit for users). Thus, with the adoption of the revenue sharing plan detailed above, Youtube has simultaneously appeased the copyright holders and expanded its promotion of original material, showing courts that there are indeed significant “non-infringing” uses for Youtube.
The article extensively illustrates the development of Web 2.0 and the emergence of Youtube as one of the most popular websites on the internet. The author then summarizes Youtube’s liability protection under the Fair Harbor law. My interest in this article, however, stems from its discussion of the filtering software used by Youtube. “Youtube recently unveiled a video identification service which would create digital fingerprints of material that content providers wish to have protected.” If a video is uploaded to Youtube that matches the fingerprint of a copyrighted work, the owner can request that it be removed. Extensive tests have already been conducted: in one case, the system caught 18 instances of infringement after a service uploaded over 4400 hours of content to Youtube. After a copyright owner identifies infringing work, it can either have the material pulled or, even more incredibly, have its own advertisements added to the video. This technology is very appealing to Youtube because adopting it will show courts that it is doing all it can to remove copyrighted material. However, several factors make this protection unappealing. First, the “fingerprints” rely on a library of original content with which to match against infringing content. Thus, copyright owners will have to provide an extensive library of material to Youtube before being able to find their illegally uploaded material on Youtube. It is similarly unclear whether this technology will be able to identify slightly altered versions of original clips uploaded to the website. Fair Use advocates are equally concerned that the software will remove their own Fair Use works, mistaking them for infringing material.
This is an important article because it discusses Youtube as a company increasingly working for the Copyright holding companies rather than for its own users. Youtube is constantly in danger of copyright litigation: even the DMCA will not protect the company if plaintiffs can prove that Youtube is directly benefitting financially from copyrighted content. By signing deals with content owners that allow the owners to add advertisements to any of their content that was illegally uploaded, Youtube has cleverly created a way to profit from illegal content. Youtube also signed agreements with content owners to provide studio shows and clips on its services. This mitigates the temptation for users to upload illegal videos, especially if they can watch the legal version on the exact same website. However, by blindly implementing filtering software that automatically flags seemingly copyrighted material, Youtube may be dooming Fair Use works. Rather, Youtube should alter the filtering software so that it only flags videos that are either entirely made up of one video clip or contain a part of a copyrighted video with the corresponding audio from that clip playing as well. Many Fair Use artists will take the video but not the audio portion of a clip and mix it with other clips. Youtube can thus appease the studios and courts while still emphasizing the importance of its community of users, whom it built the website for in the first place.
Tim Wu from Slate Magazine discusses the development of legal protection against copyright infringement for internet-based services. He argues that Youtube may be safer from copyright litigation than many might believe. He notes that “in the early 1990s…Hollywood and the recording industry worked hard to make Internet companies responsible for any…copyright infringement that happened via the Internet.” Had this view, the idea that internet companies are liable for any infringement that occurs on their sites, been adopted by Congress, few if any Web 2.0 companies would exist today. Fortunately, Lobbyists working for firms controlling a large portion of internet traffic worked to convince Congress that “copyright law threatens to put a damper on the expression of ideas on the internet.” This forced Hollywood to settle for the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which protects “Information Residing on Systems or Networks At Direction of Users,” or in other words, sites using user-generated content. These sites are protected by the Safe Harbor clause in the DMCA which protects content sites and ISPs so long as they comply with takedown requests submitted by copyright holders. Wu notes that Youtube may be liable if it prosecutors can prove that it is aware of specific infringing material on its site. It may also be liable due to the fact that there is a search option on its services. Wu’s most interesting argument, however, is the idea that Hollywood and the recording industry may actually be fonder of the DMCA than previously believed. He states that these industries get the best of both worlds: if they do not want a clip on Youtube, they can simply issue a takedown notice and have the offending clip removed. If the infringing clip appears to be giving a boost to TV or music ratings, however, they can simply allow the clip to remain on Youtube. Thus, Youtube is protected by the idea of “tolerated use” rather than something like “fair use.” While sites like Grokster were not covered under the Safe Harbor law, Youtube is protected by this provision of the DMCA.
Wu accurately conveys the crucial role that the DMCA plays in protecting internet content sites and ISPs, which is a crucial argument in my paper. Had the DMCA never been created, Internet sites could be just as liable for copyright infringing content as stores are for selling physical pieces of copyright infringing material. However, the lawmakers clearly anticipated the importance of user-generated content for e-commerce and thus created a protection clause for sites like Youtube. While Wu mentions that Youtube may be liable for its “search” tools, a similar clause in the DMCA may equally protect Youtube from prosecution for this feature. 512D states that sites which allow users to search for material are not liable for any copyright infringing items that users locate using search options. Thus, the DMCA successfully anticipates many aspects of these Web 2.0 sites and prevents content industries from suing services like Youtube.
This article discusses the development of the DMCA and the reasons it was drafted. The author describes in depth the protection guaranteed by the Safe Harbor law before he begins to describe the development of the DMCA. Because I have discussed Safe Harbor elsewhere, I will focus on the part of the article detailing the creation of the DMCA, beginning in section C. In 1993, President Clinton created a task force designed to “fine tune” copyright laws to make them relevant in the digital world. A preliminary report ruled that ISPs be held wholly liable for infringement. ISPs immediately retaliated, claiming that under this law they would be liable whenever their users sent infringing works across their networks. They also argued that the law would require them to monitor their users’ transmissions while trying to detect copyrighted material, thus violating their users’ First Amendment Rights. Representative Rick Boucher argued that “Congress should provide ISPs with an incentive to invest in the development of computer networks without fear of litigation.” ISPs rationalized that they should only be liable if they have knowledge of the infringements. Copyright holders, however, argued that giving ISPs freedom from liability would encourage them to purposefully allow infringement on their servers. Because of the stark contrasts in opinion between the groups, a decision was not reached immediately. After months of negotiations between ISPS and Copyright Holders, the Online Copyright Infringement Liability Act was introduced in February 1997, which sought to protect ISPs from Direct Liability and monetary damages if they were not aware of “information indicating that the material is infringing.” In House Bill 3209, the Senate created the “red-flag test” for ISPs to use to determine infringement. ISPs did not have to monitor for infringement, but if they became aware of a “red-flag,” they would lose Safe Harbor protection unless they removed the content immediately.
This article is very important for my paper because it addresses the attitudes of both ISPs and Copyright Holders before the creation of the DMCA. Without the DMCA in place, both these groups were forced to come up with their own arguments to defend themselves, something ISPs are much less likely to do now that they can simply hide behind the Safe Harbor clause of the DMCA. The interesting aspect of this article, however, is that many, if not all, of the concerns of ISPs and Copyright Holders made their way into the finalized version of the DMCA. ISPs, such as Youtube today, were worried that they would violate their users’ rights if forced to monitor for copyright violations. Thus, the DMCA was written so that the burden fell on Copyright Holders to identify infringing material and report it to the ISPs. Similarly, the Copyright Holders were worried ISPs would turn a blind eye towards infringement, so the DMCA requires ISPs to remove infringing material at the request of the Holder. Thus, it is clear that the DMCA was created to appease both ISPs and Copyright Holders.
This is a summary of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 released by the Copyright Office. The DMCA was signed into law by President Bill Clinton. It is divided into five titles.
- Title 1: WIPO TREATY IMPLEMENTATION implements the WIPO treaties. The title makes several technical amendments regarding national eligibility, restoration of copyright protection and registration as a prerequisite to suit. Although the title provides exceptions, the title essentially prohibits the production/services of copyright-protection circumvention tools. Further it prohibits the distribution of such tools/services.
- Title 2: ONLINE COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT LIABILITY LIMITATION. The title essentially provides a safe-harbor for online service providers as long as they meet certain provisions of the title. It establishes for classes of online services: transitory communictations, system caching, storage of information on systems or networks at the direction of users, and information location tools. In general as long as a service provider does not have requisite knowledge of infringing material, does not recieve financial gain attributable to infringing activity, and further more once the service provider is notified of infringing material it must act fast to take down or block access to such material.
- Title 3: Computer Maintenaince or Repair. This title basically says that an owner of a computer or a lessee doing maintenance or repair on the computer is excempt from copyright infringement if a situation arrises during which one must make a copy of a program for back up purposes. However the original copy must have been lawfully owned and further once all repair/maintenance has been finished the back up copy must be destroyed.
- Title 4: MISCELANIOUS PROVISIONS. This title further clarifies certain existing provisons and implements new ones regarding broadcast excemptions, library and archive excemptions among other things.
- Title 5: PROTECTION OF CERTAIN ORIGINAL DESIGNS. This title primarily deals with the protection of vessel hull designs.
This source is very valuable for my reseach paper. Specifically Titles 1 and 2 are going to be analyzed and used in my research paper. Title 1 is important in 1 crucial way. Although it may be a leap, in the sense of a legal court room, but I believe that the following analysis can be seen valid. IsoHunt and other similar websites link to/index .torrent files that allow users to download ISOs. ISOs are images of original CDs or DVDs. Now given that the DMCA prohibits the circumvention of encrypted DVDs, and other content such as software, these ISOs are illegal according to Title 1 of the DMCA. IsoHunt and other similar websites allow users to search for and download such ISOs. The title of the website itself: "IsoHunt" suggests that the primary purpose of it is to "hunt" for "Iso"s. Title 2 is important for my paper because site operators such as Gary Fung (see affidavit no.1) often claim that as long as they follow the safe harbor provisions established by Title 2 of the DMCA, they may not be held liable for contributory infringement. Thus in my research paper I plan to make careful analyses of both these safe-harbor provisions and the claims of site operators. Title 2 is also important because many other important sources that will be used directly deal with this title.
This is the Supreme Court Opinion regarding the MGM et al v. Grokster et al case. The opinion of the court was delivered by Justice Sutter. Essentially what happened was that the decision made by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit was reversed. The question raised before the court was "under what circumstances the distributor of a product capable of both lawful and unlawful use is liable for acts of copyright infringement by third parties using the product." According to the court, there was an error made by the Ninth Circuit Court, in its interpretation of Sony v. Universal City Studios. "The Ninth Circuit has read Sony’s limitation to mean that whenever a product is capable of substantial lawful use, the producer can never be held contributorily liable for third parties’ infringing use of it..." This document includes a description, gathered in the process of litigation, of how the Grokster and StreamCast products worked what technologies they used (Gnutella and FastTrack) and more importantly how the products were used by their users. It is made known that although the products have legitimate uses "90%" are copyright infringement uses. Another important point made by the document is that both Grokster and StreamCast profitted from advertisements that users would see while using the product. Furthermore, it is made known that "the business models employed by Grokster and StreamCast confirm that their principal object was use of their software to download copyrighted works." The decision of MGM v. Grokster essentially made the precedent that the Sony v. Universal decision doesn't leave service providers such as Grokster and StreamCast unliable for copyright infringement made by third parties using their product.
This source is very valuable for my research paper because it is one of the only cases dealing directly with the issue of p2p filesharing. Furthermore it provides support for my contention that government can and should shut down websites involved with/enabling copyright infringement. Many of such service providers use the Sony v. Universal case as defense against being liable for copyright infringement stemming from the use of their service by third party users. This case set a precedent to how future cases involving filesharing and copyright infringement cases are going to be handled in the future. Also, many of the current websites being targeted by the MPAA and RIAA and other agencies, whether in the U.S. or elsewhere, including www.IsoHunt.com among others, function in similar ways as Grokster and StreamCast did. Therefore if Grokster and StreamCast were found liable by the Supreme Court in this case, some of the strategies/analyses from this case can be used to shut down other sites such as IsoHunt.
This case is an appeal by Napster of an injunction that does not require the plaintiffs to provide any individual file names of potentially infringing works available on the Napster system. The orders require the plaintiff to provide notice to Napster of copyrighted works by providing the title and artist name for each work. When given a list of copyrighted recordings, Napster would have three days to search all files on its system and prevent the transmitting or distribution of those files. Plaintiffs had sent in notices of hundreds of thousands of copyrighted works without the corresponding file names in the Napster system. Napster complained that the plaintiffs did not provide variants in song and artist name and could mix complying items in the same notice as non-complying items because Napster could not check in the time allowed by the injunction. The consequence was that Napster would end up blocking many authorized files. The arguments were that the DMCA set limitations on the judicial power of ISPs such as Napster, did not assess the "staple article of commerce" doctrine set forth in Sony, and that Napster has commercially significant non-infringing uses but is forced to block sharing of files even though the names do not always correspond with the contents of those files.
This case brings up some important points in my research about why copyright holders are finding it beneficial in some cases to waive some of their copyright in order to use new technologies such as MP3 blogs to promote music, while they continue to fight similar technology such as peer-to-peer services. Any discussion of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) liability is important because it affects how people can make blogs and share new things over the internet. There are several ISPs which allow anyone to create a blog from them, and these businesses are based on previous cases such as the Sony Corp v. Universal City Studios, Inc case where liability of technology providers is limited if they do not have specific knowledge of infringing uses of the technology. It also shows how even though a company can send take down notices, it is still difficult and costly to actually take a case to court and win it, no matter how clear cut it originally seems.