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by Rob Reid
With book sales going digital much faster than music sales did, why is the publishing industry growing, and not imploding? How threatened are publishers & labels as content creators start developing audiences directly through iTunes and Kindles? What does this mean for independent writers & musicians? And do our deranged copyright laws benefit anyone but profiteering lawyers? Rob Reid’s talk will compare the online challenges faced by publishing vs. music. Rob founded Listen.com, which created Rhapsody – the first digital music service fully licensed by every major label. Rhapsody remains one of the largest online music services, and is owned by MTV and RealNetworks. Now an author, Rob’s in the thick of another industry’s digital transformation. Rob’s book Year Zero (published by Random House this July) addresses some of these issues. In it, aliens seek to erase the ruinous fines on their vast collections of pirated American music by destroying the Earth. Parts of it are made up.
On 2010, the U.S. Copyright Group quietly targeted tens of thousands BitTorrent users for legal action in federal court in Washington DC. The defendants, who started off as unnamed "John Does", were accused of having downloaded independent films such as "Far Cry," "Steam Experiment," and "The Hurt Locker" without authorization. The organization went on to sue thousands of defendants at a time, hoping to extract quick and easy settlements. By the end of the year, U.S. Copyright Group had been joined by similar companies that sued people all over the United States for allegedly downloading porn and for reproducing newspaper articles in blogs. In less than two years, copyright trolls have sued almost 200,000 people.
Who are the copyright trolls? What should you do if you are a content owner approached by copyright trolls? What should you do if you are one of the 200,000 people being sued? And what is being done about this new and disturbing business model?
This January, 15 million people came out and had their voice heard in opposition to the Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protect IP act. Major technology organizations and startups, such as Mozilla, Wordpress, and Wikipedia, took their first ever leap into engaging into technology policy issues. The Internet spoke, and for a single day was virtually unified in its opposition to these bills.
So SOPA and PIPA are dead, right? Well, not actually.
In this session, we'll discuss how we're just at the beginning of a much longer battle. We'll examine what's at stake for the future of the open internet. What could change if things turn out differently? Why should entrepreneurs, technologists, creators, and members of the internet community care? What are the real issues that could effect each and every one of us if we don't continue in the direction of a free and open internet? And why does the internet need us now?
by Robert Spanner
Lawyers who file mass copyright suits against defenseless persons who copied from copyrighted text for the most innocent of reasons, such as to disclose an illicit practice, or to criticize or endorse an idea, are called copyright trolls. It is purely a profit-making venture. They count on the considerable cost of a legal defense, and the statutory maximum of $150,000, to extort thousands of dollars in settlement from each of their victims. Their aggregate demands in some cases have exceeded a billion dollars.
The most effective means of dealing with copyright trolls is to treat them like vermin. For example, because these cases are filed in volume, there is little attention to detail, and misstatements are frequent. These misstatements may occur in statutory representations under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, or in sworn affidavits. They are perjurious, and the troll and/or his client can accurately be characterized as a perjuror to the Federal District Court. Attorney.
This program will discuss tactics for dealing with copyright trolls, and available defenses to their attacks.
Pat Aufderheide signs her book ‘Reclaiming Fair Use: How to Put Balance Back in Copyright’ at the SXSW bookstore.
by John Simson, Gary Greenstein, Michael Robertson and Michael Drexler
As more products and services move to the proverbial cloud, from shared collaboration, commercial product offerings, and user-uploaded content, new business models are created while extant business models come under attack. This panel will explore the disruption caused by some new cloud-based services and how this disruption is affecting existing industries. For example, who is responsible for liabilities arising from the use or exploitation of content stored in the cloud; should Congress change the law to impose new liability/responsibilities on operators of cloud-based services; what rights, if any, do consumers have to perpetual access to their content in the cloud; can a user transfer their content in the cloud to another device or person? These and other questions will be addressed by the distinguished panel.
During the week of SXSW in 2011, the White House’s Intellectual Property Coordinator, Victoria Espinel, released a whitepaper calling for increased government crack-down on copyright infringement. Espinel’s paper called for: Stronger criminal laws related to online copyright infringement; increased surveillance of foreign websites marketing to US consumers; enabling law enforcement to wiretap purported “infringers” and share the results of those wiretaps with private “rightsholders.” Law makers and big media rightsholders have concerns that piracy causes “economic harm and threaten the health and safety of American consumers.” The legislature is reviewing the PROTECT IP Act and the Stop Online Piracy Act to address these concerns.Are the proposals commensurate with the purported threat? Will they even address the threat? Are the invasions on consumers’ rights necessary and do such privacy concerns outweigh the supposed threat to the “health and safety” of American consumers?
9th–13th March 2012