Sunday, April 16, 2017

Happy Easter... and Save The Date... and Safe Harbor

A very interesting situation may be developing around "Safe Harbor", the provision in the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) that was intended to shield internet service providers who act in good faith from liability for the misbehavior of their users.

Courts are now paying attention to the concept (in the DMCA) of "red flag knowledge", and whether an ISP can claim Safe Harbor protections on the grounds of "ignorance" (or lack of knowledge) when their employees or assignees "moderate" or "curate" or "select" the user-uploaded content that they will display, (as opposed to allowing the users to post everything and anything without interference or assistance or supervision.)

Perhaps (this author speculates) this may be an unintended consequence of certain sites trying to keep so-called "fake news" off their sites. Or porn. Or actual crimes being live streamed.

Armen N. Nercessian and Guinevere Jobson of the law firm of Fenwick & West LLP penned a fascinating blog about a case where the 9th Circuit reversed a district court.

Perhaps, if there are moderators, they ought to be able to recognize a watermark that indicates that a particular photograph is copyrighted.  This could be interesting. Apparently different Circuits have different views... this may go all the way to SCOTUS.

For those interested, (and I am sure that few of you are!) April 18th from 1:00 pm Eastern Time until around 5:00 pm, the Department of Commerce's Internet Policy Task Force will be hosting a public meeting on Consumer Messaging In Connection with Online Transactions Involving Copyrighted Works.

The problem is that consumers who download copyrighted works appear to have a poor understanding of what they can legally do with those downloaded copies. Indeeed!

This author will be listening in. It's been 22 days since I last logged in to to check the current status of copyright infringement of my four works (Mating Net, Forced Mate, Insufficient Mating Material, and Knight's Fork). It appears that Amazon-owned Goodreads is being implicated for decoration of the pages.  The KROGER grocery chain is giving paid advertising support to a site called something like "colourpalette" that appears to be encouraging folks to infringe copyrights,
while deciding on perfect shades of colors for their artwork or websites.

If you do a Google search for ebooks (perhaps looking for a title and also for ".pdf" and "download" and "free"), there are multiple sites with gd.fs inside the url that appear to go to a page selling hardware. Huge waste of time!  There are also some "Very Dangerous" sites that either Google or Norton will block, if you have their help.

On the subject of warnings about internet nasties, authors who own Trademarks are often sent official looking notices through the mail that appear to demand that the Trademark owner pays a surprisingly large fee for overseas Trademark Licensing, or else for "SEO". Read the fine print. Usually, legitimate demands for Trademark renewal are sent to the Trademark owner's lawyer, and renewals are due every fifth year.

Mary Bleahene of the lawfirm FRKelly blogged recently about Trade Mark scams. If you own one, or are considering owning one, you might enjoy her expertise in "Trade Mark Scams - Beware of Unofficial Notices."

All the best,
Rowena Cherry

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