One of my new favorite websites, Myce.com is full of news about the ongoing battle over how copyright law can or should be enforced online. Myce is an “online community” started in the EU which allows anyone to share news, links, reviews, and comments. Users can post questions, share their enthusiasm for products, and discuss products, technology, and news.
Here are a few recent stories worth reading from the site:
“John Doe” Lawsuits Skyrocket in 2011
New research shows that the number of “John Does” sued in file-sharing or illegal download cases has skyrocketed in recent months, with over 200,000 cases filed in U.S. courts by the end of July. That’s quite a change in the last six month: at the end of February, the number of pending cases was about 10,000. The 200,000 defendants represent 326 cases, only 46 include identified defendants — the other 276 target only unknown defendants.
Senate Moves Closer to Mandatory Censorship
Senator John McCain and two other Senators, along with several governors and lobbying organizations have signed on to the new federal Protect IP bill, which would require search engines, payment processors, ISPs, and ad networks to block potentially infringing sites without a court order. (Essentially the bill would require search engines like Google — which opposes the bill — to determine if a site is infringing on a copyright and cease to allow advertising for that site or index it in their search engine.) What’s more the bill states that access sites which “endanger the public health” (i.e. online pharmacies) be completely cut by everyone: domain registrars, payment processors, search engines, and even ISPs.
ICE Begins Domain Name seizures with Court OK
A federal court has approved the seizure of two domain names by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency on the grounds that the two sites were “pirate” sites that promoted illegal pay-per-view sports events. This is the first time a U.S. court has approved the seizure of domain names during an investigation, rather than after a conviction or other judicial action. It seems that ICE has its sights trained on the Internet suddenly (instead of on the country’s porous physical borders), as the agency recently asserted that it had the right to extradite .com and .net domain owners accused of piracy or copyright infringement to the U.S. for trial, even if the alleged site owner has no connection to the U.S.
Over the few months this blog has been published, I’ve often linked to news stories about the ongoing copyright wars. With the way in which the battle over enforcement of intellectual property rights continues to escalate, I’m going to begin an ongoing series of monthly posts that summarize news from the front lines of the battle. I may still highlight an individual story I find interesting, but at least once a month, I’m planning a post like this one that summarizes several news items.