Posts Tagged ‘intellectual property

12
Jun
14

DMCA Evolution: Forum Solicits Input on Possible Changes to Notice and Takedown Procedures

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s (DMCA) “notice and takedown” procedure and the attendant “safe harbor” protections afforded to service providers often spark controversy and debate. Originally designed as a way to balance the interests of copyright holders and online service providers, the DMCA’s 14 year history has demonstrated that well-intended laws can quickly become outdated and misused.  Often DMCA notices are sent by, or on behalf of, competitors seeking to damage another party’s business, or by those who do not understand basic “fair use” concepts.  On the other hand, DMCA safe harbor can be manipulated and invoked by parties that Congress never intended to protect from copyright infringement liability.

Change is in the air, however, at least for traditional DMCA notice and takedown procedures. Recently, the United States Patent and Trademark Office opened a public forum in pursuit of ideas for improving the notice and takedown process explicated by the DMCA. The forum was to be the first of a series of such, all geared towards the ultimate goal of increased efficiency, as well as continued protection for copyright holders, under the DMCA. The public discussion came after a green paper released in July 2013 by the Department of Commerce’s Internet Policy Task Force examined problems with the current notice and takedown process.

The purpose of the forum, according to Patrick Ross, a USPTO spokesman, was to solicit input to answer the questions raised by rights holders, service providers and the public at large, as addressed in the green paper.

The speakers were from a diverse cross-section of those affected by the DMCA: The Software Alliance, the Computer and Communications Industry Association, the Artists Rights Society, Google and many others.

One of the most common complaints from rights holders, according to the forum, is the inability of small and medium-sized artists or enterprises (SME’s) to keep up with infringement of their work. A proposed solution to this was the encouragement of collective representation for infringement research.

Additionally, one of the main and pressing topics examined at the forum was whether standardization of forms for the notice and takedown procedure would be helpful, both to rights holders and service providers. Overall, many of the participants believed that standard forms for notices seemed a good beginning, but certainly not a good end. The feeling at the forum was that there remained much work to be done. Several of the speakers, both service providers and rights holders, stressed the need to maintain balance in any solution designed to bring more efficiency to the DMCA, so that both sides would find value in the notice and takedown procedures.

Another possible solution discussed was creating “Trusted Submitter” programs, something Google has done, to more efficiently process DMCA notices. More diverse solutions were offered as well, such as the potential creation of a certification mark or badge for Internet search results, to alert consumers which pages were authorized or licensed sites for the particular intellectual property being searched for.

Given the large volume of notices received by most service providers, which often makes responding in a timely fashion difficult and costly, this is a great moment in time to examine better and more efficient methods of protecting copyrights online. The DMCA has been an important tool, for both rights holders and service providers alike, and may need to be updated to continue as such.

As discussed at the forum, it is important to keep in mind the balancing of interests that goes into any intellectual property issues on the Internet. Rights holders must be given a fair and easy way to prevent and police infringement, while online service providers must have an opportunity to efficiently and easily handle incoming notices.  Those who abuse the notice and takedown process must also be held accountable.

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23
Mar
11

The Marketplace Has Spoken… And At Least One Company Has Listened

It’s no secret that business revenue models employed by industries across the board have had to drastically evolve in recent years to keep up with advances in technology, and adult entertainment is no different. Oddly, however, the adult industry has lagged behind, in its recognition of consumer demand for ala carte-type pricing models employed by other facets of the entertainment industry. But “better late than never” must be the new mantra for Pink Visual, as the adult entertainment megacorp unveiled its latest venture earlier this month.
PVLocker.com is a cloud-based distribution site promising to provide your porn on your terms. PVLocker utilizes an open source browser providing the customer with an app store-esque environment to purchase the desired content on a per file basis. Upon purchase, the user may then access the files, which are stored on Pink Visual’s server cloud, anywhere and anytime via PC or mobile device.
Use of PVLocker.com will initially be limited to storing Pink Visual content only, however, the company plans to eventually offer storage of any user-owned content. Now before your Infringement Radar starts buzzing off the charts, have no fear, Pink Visual has no plans to allow content sharing on the site. Hence, allowing PVLocker to fill a very noticeable gap in the adult website marketplace, while still keeping happy the almighty copyright holder.
Even though Pink Visual obviously understands the necessity of business model evolution, it intends to continue distributing content through the traditional subscription basis as well, as long as it makes fiscal sense to do so. How long will that be? No one can be certain what kind of effect this model will have on the traditional monthly membership business model. But one thing is for sure, when you have the immediate gratification of one-click payment at your finger tips versus the hassle of recurring billing, obsolescence is a much more real possibility than ever before.
Much like the experiences of the recording industry a few years back, adult content distributors are finally taking notice of the fact that they have been fighting a losing battle and that the marketplace will always win. The recording industry fought these battles for years – litigating against Napster, Grokster, and others, in the attempt to beat back rampant audio file piracy. The recording labels then dipped their collective toe in the waters of end user infringement litigation, only to suffer a tremendous public backlash, causing a quick 180 reversal on that strategy. One would think that this trial and error would have provided an early roadmap for the adult industry, when it began struggling with its own piracy headaches. Instead, many companies appear wedded to the concept of replacing lost revenues with legal judgments against infringers. While every copyright holder is entitled to enforce its rights and bring infringers to justice, that effort should be tempered with a recognition that less infringement might be occurring, if a realistic alternative to the $29.99/month recurring membership model were routinely offered to adult content consumers.
Flexibility is key and nostalgia breeds irrelevance – Pink Visual is embracing the future of adult content distribution by providing its customers with their entertainment “when they want it, where they want it, and how they want it.” [Cue Queen’s “I Want It All.”] Continued inventiveness like this will always be preferable to reliance on litigation as a revenue line item.




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