US Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator Victoria Espinel’s Comments at the World Copyright Summit
Last week, IP Enforcement Coordinator Victoria Espinel was featured as a keynote speaker at the World Copyright Summit, organized by the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers. The Wall Street Journal and Tech Dirt report that she described expanding the role of internet service providers in IP Enforcement. She stressed a preference for voluntary participation by ISPs, rather than more “inappropriate regulations,” and noted that the government is talking to Google about what they can do on a voluntary basis. She said one option for cutting down on piracy is to “make sure that illegal streaming–a form of ‘distribution’ online–is a felony, in the same way that more traditional forms of distribution are.” Click here for more.
House Judiciary Committee Hears Testimony Supporting Felony Penalties for Streaming
On June 1, the House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on the illegal streaming of copyrighted material, with testimony from Maria Pallante (Acting U.S. Register of Copyrights), Sandra Aistars (Executive Director, Copyright Alliance), and Michael O’Leary (Executive Vice President, Motion Picture Association of America). Under current law, streaming may be considered a public performance, and therefore ineligible for felony penalties. In March, IP Enforcement Coordinator Victoria Espinel recommended legislation to allow for felony penalties, and Sen. Klobuchar introduced a Senate streaming bill (S. 978) in May. The witnesses at House Judiciary Committee hearing indicated that they would support similar legislation in the House. Reps. Watt and Lofgren noted that the scope of the legislation in the Senate has been criticized as being too broad. Click here for more.
Communia Thematic Network Forms Nonprofit and Releases 14 Point Platform on the Digital Public Domain
A group of over 50 academics and civil society organizations has established the Communia Association, a nonprofit based in Brussels dedicated to protecting and growing the public domain. According to its homepage, “The Association’s mission is to educate about, advocate for, offer expertise and research about the public domain in the digital age within society and with policy-makers.” A formal launch ceremony will take place on the 16th of June. Click here for more.
Puerto 80 Petitions for Release of Domain Names Seized by ICE
A Spanish company that owns two domains seized by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has petitioned the court to release the domains. The company, Puerto 80 Projects, filed a brief in the Second District of New York which argues that its website – rojadirectica.com (also rojadirectica.org) – is an online discussion forum which “two Spanish courts specifically held that the website was operating legally and did not infringe copyrights.” The company describes having trouble initiating a discussion with the correct authorities at ICE, and eventually being informed that “the only acceptable ‘compromise’ would entail Puerto 80 prohibiting its users from linking to any U.S. content anywhere on its sites.” The petition was reported in an EFF blog post by Abigail Phillips. Click here for more.
Events and deadlines
- June 14 – A Performance Right for Broadcasting: Will Radio Begin to Pay? Sponsored by Broadband (IP) Breakfast, Washington DC
- June 14 – Geneva-Based Symposium on IP and Competition Policy (WIPO, Geneva)
- June 15-24 – Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (WIPO, Geneva)
- July 3-8 – Access Africa: Exploring the full benefit of Social Inclusion for all Persons (Accra, Ghana)
- August 25-27 – Global Congress on Public Interest Intellectual Property Law
- September 14 – U.S. IPR Center Symposium – Online IP Theft in the 21st Century.