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First off today, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) has suffered two more setbacks in Europe as Bulgaria has announced that it is halting the ratification process and the Netherlands government has decided to hold off on signing it for the time being. The move comes as Poland, Germany and Solvakia all have taken similar actions to pause or slow down signing or ratification. The treaty, which was signed by some 22 nations and has already been implemented in the U.S. as an executive order, seeks to harmonize copyright and other intellectual property enforcement between nations though critics have attacked both the secrecy of the negotiations and the potential for abuse of the agreement to monitor or censor the Web.
Next up today, in the United Kingdom the country’s Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) has arrested the owner of the popular music site RnBXclusive and is threatening its users with jail time if they downloaded copyrighted works. The site was a popular destination for downloading music tracks. However, the site was not shuttered on the grounds of a copyright claim, but instead, SOCA swooped in on with a conspiracy-to-defraud charge. The site’s home page has been changed to present a warning that not only shows the user their IP address, but also says that “If you have downloaded music using this website you may have committed a criminal offence which carries a maximum penalty of up to 10 years imprisonment and an unlimited fine under UK law.” However, SOCA has said that they will be dealing with downloaders on a case-by-case basis.
Finally today, new startup Aereo may be getting ready to push the copyright buttons of broadcasters by enabling New York residents to record and then stream over-the-air broadcasts of local television stations. For $12 per month, residents will be able to use one of Aereo’s dime-sized antennas to record content from the major broadcast networks, including CBS, NBC, Fox, ABC, CW and PBS, and stream it via the Web. Broadcasters, however, have been reluctant to allow such streaming of their signals and have even won court decisions in cases against IviTV among others. The National Association of Broadcasters had no comment on the issue.
That’s it for the three count today. We will be back tomorrow with three more copyright links. If you have a link that you want to suggest a link for the column or have any proposals to make it better. Feel free to leave a comment or send me an email. I hope to hear from you.
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