3 Count: GPL Inside

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1: European Commission Welcomes Ratification of the WIPO Copyright Treaties

First off today the European Union (EU) has ratified the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Copyright Treaty and the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty. Collectively, these treaties are known as the “Internet” treaties and have long formed the basis of copyright law in the EU.

Both of the treaties were negotiated and adopted in 1996 but in 2000 the EU decided to ratify them as a union, rather than as individual nations, a process that took almost a decade. The ratification, however, is largely just a formality as the contents of the treaties have already been worked into the laws of the member states and have been, for all intents and purposes, in effect for quite some time.

An announcement from the EU said that these treaties were codified to make copyright law “fit for the internet”.

2: How Serious Is Justin.tv About Fighting Live Broadcasting Piracy?

Next up today, representatives from Justin.tv will be testifying today before the House Judiciary Committee tomorrow over the future live sports broadcasting.

At issue for Justin.tv is the widespread misuse of its service to stream infringing content, including sports events, over the Web. Justin.tv has said it works with copyright holders to ensure that such misuse is kept to a minimum and maintains a strict DMCA policy but, as TechCrunch showed, nearly all of the most popular streams are, almost certainly, infringing.

Many are wondering if Justin.tv is as dedicated to fighting piracy as it says it is, and plans to testify about, and or if there is an error in its fingerprinting and identification process.

Either way, this will be a case to watch as it may have a major role in determining the future of online streaming services as they relate to copyright.

3: Best Buy, JVC, Samsung, More Hit With Lawsuit

Finally today the Software Freedom Law Center, which represents open source developers in obtaining license compliance, has filed suit against 14 electronics makers including JVC, Samsung and Best Buy. Claiming that they are in violation of the GPL license with some of their products.

At issue is a program called BusyBox, developed and released under the GPL by Erik Andersen, that often is run as an embedded application in many household electronic devices. The devices including, according to the lawsuit, BluRay players, cameras, routers and DVRs.

BusyBox is a program that integrates many common Unix utilities so that they can be easily integrated into smaller electronic devices. Though it is free to use, the GPL places requirements on those who distribute the code, including that they provide the source code and modifications for others to use in a similar manner.

The SFLC has resolved hundreds of GPL disputes but has typically been loathe to file suit, having filed only six companies since 2007 but having resolved hundreds of disputes.


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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