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First off today France, who is no stranger to controversial proposals for dealing with piracy on the Web, has recommended the taxing of search engines such as Google and Yahoo! to help fund legal alternatives for obtaining copyrighted works. This comes as from a panel that was commissioned to study the issue of online piracy and devise solutions for the issue.
The tax would be similar to taxes in other countries on VCR tapes, blank CDs and other media. Surprisingly, according to the article, Google seems fairly comfortable with the idea though it is unclear what the record and movie studios will say about it.
In addition to this proposal, France is also at the forefront of the “3 strikes” debate, recently having passed its second law that would disconnect file sharers repeatedly accused of infringement. The first one was stricken for constitutional reasons and the second includes judicial oversight.
Next up today, there are rumors that the Viacom v. Google case is possibly heading for an early conclusion. There are reports that both sides are requesting a meeting about their motions for a summary judgement, hinting that the judge may issue such a judgement, avoiding a trial completely.
Viacom sued Google over YouTube, citing over 60,000 clips that it accused of infringing their copyright and later claimed to have found evidence that YouTube employees were aware of the infringement and/or had uploaded the clips themselves. Possibly eroding their safe harbor status under the DMCA and exposing them to potential liability.
But while the case is possibly heading to an end soon, what is unclear is which side is the likely victor as both have elements of their case that are pretty strong. Needless to say, we will be following this closely over the next few days/weeks to see what happens.
Finally today, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon), has sent a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk asking him to confirm or deny leaks about the ACTA treaty, which is being negotiated by the U.S., EU and other major copyright nations.
Those leaks have included concerns that the treaty may force ISPs to disconnect alleged file sharers, similar to France’s three strikes regime, as well as other restrictions on copyright.
The treaty, however, does not need congressional approval, meaning its impact on U.S. law should be almost nil (changes to law must have congressional approval) but the Senator still wants to know what is in the treaty, especially considering it has been shared with private citizens and corporations, including those on all sides of the copyright debate.
Kirk’s office has said that they are looking forward to responding to Sen. Wyden’s letter and will do so shortly.
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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