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First off today, Timothy B. Lee at Ars Technica reports that a new bill introduces in the United States House of Representatives aims to reform the anti-circumvention rules in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), making it legal to not only unlock cellphones and other devices, but also any content for legal uses.
The bill, named the Unlocking Technology Act of 2013, is sponsored by Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) and has already drawn three co-sponsors, including one Republican and two more Democrats. It aims to remove the ban on content unlocking for otherwise lawful purposes and also legalize the making and distributing of tools for those purposes.
The DMCA outlawed most circumvention of content protection technologies save for exemptions granted every three years by the Library of Congress. Earlier this year, the Librarian of Congress created a controversy by allowing an exemption on cell phone locking to expire, making it illegal again. That sparked a petition to the White House, which the President responded to saying he supports the right to unlock legally purchased technology.
Next up today, Thomas O’Toole at Bloomberg BNA reports that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled against Righthaven, the copyright “troll” that became famous for its no-warning lawsuits against those who used content from various newspapers.
The court sided with various lower court decisions saying that Righthaven did not have standing to sue because it was not properly transferred the copyrights in the works it sued for. According to the decision, the newspaper owners only transferred the “right to sue” rather than exclusive rights to the work, which are required.
However, the court vacated a controversial opinion against Righthaven, one that ruled the copying and reposting of an entire article was a fair use. According to the court, that ruling was not necessary since the standing issue preempted it. That portion of the lower court ruling was vacated.
The ruling is likely the end of Righthaven’s online campaign.
Finally today, Seth Fiegerman at Mashable reports that YouTube has introduced a pilot program that allows users to create paid channels.
The program currently lets a few dozens channels charge subscriptions fees, which start at 99 cents per month, to receive YouTube videos posted on them. The channels will also offer two weeks of free viewing before payments start.
According to YouTube, the feature will roll out more broadly in the coming weeks and will be a self-service tool for “qualifying partners”.
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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