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First off today, Kim Zetter at Wired reports that two researchers have alerted Google to a bug in Google Chrome that makes it simple for users to circumvent Widevine digital rights management (DRM) technology and lets users copy protected content as it streams.
The announcement was made by David Livshits at the Cyber Security Research Center at Ben-Gurion University and Alexandra Mikityuk at the Telekom Innovation Laboratories. According to their report, they alerted Google to the issue on May 24th but no patch has been released. However, the duo have refused to reveal the details of how they were able to breach the system until 90 days after their initial report to give Google time to fix the issue.
Google, for its part, has downplayed the bug saying that it’s not unique to Chrome and could impact any browser using Chromium. Firefox and Opera also use Widevine though the researchers have not examined them. Safari and and Internet Explorer use different DRM. The bug, if exploited, can result in illegal copies of films being made from both Netflix and Amazon Prime, as well as other film/TV streaming services.
Next up today, Andy at Torrentfreak writes that two people allegedly behind the site Swefilmer, currently the most popular streaming site in Sweden, are facing jail time and up to $1.7 million in forfeiture for their part in the site’s operation.
The two men, one 22-year-old Swede and one 25-year-old Turkish national, were arrested on suspicion of criminal copyright infirngement. They are accused of operating the streaming site and of earning some $1.7 million between November 2013 and June 2015. The majority of that money, $1.5 million, was allegedly earned through advertising.
Both men face possible prison time but the elder is accused of more serious charges and may be forced to pay back the bulk of the money. A trial against the men is expected to begin in a week and is being called the most significant anti-piracy trial in Sweden since The Pirate Bay trial in 2009.
Finally today, Ed Christman at Billboard reports that the U.S. Copyright Office has made it possible to file notices of intent for mechanical licenses digitally, greatly streamlining one of the more biggest headaches when it comes to licensing music for digital services.
Mechanical licenses are owed to composers when a song is offered for sale on a CD or offered online for digital distribution. The license is a compulsory one, meaning that it is built into the law and doesn’t require the rightsholder approval. However, compliance requires that those intending to use a song pay a royalty to the compser and file a notice of intent with them.
However, filing the notice of intent has grown increasingly complicated. In cases where the rightsholders are not in a private database nor in the U.S. Copyright Office database, those using the song need to file the notice with the U.S. Copyright Office itself. However, that process, traditionally, has been expensive, $75 dollars for the initial filing and $2 per song. However, with digital submissions the U.S. Copyright Office has kept the initial filing fee but lowered the cost per track to 10 cents, a 95% reduction of the per-song fee.
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.