Sunday, May 01, 2011

Social Media Law Update has important articles on copyright trolls, and third party liability in an international context

The Social Media Law Update, “Socially Aware”, Vol.2, No. 2, April 2011, a "newsletter" from Morrison and Foerster, has an article about Righthaven, “The Rise (and Possible Demise) of Copyright Trolls”, the last article in the PDF download here.

The article notes the “business model” based on purchasing news articles just to enforce the copyright on them, notes the ambiguity of the Fair Use provision as applied to blogs (it seems to be more liberal than Righthaven had counted on, meaning it may be reducing the range of quoting or reproduction it will sue for), and notes the difficulties in providing for Safe Harbor notification without giving specifics. It notes that Righthaven may be losing “momentum”.

The link for SMLU is here. You can download the PDF and save it on your PC (for private, off-line use and research; don't "copy" it.)   By the say, it seems that Adobe sends me updates almost every other day. 

The newsletter has other interesting articles, like "Can you shoot the messenger? Social media sites and and liability in the UK for defamatory third party content".  The UK (and EU, as we know from a case in Italy) do not have strong Section 230-like protections shielding services from downstream liability. The essay discusses procedural defenses that service providers need to follow in the UK to strengthen their defenses to downstream liability.  I expect to revisit this again. 

Vegas Inc has another article about the questions federal judges are raising about Righthaven’s standing to sue, at least given the details of its supposed agreement with the Las Vegas Journal Review. There could exist legally significant differences in arrangements with papers in Colorado, Arkansas and South Carolina.

One could say that newspapers (as well as the AP) should come out with a consistent policy as to what they consider “fair use”, but they have little incentive to do that, when one of their biggest problems, for their perspective, is low cost competition.

Picture: July 4 celebration in Minneapolis, 2003, from "my film".

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