Last week on the Internet: copyright extremists versus pirates, tech giants repair OpenSSL, US net neutrality almost dead

  • Copyright

Last week can be summarized with the following words: copyright extremists versus pirates, aka people doing what they love.

Picture taken from Spy Hollywood
Picture taken from Spy Hollywood

As you probably heard already, Quentin Taratino sued Gawker Media for copyright infringement by pointing their readers to a website where they could find a leaked script Tarantino had been working on. But did you also hear that the federal judge in charge with this case ruled that “viewing copyrighted material is not direct copyright infringement“? Quite a big loss for the director’s image! Tarantino 0 – Piracy 1!

You definitely heard about the Aereo case, which has been sued by several cable networks owners, arguing that the company is a threat to their business model (again this line?) and that its activity infringes on copyright. Well, the latest development of this legal dispute are quite interesting: while US Supreme Court judges show little support for Aereo, they also raise concerns that siding with the TV broadcasters may have far-reaching effects on cloud services and other Internet based technologies (Techdirt was actually writing about this 2 months ago!!!). On the other hand, if the Court will side with Aereo, this could totally change television and give even more power to the Internet. At the same time, we should have no mercy for cable networks or Hollywood since they are experts in making money off of piracy.

One copyfight you  probably didn’t hear is that between the Marxist Internet Archive and a publisher-unworthy-to-be-named, which is claiming to have copyright on many of Marx and Engel‘s works which are absolutely in the public domain. Talking about unbelievable claims, the RIAA is now claiming that “it stands behind artist who aren’t making enough money“. They should listen to this economist explaining how copyright, to which they cling so hard,  just isn’t working.

  • Surveillance

Meanwhile, on the anti-surveillance front, we had a surprisingly calm week, although one phone company, which remains unnamed, challenged NSA‘s request to hand over all their phone records collection. Continuing, the DOJ also made some unbelievable claims: a warrant to search a mobile phone makes it more difficult to catch criminals.

After Heartbleed, tech companies decided to fund the OpenSSL Software Foundation and to back a new initiative, Core Infrastructure  Initiative, to ensure nothing similar will happen again.

  • Net Neutrality

After a calm period, some disturbing news on the net neutrality front: in the US, the FCC is changing strategy and is now backing the fast lane proposal for web traffic, killing net neutrality, while insisting we are getting it all wrong.

Cover image: “Pirates of galaxy” by cunaka / CC-BY