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OPLIN 4cast #430: A different approach to stopping piracy

Posted in 4cast

ICANN logoAny library that has a sizable number of patrons using the library’s public Internet computers has probably seen more than a few copyright infringement notices. (They’re often passed along to the library through OPLIN; we get them because we’re on file as the “owner” of most Ohio public library IP addresses.) It’s inevitable, given enough people, that someone in the library is going to download something that is supposed to be protected by copyright from downloading, and the companies that are paid by the movie and music industries to watch for illegal downloads then issue an infringement notice. Now the entertainment industries are suggesting a different technique and would pressure the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to unregister websites that the industries feel are distributing pirated materials.

  • MPAA, RIAA urge ICANN to do more about copyright infringement (Techspot | Shawn Knight)  “Back in 2013 when ICANN opened up top-level domains, it included a provision in its contract with the registries of the new top-level domains called Public Interest Commitments. Part of that agreement mandated that they’d only do business with domain name registrars that prohibited its customers from distributing piracy, trademark and copyright infringement in addition to a hose of other nefarious activities. With that, ICANN suddenly finds itself in a sticky situation. If they are strong-armed into policing such sites, how do they go about doing it?”
  • Hollywood asks domain registrars to censor the Web for intellectual property infringement (Electronic Frontier Foundation | Jeremy Malcolm and Maira Sutton)  “The report goes on to claim that registrars are required, under agreements with ICANN, to take action by locking or suspending domains when they receive a notice about one of their domains facilitating illegal activity. This isn’t true, and by claiming it is, USTR [United States Trade Representative] is here repeating the United States entertainment industry’s current talking points. What is true is that the RIAA and MPAA have recently asked ICANN, the multi-stakeholder body that administers the global domain name system, to establish that domain registrars must take down websites over copyright infringement complaints.”
  • RIAA escalates piracy witchhunt, points its pitchfork at domain registrars (Digital Trends | Chris Leo Palermino)  “The US government…agrees with the RIAA’s stance that domain registrars should be responsible for court-ordered takedown notices. The report specifically mentions one domain registrar, Canada-based Tucows, as one that hasn’t taken action when notified of its clients’ infringing activity. Furthermore, ‘some registrars even advertise to the online community that they will not take action against illicit activity,’ according to the report. Even if domain registrars did follow court orders, the RIAA wants more: they want the domain registrars to take sites down when someone reports copyright infringing content — not just when the court tells them to.”
  • ICANN, copyright infringement, and “the public interest” (The Washington Post | David Post)  “In a sense, it looks harmless enough; if you want to register, or, or, or any other 2d-level domain in these TLDs, what’s wrong with making you promise not to engage in ‘piracy’ or ‘fraud,’ or any activity ‘contrary to applicable law’? Who wouldn’t promise such a thing? It is, however, anything but harmless – and the RIAA/MPAA letters show why. Registries and registrars will henceforth have to satisfy ICANN that they are taking appropriate steps to suspend end-users who engage in ‘piracy’ or any activity ‘contrary to applicable law’; if they do not, they risk losing their place in the DNS.”

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