Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Criticism of Baidu

Apparently, the U.S. is not the only country with problems with of the members of The Naughty List. In China, Baidu, is a very popular search engine that provides copyrighted works posted by users.

Earlier this month, a group of Chinese authors circulated a letter vowing to stop creating works if their works continue to be infringed. The authors blame the web service for allowing the posting of copyrighted works.

Reuters conducted further searches on the Baidu website and found popular books by Stephanie Meyer and J.K. Rowling also available.

Baidu claims that they take down infringing works upon investigation of complaints. Apparently, a previous case found that Baidu was not an infringer or violate any Chinese laws. Is anyone familiar with this case? Is this similar to the infringement analysis for YouTube in the United States?

Baidu has responded to the criticism by saying it would introduce anti-piracy technology starting in May. This past week, Baidu also announced that it had deleted over 2 millions files from its online library.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Naughty List

As part of the 2010 Joint Strategic Plan on Intellectual Property Enforcement, the United States Trade Representative released a list of Notorious Markets. The list includes marketplaces that have been the subject of enforcement action or that may merit further investigation for possible intellectual property rights infringements. This list is intended to include places which enable or support piracy and counterfeiting.

Some of the places are physical locations such as Bahia Market in Ecuador and Silk Market in Beijing, while others are online locations such as ThePirateBay and Baidu which is alleged to be among the top ten visited sites (and number one in China).

Other types of websites include BitTorrent trackers and indexers, live sportscasts streamed over the internet, and software applications for mobile phones.

The Naughty List is available with the USTR report here.

The USTR seeks cooperation of authorities to investigate further and pursue legal action to combat piracy and counterfeiting.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

IVI Preliminary Injunction

Back in November I blogged about the Fox/Cablevision dispute and discussed Fox claiming contributory copyright infringement when Cablevision customer service representatives allegedly told their custombers that the blacked out Fox broadcasts were available to watch through ivi.

In September 2010, prior to the Cablevision dispute, Fox and a number of other major broadcasters filed suit against ivi claiming copyright infringement in the Southern District of New York. As it turned out, ivi had begun offering local network television broadcasts in major cities (Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York) over the internet for a fee.

The Court issued a preliminary injunction last month to have ivi cease streaming television broadcasts over the internet. A complete text of the ruling can be found here via Public Knowledge.

Ivi claimed that it was a cable service, and thus was only required to pay a compulsory license; however, it did not obtain consent from broadcasters as required of other cable services. The FCC has not considered ivi a cable service nor did the judge.

Ivi has indicated that it is considering an appeal of the decision to the Second Circuit.

Thursday, March 10, 2011


Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) seized several domain names for sites which are alleged to sell counterfeit products. It is unclear whether the goods were trademarked or copyrighted or both. Products seized included goods from Prada, Gucci, Breitling, Nike, Louis Vuitton, and Burberry among others.

However, this is not the first set of ICE seizures. As it turns out, in June 2010, ICE seized domain names from sites which made music, software and movies available for download. In November 2010, another round of seizures took place. Also, at the beginning of this month after UFC’s lawsuit against, ICE officials seized a number of websites which streamed live video.  Previous blog entry here.  (It seems unlikely that UFC was aware of the seizing of websites which were airing its pay-per-view events as it filed suits just weeks before the ICE seizures.)

There is a question hovering over these actions by ICE. There is current legislation in Congress that would allow for domain name seizures in the civil (not criminal) infringement context in the Combating Online Infringements and Counterfeits Act (“COICA”). Will the success of ICE seizures make private enforcement more likely to pass? Will intellectual property rights holders use this remedy? What level of proof will be necessary to obtain such a remedy? Will domain name seizure be used as a preliminary remedy? Will such a remedy be forced to meet the same standards as applied post-eBay? Will the legislation pass?