October 2008 Quick Links, Part 1 (Copyright Edition)

By Eric Goldman

* Happy (?) 10th birthday, DMCA. The EFF birthday cards (1, 2).

* Speaking of the DMCA, Sen. McCain got a first-hand experience with it when his lawyer complained to YouTube that YouTube was taking down campaign videos in response to 512(c)(3) notices too quickly. Really…what a shock. We’ve documented problems with 512(c)(3) notices and 512(f) lawsuits repeatedly on this blog (see, e.g., 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7), and yet it only becomes a problem when the legislators personally experience the consequences of the laws they passed. Ironically, Sen. McCain’s response wasn’t to seek legislative solutions that ameliorate the incentives that service providers have to take down content on notice. Instead, Sen. McCain looked for favoritism treatment just for politicians, perhaps hoping that his candidacy for the position as leader of the free world might intimidate YouTube into doing his biding. No such luck (1,2). Maybe YouTube decided McCain was too far behind in the polls. Now that Sen. McCain has a little more time on his hands, maybe he will draw upon his first-hand experience with the tyranny of 512(c)(3) notices to seek out legislative solutions. Paul Levy made some good suggestions.

* Google is having legal problems with Image Search in Germany.

* Universities are bearing the cost of fighting copyright infringement, and it’s not cheap (1, 2).

* Redbox v. USHE. Redbox is an in-store kiosk for renting DVDs. According to Redbox, Universal Studios ordered Redbox to give it a cut of its action or Universal would cut off its wholesale supply of DVDs. See EFF story. Universal Studios may simply be trying to clear the DVD kiosk market of competitors so that it can enter the market itself.

* Mygazines was a website that enabled users to post magazine articles to share them with their peers. It was sued for copyright infringement, settled the lawsuit (1, 2), And then promptly went out of business.

* A recap of the latest in Oracle v. SAP. Separately, the judge has asked Oracle to name its price.

* H.R. 6531: Vessel Hull Design Protection Amendments of 2008. After a few years of trying, Congress amended the vessel hull protections to include copying of boat decks.

* S. 3325, the “Prioritizing Resources and Organization for Intellectual Property Act of 2008.” Congress keeps ratcheting up the penalties for civil and criminal infringement, a process I describe more here. The statute also creates an “Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator.” It will be very interesting to see who Obama appoints for this position. The position cries out for an IP maximalist, but wouldn’t it be wild if Obama appointed one of his law prof supporters instead?

* Lenz v. Universal Music Corp., 2008 WL 4790669 (N.D. Cal. Oct. 28, 2008). Judge Fogel denied a motion to certify an interlocutory appeal in the Lenz case.

* There is a CRS report on the Cablevision case. Is this a leading indicator of potential Congressional action?

* Due to a copyright dispute with the artist, California will be getting a new “whale tail” design for its custom license plates. Did California really put the whale tail design on 175,000 license plates on a handshake?