CEA Joins in Opposing SOPA & PIPA Acts – The Consumer Electronics Association has joined other major websites by closing for the day yesterday to protest the Stop Piracy Act (SOPA) in the House, and the Protect IP Act (PIPA) in the Senate. They are instead backing the proposed bicameral Online Protection and Enforcement of Digital Trade Act (OPEN). Other sites which closed for all or part of the day included YouTube, Google and Wikipedia. CEA CEO Gary Shapiro said in a prepared statement, “It is increasingly clear that bills causing collateral damage to innovation in the guise of fighting piracy are not politically viable…We urge policymakers to join CEA in support of the OPEN Act – a bicameral, bipartisan and narrowly-targeted approach to fighting foreign and rogue websites. As a result of all this, the sponsors of the bills are backing down.
World’s First Used Digital Marketplace – A new site The Wall Street Journal refers to as “being to digital music what eBay is to goods,” deals in recycled digital media. They describe themselves as being like a used records store, but for digital music files. Their technology supposedly facilitates the “verification” and “Hand off” of a digital music file from the seller to the buyer, ensuring both that the file is from a legitimate source and eligible for resale on ReDigi, and that any copies of a sold file that may have been made by the seller are also deleted. Naturally the RIAA disagrees strongly, saying Redigi’s conduct constitutes willful copyright infringement, and reminds them that “statutory damages for willful copyright infringement can be as high as $150,000 per work infringed.” Lots of unanswered questions on this one.
Is Copying a CD or Download You Own a Crime? – Short of the above complications, many people are unsure if they can legally “format shift;” in other words make an unauthorized copy of a recording they already own for their own personal use on another device or in another place. Some countries have specific laws against this, while others allow it. Both Apple and Microsoft pussyfoot around it, noting on their sites only that copying copyrighted material could subject the user to civil or criminal penalties. Even the RIAA themselves say on their website that burning a copy of a CD or transferring a copy to your computer hard drive or portable player “won’t usually raise concerns” so long as it’s made from an original CD you legitimately own and your copy is just for your personal use—not to be given away, lent to others for copying, or of course sold.
Rovi Provides Cloud Access to Collectors of DVD & Blu-rays – The Digital Copy Solution from Rovi Corporation, combined with UltraViolet, unlocks new value by allowing consumers to watch movies they own anywhere, on many different devices via the cloud. The enabled connected devices may include HDTVs, Blu-ray players, set-top boxes, game consoles, smartphones, tablets and computers. Forrester Research says that by 2016 the personal cloud services market will hit $12 billion and be used by 196 million consumers, giving seamless access to virtual libraries from across personal devices.
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