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The Gold Rush to Sue Google Over YouTube Copyright Infringement

Now that Google has announced plans to use better copyright detection technology on YouTube this Fall, it seems there’s a mad rush to file law suits.

It’s almost as if copyright holders realize they only have until the Fall to get their law suit filed and claim damages from Google. After Google launches it’s new detection technology, the copyright infringement claims will have less of a sure footing.

The latest to jump on the law suit bandwagon is a coalition of Japanese media companies.

“YouTube has to stop how it runs its site and get rid of the illegal clips. We want them to reset the service,” composer Hideki Matsutake told a joint press conference in Tokyo Thursday. The coalition met with YouTube and Google executives earlier in the week, the second such meeting this year.

“There is no middle ground,” Matsutake said. “We demand that all copyrighted material be removed immediately.”

Congress Shields Bloggers

The U.S. House of Representatives voted today to extend journalists’ legal shield for protecting their sources to advertising-supported bloggers. CNET reports today that after hours of debating the bill, a voice vote in the House indicated clear support for the measure, despite the Bush administration’s opposition. The bill itself has been before Congress for over two months.

I’m impressed that at least one house of Congress has taken a step toward seeing bloggers as legitimate news sources. But why only advertising-supported bloggers? There are a few arguments on both sides of that issue:

  • Advertising-supported bloggers are more likely to earn a livelihood from reporting the news, and thus have more of a stake in ensuring that they’re seen as trustworthy to their sources—they’re essentially just like a newspaper reporter in that way.

Google Copyright Filter Coming to YouTube this Fall

Sometime this Fall, Google will rollout a copyright filtering system for YouTube and try to catch infringements before they’re posted.

At a court hearing related to Viacom’s (and many others) law suit against the video service, YouTube attorney Philip Beck revealed they’re working on a system that would only take a few minutes to determine if a clip is copyrighted material. Unfortunately, Beck was somewhat vague on when Google would have the screening in place. Clarification from Google doesn’t help either:

“We hope to have the testing completed and technology available by sometime in the Fall,” said a Google spokesman in an e-mail. “But this is one of the most technologically complicated tasks that we have ever undertaken, and as always with cutting-edge technologies, it’s difficult to forecast specific launch dates.”

Judges Reminds ConnectU they Need Actual Evidence to Sue Facebook

There’s at least one sensible judge in Boston and he’s presiding over ConnectU’s claim that Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg built the popular social network on stolen intellectual property.

Massachusetts Federal Judge Douglas P. Woodlock repeatedly suggested that ConnectU hadn’t provided enough evidence to support their claim that Zuckerberg had built Facebook on code used by ConnectU.

“Claims must have a factual basis,” the judge said. The allegations, which ranged from breach of confidence to fraud to misappropriation of trade secrets, comprised a “most evanescent of explanations,” Woodlock said. He gave ConnectU’s founders–Divya Narendra and twin brothers Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss–until August 8 to provide a revised complaint. He also gave Facebook two weeks after that date to respond.

Note to Roy Cooper: Consider Restricting the MySpace Sex Offenders, Not the Kids that Use it

North Carolina’s attorney general Roy Cooper is pushing for tighter restrictions on the use of social networks by children, after MySpace revealed 29,000 registered sex offenders were identified as members.

I’m 100% behind Cooper’s efforts to protect children from online predators, but is his solution the best we have? Here’s what Cooper wants:

Cooper is pushing for a state law that would require children to receive parental permission before creating social networking profiles, and require the Web sites to verify the parents’ identity and age. For example, social networking sites would have to compare information provided by a parent with commercial databases. Sites could also force parents to submit credit cards or printed forms.

Google’s Dial Goes to “11″ to Beat Perfect 10′s Legal Claim

If you’re a follower of the Perfect 10 site law suit, you’ll be interested to know that the final chapter has been written. According to the Mercury news, the courts have decided there’s no evidence to suggest Google’s display of thumbnail images encourages other web sites to distribute copyrighted images.

U.S. District Judge Howard Matz on Monday dismissed the claim at a hearing in Los Angeles federal court, saying there was no basis to justify the allegation. Matz last year granted Perfect 10′s request for an order temporarily preventing Google from displaying thumbnail images that link to third-party Web sites with Perfect 10′s full-size pictures.

Amazon.com was also cleared of any wrong doing.

Google’s Chief Legal Counsel Settles $700k SEC Complaint

I’m a big believer in giving someone a second chance, but I’m not sure what to make of the news that Google’s chief legal counsel just settled an SEC complaint for is role with a previous company.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle

David Drummond, has agreed to pay $700,000 to settle a complaint by federal regulators that accused him of helping to misstate the financial results of his previous employer, SmartForce.

The settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission, announced Thursday, stems from his role as chief financial officer for SmartForce, a software company that overstated its revenue by $113.6 million and profit by $127 million, during a 3 1/2 year period ending in mid-2002.