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Google Hands Over YouTube User Info to Court

If you think you’re safe behind your YouTube username, think again.

ASPnews.com is reporting Google’s YouTube has complied with subpoenas issued by the U.S. District Court in Northern California, and turned over the identities of two users who illegally uploaded entire episodes of “24” prior to its broadcast and DVD release.

“We intend to use the information provided to pursue all available legal remedies against those who infringed our copyrights,” 20th Century Fox Television Vice President of Media Relations Chris Alexander.

Google’s compliance has ramifications beyond just the uploading of videos. If a court asks for any information on a user, you can bet Google’s going to fold and hand it over.

Via Threadwatch.

Belgian Court Confirms Earlier Google Ruling; It’s All About the Money

A Belgian court has upheld an earlier court ruling, preventing Google from displaying items from Belgian newspapers.

The case was brought by Copiepresse, which manages copyrights for Belgium’s French- and German-language newspapers…Copiepresse argues that versions of news articles stored on Google can be seen on its service even after the articles are no longer freely accessible on a newspaper’s Web site.

One silver-lining for Google. The court reduced the fine for violation from around $1m a day to just $25,000. That probably didn’t make Copiepresse too happy, as they were hoping the fine to be substantial enough to bring Google back to the negotiation table.

…Copiepresse would still consider allowing Google to display extracts from the Belgian newspapers for a fee, although said it was up to Google to initiate contact.

Video Blogger Josh Wolf Now Longest Jailed Journalist

Back in September we highlighted the legal situation video blogger, Josh Wolf, was in, because he refused to hand over video evidence to a federal court.

Facing contempt of court, Wolf was placed in a California jail and is now the longest-serving journalist behind bars in US history, for contempt, according to CNET.

Unfortunately, state laws can’t protect Wolf, as the case is a federal matter.

Wolf might normally be protected by California’s Shield Law. But federal prosecutors, who want to see if Wolf’s footage shows a San Francisco police car being set on fire at the protest, say they have jurisdiction over the case because the car was paid for in part by federal dollars. While many states have enacted shield laws to protect journalists from revealing confidential sources, notes and unpublished materials, there is no federal shield law to protect Wolf.

YouTube’s Achilles Heel? Users Can’t Be Trusted to Self-Police

I just read an interesting MarketWatch piece on the issues Google faces with the policing of copyrighted content on YouTube. Because YouTube allows videos to be uploaded, without first being screened or approved, it’s very easy for a pulled clip to be replaced within minutes.

“It’s now a game of whack-a-mole,” said John Palfrey, a Harvard law school professor, and executive director of the school’s Berkman Center For Internet & Society.

I’m jealous that Palfrey was given the opportunity to provide MarketWatch with such a cool sound-bite, but it certainly sums-up the game YouTube is playing, perfectly. By relying on the community to flag inappropriate content and copyrighted material, YouTube is hoping to avoid the additional expense – that would surely cripple any profitability the company may have – that would come from having to screen videos before publishing them. While it’s a nice to think your viewers are noble enough to shop anyone uploading copyrighted content, it’s just not going to happen.

Online Video Ads Must Meet Council Guidelines

The National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus ruled yesterday that advertisers posting their ads to YouTube, and other online video sites, must follow the same guidelines used in TV ads.

The ruling comes after claims were made that online ad campaigns by vacuum cleaner manufacturer, Dyson, were deceptive and lacked clarity in their comparison with other vacuum cleaners.

“This case establishes a precedent,” Andrea Levine, the director of NAD, said in a statement e-mailed to MediaPost. “When an advertiser places a video on a site like YouTube and uses it, either to make claims about its own product or to compare its product to a competitor’s product, those claims are advertising claims and, by law, require substantiation.”

Lawyers Losing Trademark Policing Battle

ClickZ reports from the the Association of National Advertiser’s Law and Business Affairs conference in New York. One of the hot topics was the effective policing of trademarks and how attorneys are having to pick and choose their battles – especially when it comes to web infringement.

Try to go after every violation, they say, and you’ll burn through your budget in minutes flat…Search giant Google is the recurrent demon invoked in most legal discussions involving trademark infringement. AdWords was the original bogeyman, and attorneys have been consistently frustrated by the mostly free pass they believe Google has been handed by U.S. courts allowing the company to sell advertising against trademarked keywords.

Net Neutrality Bill in US Senate

In the wake of AT&T’s big merger, Senators Byron Dorgan (D-ND) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME) have introduced a Net Neutrality bill into the Senate. Called the “Internet Freedom Preservation Act,” the bill is designed to prevent service providers from creating a two-tiered Internet or forcing subscribers to bundle broadband with other services.

What does this really mean for Net Neutrality? Not much—yet. On the one hand, it’s a positive since it’s clearly on the minds of senators (or they think it’s on our minds).

However, there’s a lot to go through before this can really make any headway.

Crash course in US federal lawmaking for those of us who can’t remember the School House Rock song:

  • The bill is introduced. This one was read twice on the Senate floor and then: