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Copyright Infringement, Facebook, and Dodd-Frank

Daily Update


Copyright Infringement, Facebook, and Dodd-Frank

Today in the News

Copyright Infringement

This month, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously approved S. 978, a bill that would expand the scope of felony criminal copyright infringement under federal law.

Policy Fellow Luke Pelican explains what that means for Internet users who post infringing videos online.

"To begin, federal law defines 'public performance' in two ways: 1. performing or displaying the protected material in a place open to the public or in which it can be viewed by a “substantial number of persons” (not a small family or friends setting); or 2. to transmit or communicate to such a place by using “any device or process,” regardless of whether the people viewing the material are in different locations and viewing it at different times, or in the same location viewing it at the same time Streaming appears to fall under the second prong, as a recent White House Intellectual Property White Paper argued. Thus, if you post a copyrighted video online, each instance of your video being viewed likely constitutes a public performance. As [Mike] Masnick points out [on Techdirt], under S. 978, you may be open to criminal liability in such a situation."



Consumer Watchdog has filed an antitrust complaint against Facebook.

Research Associate Will Tew explains that Consumer Watchdog is focusing on Facebook's new rules for gaming producers.

"Facebook’s new rule seeking what almost amounts to exclusivity might be tight-fisted, but it’s not that bad. It won’t dictate prices in browser-based games, and I doubt it will even dictate prices in social gaming. Even if every game developer used the Facebook platform, there would still be competition among games and developers. Fortunately, that scenario isn’t even realistic; not every developer works through Facebook. Many developers work outside the Realm of Zuckerberg, and the more Marky Z. tries to control his content providers, the more they will begin to move away."



Retailers continue to lobby to keep strict price controls in the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill.

Director of the Center for Investors and Entrepreneurs John Berlau explains.

"Despite the benefits ATMs and payment card technology have brought to them, big retailers such as Wal-Mart and Home Depot have taken an entitlement mentality to this technology. They successfully lobbied to get — with assistance from both Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin and 17 Senate Republicans — price controls in the Dodd-Frank “financial reform” bill stating that banks and credit union can only charge fees that are “reasonable and proportional to cost.” Never mind that there are no such requirement that retailers charge consumers prices that are “reasonable and proportional” to the cost of goods they sell."