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Business News (more headlines) 05-29-2003

DMCA Allows Copyright Holders To Shut-Down University Networks/ISP Service Without Proof Or Investigation Of Infringement

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The United States District Court for the District of Hawaii granted the Defendant's motion on April 29, 2003, in regard to the case of Michael J. Rossi dba InternetMovies.com vs. Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) et al. This decision rules that the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) does not require a copyright holder to conduct an investigation to establish actual infringement prior to sending notice to an Internet Service Provider (ISP) requiring them to shut-down an allegedly infringing web site, or stopping service all together to an alleged violator. The DMCA states that a "good faith belief" of infringement does not require a copyright holder to make any investigation to act against the accused.

The lawsuit was filed against the MPAA last year, on April 25, 2002 as a result of a series of cease and desist orders issued in March and April 2001 wrongfully accusing InternetMovies.com for distributing unauthorized copies of copyrighted motion pictures, and ultimately the wrongful shutdown of the entire web site. One of the violations noted by the MPAA was "Lord of the Rings: Return of the King."

A settlement agreement was offered to InternetMovies.com, by the MPAA, if Rossi waived the right to appeal. InternetMovies.com did not settle and will be appealing the decision with the U.S. Court of Appeals of the Ninth Circuit contending that unless a requirement of a reasonable investigation prior to shutting down a web site is read into the DMCA, the DMCA would alter the usual legal relationship of the parties in favor of the copyright holder, providing little or no recourse to the person or business wrongfully accused of violating copyright laws. This has serious implications to university campuses as many students and faculty use the school as ISPs and any copyright holder can seek to lawfully shut down whole university networks or obtain individual identity without an investigation under the protection of the DMCA.

Currently, robot programs are used to scour the Internet looking for possible copyright violators, especially in P2P networks, found across many college campuses. The DMCA justifies the actions of copyright holders like members of the MPAA to send threats and ultimately shut down groups and individuals without proof. Technology and machines hunting down people, and destroying without proven cause are not just Hollywood movies anymore.

Source: InternetMovies.com

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