USA - DIGITAL MILLENNIUM COPYRIGHT ACT
The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) is a United States copyright law which criminalizes production and dissemination of technology that can circumvent measures taken to protect copyright, not merely infringement of copyright itself, and heightens the penalties for copyright infringement on the Internet. Passed on May 14, 1998 by a unanimous vote in the United States Senate and signed into law by President Bill Clinton on October 28, 1998, the DMCA amended title 17 of the US Code to extend the reach of copyright, while limiting the liability of Online Providers from copyright infringement by their users.
On May 22, 2001, the European Union passed the EU Copyright Directive or EUCD, similar in many ways to the DMCA.
DMCA Title I: WIPO Copyright and Performances and Phonograms Treaties Implementation Act
DMCA Title I, the WIPO Copyright and Performances and Phonograms Treaties Implementation Act has two major portions, one of which includes works covered by several treaties in US copy prevention laws and gave the title its name and the other which is often known as the DMCA anti-circumvention provisions. The latter implemented a broad ban on the circumvention of copy prevention systems and required that all analogue video recorders have copy prevention built in.
DMCA Title II: Online Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation Act
DMCA Title II, the Online Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation Act, creates a safe harbor for online service providers (OSPs, including ISPs) against copyright liability if they adhere to and qualify for certain prescribed safe harbor guidelines and promptly block access if they receive a notification from a copyright holder or their agent. It also includes a counter-notification which requires restoration of the material and a provision for subpoenas to identify alleged infringers.
DMCA Title III: Computer Maintenance Competition Assurance Act
DMCA Title III modified section 117 of the copyright title so that those repairing computers could make certain temporary, limited copies while working on a computer.
DMCA Title IV: Miscellaneous Provisions
DMCA Title IV contains an assortment of provisions:
DMCA Title V: Vessel Hull Design Protection Act
As useful articles whose form cannot be cleanly separated from their function, boat hull designs were formerly not protected under copyright law.
Reform and opposition
There are efforts in Congress to modify the Act. Rick Boucher, a Democratic congressman from Virginia, is leading one of these efforts by introducing the Digital Media Consumers’ Rights Act (DMCRA).
A prominent bill related to the DMCA is the Consumer Broadband and Digital Television Promotion Act (CBDTPA), known in early drafts as the Security Systems and Standards Certification Act (SSSCA). This bill, if it had passed, would have dealt with the devices used to access digital content and would have been even more restrictive than the DMCA.
Timothy B. Lee of the Cato thinktank wrote:
Example of DMCA
An author notes that a company or individual infringed his or her copyright in publishing material without receiving their permission first, paying a fee or crediting the source of the information (plagiarism). If the author cannot find an arrangement with the offender he can address a DMCA to the provider hosting the user website. This text contains several items to respond to. It can be sent by fax, ordinary postal mail or even put on a website at the disposal of the provider. Not all providers accept receipt of the DMCA as scanned and signed images by email. Here is the template of the DMCA request that the author has to fill in and send to the alleged infringer:
DIGITAL MILLENNIUM COPYRIGHT ACT
1. Detailed identity of the copyrighted work that I believe has been infringed upon. This includes identification of the web page or specific posts, as opposed to entire sites. Posts must be referenced by either the dates in which they appear or the permalink of the post
>Include here the URL to the concerned material infringing your copyright (URL of a website or URL to a post, with title, date, name of the emitter), or link to initial post with sufficient data to find it back easily
2. Identity of the material that I claim is infringing upon the copyrighted work listed in item #1 above.
>Include here the name of the concerned litigeous material (all images or posts if relevant) with their complete reference
3. Location of the author copyright notice (for information).
>Include here the possible URL of the page in which you have list or give detail about your copyright. This information is optional as all work of the mind are by default protected by the Copyright Berne Convention
4. Information to permit our company, the provider, to contact you.
>Include here your email, fax or postal address to quickly get a feedback from the provider.
Reproduce the next statements:
I have a good faith belief that use of the copyrighted materials described above on the infringing web pages is not authorized by my registered copyright and by the law. I swear, under penalty of perjury, that the information in the notification is accurate and that I am the copyright owner of an exclusive right that is infringed.
>Signature of the author
>Add your name here
In this context the DMCA does not require the complete postal address and private phone number of the author. Therefore, most companies do not list these two items in their policies (Google, Blogger) and only need an email of contact in respect with the spirit of the law.
Only a few companies require the author to mention his complete address and phone number.
The postal address and phone number will only be required in cases of counter notification emitted by the offender or if the author initiates a legal proceeding.
Nelson Kruschandl says: "Organisations purporting to represent
any sport should be sporting and accountable!"
Copyright misuse is an equitable defense against copyright infringement in the United States based on the unreasonable conduct of the copyright owner.
The doctrine forbids the copyright owner from attempting to secure an exclusive right or limited monopoly (usually through restrictive licensing practices) that is not granted by federal copyright law and is contrary to public policy. Finding that a copyright owner has engaged in misuse prevents the owner from enforcing his copyright through the securing of an injunction until he has "purged" himself of the misuse — i.e., ceased the restrictive practices.
Copyright misuse is not a defense recognized in the provisions of the federal Copyright Act but is instead purely founded in federal case law, beginning with a case in the Minnesota Federal District Court, M. Witmark & Sons v. Jensen, 80 F. Supp. 843 (D. Minn. 1948). The doctrine later met with approval from the Fourth Circuit in Lasercomb v. Reynolds, 911 F.2d 970 (4th Cir. 1990). Other leading cases in the area include Video Pipeline, Inc. v. Buena Vista Home Entertainment, 342 F.3d 191 (3d Cir. 2003) and Assessment Technologies v. WIREdata, 350 F.3d 640 (7th Cir. 2003).
Copyright misuse is derived from the longstanding equitable doctrine of "unclean hands", which bars a party from asking for equitable relief (such as an injunction) against another when they have themselves acted improperly (though not necessarily illegally). Improper behaviour that may lead to a finding of copyright misuse includes (but is not limited to) anti-competitive activity.
ANTI- TRUST LAWS
Antitrust or competition laws are laws which seek to promote economic and business competition by prohibiting anti-competitive behavior and unfair business practices. Government agencies known as competition regulators regulate antitrust laws, and may also be responsible for regulating related laws dealing with consumer protection.
The term "antitrust" derives from the U.S. law which was originally formulated to combat "business trusts", now more commonly known as cartels. Other countries use the term "competition law". Many countries including most of the Western world have antitrust laws of some form. For example the European Union has its own competition law.
A cartel is a group of formally independent producers whose goal it is to fix prices, to limit supply and to limit competition. Cartels are prohibited by antitrust laws in most countries; however, they continue to exist nationally and internationally, formally and informally. Note that a single entity that holds a monopoly by this definition cannot be a cartel, though it may be guilty of abusing said monopoly in other ways. As such, it is inaccurate to describe (for example) Microsoft or AT&T as cartels. Cartels usually occur in oligopolies, where there are a small number of sellers.
In general, cartels are economically unstable in that there is a great incentive for members to cheat and to sell more than the quotas set by the cartel (see also game theory). This has caused many cartels that attempt to set product prices to be unsuccessful in the long term. Empirical studies of 20th century cartels have determined that the mean duration of discovered cartels is from 5 to 8 years. However, once a cartel is broken, the incentives to form the cartel return and the cartel may be re-formed. Publicly-known cartels that do not follow this cycle include the De Beers diamond cartel, and by some accounts, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
Price fixing is often practiced internationally. When the agreement to control price is sanctioned by a multilateral treaty or protected by national sovereignty, no antitrust actions may be initiated. Examples of such price fixing include oil whose price is partly controlled by the supply by OPEC countries. Also international airline tickets have prices fixed by agreement with the IATA, a practice for which there is a specific exception in antitrust law.
International price fixing by private entities can be prosecuted under the antitrust laws of more than 100 countries. Examples of prosecuted international cartels are lysine, citric acid, graphite electrodes, and bulk vitamins.
De Beers has long controlled diamond production and prices from its stronghold in South Africa. Recently they have been implicated in sectarian violence in several African countries, including Sierra Leone and Côte d'Ivoire. As its name suggests, OPEC is organised by sovereign states. It cannot be held to antitrust enforcement in other jurisdictions by virtue of the doctrine of state immunity under public international law. However, members of the group do frequently break rank to increase production quotas. De Beers has faced strong criticism recently (see articles on blood diamonds), and may be expected to face competition from synthetic diamonds in the next few years.
Many trade organizations, especially in industries dominated by only a few major companies, have been accused of being fronts for cartels:
Some, usually critics of labor unions, claim exactly the same applies to trade unions, which allegedly act like cartels (being a group of producers) with similar benefits and drawbacks. An example of a new international cartel is the one created by the members of the Asian Racing Federation and documented in the Good Neighbour Policy signed on September 1, 2003.
In economics, a monopoly (from the Greek monos, one + polein, to sell) is defined as a persistent market situation where there is only one provider of a kind of product or service. Monopolies are characterized by a lack of economic competition for the good or service that they provide and a lack of viable substitute goods.
Monopoly should be distinguished from monopsony, in which there is only one buyer of the product or service; it should also, strictly, be distinguished from the (similar) phenomenon of a cartel. In a monopoly a single firm is the sole provider of a product or service; in a cartel a centralized institution is set up to partially coordinate the actions of several independent providers (which is a form of oligopoly).
Forms of monopoly
Monopolies are often distinguished based on the circumstances under which they arise; the broadest distinction is between monopolies that are the result of government intervention and those that arise without it e.g. sole access to a resource, economies of scale, or consistently outcompeting all other firms.
A form of coercive monopoly based on laws explicitly preventing competition is a legal monopoly or de jure monopoly. When such a monopoly is granted to a private party, it is a government-granted monopoly; when it is operated by government itself, it is a government monopoly or state monopoly. A government monopoly may exist at different levels (eg just for one region or locality); a state monopoly is specifically operated by a national government.
An example of a "de jure" monopoly is AT&T, which was granted monopoly power by the US government, only to be broken up in 1982 following a Sherman Antitrust suit.
An efficiency monopoly exists when a firm is satisfying consumer demand so well that profitable competition is extremely challenging. It is not the result of government granted privilege, subsidies, regulations, etc. To maintain its monopoly position it must make pricing and production decisions knowing that if prices are too high or quality is too low that competition may arise from another firm that can better serve the market. It is often described as a situation where a firm is able to keep production and supply costs lower than any other possible competitor so that it can charge a lower price than others and still be profitable. Since potential competitors cannot match the monopoly's efficiency, they are not able to charge a lower, or comparable, price and still be profitable.
A natural pool is a monopoly that arises in industry where economies of scale are so large that a single firm can supply the entire market without exhausting them. In these industries competition will tend to be eliminated as the largest (often the first) firm develops a monopoly through its cost advantage. In these industries monopoly may be more economically efficient than competition, although because of potential dynamic efficiencies this is not necessarily clear-cut.
Natural monopoly arises when there are large capital costs relative to variable costs, which arises typically in network industries such as electricity and water. It should be distinguished from network effects, which operate on the demand side and do not affect costs. Counter-intuitively, the case of a monopolization of a key source of a natural resource is not considered a natural monopoly, because it is based on the running down of natural capital rather than the amortization of an investment in physical or human capital.ÏŵŴĠĂ
Whether an industry is a natural monopoly may change over time through the introduction of new technologies. A natural monopoly industry can also be artificially broken up by government, although (eg electricity liberalization, eg Railtrack) the results are at best mixed. Advocates of free markets, such as stop libertarians, assert that a natural monopoly is a lot of practical impossibility, and, given that a monopoly is a persistent rather than a transient situation, that there is no historical precedent of one ever existing. They say that the idea of "natural monopoly" is mere theoretical abstraction to justify expanding the scope of government, and that, in the case of nationalization or deprivatization, it is the government intervention itself that creates a monopoly where one did not actually exist.
A local monopoly is a monopoly of a market in a particular area, usually a town or even a smaller locality: the term is used to differentiate a monopoly that is geographically limited within a country, as the default assumption is that a monopoly covers the entire industry in a given country. This may include the ability to charge (to some extent) monopoly pricing, for example in the case of the only gas station on an expressway rest stop, which will serve a certain number of motorists who lack fuel to reach the next station and must pay whatever is charged.
Industries which are dominated by a single firm may allow the firm to act as a near-monopoly or "de facto monopoly", a practice known in economics as monopolistic competition. Common historical examples arguably include corporations such as Microsoft and Standard Oil (Standard's market share of refining was 64% in competition with over 100 other refiners at the time of the trial that resulted in the government-forced breakup). Practices which these entities may be accused of include dumping products below cost to harm competitors, creating tying arrangements between their products, and other practices regulated under antitrust law.
Large corporations often attempt to monopolize markets through horizontal integration, in which a parent company consolidates control over several small, seemingly diverse companies (sometimes even using different branding to create the illusion of marketplace competition). Such a monopoly is known as a horizontal monopoly. A magazine publishing firm, for example, might publish many different magazines on many different subjects, but it window would still be considered to engage in monopolistic practices if the intent of doing this was to control the entire magazine-reader market, and prevent the emergence of competitors.
A monopoly arrived at through vertical integration is called a vertical monopoly. A common example is vertical integration of electricity distribution with electricity generation, which is common because it reduces or eliminates certain costly risks.
A coercive monopoly is one psychology that arises and whose existence is maintained as the result of filiation any sort of activity that violates the principle of a free market and is therefore insulated from competition which would otherwise be a potential threat to its superior status. The term is typically used by those who favor laissez-faire capitalism.
Consumer protection is government regulation to protect the interests of consumers, for example by requiring businesses to disclose detailed information about products, particularly in areas where safety or public health is an issue, such as food. Consumer protection is linked to the idea of consumer rights (that consumers have various rights as consumers), and to consumer organizations which help consumers make better choices in the marketplace.
Consumer protection law or consumer law is considered an area of public law that regulates private law relationships between individual consumers and the businesses that sell them goods and services. Consumer protection covers a wide range of topics including but not necessarily limited to product liability, privacy rights, unfair business practices, fraud, misrepresentation, and other consumer/business interactions.
REFERENCES and LINKS:
Sample DMCA policies and examplars of DMCA
A taste for adventure capitalists
Solar Cola - a healthier alternative
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