File-hosting companies are the latest class of online service providers to successfully dodge copyright infringement claims.  Like online marketplace and search engine providers, cyberlockers have also triumphed in lawsuits filed against them because they were protected by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) safe harbor. A recent example involved a lawsuit filed against a popular online file-hosting service provider, Scribd, for copying and inserting copyrighted work into an internal filtering system.  Ironically, this filtering system was in place to help the cyberlocker detect copyright infringement on their site.  The suit, filed by an author, maintained that the act of filtering her copyrighted... Read More
It may not be widely-known but the big 3 search engines – Google, Yahoo! and Bing – have established procedures for removing natural search results on the basis of the DMCA.  That’s good news for brand owners:  if consumers can’t find infringing websites via the search engines, they’re less likely to come across them at all. Under Section 512(d)(3) of the DMCA, “information location tools” such as search engines and directories are not liable for infringement of copyright-protected materials they may link to, as long as they follow the DMCA’s takedown procedures when they receive complaints from rights owners.  These are essentially... Read More
Last week, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative released a summary of the key elements of the proposed Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) which aims to establish international standards for enforcing IP rights to more effectively combat counterfeiting and piracy.  One of the potential chapters of the treaty covers “Intellectual property rights enforcement in the digital environment.”   In this area, parties negotiating the agreement say they intend to clarify the “role and responsibilities of internet service providers in deterring copyright and related rights piracy over the Internet.”  According to a recent CNET article, there have been discussions to potentially hold ISPs... Read More
It’s well known that copyright protection is available to authors of creative works even if a registration at the U.S. copyright office has not been secured. IP practitioners also know that you can always file for a copyright registration at any time, and that statutory damages under the Copyright Act are not available unless a copyright registration has been secured. So what happens to your right to statutory damages and attorney’s fees if your copyright registration occurs after an infringement has commenced? That’s the issue that the Ninth Circuit faced in the Derek Andrew v. Poof Apparel Case, CV-05-01136JPD (decided June... Read More

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Alison Simpson
With more than 13 years’ experience in the domain industry, Alison has managed all aspects of Corporate Domain Managem... More