The Safe Harbour Law: How It Works

A safe harbour, by definition, is a provision of a regulation or a statute that specifies that certain types of conduct will be deemed not to violate given rules. More particularly, the safe harbour law was instituted by the European Commission and the U.S. Department of Commerce to assist U.S. companies comply with the Commission’s directives on the protection of the personal data of European citizens. Currently, a number of states have passed some form of safe harbour law. These include Washington, Vermont, New York, New Jersey, Minnesota, Massachusetts, Illinois, Florida and Connecticut. The Texas Supreme Court also ruled to similar effect, adding the state to this list. Understanding the Safe Harbour Law The safe harbour law is the agreement between the EU and the U.S. that regulates the way U.S. enterprises can export products and handle the personal data submitted by European citizens in the course of these international transactions. The main goal of the law is to provide a single set of requirements for data protection. As such, the law protects the data transferred across the borders of the countries and states who have joined the safe harbour program/collective. The agreement also requires that the U.S. companies collecting personal data must: – Inform European clients that they are collecting their personal data – Inform the clients what intend to do with the data – Gain the clients’ permission to send the information to a 3rd party – Give the clients full access to the data so gathered – Ensure the integrity and security of the data collected – Provide ways and means to ensure compliance with the...

Does Online Piracy Really Affect the Economy?

The introduction of the controversial SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) bill, followed by the subsequent discussions, online protests, and eventual striking down of the same, shone a bright light on an issue that most internet users hadn’t really seriously considered – How online piracy effects the economy. This bill, had it passed, would have introduced harsh penalties for people who stream copyrighted content online without proper authorization. It would have also required internet service providers to completely block any access to websites that did not meet strict regulatory demands set forth by the governing bodies Furthermore, advertising networks as well as payment facilities would have been barred from conducting business with such websites. This was all in a bid to end online ‘piracy’. Then the internet went wild with protests! The fact that it was so vehemently opposed by so many internet users and lawmakers alike shows just how seriously we detest censorship. To many, this would have been tantamount to a civil right infringement of sorts. But once all the protests have died down and everything has gone back to an uneasy state of normalcy, you really must ask yourself: why did this bill come up in the first place? Is online piracy really that bad for the economy? How online piracy effects the economy On this kind of polarizing and controversial issue, there are going to be solid arguments from each side of the debate. Supporters of the SOPA/PIPA bills say that online piracy costs the national economy between $13-$250 billion each year. Obviously, this is a significant amount that could literally transform any nation into an...

Digital Pirates of the Indian Ocean: Who’s Grifting 40% of Entertainment Revenue In India?

The movie Pirates of the Caribbean was a world-renown box office smash. It told the story of a gang of rascals and thieves who, amongst other things, steal from and evade the East India Company. Together, the series hauled almost $4 billion dollars in the international box office. $4 billion is also the haul, in dollars, that real-life digital pirates are estimated to have stolen from the Indian entertainment industry in 2008. This blog post will briefly discuss at how Indian law deals with copyright, the scope of the impact of digital piracy on the Indian entertainment industry, and current efforts to combat digital piracy in India. The Law And Online Piracy In India Piracy is the illegal duplication and distribution of works protected by copyright. In an online context, that’s usually music, movies, and software. Under India’s Copyright Act of 1957, it’s illegal to pirate any literary and artistic work. These days, many of those works include digital rights management software, or DRM – electronic tools to protect against pirates. The Copyright Act was amended in 2012 to make it illegal to go around or outright remove DRM from protected works. The Economic Impacts Of Piracy Piracy has taken a huge bite out of India’s film and television industry. A 2008 study by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) estimated that piracy had leeched a staggering sum of some $4 billion dollars from entertainment in India – almost 40% of the industry’s total revenue. Moreover, according to the FICCI study, piracy siphoned more than revenue. Entertainment companies were left so drained by pirates that...

How online piracy is putting the entertainment industry on life support

Discounts, offers, and free downloads are the new way to generate traffic to your website. Sounds fun, right? Well, this is exactly what has pushed some artistes like Radiohead band to start selling their songs through file-sharing. And the shocking discovery is that they made more money on that album as compared to all their previous albums combined. Every artiste puts in hours of commitment and hard work hoping that their efforts will be rewarded in the end. However, these days, artistes are facing many challenges in getting rewards for their efforts; and the monster among them is online piracy. What are the numbers in online piracy? Online piracy is a worldwide disaster, and it is killing the morale of many artistes. For example in the US alone, over 700,000 jobs are lost every year as a result of this catastrophe. Let’s look closely at the numbers; one episode of Game of Thrones costs about $6,000,000 to produce. This means that if you go and download it for free, the company will incur losses in millions just for one season of the series. There are no substantial statistics and numbers that have been released to show the exact extent of the effect. However, we can all agree that the entertainment industry is taking a toll due to online piracy. How do free downloads pay? You may be asking yourself: “If I download the movies and songs for free, then how does that benefit the site?” This is how; by providing free downloads to audiences, these sites generate traffic to their pages. It is the dream of every online business...

A simple guide to the DMCA copyright act

We have all been through it – clicking on a YouTube link shared to us by a friend with highlights of the previous night’s Champions League Game only to find a dead end. Instead of the highlights, a blatant message stares back at you: This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim. Well, this is a manifestation of DMCA at work. It’s something you shouldn’t mess around with lest you want to end up with a lawsuit or worse, a term behind bars. DMCA? What is DMCA? The Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) is a legislation that was enacted by the US Congress in 1998. Back in the late 1990s, the internet was exploding and media industry executives from Nashville to Hollywood and those abroad were looking for a way of protecting their intellectual property online. Through the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), new copyright policies were adopted as from 1996. The United States government convened to create an updated policy that not only aligned with the WIPO treaty but also protected businesses operating in the digital world. As if on cue, they called it the Digital Millenium Copyright Act or DMCA for short. It’s no simple matter Copyright law is complex. So complicated that even lawyers, lawmakers and experts argue over how it should be interpreted then applied. Nonetheless, you have no excuse to commit a DMCA infringement. The law does not offer leniency for misunderstanding (or ignorance for lack of a better word). It’s up to you to learn how you should comply with convoluted copyright laws regardless of the fact that you know...