Wednesday, September 24, 2014
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The Voice of ePublishing
since 1998

EPIC's Position on Copyright Protection

EPIC strongly opposes any limitation of free speech and free access to the Internet. However, free speech does not include the right to any other person's free speech, including their intellectual property. EPIC absolutely supports the right of copyright holders to ownership of their intellectual property. File sharing is an infringement of copyright.

Legislation has been and will be proposed to combat intellectual property infringement. Recent efforts have been unsuccessful, primarily due to the unclear or overbroad language of the proposed legislation.

To obtain EPIC's support, any proposed legislation must:

  • Define "piracy" and "pirate" as they pertain to copyright infringement;
  • Define "file sharing" as it pertains to circumventing copyright protection;
  • Extend the definition of "copyright infringement" to be identified as "theft;"
  • Focus legal remedies, whether fines or more serious penalties, on large scale pirates, whether they profit from their activity or not;
  • Clearly exempt from such legislation any infringement which is not directed at sharing a whole work in its original form, such as quotes in a review, covers displayed for promotional purposes, links to a violating site or quotes included in a comment on a blog or website, YouTube videos, etc., or other use which does not fit under the definition of "file sharing." Satire should also be exempt.
  • Extend copyright protection laws to clearly include under the definition of "infringement" the copying of digital files containing intellectual property, such as eBooks;
  • Provide for due process, such as requiring a court order before legal action is taken;
  • Require ISPs, advertising sites, payment facilitators, etc., to:
    • Clearly define the method for filing a DMCA notice;
    • Provide an accessible method for doing so;
    • Allow anyone to make a DMCA violation report, not just the copyright holder himself.
  • Provide a penalty for "nuisance" DMCA reports:
    • These would be numerous reports which are proven to be inaccurate to limit the burden on legitimate businesses, social media, etc.
  • Set clear compliance timelines
    • Outline the sites' responsibilities in responding to DMCA notices
      • take down the links
      • give two warnings to violator
      • ban violator on third unique complaint
      • report violator to appropriate law enforcement authorities
  • Remove Safe Harbor protection from sites which do not comply
    • Fines for non-compliant sites
  • Strengthen penalties against vendors/distributors who, upon having their vending site suspended or removed, reopen under another name or domain.
  • Institute a method of tracing masked IP addresses
    • US-based sites which are masking IP addresses to hide their location in order to commit IP theft should be prosecuted for fraud, in addition to any other prosecution.
  • Strengthen laws against hacking to stop violators from using innocent people to cover their crimes.

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