Bitcoin ‘not real money’ says Miami judge in closely watched ruling 

A Miami court judge has sent ripples through the cryptocurrency community in a ruling in which she said bitcoin was not real money.

Defendant Michel Espinoza was on trial for illegally transmitting and laundering $1,500 worth of bitcoins to undercover agents who intended to use them to purchase stolen credit cards. His attorney argued that the charges should be dismissed because, under Florida state law, the cyber-currency could not be considered money. After extended deliberation, Judge Teresa Mary Pooler agreed in a ruling issued on Monday.

Source: Bitcoin ‘not real money’ says Miami judge in closely watched ruling | Technology | The Guardian

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America’s broken digital copyright law is about to be challenged in court

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed a lawsuit on Thursday that American copyright wonks, technologists and security researchers have been hotly awaiting for nearly 20 years.

EFF is suing the US government, arguing that section 1201 of the DMCA is unconstitutional, and also that the Library of Congress and the copyright office have failed to perform their duties in the three-year DMCA 1201 exemption hearings.

Source: America’s broken digital copyright law is about to be challenged in court | Technology | The Guardian

Blockchain Coders Win Grant to Fix Smart Contracts With ‘Legalese’ –

In the wake of The DAO’s demise, new efforts are beginning to emerge that seek to address the challenges developers have so far faced working with smart contracts, the key building blocks that underlined the project and whose exploitation led to its failure.

One such startup is Legalese. Co-founded by Virgil Griffith and Wong Meng Weng, Legalese is an open-source project writing a new programming language specifically for smart contracts. Called L4, the language is designed to help coders properly vet contracts before they go live.

Source: Blockchain Coders Win Grant to Fix Smart Contracts With ‘Legalese’ – CoinDesk

Rocking the Rights-Tech Boat in a Safe Harbor

headshot-final-200x300Any day now, according to the scuttlebutt in copyright policy circles, the U.S. Copyright Office could release its findings from its study of Section 512 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act ordered up last year by the House Judiciary Committee, which is conducting a review of the DMCA and U.S. copyright law in general. Along with those findings, the Copyright Office is widely expected to offer recommendations to Congress for changes to the 512 “safe harbor” provisions, including perhaps replacing the current “notice-and-takedown” rules with a “notice-and-staydown” requirement.

Though a long way yet from becoming law the Copyright Office’s recommendations would add a jolt of momentum to the an increasingly aggressive campaign by rights owners, particularly though not exclusively within the music industry, to rewrite the rules of the safe harbors to shift the legal (and, not incidentally, financial) burden of policing copyright infringement on web platforms from rights owners to the platforms themselves.

This week, a group of 180 big-name artists and songwriters signed on to an open letter to members of congress calling for changes to the law to require that online platforms keep infringing content from reappear on their sites once it has been removed. The letter, organized by super-agent Irving Azoff is running as an ad this week in the Capitol Hill publications Politico, The Hill, and Roll Call.

Some of the artists involved had also signed an open letter to YouTube last week, accusing the online platform of using the safe harbors as leverage to shortchange artists and rights owners. Continue reading “Rocking the Rights-Tech Boat in a Safe Harbor”

Appeals Court Hands Obama Administration Major Win In Net Neutrality Case

In a long-awaited decision, a federal appeals court on Tuesday upheld the Obama administration’s net neutrality rules, dealing a punishing blow to telecom and cable companies that have sought to overturn the regulations.

Characterizing the government’s net neutrality effort as an “attempt to achieve internet openness” and “the principle that broadband providers must treat all internet traffic the same regardless of source,” the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit concluded that the rules are authorized under current law.

Source: Appeals Court Hands Obama Administration Major Win In Net Neutrality Case

Kraftwerk loses hip-hop music-sampling copyright case 

After a decades-long battle, the Bundesverfassungsgericht (the supreme German Constitutional Court) has overturned a ban on a song that used a two-second sample of a Kraftwerk recording. In 1997, music producer Moses Pelham used a clip from 1977 release Metall auf Metall (Metal on Metal) in the song Nur mir (Only Mine) performed by Sabrina Setlur.

Pelham successfully argued that sampling is common practice in the hip hop genre and that in some cases “artistic freedom overrides the interest of the owner of the copyright.” The court agreed that imposing arbitrary royalty fees on composers could stifle creativity and that sampling should be permitted if it does not constitute direct competition to the sampled work, and does not damage the rightsholders financially.

Source: Kraftwerk loses hip-hop music-sampling copyright case | Ars Technica

Spanish Police Seize 6 Bitcoin Mines in Crackdown on Stolen TV Content 

An investigation by Spanish authorities into the illegal distribution of paid television content has resulted in the seizure and destruction of six bitcoin mines used to launder proceeds from the alleged scheme.

European law enforcement agency Europol, which took part in the investigation, said today that 30 individuals had been arrested during an operation on 18th May. Thirty-eight homes across seven Spanish cities, including Madrid, were searched during the event, according to the agency.

Source: Spanish Police Seize 6 Bitcoin Mines in Crackdown on Stolen TV Content – CoinDesk