Today in Mobile

Florian Mueller posted this well-researched piece this morning discussing new evidence that he claims supports Oracle’s  suit against Google regarding Java patents and copyrighted material allegedly used in Android code. Oracle in its original complaint offered up one example of line-by-line copying of its code, but Mueller said he has found “six more files in an adjacent directory that show the same pattern of direct copying.” Mueller also wrote that he found 37 files marked as “PROPRIETARY/CONFIDENTIAL” and a copyright file notice saying “DO NOT DISTRIBUTE!” Mueller’s takeaway: “It seems to me that Oracle has not even presented the tip of the iceberg in its amended complaint. The discovery process could be very fruitful for Oracle, and may become dreadful for Google.” Mueller is an expert at this stuff, so if you’re following this battle should give this post a long look.

Today in Cloud

I’m glad to see the greater community of cloud pundits is catching on to my notion that the law is among the biggest hurdles to widespread adoption of cloud-based services. James Urquhart raises some great points and points out one upcoming lawsuit — Capitol Records v. MP3Tunes — that, although founded in copyright infringement and DMCA safe harbor, could have a chilling effect on cloud storage providers. (Also, check out Ars Technica’s take on this lawsuit.) I think the court will look to the Napster decision and limit the scope of any liability to the express facilitation of infringement, but a broad holding could leave providers taking on more risk than they planned for.

Viacom Goes It Alone

Last week’s ruling in Viacom vs. Google greatly reduces an online service provider’s incentive to filter copyrighted content from its site. Under the logic of this ruling, the less direct knowledge a service provider has of the content on its web site, the lower its liability.

Today in Connected Consumer

If you’re inclined to credit Viacom with playing a long game with its copyright infringement suit against YouTube/Google, yesterday’s blunt dismissal of the case by N.Y. federal district court judge Louis Stanton means Viacom has them just where it wants them. By losing, Viacom now gets to appeal to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, which is based in N.Y., and which carries a lot of weight in both legal and judicial circuits on copyright matters because it hears so many such cases. Judge Stanton relied heavily on two district court cases in California in ruling against Viacom, and I’m sure Viacom would love to see those two cases trumped by the Second Circuit.

The Return of DRM

Not long ago, digital rights management and copy protection seemed to be on their last legs. But DRM is poised to make a major comeback, and copy restrictions could soon be a bigger of TV viewing than ever.

Today in

The official draft text of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) has now been posted online. Basically, the copyright sections, drafted largely by the U.S., look a lot like what should have been expected: a Digital Millennium Copyright Act for the rest of the world. ISPs will still have a safe harbor from liability for copyright infringement, but as with the DMCA, it’s contingent on maintaining a policy against infringement, a notice-and-takedown procedure, and terms of service that allow disconnecting repeat infringers. It also adopts the DMCA’s ban on picking digital locks, which could prove interesting given that some ACTA countries (Australia) have already legalized certain types of circumvention.

Viacom v. YouTube: All Over But the Shouting

Thankfully, no one has yet been killed in the Battle of YouTube. But the longer it drags on the less relevant it grows to the future of online video, both legally and strategically.

Today in Connected Consumer

After nearly two years of discovery and about a bazillion documents put into the record, not much has really changed about Viacom’s copyright infringement claims against YouTube/Google, nor in YouTube’s claims in its defense, according to the litigants’ respective motions for summary judgment released yesterday. The case will still turn on the judge’s interpretation (an inevitably the appellate court’s interpretation) of the scope of the safe-harbor provisions in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Which is not to say the outcome won’t be important. Just not much different than it would have been two years ago.