November 6, 2011
Browsing On A Sunday Afternoon - Copyright and Captcha
Here are a few things to note on a Sunday afternoon. One is an article in CNET where Jennifer Pariser, RIAA senior vice president of litigation complained that the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) may need overhaul as the courts were interpreting it in favor of Internet sites. She cites the suits where Universal sued Veoh and Viacom sued Google as examples.
She is annoyed by the way the courts have interpreted the red flag requirement, the evidence that a site knew about or encouraged users to illegally upload copyrighted materials. Viacom wanted an interpretation that red flag evidence should be the kiss of death (or liability) no matter what. The judge basically said that Google complies with the DMCA’s takedown requirements.
Her other complain is that it’s just too gosh darn hard for copyright owners to constantly scan the web for illegal copies of their content. I don’t know. Wouldn’t hiring a few more copyright cops create jobs in a down economy? What, the PRO-IP Act and the Stop Online Piracy Act giving the power to the industry and the Attorney General to shut down access to parts of the web for a commercial interest is not enough?
The second item comes from a fascinating story in Fox News about the reCAPTCHA technology various web sites use to distinguish between a human and a computer in delivering services. Google owns the technology and uses scans from Google Books where the text is hard to read. The result is crowd-sourcing the spelling of the word which improves Google OCR capabilities when the company creates text files from the scan. How many times does Hein Online warn us that some law review text files come from uncorrected texts of their scans? Google has the same problem with books, and reCAPTCHA is their way of dealing with it. Some 200 million text snippets in multiple languages are deciphered every day, taking about 10 seconds each. Should we expect lawsuits from some copyright holders that this is an illegitimate use of their content? [MG]