Jul 31

 DMCA Internet lawYouTube DMCA Ruling is Good News for Blog Sites by Chip Cooper

Copyright © 2010 Chip Cooper

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) provides a “safe harbor” from strict liability for copyright infringement to online service providers that satisfy its requirements.

A June, 2010 ruling by a U.S. District Court in New York in favor of YouTube established an important precedent for blog sites for avoiding strict liability for copyright infringement by blog posters.


Online service providers such as blog sites are vulnerable to claims for copyright infringement if visitors post infringing material on their websites, even if  the service providers are unaware that the material is infringing.  This unfortunate result - that’s often quite surprising to blog site webmasters who are unfamiliar with copyright law  - is due to the strict liability principles of the U.S. Copyright Act.

Signed into law in 1998, the DMCA protects online service providers from strict liability for copyright infringement by their users if they:

* post a specific DMCA notice prominently on their websites,

*  register with the US Copyright Office, and

*  promptly block access to, or take down, allegedly infringing materials if they receive a notice from a copyright owner claiming infringement, or if the service provider has “actual knowledge” that it is hosting infringing material or if the service provider is aware of facts or circumstances that should make it “readily apparent” that there is infringing activity.

This protection by DMCA is known as a “safe harbor”; it completely protects the service provider from vicarious liability for copyright infringement.

The YouTube Case

YouTube’s online video sharing service permits users to post videos to the YouTube site which then can be accessed and viewed by anyone who visits the YouTube site.

Viacom International sued YouTube alleging that YouTube was liable for copyright infringement of numerous videos for which Viacom owned the copyrights.  Viacom argued that YouTube was aware that some of its users posted infringing videos on the YouTube site and that this awareness disqualified YouTube from the safe harbor protection of DMCA.

The YouTube case involved the third bullet point above - whether YouTube’s general knowledge that some of its users post infringing content on the YouTube website can amount to either:

* “actual knowledge” of infringement, or

* qualify to make it “readily apparent” to YouTube that there was infringing material on the YouTube website.

The court rejected Viacom’s argument and ruled that YouTube was not disqualified from the DMCA safe harbor.  Specifically, the court found that YouTube’s general awareness of infringing activity by some of its users did not rise to the level of “actual knowledge” or knowledge that would make it “readily apparent” which videos were infringing.  The court noted that YouTube had removed allegedly infringing videos promptly after receipt of notice sufficient to identify specific infringing videos.  Finally, the court ruled that YouTube had no general obligation to police its website for infringing videos and to determine whether specific videos were infringing.

Continue reading »

Jan 07

The days just before New Year are always quite memorable since we’re reviewing our 2009 and looking forward to 2010. As the host of blogs, every blogger wishes the New Year can bring more visitors and opportunities for their blogs, so do you make your New Year resolution list like we do?

1. Make your blog looks personalized

It’s the most direct and practicable way to make your blog prominent from others, hard though. If you’re a master of PHP or CSS, you can create in your own style. You can also order a unique one for ideas. Here are some free blog templates for people who want to decorate or give a new face to their blog in 2010. No matter what template you are going to use, remember to share more to impress your readers.

2. Think out more interesting topics

Don’t be too tired of writing things on your blog. According to the experience of those successful bloggers, they used to write two or more articles every day, yet one new article weekly now. The speed of your blog’s update is important but often has tiny effect. You can try to create your topics which are useful, unique, evocative and even controversial to receive higher traffic since people know they can get something new from your blog.

3. More followers on Twitter

Over millions of people at different ages join this micro-blogging service. Supposing what cheers once thousands of users on Twitter receive your message taking about your blog and feel curious to pay a visit. In fact, answering questions and leaving useful messages on Twitter are also impressive ways to promote your blog. People feel happy to receive helps from others, so be diligent on Twitter all the time.

4. Remain every visitor

Blog should be a place of communication more than one same voice. It’s very precious people leaving comments on your blog. You should reply to them seriously and invite them to be back to your blog if possible. The RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed can help you to gather more readers by sending your latest update to their feed readers, so you can try to make full use of it.

5. Make your blog active

Simple is good, but not always suits for everyone’s taste. More and more bloggers are trying to add some interesting objects like screencast video and podcast to their blogs, making them interactive and vivid. In many well-known blogs referring to software, e-learning and news release, you can easily find embedded video tutorials or online podcast play. With some screen recorder like Camstudio and DemoCreator, you can make your own screen video with ease. Continue reading »

Jul 02

Copyright © 2009 Chip Cooper

Internet legal rightsDoes your website incorporate a blog, forum, or listserv — where users may post text or files? If so, are you liable if your users post defamatory materials about someone else?

In 1996, Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (Section 230) came to the rescue of “interactive computer services” by overruling prior case law that would hold websites liable. But Section 230 is not bullet-proof. Interactive websites may still be liable as the May, 2009, Ninth Circuit case of Barnes v. Yahoo, Inc. illustrates.

Sex And Lies

The case of Barnes v. Yahoo involved salacious facts centering on the aftermath of a break-up between plaintiff Cecilia Barnes and her boyfriend.

After the break-up, Barnes’ ex-boyfriend created fictitious profiles for her on a website operated by Yahoo. Included were nude photos, plus offers for sex. To make matters worse, he also provided her email address, physical address, and work phone number. All this resulted in Barnes receiving emails and calls with the expectation of a sexual liaison.

The Dumb Mistake

After Barnes’ four separate emails to Yahoo demanding the removal of the objectionable materials did not result in their removal, Barnes received a call from an executive at Yahoo. Barnes alleged that the executive promised to “take care of it”. Barnes further alleged that she relied on this promise and took no further action to remove the objectionable materials.

You guessed it — Yahoo failed to remove the objectionable materials, and after two months, Barnes filed a lawsuit against Yahoo. Continue reading »

Mar 05


bloggingNo matter how many new web 2.0 properties that pop-up like Twitter and the like, blogging still remains very popular. When I’m teaching a session and ask students in the class how many of them read blogs, often only a few hands go up. Want to know why? Because blogs are so pervasive that we often read them and don’t know we’re reading them. Most people don’t know enough about blogging to know what a blog is so when you see huge numbers of people who read blogs, these are based on site statistics, not reader polls. Check out some of these stats:

- There are now 70 million blogs

- Approx 120,000 are started each day or 1.4 new blogs every second

- Bloggers post on average of 17 posts per second (or 1.5 million posts per day)

So how do these super bloggers get such great traffic to their blog and moreover, how do they keep their blog interesting? Here are some tips to not only get you up to speed on blogging, but keep you on track: Continue reading »

Nov 17

blogging toolPost to your blog at least three times a week to keep human visitors and search engine spiders coming back. Posts have images and even a complimentary podcast. This blog strategy reminds me of what Lee Iococca did for Chrysler in the 80′s where the man behind the brand put himself in front of it.

Search engines cannot read image files. While there is a filename associated with every image on the internet, chances are, these filenames do not contain a sensible title or description of the image. Search engine marketing is one of the best marketing methods to enhance your web presence and your business opportunities thereby. Internet marketing strategies comprise of various services like website optimization, keyword analysis, SEO content writing, link building, ppc and lot more. Search is driven by the feedback loop of data. About half of users are doing long research sessions of 30 minutes or more.

Search engines look for sites that are adding value to the community. If you are presenting information that has been presented 100 times by others, it is going to be tough for you to get ranked. Search engine optimization is an integral part of Internet marketing way of life. And a typical part of this SEO strategy is link exchange - you can put links to your primary resource to increase ranking in search engine to do a better Internet marketing. Continue reading »

Sep 29

bloggingBlogging is definitely a very powerful way of building your business online, but you need to have some important traits if you want to really milk this cow. The following are some of the important traits that you need to have to make your blogging a significant driving force in your business promotion.

Give time to your blogging campaign

Most people flounder in their blogging campaigns because they do not set an adequate amount of time for blogging. You must spend at least two days blogging for your business and you must do it yourself, without delegating it to anyone else. Why will you need two hours? One hour you can keep aside for finding new blogs to make posts on each day (trust me, I have lived through this and I know for a fact that it is not easy to find new blogs each day) and the other hour you should keep aside for actually making the posts. Since blogging is actually a fun activity (at least I think so), you can keep it for the times in your day when you feel like you want a diversion from your other brain-deadening work. Continue reading »

Jul 30

group of articles on a deskWe have to discuss blogging when we talk about the benefits of article marketing. Blogging is an excellent way to build your business writing articles.

Certainly, if you have a blog of your own you should be posting articles in those. I personally think you should vary the content a little so that you are not posting the exact same article in your blog that you are also submitting to various article directories.

You do not have to rewrite the whole article, but you do want to make it a little bit unique. This gives you an opportunity to attract new readers when you social bookmark your blog post. Continue reading »

May 14

promoting inner blog pagesLink popularity is a big factor in search engine rankings. The tendency of blog authors is to promote only the main url of their blog unaware that a large amount of traffic also comes from inner pages or deep links as it is popularly called. How to determine which pages needs to be promoted so that you will increase your blog or website traffic will be discussed later but first we’ll touch on the topic about what keywords are searched in the main url of your blog.

Keywords in the home page

Your home page is limited only to a few blog posts. Blogger defaults to 7 pages but you can assign any number from 1 to 99. Individual pages are created for each blog posts if you selected yes to ‘enabled post pages’ in the settings/archiving page of your dashboard. Therefore the keyword relevance in your home page may vary but not on your individual pages or deep link. Blogger assigns a unique url for individual pages.

For example if your home page contains 7 posts, then the 7th post will no longer be in your home page if you create another post. Keyword density which is a factor in search engine rankings will not be the same as the one before you created a new post.

Promoting your deep links is a good option to increase your overall page rank. Page rank for your deep links can be passed to your home page. Among the many deep links which you can see from your archive, which of them should take priority in promoting?

How to determine which pages to promote first Continue reading »

May 12

bloggingBlogging is one of the easiest ways to set up a website. Pick a topic, blogging platform, host and theme/template for your blog, and start writing. It’s low cost and can be a lot of fun.

Picking a Blog Topic

Just about anything will do, depending on your goals. Blogs have become successful businesses on all kinds of topics.

However, your blog needs to be on something that you can write consistently about while maintaining your readers’ interest. If you can only come up with a few post ideas you might not have the right topic for a blog.

While choosing your topic really has little to do with your blogging platform, it is so relevant to starting a blog that it is worth mentioning. It can also matter when it comes to deciding how serious you are about your blog, which can impact the platform you choose. Continue reading »

Apr 14

copyrightIf your site allows visitors to post digital files or comments (e.g. in an online blog, as well as in a forum or chat room), you could be held liable for copyright infringement if any of their postings infringe the rights of another person, even if you are unaware of the infringement. Under general copyright principles, you would be strictly liable for their copyright infringement, even if you are “innocent”.

You could also be liable for defamatory statements posted by bloggers.

The Playboy Case And Copyright Infringement

A good example of an “innocent infringer’s” liability that occurred before the enactment of Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) is the case of Playboy Enter., Inc. v. Frena, 839 F. Supp. 1552 (M.D. Fla. 1993). In this case, Playboy alleged that the defendants who operated a bulletin board service (BBS) were liable for copyright infringement. Subscribers to the defendants’ BBS had illegally taken copyrighted photos owned by Playboy and uploaded them onto the defendants’ BBS.

The court found the defendants liable for copyright infringement, despite the fact that the defendants did not upload the photos (the subscribers uploaded them), and the defendants were unaware of the presence of the infringing photos until the lawsuit was filed. Continue reading »