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Service Providers Covered by Federal, not State IP Laws

The NY Times reports on the 9th Circuit’s decision Thursday ruling that internet service providers, because their hosted content is available across state lines, are subject to federal law. The adult site “Perfect 10” was protected from prosecution for violating state laws “such as right of publicity and trademark statutes,” and instead covered by the federal Communications Decency Act and the DMCA.

The EFF has a good explanation of the legal background. “The Ninth Circuit decision clarified a number of factors of the DMCA safe harbor, importantly noting that ‘[t]he DMCA notification procedures place the burden of policing copyright infringement–identifying the potentially infringing material and adequately documenting infringement–squarely on the owners of the copyright.'” This is probably good news for web hosts and fair use on the web. But of course this decision is subject to further appeal.

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