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Stakes Are High in Oracle v. Google, But the Public Has Already Lost Big

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Attorneys for the Oracle and Google companies presented opening statements this week in a high-stakes copyright case about the use of application-programming interfaces, or APIs. As Oracle eagerly noted, there are potentially billions of dollars on the line; accordingly, each side has brought “world-class attorneys,” as Judge William Alsup noted to the jury. And while each company would prefer to spend their money elsewhere, these are businesses that can afford to spend years and untold resources in the courtroom.

Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for the overwhelming majority of developers in the computer industry, whether they’re hobbyist free software creators or even large companies. Regardless of the outcome of this fair use case, the fact that it proceeded to this stage at all casts a long legal shadow over the entire world of software development.

At issue is Google’s use in its Android mobile operating system of Java API labels—a category of code Google (and EFF) previously argued was not eligible for copyright. Judge Alsup, who demonstrated some proficiency with programming Java in the first leg of the case, came to the same conclusion. But then the Federal Circuit reversed that position two years ago, and when the Supreme Court declined to hear the issue, there was nowhere left to appeal. With this new decision on copyrightability handed down from above, Google and Oracle now proceed to litigate the question of whether Android’s inclusion of the labels is a fair use.

If Google wins at this stage, it’s tempting to declare the nightmare of that Federal Circuit opinion behind us. After all, fair use is a right—and even if API labels are subject to copyright restrictions, those restrictions are not absolute. Google prevailing on fair use grounds would set a good precedent for the next developer of API-compatible software to argue that their use too is fair.

Tempting, but not quite right. After all, there is a real cost to defending fair use. It takes time, money, lawyers, and thanks to the outrageous penalties associated with copyright infringement, comes with a substantial risk. Beyond all those known costs, wedging a layer of copyright permissions culture into API compatibility comes with serious unknowable costs, too: how many developers will abandon ideas for competitive software because the legal risks are too great?

There’s a reason people say that if you love fair use, you should give it a day off once in a while. Even the vital doctrine of fair use shouldn’t be the only outlet for free speech. In many areas, an absence of copyright, or the use of permissive public licenses, can foster more creativity than fair use alone could. Sadly for now, in the world of software development it’s the paradigm we have.

Related Cases: Oracle v. Google
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Bitcoin.com Launches Bitcoin Casino with Over 1000 Games and Free Bitcoin Bonus

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Bitcoin.com is the source of this content. Virtual currency is not legal tender, is not backed by the government, and accounts and value balances are not subject to FDIC and other consumer protections. This press release is for informational purposes only. The information does not constitute investment advice or an offer to invest.

About Bitcoin PR Buzz:

Bitcoin PR Buzz has been proudly serving the PR and marketing needs of Bitcoin and digital currency tech start-ups for over 2 years.

Bitcoin Press Release: In partnership with Softswiss, Roger Ver\'s Bitcoin.com is proud to announce the official Bitcoin.com casino, a trusted platform where players can bet bitcoins on a number of fun and fair games. All new customers will receive 2 free bitcoins to get them started as a welcome bonus.

Casino.bitcoin.com is owned and operated by their partners at SoftSwiss, a market leader in the online gaming space and one of the very first to support Bitcoin. Founded in 2008, SoftSwiss has the experience it will take to ensure a smooth operation for all of their customers around the world.

“By partnering with SoftSwiss, Bitcoin.com has shown that we are dedicated to working with first class professionals to create a more exciting and useful Bitcoin ecosystem for everyone involved.”

Roger Ver-Bitcoin.com CEO

Bitcoin.com\'s Casino will feature over 1,000 games from 7 different online gaming providers.

The Bitcoin.com Casino will offer a welcome package for all new customers, giving all new players 2 free bitcoins and 100 free spins up front to get them started. On their first deposit players will get a 150% bonus up to 1 Bitcoin and 50 free spins. Customers\' second deposits receive a 75% bonus up to 1 Bitcoin and 50 free spins.

The casino will have three promotions per week:

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Anyone can register here to claim their welcome package.

Casino.bitcoin.com\'s platform will also support fiat deposit, play and cashout options in Euro (EUR), British Pounds (GBP) and US Dollars (USD). This means that the casino will be a multi-currency venue which will cater for 3 of the world\'s 4 most traded currencies, alongside Bitcoin, the world\'s fastest growing currency and arguably the most fundamentally secure.

As part of Casino.bitcoin.com\'s mission to make playing as easy and fun as possible, they don\'t just accept deposits and cashouts in Bitcoin. The casino will also accept payments via Credit Card, Neteller, Skrill, paysafecard, PugglePay and Wirecard (SOFORT banking). With such a wide range of deposit and cashout options at hand there is sure to be a convenient payment option for any user, meaning players get to concentrate on the most important thing at Casino.bitcoin.com – the cutting edge gaming experience!

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Ivan Montik-SoftSwiss CEO

With SoftSwiss\' Software, the casino will provide the highest level of security to gamers, ensuring that their funds stay safe. The casino will have SoftSwiss\' best development practices at the source code level, ensuring the platform is as secure as possible.

Casino.bitcoin.com will use a special Anti-Fraud System to protect players from scammers trying to take their coins. To protect customer funds, Casino.bitcoin.com will keep all bitcoins in cold storage.

The platform will also require two factor authentication when casino employees manually process withdrawals. Use of two factor authentication enhances the security of customer accounts.

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About Bitcoin.com

Bitcoin.com is the premier source for everything Bitcoin related. The platform offers many helpful services such as helping people buy Bitcoins, choosing a Bitcoin wallet, keeping enthusiasts up to date with the latest Bitcoin news and giving anyone the opportunity to engage with the community on the Bitcoin.com Forum. Bitcoin.com is a commercial website that lists wallets, exchanges and other bitcoin related companies.

About SoftSwiss

SoftSwiss is a recognized software provider that develops turnkey B2B solutions for e-commerce and iGaming, with offices in Curaçao, Austria and Belarus. The company was first in the world to introduce a Bitcoin optimized online gambling platform in early 2013, a unique software product at the time. Having launched over 30 online casinos with the support of both Fiat and cryptocurrencies for clients worldwide, SoftSwiss is among the leading technical experts when it comes to fostering the use of Bitcoin in online gaming.

For more information, please visit: Casino.bitcoin.com

Media Contact:

Name: Mate Tokay

Email: mate@bitcoin.com

City and Country Location: Federation of St Kitts and Nevis

Bitcoin.com is the source of this content. Virtual currency is not legal tender, is not backed by the government, and accounts and value balances are not subject to FDIC and other consumer protections. This press release is for informational purposes only. The information does not constitute investment advice or an offer to invest.

About Bitcoin PR Buzz:

Bitcoin PR Buzz has been proudly serving the PR and marketing needs of Bitcoin and digital currency tech start-ups for over 2 years. Get your own professional Bitcoin and digital currency Press Release. Click here for more information.

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YouTube’s Copyright Robots Help Sony Shake Down Bluegrass Educators

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A series of bluegrass history lectures has become the latest victim of the bullying that is enabled by content filtering systems like YouTube’s Content ID.

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s safe harbors protect websites like YouTube, Vimeo, Twitter, and many others against runaway copyright lawsuits. They also protect people’s fair use rights when they post their own creations online, by ensuring that online platforms don’t have to assume the risk of a user’s fair use case going the wrong way. But automated filtering and takedown systems on platforms like YouTube—systems that the DMCA doesn’t require—flag obvious fair uses as potential infringement, including educational work around the history of music itself. That’s why it’s alarming that major entertainment companies want Congress to scrap the DMCA’s safe harbor and make automatic filtering the law.

The Hudson Valley Bluegrass Association was founded “to knit together the bluegrass community of musicians and fans.” Besides hosting jam sessions and concerts, the non-profit association gives lectures on the history of this American art form. These “Evolution of Bluegrass” lectures, which take place in a classroom in Poughkeepsie, New York, are also posted to YouTube for others to learn from. As you might expect from lectures on music history, these hour-long sessions include many short music clips, typically of about 30 seconds, played over still images of bluegrass musicians and surrounded by commentary.

HVBA’s use of clips from old bluegrass recordings is a clear fair use under copyright law. The clips are short, the purpose of the videos is educational, and the group does not earn money from its videos. Plus, no one is likely to forego buying the complete recordings simply because they heard a clip in the middle of an hour-long lecture.

Still, HVBA’s videos have repeatedly been caught up by YouTube’s automatic filters, which are known as Content ID. Most of the matches came from Sony Music and its subsidiaries. This had several consequences for HVBA: ominous warnings from YouTube, the lecture videos being blocked in various countries, and HVBA making numerous entreaties to the record labels to withdraw the Content ID matches. Mostly, they did.

But the situation changed this year. When HVBA’s webmaster emailed Sony Music to explain that the use of music clips in the lecture videos was fair use, Sony’s representative responded that the label had “a new company policy that uses such as yours be subject to a minimum $500 license fee,” and that “if you are going to upload more videos we are going to have to follow our protocol.” Sony’s representative didn’t say that she believed the video was not a fair use. Instead, she implied that even a fair use would require payment, and that Sony would keep using YouTube’s Content ID system against HVBA until they paid up.

This is absurd. When using copyrighted material qualifies as a fair use, the user doesn’t need to get a license, permission, or to pay a fee. This exchange suggests that Sony’s representative didn’t know the law, or else knew it full well but tried to coerce HVBA into paying anyway. The Content ID system simply funneled a fair user like HVBA into this misleading exchange with Sony.

Content ID is not the law—yet. It’s a private system set up between YouTube and major entertainment companies like Sony Music, and it exists outside of the regular notice-and-takedown process created by the DMCA’s safe harbor provisions. But the titans of entertainment, and some of their friends in government, want that to change. At Congressional hearings and in formal comments, they have asked Congress to throw out the DMCA’s safe harbor and replace it with something like Content ID on steroids: a law that would require every website and service to match user-posted material against every takedown request ever sent, and then block anything that matches, or even prevent them being uploaded at all.

Changing notice-and-takedown into notice-and-censor would be a disaster for Internet users because, as HVBA’s experience shows, computers are terrible at identifying fair use. If automatic copyright filters become a legal requirement for every user-content website, more people like HVBA will be forced to run a gauntlet of permissions, appeals, and mistakes, just to communicate their own creative works and educational materials. Many, like HVBA, could be pressured to pay licensing fees for uses that require none. Congress needs to preserve and strengthen the safe harbors, not scrap them for a speech-chilling, notice-and-censor approach.

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