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07-06-2011   #6 (permalink)
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So here's an overlooked fact about this.

1) Civil copyright claims must be initiated by the copyright holder. If there is no complaint, there's no case. NO government agency goes out and tries civil cases on behalf of private companies.

2) Criminal cases are prosecuted by the district attorney or attorney general's office. This means that the government can press charges REGARDLESS of what the copyright holder says.

How it is now: ggFTW makes a "first 10" video of a new MMORPG game. Game company likes it and promotes it. Everyone is happy.

How it could be if S.978 passes: ggFTW makes a "first 10" video of a new MMORPG game. Game company likes it and promotes it. Game company is happy but FBI decides to investigate. NoeJeko could get arrested for federal copyright infringement facing up to 5 years in jail anyway.

If this bill passes in its current form, it'll come down to interpretation of fair use law. If commentaries, playthroughs, and reviews are ruled "derivative works" then it will not impact games. If they are NOT ruled derivative works, then yes we could all be shut down (at least in our videos).

There's currently no case law specifically addressing reviews because it's never gone to court (that I know of) because game companies don't litigate these claims. If this bill passes, however, it's no longer up to the game companies.
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