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Google placed a black box over the logo on its search page and WordPress blacked out its home page.

In response to the online protests, Chris Dodd, chairman and chief executive officer of the Motion Picture Association of America, said: “A so-called ‘blackout’ is yet another gimmick, albeit a dangerous one, designed to punish elected and administration officials who are working diligently to protect American jobs from foreign criminals. It is our hope that the White House and the Congress will call on those who intend to stage this ‘blackout’ to stop the hyperbole and PR stunts and engage in meaningful efforts to combat piracy.”

Te anti-piracy bills were shelved on January 20 aſter the US Senate decided to postpone its consideration of PIPA. “I have heard from the critics and I take seriously their concerns regarding proposed legislation to address the problem of online piracy,” Smith said.

“It is clear that we need to revisit the approach on how best to address the problem of foreign thieves

who steal and sell American inventions and products. Te House Judiciary Committee will postpone consideration of the legislation until there is wider agreement on a solution.”

In a statement on Smith’s announcement, Dodd said: “We hope the dynamics of the conversation can change and become a sincere

Barrister struck off following copyright case

An intellectual property lawyer has been struck off for representing his own company in a copyright infringement case.

Te lawyer, David Harris, who was based at Technology Chambers in Brighton, was found guilty of representing his own website, Newzbin, which allowed users to download copyrighted material illegally.

“It became clear throughout the course of the trial that David Harris was the sole shareholder of Newzbin and also a director,” said Simon Baggs, head of IP at media law firm Wiggin.

“Our clients were very concerned about that because it seemed like a very inappropriate way for a barrister to behave. Aſter the case we were instructed to take action, because we felt that what he had done was utterly unacceptable.”

Newzbin’s records with Companies House showed that the major shareholder and director

was another person entirely. When this individual was cross-examined as a witness for Newzbin, however, the truth came to light.

“Te witness was asked whether he was the sole shareholder and whether he was a director. He answered ‘no’ to both questions,” said Baggs. “Te witness was then asked who was, and he replied that David Harris was.”

It also came to light that Harris had been tweeting about the case using the Twitter handle @Geeklawyer. Te Bar Standards Board heard how Harris used this account to update followers on the case, to insult the opposition barristers and to accuse them of spying on him.

In one tweet he appeared to admit liability in the case, saying “We are guilty as sin”.

“We were very surprised to see the kinds of things that he was saying,” said Baggs. n

Premier League announces copyright war on foreign decoders

Te Barclays Premier League has announced a drive to tackle the use of foreign decoders to transmit live football in the UK.

Te league, which is backed by broadcasters BSKyB and ESPN, will aim to use copyright law to stop pub landlords showing football at a cheaper rate than from a licensed, UK transmission.

Te Court of Justice of the European Union ruled late last year that the league and the broadcasters had no power to prevent the use

of foreign TV decoders on the grounds that it interfered with territorial exclusive licences, because any such move would amount to a breach of EU laws on competition and the free movement of goods. However, the court leſt open the copyright avenue, which was confirmed by Lord Justice Kitchen of the UK Court of Appeal on February 3.

“It is clear the law gives us the right to prevent the unauthorised use of our copyrights in pubs and clubs

when they are communicated to the public without our authority,” the league said in a statement. “We will now resume actions against publicans who are using European Economic Area foreign satellite systems to show Premier League football on their premises unlawfully and without our authority.”

Te league did not say what, if any, action it would take against private individuals using foreign decoders, and it is unclear if it would be able to do anything in that situation. n

World Intellectual Property Review January/February 2012 7

discussion about how best to protect the millions of American jobs affected by the theſt of American intellectual property. Te threat posed by these criminal operations has been widely acknowledged by even the most ardent critics. It is incumbent that they now sincerely work with all of us to achieve a meaningful solution to this critically important goal.” n

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