Bitcoin ‘not real money’ says Miami judge in closely watched ruling 

A Miami court judge has sent ripples through the cryptocurrency community in a ruling in which she said bitcoin was not real money.

Defendant Michel Espinoza was on trial for illegally transmitting and laundering $1,500 worth of bitcoins to undercover agents who intended to use them to purchase stolen credit cards. His attorney argued that the charges should be dismissed because, under Florida state law, the cyber-currency could not be considered money. After extended deliberation, Judge Teresa Mary Pooler agreed in a ruling issued on Monday.

Source: Bitcoin ‘not real money’ says Miami judge in closely watched ruling | Technology | The Guardian

America’s broken digital copyright law is about to be challenged in court

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed a lawsuit on Thursday that American copyright wonks, technologists and security researchers have been hotly awaiting for nearly 20 years.

EFF is suing the US government, arguing that section 1201 of the DMCA is unconstitutional, and also that the Library of Congress and the copyright office have failed to perform their duties in the three-year DMCA 1201 exemption hearings.

Source: America’s broken digital copyright law is about to be challenged in court | Technology | The Guardian

Blockchain Coders Win Grant to Fix Smart Contracts With ‘Legalese’ –

In the wake of The DAO’s demise, new efforts are beginning to emerge that seek to address the challenges developers have so far faced working with smart contracts, the key building blocks that underlined the project and whose exploitation led to its failure.

One such startup is Legalese. Co-founded by Virgil Griffith and Wong Meng Weng, Legalese is an open-source project writing a new programming language specifically for smart contracts. Called L4, the language is designed to help coders properly vet contracts before they go live.

Source: Blockchain Coders Win Grant to Fix Smart Contracts With ‘Legalese’ – CoinDesk

Rocking the Rights-Tech Boat in a Safe Harbor

Any day now, according to the scuttlebutt in copyright policy circles, the U.S. Copyright Office could release its findings from its study of Section 512 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act ordered up last year by the House Judiciary Committee, which is conducting a review of the DMCA and U.S. copyright law in general. Along with those findings, the Copyright Office is widely expected to offer recommendations to Congress for changes to the 512 “safe harbor” provisions, including perhaps replacing the current “notice-and-takedown” rules with a “notice-and-staydown”

Appeals Court Hands Obama Administration Major Win In Net Neutrality Case

In a long-awaited decision, a federal appeals court on Tuesday upheld the Obama administration’s net neutrality rules, dealing a punishing blow to telecom and cable companies that have sought to overturn the regulations.

Characterizing the government’s net neutrality effort as an “attempt to achieve internet openness” and “the principle that broadband providers must treat all internet traffic the same regardless of source,” the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit concluded that the rules are authorized under current law.

Source: Appeals Court Hands Obama Administration Major Win In Net Neutrality Case

Kraftwerk loses hip-hop music-sampling copyright case 

After a decades-long battle, the Bundesverfassungsgericht (the supreme German Constitutional Court) has overturned a ban on a song that used a two-second sample of a Kraftwerk recording. In 1997, music producer Moses Pelham used a clip from 1977 release Metall auf Metall (Metal on Metal) in the song Nur mir (Only Mine) performed by Sabrina Setlur.

Pelham successfully argued that sampling is common practice in the hip hop genre and that in some cases “artistic freedom overrides the interest of the owner of the copyright.” The court agreed that imposing arbitrary royalty fees on composers could stifle creativity and that sampling should be permitted if it does not constitute direct competition to the sampled work, and does not damage the rightsholders financially.

Source: Kraftwerk loses hip-hop music-sampling copyright case | Ars Technica

Spanish Police Seize 6 Bitcoin Mines in Crackdown on Stolen TV Content 

An investigation by Spanish authorities into the illegal distribution of paid television content has resulted in the seizure and destruction of six bitcoin mines used to launder proceeds from the alleged scheme.

European law enforcement agency Europol, which took part in the investigation, said today that 30 individuals had been arrested during an operation on 18th May. Thirty-eight homes across seven Spanish cities, including Madrid, were searched during the event, according to the agency.

Source: Spanish Police Seize 6 Bitcoin Mines in Crackdown on Stolen TV Content – CoinDesk

Europe’s Geoblocking Decision: What You Need to Know 

It was previously believed the EU regulator wanted to “unblock the geo-blocks,” which would in theory have prevented companies from blocking access to their services if a user was accessing them from outside an “approved” area. The BBC’s state-funded iPlayer, officially unusable outside of the U.K., could have been affected by such a proposal, but this is not something the watchdog is addressing as part of its announcements today.

“The proposed ‘anti-geo-blocking’ regulation doesn’t do what it says on the tin,” said Julia Reda, a member of the European Parliament’s Green group. “When most Europeans hear the term ‘geo-blocking,’ they think of the all-too-common error message that ‘this video is not available in your country’ — and yet the measures presented today will not do anything to address this. An anti-geo-blocking regulation that does not cover online video content misses the point.”

Source: Europe’s Geoblocking Decision: What You Need to Know – Bloomberg

Vermont is Close to Passing a Law That Would Make Blockchain Records Admissible in Court 

A legislative effort in the state of Vermont to recognize blockchain data in the court system is inching closer to completion, and only needs a governor’s signature to become enshrined in law.

Buried inside an economic development bill recently passed by both the Vermont House and Senate is legislative language that, if approved, would make it so that “a fact or record” verified through blockchain technology is “authentic”.

Put more simply, a document notarized using a network like the bitcoin blockchain will have more legal bearing in court. This use case has emerged as one of the more notable applications of the technology, being used to certify physical objects like artworks, precious stones and even high-value footwear.

Source: Vermont is Close to Passing a Law That Would Make Blockchain Records Admissible in Court – CoinDesk

How Close Are Smart Contracts to Impacting Real-World Law?

Over the last year, the concept of a “smart contract” has received renewed attention in legal and business circles.

Advancements in blockchain technology have led some to believe that smart contracts could soon offer alternatives to traditional commercial and financial agreements, with dire results for the legal and financial sectors.

While this enthusiasm may be premature, the legal profession nonetheless remains mostly unaware of this important emerging technology and the long-term implications for their profession.In this context, “smart contract” refers specifically to the use of computer code to articulate, verify and execute an agreement between parties. Whereas a typical contract is drafted using natural language, the terms of smart contracts are expressed in code, similar to a programming language like javascript or HTML.

Source: CoinDesk

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