An association of computer and communication companies, including Google, Microsoft and Yahoo, accused several professional sports leagues, book publishers and other media companies of misleading and threatening consumers with overstated copyright warnings.
In a complaint to the Federal Trade Commission, the group, the Computer and Communications Industry Association, said that the National Football League, Major League Baseball, NBC and Universal Studios, DreamWorks, Harcourt and Penguin Group display copyright warnings that are a “systematic misrepresentation of consumers' rights to use legally acquired content.”
The complaint alleges that the warnings may intimidate consumers from making legal use of copyrighted material, like photocopying a page from a book to use in class.
“It is an attempt to convince Americans that they don't have rights that they do in fact have,” said Ed Black, the association's president and chief executive. “This is part of the larger context of what should be and what are proper rules for copyright in an Internet age.”
The complaint asks the Federal Trade Commission to take remedial actions against content owners, like ordering them to provide a more accurate copyright warning, and to assist with efforts to educate the public on their rights.