1st Circuit Reinstates $675,000 File-Sharing Award Against Tenenbaum — Sony BMG v. Tenenbaum

20 09 2011

[Post by Venkat Balasubramani]

Sony BMG Music Entertainment v. Tenenbaum, 2011 WL 4133920 (1st Cir. Sept. 16, 2011) [pdf]

Sony’s lawsuit against Joel Tenenbaum was one of two file-sharing lawsuits brought by record labels against end users that proceeded to trial. (The RIAA’s lawsuit against Jammie Thomas resulted in three trials, a $1.5mm verdict which was reduced to $54,000 and is currently on appeal.)

In a nutshell, in this case, the jury returned a verdict of $675,000. The trial judge found the award excessive under Due Process standards and reduced it to $67,500. The First Circuit finds that the trial judge erred in not reducing the award based on common law remittitur and giving Sony the choice between accepting the reduced verdict or opting for a new trial. The original verdict is reinstated and the case is sent back to Judge Gertner to rule on plaintiff’s motion for remittitur.

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Other coverage:

Techdirt: “Appeals Court Reinstates $675,000 Jury Award Against Joel Tenenbaum On Procedural Grounds
EFF: “Appellate Court Sends Tenenbaum Case Back For Another Round

Previous posts:

Copyright Statutory Damages Award Violates Constitutional Due Process–Sony v. Tenenbaum

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Hotfile turns tables, accuses Warner Brothers of DMCA abuse

13 09 2011

The Cyberlocker site Hotfile, which has been in Hollywood’s crosshairs since February, has returned fire with a focus on one of its five adversaries. In a response and countersuit, Hotfile charges that Warner Brothers violated the DMCA by repeatedly and willfully demanding the removal of Hotfile content that it did not own.

The Hotfile battle centers on the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Hotfile claims it’s just an ordinary file hosting service that complies with the DMCA’s notice-and-takedown procedure and therefore qualifies for immunity from copyright liability. Hollywood studios have objected that Hotfile’s business practices disqualify the site from the safe harbor.

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The content in this post was found at http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2011/09/hotfile-turns-tables-accusing-warner-brothers-of-dmca-abuse/ and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com. Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post.



Pillow Pets Knockoff Enjoined from Keyword Advertising–CJ Products v Snuggly Plushez

31 08 2011

By Eric Goldman

CJ Products LLC v. Snuggly Plushez LLC, 2011 WL 3667750 (E.D.N.Y. Aug. 22, 2011)

Pillow Pets are cuddly and soft, but if you make knockoff versions of them, be prepared to meet the sharp end of their sword in court–a fate that befell the defendants in this case. However, before we condemn the defendants too much, recognize that (a) the term “pillow pets” is very descriptive (“It’s a pillow…it’s a pet”), and (b) the idea of making stuffed animals that turn into pillows goes back at least decades.

Nevertheless, the court concludes that the defendants mimicry was too close. It violated Pillow Pets’ copyright registration in sculptural works, and the marketing campaign constituted false advertising (for, among other things, saying “As Seen on TV” and claiming to be “original” and “authentic”) and trademark infringement. To reach the latter conclusion, the court concluded that “pillow pets” was a descriptive term that had achieved secondary meaning.

Unusually, this ruling broke out its discussion of the trademark implications of the defendants’ keyword ad campaign (rather than incorporating the discussion into the other trademark infringement analysis).

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Judge says domain name loss is not a “substantial hardship”

5 08 2011

A federal judge has rejected a petition by the Spanish company Puerto 80 for the return of the domain names Rojadirecta.com and Rojadirecta.org. The US federal government seized the domains earlier this year, arguing that they were primarily used to provide links to infringing sporting content.

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The content in this post was found at http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2011/08/judge-says-domain-name-loss-is-not-a-substantial-hardship-2/ and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com. Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post.



Feature: Big Content’s latest antipiracy weapon: extradition

28 07 2011

As major American copyright holders continue their long war on file-sharing, the focus of the debate has increasingly shifted overseas. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has begun seizing the domain names of so-called rogue sites based overseas. And copyright interests are pushing for the passage of the PROTECT IP Act, which would draft various intermediaries, including DNS providers, into the fight against such sites.

In May, American law enforcement officials opened up yet another front in this war by seeking the extradition of Richard O’Dwyer.

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The content in this post was found at http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2011/07/big-content-unveils-latest-antipiracy-weapon-extradition.ars?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=rss and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com. Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post.



French copyright cops: we’re swamped with “three strikes” complaints

14 07 2011

Hadopi, the French agency charged with implementing France’s stringent “three strikes” copyright enforcement program, has released new statistics that shed light on the logistical challenges of getting a nation of 65 million people to stop sharing infringing content online.

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The content in this post was found at http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2011/07/french-agency-were-swamped-with-three-strikes-complaints/ and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com. Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post.



New Register of Copyrights: “Unfortunately, I start with enforcement”

13 07 2011

July 13, 2011

The US hasn’t had a new Register of Copyrights since 1994, when Marybeth Peters stepped into the job of top US copyright official. So when Peters stepped down at the end of 2010 and a search geared up for her replacement, interest was high.

The new head of the Copyright Office would enter the job during a chaotic moment for copyright, facing challenges like P2P file-sharing, rising public interest in fair use, mass copyright lawsuits around the country, and a new set of bills in Congress that attempt to make choke off streaming and P2P piracy. No longer was copyright a sleepy domain for lawyers and a few publishers; it was now at the center of crucial Supreme Court battles over things like term extensions and services like Grokster.

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The content in this post was found at http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2011/07/new-register-of-copyrights-unfortunately-i-start-with-enforcement/ and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com. Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post.



Judge rules “locker” site is not direct copyright infringer

11 07 2011

July 11, 2011

A federal judge in Miami has dismissed direct copyright infringement charges against Hotfile, a popular online “locker” service that the major Hollywood studios allege is responsible for massive copyright infringement. But he allowed the case to proceed on charges that Hotfile has induced and profited from the infringing activities of its users. The 9-page opinion, first reported by the Hollywood, Esq. blog, provides early clues about how Judge Adalberto Jordan views the defendants, Hotfile and its alleged owner Anton Titov.

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The content in this post was found at http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2011/07/judge-rules-locker-site-is-not-direct-copyright-infringer/ and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com. Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post.



Shock, awe: British government agrees that copyright has gone too far

3 07 2011

The British government today pledged (PDF) to enact significant changes to copyright law, including orphan works reforms and the introduction of new copyright exceptions. And the tone of the comments was surprising: the government agrees that “copyright currently over-regulates to the detriment of the UK.” CD (and perhaps DVD) ripping for personal use should become legal at last—and the government is even keen to see that the consumer rights granted by law can’t simply be taken away by contract (such as a “EULA” sticker on a CD demanding that a disk not be ripped).

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The content in this post was found at http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2011/08/the-british-government-has-endorsed/ and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com. Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post.



“Hot Topics in UGC Liability” Talk Slides

28 06 2011

By Eric Goldman

june 28, 1011

Earlier this month, Internet law superstar Ian Ballon and I spoke for about 90 minutes on hot topics in Internet law. Watch the video by downloading or streaming (item #47) it.

I spoke about recent legal developments related to user-generated content. My talk slides.

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The content in this post was found at http://blog.ericgoldman.org/archives/2011/06/hot_topics_in_u.htm and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com. Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post.