Runescape Publisher Denied Preliminary Injunction Against Maker of Auto-Player Software — Jagex Ltd. v. Impulse Software

2 09 2010

[Post by Venkat]

Jagex Ltd. v. Impulse Software, et al., Case No. 10-10216-NMG (D. Mass.) (Aug. 16, 2010)

Jagex operates “Runescape,” a popular and free online role-playing game. The game has over 130 million accounts, and users spend a significant amount of time “rising through the levels of the game”:

as of October, 2009, the three highest-ranking players had each spent an average of approximately 20,000 hours [!] involved in a game, e.g., 50 hours per week for almost eight years.

Impulse (along with the individual defendants) operate websites offering “cheat” tools – i.e., software that allows users to advance their characters without actually playing the game. Defendants’ software downloads a copy of Runescape and “uses a process called ‘reflection’ to examine the game’s internal operation which is normally hidden from users.” The software then “plays the game for its owner while she is away from her computer.”

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Obama administration: “Piracy is flat, unadulterated theft”

31 08 2010

US Commerce Secretary Gary Locke went to Nashville yesterday to address a symposium on intellectual property enforcement, and he threw down the gauntlet: the Obama administration will find, board, and scuttle digital pirate ships, and the SS Copyright is going to get a new coat of armored plating.

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Studios sue ad shop for pirate sites

27 08 2010

Movie studios are extending their efforts to take down sites that offer pirated material, with a new lawsuit targeting an advertising company that provides services to such sites. Warner Bros. and Disney have teamed up to sue Triton Media, accusing the company of both contributory and induced copyright infringement because Triton helps to keep the sites alive by providing them with advertising and referral income.

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MPEG LA counters Google WebM with permanent royalty moratorium

26 08 2010

The MPEG Licensing Association—the group responsible for handling the necessary patent licensing for use of MPEG video codec standards—has announced that it will not charge royalties for AVC/H.264 encoded video that is made available to view via the Internet for free. The group earlier this year had extended its limited moratorium on licensing fees for free Internet video until the end of 2015.



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Michele Boldrin, “Against Intellectual Property” (MP3 audio), Econtalk, 2009/05/18

22 08 2010

Copyright and patent play in incentives for investments, but may go too far in deterring parallel developments.

Michele Boldrin of Washington University in St. Louis talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about intellectual property and Boldrin’s book, co-written with David Levine, Against Intellectual Property.

Boldrin argues that copyright and patent are used by the politically powerful to maintain monopoly profits.

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Supreme Court told P2P users can be “innocent infringers”

20 08 2010

Two prominent lawyers in the fight against RIAA P2P lawsuits have taken their battle to the Supreme Court. Today, Harvard Law professor Charles Nesson and “Recording Industry vs. the People” blogger/lawyer Ray Beckerman joined with a few other law professors to ask the Supreme Court not to gut copyright law’s “innocent infringer” defense.

The case concerns a woman named Whitney Harper. Several years ago, when she was a teenaged cheerleader, Harper downloaded music using P2P networks. She was caught by MediaSentry, which investigated file-sharing for the major music labels, but she claimed to be an “innocent infringer” under US copyright law, saying that in her early teen years she had thought P2P use to be just like listening to free music on the radio. That defense, accepted by the judge in her case, reduced the statutory minimum damages against Harper from $750 per song down to just $200.

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Oracle sues Google over use of Java in Android

12 08 2010

In a tersely worded press release, Oracle announced that it was suing Google for patent and copyright infringement over its use of the Java programming language for Android development. Neither the press release nor the complaint filed in the US District Court for Northern California go into any significant detail.

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Viacom’s billion-dollar lawsuit lives on

11 08 2010


The billion-dollar Viacom lawsuit against YouTube/Google trudges on. After a federal judge sided completely with YouTube in summary judgment, Viacom has now filed its appeal to take the case to the next level.


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Why US Copyright Group abandoned its first two P2P lawsuits

11 08 2010

The Hollywood Reporter has the story of the US Copyright Group’s latest “unexpected move”—dismissing the first two P2P lawsuits it filed earlier this year. Shocking stuff, unless you’ve actually been reading the court docket.

US Copyright Group, which is controlled by Virginia law firm Dunlap, Grubb, & Weaver, has sued more than 14,000 Americans this year for allegedly downloading various independent films on BitTorrent networks. In January, it brought the first two of these cases, targeting 749 anonymous “Does” for sharing the film The Gray Man and 83 Does for sharing Uncross the Stars (later upgraded to 195 Does).

US Copyright Group used the suits to subpoena ISPs, trying to get real names and addresses instead of the IP addresses it had collected. The lawyers then sent out settlement letters to these defendants, asking them to pay up or risk a named federal lawsuit.

So why did the group dismiss both of these cases this week? Well, this was always the plan. Once the names were gathered, the Doe suit would be dismissed and named lawsuits could be filed against anyone who didn’t settle. And those subpoenas have now been answered, as per the court’s requirements.

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RIAA’s Losing Gamble: Spends $63M For Copyright Suits

3 08 2010

by Wendy Davis, Wednesday, July 14, 2010, 6:00 PM

The Recording Industry Association of America previously said that suing people who shared music on peer-to-peer networks was an unprofitable endeavor. But it wasn’t clear until this week just how big the RIAA’s losses were.Turns out, the RIAA paid more than $16 million in legal fees in 2008, but recouped only around $400,000 from copyright infringers, according to an analysis by defense attorney Ray Beckerman.

And that’s not all. In 2006 and 2007 the RIAA spent more than $40 million in legal fees and more than $7 million in investigations, to garner a total of around $1 million.

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