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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Lawsuit Dropped; Claimed That Copyright-Filtering Violates Copyright

3 08 2010

Wired

Lawyers have abandoned a closely watched lawsuit against the document-sharing site Scribd that alleged the site’s copyright filtering technology is itself a form of copyright infringement.

More http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2010/07/copyrightfiltering-scribd/#ixzz0vZNVJ4Bw

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Logo, Copyright Notice and Link on Web Site Constitute “Copyright Management Information” under DMCA

3 08 2010

The “copyright management” provision of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. § 1202, prohibits the provision or dissemination of copyright management information that is false, as well as the removal or alteration of copyright management information. An issue that has divided federal courts is whether the scope of this section is limited to digital copyright management systems such as digital rights management technologies, or whether it extends to the removal or alteration of copyright information that is affixed to or associated with works by more traditional means. . . .

In Wayne Cable v. Agence France Presse, et al., 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 73893 (N.D. Ill. July 20, 2010), Cable, the photographer-copyright owner, authorized a realtor to display his photographs of a home on the realtor’s Web site with the proviso that the display include attribution of his authorship and a link to his own own Web site.

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Charlie Chaplin, Copyright Infringement, and an Adorable Ten Year Old Girl

2 08 2010

It has happened again.  This is the third person under the age of 20 we’ve blogged about where a large corporation sues or demands payment for trademark/copyright infringement.  First, we blogged about the North Face/South Butt dispute.  Then the McDonalds/McFest dispute.  And now, it’s Charlie Chaplin and the Bourne Music Co.

Ten-year-old Bethany Hare dressed up like the legendary comic to star in her own video tribute.  Bethany used her own savings, made from playing an extra in a play, to pay for the film. . . .

It brought in £1,800 for the charity but copyright owner Marco Berrocal, of New York-based Bourne Music Publishers, emailed her parents demanding money for use of the song.

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The 2010 DVD Exemption to the DMCA: An Interview with Abigail De Kosnik, Gary Handman and Mark Kaiser

2 08 2010

The 2010 DVD Exemption to the DMCA: An Interview with Abigail De Kosnik, Gary Handman and Mark Kaiser of University of California, Berkeley

Guest interviewer: Eli Edwards

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Google Protected by 17 USC 512(d) for Links to Infringing Content; Perfect 10’s Takedown Notices Were Mostly Insufficient

30 07 2010

By Eric Goldman

Perfect 10, Inc. v. Google, Inc., 2:04-cv-09484-AHM-SH (C.D. Cal. July 26, 2010)

In 2007, the Ninth Circuit issued an important but befuddling ruling in Perfect 10 v. Amazon and Google. That ruling addressed Perfect 10’s prima facie case of secondary copyright infringement against Google (and Amazon, which was using Google results) and remanded the case back to the district court for consideration of that issue as well as the underexplored 17 USC 512 safe harbors.

We’ve had a couple of blog-worthy rulings since then (on a motion to dismiss and A9’s eligibility for the DMCA safe harbors), but it’s taken 3 years to see where the court stands on Google’s eligibility for the DMCA online safe harbors. The news is largely good for Google.

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Court: breaking DRM for a “fair use” is legal

27 07 2010


A federal appeals court has just ruled that breaking through a digital security system to access software doesn’t trigger the “anti-circumvention” provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Any other interpretation of the DMCA, declared the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, would permit infringement liability for tapping into a work simply to “view it or to use it within the purview of ‘fair use’ permitted under the Copyright Act.”

The ruling is already being hailed as another victory for fair use, following Monday’s Library of Congress decision giving wide approval to iPhone jailbreaking and DVD CSS circumvention on similar grounds.

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Apple loses big in DRM ruling: jailbreaks are “fair use”

26 07 2010

Every three years, the Library of Congress has the thankless task of listening to people complain about the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. The DMCA forbade most attempts to bypass the digital locks on things like DVDs, music, and computer software, but it also gave the Library the ability to wave its magical copyright wand and make certain DRM cracks legal for three years at a time.

This time, the Library went (comparatively) nuts, allowing widespread bypassing of the CSS encryption on DVDs, declaring iPhone jailbreaking to be “fair use,” and letting consumers crack their legally purchased e-books in order to have them read aloud by computers.

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