Porn purveyors claim fair use in record labels’ lawsuit

13 07 2010

Sometimes it seems like porn studios can get away with practically anything—that is, unless they are using popular music in ways that the major music labels don’t approve of. Warner Bros. and 10 other music labels have banded together and filed suit against porn purveyors RK Netmedia and RealityKings.com for allegedly using unlicensed music in “hundreds of extreme hardcore pornographic videos.” The labels want $150,000 per violation—of which there are many cited in the complaint—but RK Netmedia says it should all be covered under fair use.

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Double standard: Unlicensed bar music vs. P2P users

11 07 2010

Massachusetts federal judge Nancy Gertner just slashed the damage award against admitted P2P user Joel Tenenbaum from $675,000 to $67,500. In her opinion, she drew a fascinating parallel between Tenenbaum’s conduct and that of bars and restaurants who don’t pay up for a license to play music in public. Why aren’t they hit with tremendous six-figure fines?

“The jury’s award in this case also appears egregious in light of the damages typically imposed on restaurants, bars, and other businesses that play copyrighted songs in their establishments without first acquiring the appropriate licenses,” Gertner wrote.

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Judge slams, slashes “unconstitutional” $675,000 P2P award

9 07 2010


1udge Nancy Gertner knows that Joel Tenenbaum did it. Tenenbaum, the second US target of the RIAA’s five-year litigation campaign to complete a trial, eventually admitted his music-sharing liability on the stand—and Judge Gertner issued a directed verdict against him. But when the jury returned a $675,000 damage award, they went too far. Way too far.

In fact, according to Gertner, they trampled the Constitution’s “Due Process” clause. In a ruling today, the judge slashed the $675,000 award by a factor of 10, to $67,500.

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Pirate offensive begins with US seizing dodgy domains

8 07 2010
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Wednesday July 14, 2010
BURBANK, California – US officials on have announced a major crackdown on movie piracy that involved disabling nine websites they accuse of offering pirated movies, in some cases hours after they appeared in theatres.

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Scribd Can’t Shake Copyright and Publicity Rights Lawsuit on Motion to Dismiss–Williams v. Scribd

7 07 2010

By Eric Goldman

Williams v. Scribd, 3:09-cv-01836-LAB -BGS (S.D. Cal. June 23, 2010).

Larry Williams has written several books on commodities trading (their titles suggest they fit into the “Make Money Fast” genre). He alleges that rogue Scribd users, including the alias “GalaxiaMia Guy” [is it this user?], have repeatedly posted his books to Scribd. Williams sued Scribd for direct, contributory and vicarious copyright infringement and publicity rights misappropriation. The first amended complaint.

Scribd moved to dismiss but ran into a judge who appears to be a stickler about letting unmeritorious cases survive to summary judgment rather than crunching them quickly on 12(b)(6). The judge does nix the direct copyright infringement claim against Scribd.

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Mediation in Thomas-Rasset case fails, RIAA hit with bill

7 07 2010

Minnesota’s top federal judge, Michael Davis, certainly seems like a man who just wants the (in)famous Jammie Thomas-Rasset peer-to-peer file-sharing case on his docket to just go away. And the recording industry, which has prosecuted Thomas-Rasset through one name change, two trials, and three years, appears to be under the distinct impression that it’s getting picked on.

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ACTA slouches on, will be final within 6 months

2 07 2010

The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement rolls on. Negotiators have just wrapped up another round of talks this week in Lucerne, Switzerland, and more than two years into the ACTA process, have actually started to meet with civil society groups to talk about the actual ACTA draft text. (Many governments have previously asked for comments on ACTA, but before releasing the full text.)

“On the first day of the negotiations, in the interest of transparency, the Swiss Government hosted meetings at which ACTA negotiators met with representatives of civil society who have expressed an interest in ACTA to exchange views,” says the official announcement.

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Judge “rejected all of the EFF’s arguments” on P2P cases

1 07 2010


Can a law firm sue up to 5,000 accused P2P users from across the US at once, and in a single DC court? For now, at least, it can.

In a 45-minute hearing yesterday before federal judge Rosemary Collyer of the Washington, DC District Court, lawyers from the ACLU, EFF, and Time Warner Cable squared off with Thomas Dunlap of Dunlap, Grubb, & Weaver, the firm behind the “US Copyright Group.”

US Copyright Group has spent the last year partnering with indie film producers like German video game auteur Uwe Boll and the producers of The Hurt Locker, offering to go after P2P downloaders of their films. Those who settle for $1,500-$2,500 can avoid a threatened court case that would seek $150,000 in damages.

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Ownership or License? Where to Draw the Line on Copyright Infringement

30 06 2010

Most likely, Craig Vernor had no idea the firestorm he would create when he decided to put used copies of AutoCAD, a 3-D modeling software often used by architects, up for sale on E-Bay. He wanted to sell the $4,000 software (when new) for about $400 online. (Vernor’s actions on E-Bay are by no means the first of their kind. At present, E-Bay has 19 sub-categories of software for sale.)

Autodesk, the software’s creator and parent company, immediately demanded that the items be removed from E-Bay due to copyright infringement.

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Keeping the RIAA’s Gun Loaded: The Thomas-Rasset Saga Continues

30 06 2010

We all remember Jammie Thomas-Rasset, the first person to ever respond to an RIAA file-sharing lawsuit by going to trial, rather than settling for a few thousand dollars (as the vast majority of individuals sued by the RIAA typically do.) Well, the litigation continues, and the RIAA’s initial award of $1.92 million keeps going down.

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