Amazon: Google book deal possibly illegal, definitely bad

3 09 2009

This Friday is the deadline for documents to be filed with the court that’s overseeing the Google book settlement, which will absolve the search giant from liability for its book scanning activities and set up an independent entity that will oversee the distribution of e-books from its digital stacks. Amazon, given its sales of both print and e-books, has joined a group that opposes the deal, but that hasn’t stopped it from filing an objection to it individually. Amazon’s lawyers spend over 40 pages arguing why that the deal should be rejected on copyright and antitrust grounds, while throwing in a very explicit admission that it’s bad for its business model.

The proposed settlement arose form a series of lawsuits that accused Google of violating copyrights via its book-scanning agreements with various libraries. The settlement would absolve the company of further claims and set up an independent body, the Books Rights Registry, which would oversee payments for authors arising from Google’s use of the works; the Registry would also have the right to license the digital library to commercial or private entities.

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RIAA continues to squeeze Tenenbaum, wants injunction

2 09 2009

The gloves are coming off. Although the RIAA already won a $675,000 judgment against student Joel Tenenbaum over 30 songs shared on P2P networks, the recording industry has a fixation with going the extra mile against infringers. It is asking courts to issue injunctions against repeated infringement for both Tenenbaum and Jammie Thomas-Rasset, the only other file-sharing defendant to go to trial in the US.

In a new filing with the Massachusetts federal court, RIAA lawyers rail against Tenenbaum’s “repeated lies and continued infringement,” saying that “it is likely Defendant will continue to infringe and/or act in concert with others in committing online copyright infringement of Plaintiffs’ sound recordings, especially given that he is currently promoting the online copyright infringement by countless others.”

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$32M Louis Vuitton judgment shows limits of ISP safe harbors

2 09 2009

The best feature of the much-maligned Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) is its “safe harbor” for Internet service providers, who can’t be held liable for what customers do using their networks. Mostly. There are limits, and Louis Vuitton found them this week in a federal court. The luxury goods maker won $32 million from two ISPs and the man who ran them after proving to a jury that the ISPs had full knowledge that they hosted mainly websites for counterfeit goods—and refused to take action.

The two ISPs are Akanoc and Managed Solutions Group, both run out of Fremont, California by one Steven Chen. According to Louis Vuitton’s July 2008 complaint, Chen’s companies “were formed for and exist primarily to facilitate the promotion and advertisement of offers for counterfeit and infringing merchandise.” The ISPs hosted a huge array of sites offering fake Vuitton purses, wallets, and bags—sites like Luxury2us.com, Louis-vuitton-bags.org and HandBagSell.com.

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Web hosters ordered to pay $32M for contributing to trademark infringement

1 09 2009

[Ed: this is interesting in that it helps show that there are limits to ISP & site host immunities]

A federal jury in California has found two Web hosting companies and their owner liable for contributing to trademark and copyright infringement for hosting sites selling counterfeit Louis Vuitton goods.

In a verdict handed down last week, the jury assessed damages totaling more than $32 million against hosting companies Akanoc Solutions Inc., Managed Solutions Group Inc., both in Fremont, Calif., and Steven Chen, the owner of the two companies. In awarding the damages, the jury agreed with Paris-based Louis Vuitton Malletier S.A.’s claims that the defendants knowingly allowed several Web sites they hosted to sell products that infringed Louis Vuitton’s copyrights and trademarks.

For the complete article, click here.

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Complaint Alleging Trade Dress In Software

1 09 2009

Fidelity sues defendant for copyright infringement and trade dress in software.

Decision in a W.D. Washington website trade dress case here.

Complaint Trade Dress Software

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Jammie Thomas slams $1.92 million P2P verdict as “arbitrary”

31 08 2009

Jammie Thomas-Rasset, who was hit with a $1.92 million damage award earlier this year for sharing songs through peer-to-peer networks, has again asked the judge in the case to reduce the damage amount on the grounds that it is simply plucked from the air. What kind of “due process” did she receive during her two trials when the first jury fined her nearly $10,000 per song and the second jury chose $80,000 per song?

“The concerns that trigger the due process inquiry—arbitrariness, variability, and unpredictability in awards—are here in spades; of this, the nearly order-of-magnitude difference between the verdicts in the first and second trials of Mrs. Thomas is unquestionable evidence,” say her lawyers in a new court brief. “An arbitrary award imposed pursuant to a statute is still arbitrary.”

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Updates on Perfect 10 v Google

29 08 2009

http://news.justia.com/cases/featured/california/cacdce/2:2004cv09484/167815/#20090809

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E-reserve copyright lawsuit updates

29 08 2009

Cambridge University Press v. Patton is a publishers’ suit against a public university that makes electronic copies of course readings available to students without paying royalty fees. #copyright Court docs courtesy of Justia. http://news.justia.com/cases/featured/georgia/gandce/1:2008cv01425/150651/

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Music publishers sue lyrics wiki

29 08 2009

Claims of direct, contributory, vicarious and inducement of copyright infringement filed against a lyrics wiki which allegedly scrapes hundreds of thousands of lyrics and redistributes via facebook and other sites.  Stanford Fair Use and Justia feature the court documents including the Aug 24th complaint here: Peermusic v Motive Force
http://news.justia.com/cases/featured/pennsylvania/pawdce/2:2009cv01137/93731/

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Mininova ordered to purge all links to copyrighted files

26 08 2009

Fresh off a set of legal wins against The Pirate Bay, the music and movie industries have just scored another court victory against the massive BitTorrent search engine Mininova. A Dutch judge in Utrecht has given Mininova three months to purge all links to copyrighted content from its site—or pay up to €5 million in penalties.

As with The Pirate Bay, Mininova’s operators weren’t accused of copyright infringement. In a peer-to-peer system, the actual files being transferred reside on millions of computers around the globe, and thus any direct infringement would be the responsibility of those users. But, like most countries, the Netherlands recognizes “contributory copyright infringement,” which was the charge in this case.

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