Tuesday 25 August 2015

The CopyKat - courtesy of the red, white and blue

Photographer Art Dragulis  probably thought he had an open and shut case when he found out the Kappa Map Group had been using one of his shots of rural Maryland on the front cover of a street atlas of Montgomery. Except .... maybe he had forgotten  that when he uploaded the shot to the photo sharing site Flickr he did so under a Creative Commons licence  which allowed commercial use of the photo in exchange for attribution; Plaintiff alleges that defendant infringed his copyright in the photograph because it “copied Plaintiff’s work and made derivatives of the work without Plaintiff’s authorization in violation of 17 U.S.C. § 501.” Id. ¶ 22. But plaintiff uploaded the photograph to a public photo-sharing website, where he did not assert exclusive rights to his copyrighted image, and he instead opted to license the work and make it available for use by others without compensation. TechDirt says "The final opinion notes that Dragulis seems upset with what happened but can't really blame anyone but himself for the outcome."

As the CopyKat noted in an earlier posting in relation to the use of copyright laws in 'revenge porn' cases, the hacked extramarital dating service Ashley Madison is trying to prevent dissemination of its stolen database and other information by sending DCMA copyright takedown notices to social networks and file-sharing sites. It's only been partially successful so far - not least as there are 33m user records posted online - a huge volume. Some takedowns have worked - but some have not,  because platforms such as Twitter have resisted some DCMA claims. Joseph Cox, a writer for technology site Motherboard, reported that a copyright takedown notice was filed for three of his tweets, each of which contained screenshots of information contained within the Ashley Madison breach: One takedown was implemented But the company disagreed with Ashley Madison over the infringing nature of the other two tweet.

Mayor Butts
A federal judge in Los Angeles has told the city of Inglewood  that it can't try to silence a critic of Mayor James T. Butts Jr.(left) by asserting copyrights over the official videos of City Council meetings. U.S. District Judge Michael W. Fitzgerald's decision made it clear that the the state legislature has severely limited the ability of local governments and other public entities to copyright the materials they create - and - even if Inglewood could copyright the videos, the use by local resident Joseph Teixeira criticising the Mayor would be covered by fair use. Image of Mayor Butts by Melanie McDade. 

The Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission (ARDC) of Illinois, USA, has filed a complaint against John Steele, one of two lawyers believed to be the masterminds behind the Prenda Law 'copyright-trolling' scheme. In the seven count complaint, ARDC asks for a panel hearing and a disciplinary recommendation, which will be transmitted to the Illinois Supreme Court. That court has the power to suspend and disbar attorneys. More on ArtsTechnica here.

The former owner of a major file haring site, one Rocky P. Ouprasith, has said he was not the operator of a new version - not least as he was busy being investigated fir piracy, finally pleading guilty to one count of copyright infringement. Ouprasith's attorney Bobby Howlett Jr. told reporters that his client - who was behind  RockDizMusic.com and RockDizFile.com - was not behind RockDizMusic.tv saying: “I can assure you my client is not still doing what brought him in front of the judge”.  The Recording Industry Association of America, a trade organization that represents the recording industry, said RockDizFile emerged in 2013 as the “second largest online file sharing site” specialising in pirated music. Press comments say Ouprasith should expect a prison sentence.

And finally - two non U.S. updates - but both from the UK so still some red, white and blue in there somewhere! Firstly, PRS for Music confirms it has agreed a new two year multi-territory European licensing deal with music streaming and subscription service, Spotify. Continuing the ongoing relationship between the pair, the recent deal allows the music streaming and subscription service to continue to offer its users a vast bundle of repertoire in the UK and Ireland (including repertoire from over 100 affiliated societies from around the globe), plus PRS for Music’s and Eire based IMRO’s direct members’ repertoire across Europe. The repertoire PRS for Music licenses to Spotify across Europe further includes musical works represented by a growing number of IMPEL publishers. IMPEL currently represents the rights of 40 leading independent publishers, a number that is anticipated to grow further before the end of the year.

And lastly, the City Of London Police's IP Crime Unit – (PIPCU) – has to date requested that domain name registrars suspend 317 pirate sites, according to Torrentfreak, which confirmed the numbers from a UK Freedom of Information request. In addition to targeting domain registrars, PIPCU also told Torrentfreak that it had sent warning letters directly to the operators of 377 piracy websites, all of which had been referred to the policing unit by entertainment industry trade groups. How successful either of these initiatives are remains to be seen. Image from www.123rf.com 

Courtesy of the Red, White & Blue (Toby Keith): "Oh, justice will be served and the battle will rage / This big dog will fight when you rattle his cage / And you'll be sorry that you messed with the U.S. of A. / 'Cause we'll put a boot in your ass, it's the American way."

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