Tuesday 24 November 2015

The CopyKat

Minneapolis attorney Paul Hansmeier, who is most known to this blog for being associated with the Prenda Law 'trolling' saga, is facing suspension or disbarment. Minnesota's Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility has now filed a petition with the state Supreme Court seeking disbarment or "otherwise appropriate discipline," citing Hansmeier's "unprofessional conduct." In 2013, Hansmeier, along with Chicago attorneys John Steele and Paul Duffy, filed multiple 'John Doe' copyright infringement claims, and faced scathing criticism from U.S. District Judge Otis Wright II, other federal judges and the US Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit. Reports say Hansmeier remains an active civil litigation attorney. His solo practice -- a Minneapolis firm called Class Justice PLLC -- consists wholly of suing businesses that do not comply with disability access laws. Hansmeier's attorney, Eric Cooperstein, told reporters that they look forward to presenting their side of the case.

Rocky P. Ouprasith, who operated the website RockDizMusic.com website between May 2011 to October 2014 has been sentenced to three years in prison. Ouprasithhad  admitted obtaining copies of copyrighted songs and albums from online sources and encouraging others to upload music to the website. Court documents say the market value of Ouprasith's illegally obtained material was more than $6 million. Ouprasith was sentenced to serve 36 months in prison in the US. Chief U.S. District Judge Rebecca Beach Smith of the Eastern District of Virginia also sentenced Ouprasith to serve two years of supervised release and was ordered to forfeit $50,851.05 and pay $48,288.62 in restitution. Brad Buckles, EVP of Anti-Piracy at RIAA, said: “We congratulate the Department of Justice and Homeland Security Investigations and thank them for their diligence and hard work to bring to justice those who cause millions of dollars in damage to music creators" adding  “This sentence should send a message that operating a flagrantly illegal business that steals from others by engaging in criminal activity online has real consequences.” Indeed.

'YouTube sensation' CassetteBoy have been talking about copyright implications of the recent changes in United Kingdom coyright law and the new exception for parody at an event at Bournemouth University. The pair, whose 2014 'mash up' of David Cameron's speeches featured in their 'Conference Rap' has been seen by more than 6 milllion people, said: "We were infringing copyright for 20 years before the law changed, and never dreamt that our work would ever be legalised. The change in the law has had a huge impact on the work we've been able to do, and we're very happy to be able to talk about it and share our experiences." The event  was organised by the Centre for Intellectual Property and Policy Management. Co-director for the Centre and associate professor in law, Dr Dinusha Mendis, told the Bournemouth Daily Echo : “The reforms to copyright law which came about last year were certainly seen as a welcome change and much needed in a digital world dominated by user-generated content and collaborative creators.

The World Intellectual Property Organization Deputy Director General responsible for copyright, Anne Leer, has decided to resign her post, citing personal reasons.

YouTube has set up a $1 million fund to support video creators who have been targeted in Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedowns. The company’s copyright legal director Fred von Lohmann confirmed the new funding in a blog post saying that that  whilst YouTube will only provide its legal support “to a handful of videos,”  who would be arguing 'fair use' for the posting, the company will cover the cost of any copyright lawsuits brought against its creators and adding “We’re doing this because we recognize that creators can be intimidated by the DMCA’s counter notification process, and the potential for litigation that comes with it,” Lohmann himself is a former Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) staffer who have previously argued that YouTube is not doing enough to protect the so-called “fair use” provision. 

And TorrentFreak tells us that YouTube parent company Google is facing "a never-ending flood" of DMCA takedown requests from copyright holders, breaking records. The company currently processes a record breaking 1,500 links to "pirate" pages from its search results every minute, which is a 100% increase compared to last year.

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