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+ - UMG v Grooveshark settled, no money judgment against individuals

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes: UMG's case against Grooveshark, which was scheduled to go to trial Monday, has been settled. Under the terms of the settlement (PDF), (a) a $50 million judgment is being entered against Grooveshark, (b) the company is shutting down operations, and (c) no money judgment at all is being entered against the individual defendants.

+ - Power -- And by that I mean Free Broadband -- To the People

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes: Slashdot member and open source developer Ben Kallos @KallosEsq — who is now a NYC Councilman — is pushing to make it a precondition to Comcast's merging with Time Warner that it agree to provide free broadband to all public housing residents in the City (and by free I mean free as in beer). Kallos, along with NY's Public Advocate, Letitia James, are leading a group of state and local politicians calling on Comcast to help bridge the digital divide in NY.

+ - Appeals Court finds scanning to be fair use in Authors Guild v Hathitrust

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes: In Authors Guild v Hathitrust, the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has found that scanning whole books and making them searchable for research use is a fair use. In reaching its conclusion, the 3-judge panel reasoned, in its 34-page opinion (PDF), that the creation of a searchable, full text database is a "quintessentially transformative use", that it was "reasonably necessary" to make use of the entire works, that maintaining maintain 4 copies of the database was reasonably necessary as well, and that the research library did not impair the market for the originals. Needless to say, this ruling augurs well for Google in Authors Guild v. Google, which likewise involves full text scanning of whole books for research.

+ - Councilman/Open Source Developer submits Open Source bill->

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes: New York City Council Member Ben Kallos (KallosEsq), who also happens to be a Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) developer, just introduced legislation to mandate a government preference for FOSS and creating a Civic Commons website to facilitate collaborative purchasing of software. He argues that NYC could save millions of dollars with the Free and Open Source Software Preferences Act 2014, pointing out that the city currently has a $67 million Microsoft ELA. Kallos said: "It is time for government to modernize and start appreciating the same cost savings as everyone else."
Link to Original Source

+ - Google Books case dismissed on Fair Use Grounds

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes: In a case of major importance, the long simmering battle between the Authors Guild and Google has reached its climax, with the court granting Google's motion for summary judgment, dismissing the case, on fair use grounds. In his 30-page decision (PDF), Judge Denny Chin — who has been a District Court Judge throughout most of the life of the case but is now a Circuit Court Judge — reasoned that, although Google's own motive for its "Library Project" (which scans books from libraries without the copyright owners' permission and makes the material publicly available for search), is commercial profit, the project itself serves significant educational purposes, and actually enhances, rather than detracts from, the value of the works, since it helps promote sales of the works. Judge Chin also felt that it was impossible to use Google's scanned material, either for making full copies, or for reading the books, so that it did not compete with the books themselves.

+ - Aereo required to testify about non-public patent info

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes: In ABC v Aereo, a copyright infringement action against Aereo, the Magistrate Judge has overruled Aereo's attorney/client privilege objection to being forced to divulge non-public details about its patented technology. In his 15 page decision (PDF) he ordered the continued deposition of the company's CTO and CEO about their patent applications. My gut reaction is that this sets a very dangerous precedent, giving the big copyright plaintiffs yet another 'in terrorem' device to use against technology startups — the power to use the lawsuit as a chance to delve into a defendant's non-public tech secrets.

+ - Vimeo held covered by DMCA safe harbor

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes: "In a recent 56-page decision (PDF) in Capitol Records v. Vimeo, LLC, a federal court in Manhattan found Vimeo to be covered by the Digital Millenium Copyright Act, rejecting Capitol Records' arguments that it was not entitled to the statute's "safe harbor". However, Vimeo is not yet out of the woods in this particular case, as the Court found factual issues — requiring a trial — as to 10 of the videos on the question of whether they were uploaded at the direction of Vimeo users, and as to 55 of the videos whether Vimeo had actual knowledge, or red flag knowledge, as the existence of an infringement."

+ - Uncle Sam finally wants to hear from us on digital copyright law?

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes: Can it be true? The US government claims it really wants to hear from us on the subject of how copyright law needs to be modified to accommodate the developing technology of the digital age? I don't know, but the US Patent & Trademark Office (which btw has nothing to do with administering copyright) says "we really want to hear from you" and the Department of Commerce Internet Policy Task Force wrote a 122-page paper (PDF) on the subject, so they must really mean it, right? But I couldn't find the address to which to send my comments, so maybe that was an oversight on their part.

+ - YouTube wins again 3 3

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes: Once again YouTube has defeated Viacom and other members of the content cartel; once again the Court has held that the Digital Millennium Copyright Act actually does mean what it says. YouTube had won the case earlier, at the district court level, but the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, although ruling in YouTube's favor on all of the general principles at stake, felt that there were several factual issues involving some of the videos and remanded to the lower court for a cleanup of those loose ends. Now, the lower court — Judge Louis L. Stanton to be exact — has resolved all of the remaining issues in YouTube's favor, in a 24-page opinion. Among other things Judge Stanton concluded that YouTube had not had knowledge or awareness of any specific infringement, been 'willfully blind' to any specific infringement, induced its users to commit copyright infringement, interacted with its users to a point where it might be said to have participated in their infringements, or manually selected or delivered videos to its syndication partners. Nevertheless, 5 will get you 10 that the content maximalists will appeal once again.

+ - Veoh once again beats UMG (after going out of business)->

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes: "Veoh has once again beaten the record companies; in fact it has beaten them in every round, only to have been forced out of business by the attorneys fees it expended to do so. I guess that's the record companies' strategy to do an 'end around' the clear wording of the DMCA "safe harbor": outspend them until they fold. Back in 2009 the lower court dismissed UMG's case on the ground that Veoh was covered by the DMCA "safe harbor" and had complied with takedown notices. The record companies of course appealed. And they of course lost. Then, after the Viacom v. YouTube decision by the 2nd Circuit, which ruled that there were factual issues as to some of the videos, they moved for rehearing in UMG v. Veoh. Now, in a 61-page decision (PDF), the 9th Circuit has once again ruled that the statute means it says, and rejected each and every argument the record companies made. Sadly, though, it did not award attorneys fees."
Link to Original Source

+ - EFF jumps in to defend bloggers being sued by Prenda->

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes: "The Electronic Frontier Foundation has entered the fray to defend the bloggers sued by Prenda Law Firm. Prenda, oblivious to such well known legal niceties as the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the affirmative defense of truth, the difference between a defamatory statement of fact and the expression of a negative opinion, and the First Amendment, has immediately — and illegally — sought to subpoena information leading to the identities of the bloggers. I would not be surprised to see these "lawyers" get into even more hot water than they're already in. And I take my hat off to the EFF for stepping in here."
Link to Original Source
Open Source

+ - Richard Stallman endorses Kallos for NYC Council->

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes: "Free Software Founder Richard M. Stallman has endorsed Benjamin Kallos, a tech and free software candidate (also KallosEsq on Slashdot), for New York City Council, pointing to his “record of pushing government to enter the Internet age in the right way, the way that respects people's freedom and increases the public's control over government.” While working for a NY assemblyman, Kallos was, along with Carl Malamud, one of the "gnomes" behind New York's bill to award tax credits to volunteer open source developers, denied them under existing law because they weren't getting paid for their contributions."
Link to Original Source

+ - Troll complaint dismissed; subscriber not necessarily infringer->

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes: "The courts are finally starting to get it, that the subscriber to an internet access account which has been used for a copyright infringement is not necessarily the infringer. In AF Holdings v. Rogers, a case in the Southern District of California, the Chief Judge of the Court has granted a motion to dismiss the complaint for failure to state a claim where the only evidence the plaintiff has against defendant is that defendant appears to have been the subscriber to the internet access account in question. In his 7-page opinion (PDF), Chief Judge Barry Ted Moskowitz noted that "just because an IP address is registered to an individual does not mean that he or she is guilty of infringement when that IP address is used to commit infringing activity"."
Link to Original Source

+ - Jammie Thomas takes constitutional argument to SCOTUS->

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes: "Jammie Thomas-Rasset, the Native American Minnesotan found by a jury to have downloaded 24 mp3 files of RIAA singles, has filed a petition for certioriari to the United States Supreme Court, arguing that the award of $220,000 in statutory damages is excessive, in violation of the Due Process Clause. Her petition (PDF) argued that the RIAA's litigation campaign was "extortion, not law", and pointed out that "[a]rbitrary statutory damages made the RIAA’s litigation campaign possible; in turn,that campaign has inspired copycats like the so-called Copyright Enforcement Group; the U.S. Copyright Group, which has already sued more than 20,000 individual movie downloaders; and Righthaven, which sued bloggers. This Court should grant certiorari to review this use of the federal courts as a scourge"."
Link to Original Source

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