Copyright

Goldsmith and Lessig: ACTA Raises "Serious Constitutional Questions"

Harvard Law School professors Jack Goldsmith and Lawrence Lessig published an opinion piece today in the Washington Post, in which they lay out the serious constitutional concerns surrounding the Obama administration's plan to adopt ACTA as a "sole executive agreement" that requires only the president's approval. It's well worth a read.

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Righthaven LLC v. MoneyReign, Inc.

Threat Type: 

Lawsuit

Date: 

03/13/2010

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

MoneyReign, Inc.

Type of Party: 

Organization

Type of Party: 

Organization

Court Type: 

Federal

Court Name: 

United States District Court for the District of Nevada

Case Number: 

2:10-cv-0350

Publication Medium: 

Website

Relevant Documents: 

Status: 

Pending

Disposition: 

Material Removed

Description: 

Righthaven LLC, a Las Vegas company associated with Las Vegas Review-Journal owner Stephens Media LLC, filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against MoneyReign, Inc., a New Jersey corporation that runs CasinoReign.com, a website which publishes "gambling & casino news."  The complaint, filed in federal court in Nevada, alleges that MoneyReign posted a copy of a Review-Journal article, "All's fair in Super Bowl prop bets," on CasinoReign.com without permission.

The CasinoReign.com website was not loading as of the time of writing.

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Righthaven LLC v. NORML

Threat Type: 

Lawsuit

Date: 

03/15/2010

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws

Type of Party: 

Organization

Type of Party: 

Organization

Court Type: 

Federal

Court Name: 

United States District Court for the District of Nevada

Case Number: 

2:10-cv-0351

Publication Medium: 

Website

Relevant Documents: 

Status: 

Pending

Description: 

Righthaven LLC, a Las Vegas company associated with Las Vegas Review-Journal owner Stephens Media LLC, filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) on March 15, 2010.  The complaint, filed in federal court in Nevada, alleges that NORML reproduced a copy of a Review-Journal article, "Marijuana as medicine," on NORML's website without permission.

A spokesperson for NORML told the Las Vegas Sun that Righthaven "seems to have sued the wrong entity since NORML receives its news feed from a company called MAP Inc., which is the Media Awareness Project and calls itself a worldwide network dedicated to drug policy reform." 

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Barclays v. TheFlyOnTheWall.com: Hot News Doctrine Alive and Kicking; Will News Aggregators Be Next?

In 2003, prolific legal scholar and 7th Circuit Judge Richard Posner published a law review article entitled "Misappropriation: A Dirge," which discussed—among other things—the continued viability of &quo

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I Feel Like I’m Taking Crazy Pills: EU’s Latest ACTA Proposal Outlaws the Internet

Sometimes a story is so insane that you can’t help but wonder if someone has slipped you some crazy pills.  See, for example, the Google prosecution in Italy.

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Williams-Sonoma, Inc. v. Knock Off Wood

Threat Type: 

Correspondence

Date: 

03/04/2010

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

Ana White d/b/a Knock Off Wood

Type of Party: 

Large Organization

Type of Party: 

Individual

Publication Medium: 

Blog

Status: 

Concluded

Disposition: 

Material Removed

Description: 

On March 4, 2010, a lawyer representing Williams-Sonoma, Inc. sent a demand letter to Ana White, a rural Alaskan housewife and publisher of Knock Off Wood, a blog that teaches readers how to build designer-looking furniture at home.  The letter claimed that White's blog infringed and diluted Williams-Sonoma's Pottery Barn trademarks by referring to Pottery Barn products names in the course of explaining how to make similar looking products. The letter also claimed that White infringed Williams-Sonoma's copyrights in catalog photographs by displaying them on the blog. 

White took the letter in good spirits: 

This is perhaps the biggest compliment that I have ever received!  A gigantic corporation  is THREATENED by a housewife that lives 100 miles from a stoplight, 1000s of miles from a Pottery Barn store, most of the time in her bathrobe (right now included), who writes a simple blog that makes NO money.

And you should really pat yourself on the back, too!  You building furniture has made this gigantic corporation take note and hand write a letter! (source)

White decided to take down the photographs and product name references, presumably ending the matter. 

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The Persian Version: Why Support for ACTA Undermines U.S. Promotion of Internet Freedom

"To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it . . ." –Definition of Doublethink from 1984, George Orwell

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Candidate Joe Walsh vs. Rocker Joe Walsh: A DMCA Knockout

After a month of snarky letter and email exchanges, Republican U.S. Congressional candidate Joe Walsh recently removed a campaign video from his website that used a song by the Eagles band member also named Joe Walsh.

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Subject Area: 

Conde Nast v. Estabrook

Threat Type: 

Correspondence

Date: 

02/12/2010

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

Barry Estabrook

Type of Party: 

Large Organization

Type of Party: 

Individual

Publication Medium: 

Blog

Status: 

Pending

Description: 

In February 2010, Conde Nast Publications sent an email to freelance journalist and blogger Barry Estabrook asking him to remove articles posted on his blog, Politics of the Plate.  Estabrook originally wrote the articles in question for publication in Gourmet magazine, owned by Conde Nast and recently shut down for financial reasons. The articles addressed various topics relating to the interplay between food and politics.

The Conde Nast email indicated that Estabrook's posting of the articles violated its exclusive rights to publish them and requested that he take them down from the blog. As of the time of writing, Estabrook was linking to the articles on the Gourmet website, but not otherwise hosting them. The record is not entirely clear, but Estabrook may have originally posted pdf copies of the articles before receiving the email.

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Google's MP3 Blog Removals: Bloggers, It's Up to You

That feeling—as if a couple dozen voices cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. If you felt some similar disturbance in the force last week, you might be aware that Google pulled the plug on several MP3 blogs it had previously hosted on its Blogspot service. On Wednesday, The Daily Swarm reported that several prominent bloggers had found their blogs yanked from Google's service.

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Let's Make A Deal! Will ACTA Force an End to Executive Agreements?

Things aren't looking good for the American public. While Americans generally love the idea of being tough on crime, I doubt grandmothers want to ardently police the online habits of their grandchildren.

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Pete Bouchard and the Battle Against Bogus Takedowns

I'm not one for local news broadcasts. When I do watch, it's to enjoy the unintentional humor brilliantly parodied by those like the Onion News Network.

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Each Man an Island? Record Industry Denies that Three Strikes Ban Will Be Collective Punishment

No man is an island, no man stands alone
Each man's joy is joy to me
Each man's grief is my own
We need one another, so I will defend
Each man as my brother
Each man as my friend

Jurisdiction: 

Subject Area: 

Dane v. Gawker

Date: 

09/23/2009

Threat Type: 

Lawsuit

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

Gawker Media, LLC; Gawker News, LLC; Gawker Sales, LLC; Mark Ebner

Type of Party: 

Individual

Type of Party: 

Individual
Media Company

Court Type: 

Federal

Court Name: 

United States District Court for the Central District of California

Case Number: 

CV09-06912 GW(SHx)

Legal Counsel: 

Alonzo Wickers IV, Karen A. Henry, Davis Wright Tremaine LLP

Publication Medium: 

Website

Relevant Documents: 

Status: 

Pending

Description: 

On September 23, 2009, Grey's Anatomy star Eric Dane and his wife Rebecca Gayheart filed a complaint for copyright infringement against Mark Ebner and various Gawker Media entities in the federal district court for the Central District of California.

According to the Complaint, in 2008 Plaintiffs made a home video recording of the two of them with a third party, Kari Ann Peniche, that depicted "intimate moments and conversations among" the threesome, and further depicted the plaintiffs "partially and sometimes fully disrobed."   (Compl. ¶ 10)  The Complaint further alleges that defendant Mark Ebner obtained a copy of the video in 2009 and gave it to Gawker, which then posted clips of the video on the Defamer and Fleshbot websites beginning on August 17, 2009.  (Compl. ¶ ¶ 12-14)  On August 19, 2009, Plaintiffs registered their copyright in the video with the U.S. Copyright Office.

On October 30, 2009, the Defendants filed a motion to strike portions of the Plaintiffs' Complaint, on the grounds that Plaintiffs were not entitled to seek statutory damages or attorneys' fees because the alleged infringement commenced prior to registration of the video with the Copyright Office.  The Court granted Defendants' motion in part on December 14, 2009.  On December 23, 2009, Defendants filed their Answer to the Complaint asserting various affirmative defenses, including fair use and that distribution of the video is protected under the First Amendment.

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1-High

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EMI/Vimeo Lawsuit Leaves Lip-Dubbers Speechless

A group of friends gathered after work a few years ago to record what may be now the most popular performance of Harvey Danger's "Flagpole Sitta." In a video that has since been viewed more than 2 million times on Vimeo, the 30 or so friends took turns lip-syncing, dancing and then ultimately falling to the floor as a group at the son

Subject Area: 

Szukalski v. Frey

Threat Type: 

Correspondence

Date: 

01/09/2010

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

Patrick Frey

Type of Party: 

Individual

Type of Party: 

Individual

Legal Counsel: 

Pro Se

Publication Medium: 

Blog

Status: 

Pending

Description: 

Ted Szukalski, an Australian photographer, sent blogger Patrick Frey of Patterico's Pontifications what purported to be a DMCA takedown notice on January 9, 2010.  The takedown notice complained about Frey's blog post that reproduced and commented on a photoshopped image showing President Obama shining Sarah Palin's shoes. 

The image in question is a photshopped version of Szukalski's photograph of a homeless man shining the shoes of a seated woman (see the non-modified version titled Shoeshine - homeless and a woman client MG_6348-27).  The modified version does away with Szukalski's copyright notice and replaces the heads of the shoe shiner and woman with those of President Obama and Sarah Palin, respectively.

The photoshopped image caused a small stir in early January 2010 when a Colorado Department of Transportation worker faced discipline for forwarding the image.  Frey's post took issue with another blogger's description of the incident as an "ugly little upwelling of racism from the right wing base," pointing out that the woman who forwarded the email was a registered Democrat.

Frey responded in an email refusing to take down the image and asserting that his use of the photograph for political commentary was a classic example of fair use.  As of the date of this writing, Szukalski had taken no further action. 

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Commentary on Obama/Palin Image Generates Questionable DMCA Takedown Notice

Last Friday, political commenter and blogger Patrick Frey of Patterico's Pontifications found a chilly email waiting in his inbox.

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What’s in the Box?! Piercing the Pointless Secrecy of ACTA

I could tell you but then I’d have to kill you. – Tom Cruise, Top Gun

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