Copyright

Huffington Post: Web Pirate or Prophet?

I write a blog at my home newspaper, The Dallas Morning News, and when I get 10 or 20 comments on a post, I am feeling pretty good about myself. Arianna Huffington? Her site, Huffington Post, draws around a million comments a month.

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Peter Needed a Jew... Bourne Co Needed a Lesson in Fair Use

Congress derives its power to enact copyright laws from the copyright clause, U.S. Const. Art. I § 8, which reads:

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Unpublished

Blogger Faces Prison Time for Leaking Songs from Guns N' Roses Album

Federal prosecutors are Kevin Cogill, a blogger on Antiquiet, which provides "uncensored music reviews and interviews," is  guilty yesterday in federal court in Los Angeles to one count of misdemeanor criminal copyright infringement after he allegedly posted nine songs from the then unreleased Guns N

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New York Times v. Newser

Threat Type: 

Correspondence

Date: 

02/01/2009

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

Newser, LLC

Type of Party: 

Media Company

Type of Party: 

Organization

Publication Medium: 

Website

Status: 

Pending

Disposition: 

Material Removed

Description: 

On February 25, 2009, Michael Wolff, founder of Newser, blogged that Newser had recently received a letter from the New York Times requesting that it stop using the Times' "T" logo.  Newser is a news aggregator and curator that links to and summarizes articles from news sources around the web.  The articles are presented as a grid of photographs, each overlayed with the title of the article, the amount of time since it was uploaded, and the source of the article, usually accompanied by a small logo of that source. 

Wolff has not made the letter public, but he told the Neiman Journalism Lab that it came from the New York Times Company's General Counsel's office.  Wolff told Peter Kafka, of MediaMemo, that the letter was "legal boilerplate," warning that the Times would "pursue all available remedies, both criminal and civil" if they continued to use the logo.

Catherine Mathis, a spokeswoman for the Times, told the Neiman Journalism Lab that they asked Newser to stop using the "gothic 'T' logo," which is trademarked, and asked Newser to take down a photo that was used without permission and misattributed, presumably on the basis of copyright. She also told the Neiman Journalism Lab that Newser took down the photo. The Times' logo still appears on Newser for summaries from the New York Times.  

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CMLP Notes: 

Source: Nieman Journalism Lab

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1-High

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Do Ads in Google News Search Change the Fair Use Analysis?

Hot News Case - The Dialogue Continues

The purpose of copyright is to "promote progress."  We achieve this promotion by giving authors a limited monopoly over their works so that they may profit from them. This is what is known as "the incentive theory."  If we give authors the incentive to create works, they will create more of them, thus adding ideas and expression to the marketplace.  On the other hand, we don't give copyright protection to mere facts.

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INA v. Lee

Date: 

01/12/2009

Threat Type: 

Correspondence

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

Kevin B. Lee

Type of Party: 

Organization

Type of Party: 

Individual

Publication Medium: 

Website

Status: 

Pending

Disposition: 

Material Removed
Material Reinstated

Description: 

Film commentator Kevin B. Lee posted some of his critical video essays on YouTube.  Lee's essays contain clips from the films he is reviewing. After receiving a DMCA takedown notice from the rightsholder to the film "And God Created Woman" (designated "INA" in one of Lee's posts about the takedown),  YouTube disabled access to the video and subsequently disabled his entire account (this was the third such takedown notice).  Lee filed a DMCA counter-notice with YouTube, claiming that his video essays are proteced by fair use.  YouTube temporarily reinstated Lee's account pending further action by the rightsholder.

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CMLP Notes: 

Note: We should continue to monitor Kevin's blog (alsolikelife.com/shooting) to see what the ultimate resolution is.  At this time, his account has been temporarily reinstated while YouTube reviews the counterclaim.

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1-High

Threat Source: 

Google Blogs

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Union Square Partnership v. Durkee

Threat Type: 

Lawsuit

Date: 

07/30/2008

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

Savitri Durkee

Type of Party: 

Organization

Type of Party: 

Individual

Court Type: 

Administrative
Federal

Court Name: 

United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York; WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center

Case Number: 

08-3101 (federal court); D2008-1234 (WIPO)

Legal Counsel: 

Corynne McSherry, Michael Kwan (Electronic Frontier Foundation); Terry Gross, Adam C. Belsky, Monique Alonso (Gross Belsky Alonso LLP); A. John P. Mancini, Gregory A. Frantz, Tiffany H. Scott (Mayer Brown LLP)

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Website

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Status: 

Concluded

Disposition: 

Settled (total)

Description: 

In July 2008, Union Square Partnership (USP), the nonprofit business improvement district for New York's Union Square neighborhood, sued Savitri Durkee for copyright infringement in New York federal court after she created a website that parodied the official USP website.  (Durkee is an activist who wants to preserve Union Square as a public gathering place and prevent it from being commercialized.)  In August 2008, USP also filed an administrative complaint with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP), seeking to have the parody site's domain names (www.unionsquarepartnership.com and www.unionsquarepartnership.org) transferred to it.

Durkee failed to respond to the WIPO proceeding in a timely manner, and on October 22, 2008, the WIPO arbitration panel ordered that her site's domain names be transferred to USP.  On November 18, Durkee filed an answer and counterclaims in the federal court action, seeking a declaration that her domain names did not infringe USP's trademark or constitute cybersquatting.  Durkee also claimed that fair use excused any copyright infringement and that USP's lawsuit violated New York's anti-SLAPP laws.

The parties settled in January 2009.  Durkee agreed to transfer the domain names www.unionsquarepartnership.org and www.unionsquarepartnership.com to USP and to include a disclaimer on her site stating that the site is not affiliated with USP.   The parties also set out certain domain names that Durkee could not attempt to register or use.  Durkee now operates her new website at www.unionsquarepartnershipsucks.org.

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Priority: 

1-High

Threat Source: 

Google News

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Progress Illinois' YouTube Channel Reinstated After Fox Declines to Sue

Late last week, YouTube reinstated Progress Illinois' YouTube channel after Fox Television declined to sue for copyright infringement within the 10 day window prescribed by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)

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Thoughts on the Value of Journalism in the Wake of GateHouse v. New York Times Settlement

The fallout from the GateHouse v. New York Times settlement, anticlimactic as it was, has been fascinating, and deliciously exhaustive in the way that only Internet-based discussions of Internet-related issues can be.

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Judge Gertner Postpones Webcast of Hearing in P2P File Sharing Case

United States District Court Judge Nancy Gertner has postponed what would have been the first live webcast of a federal court hearing scheduled for tomorrow in order to give the plaintiffs in the case an opportunity to seek appellate review of her decision allowing video cameras into her Boston courtroom. 

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Federal Judge in Boston Orders Groundbreaking Webcast of Hearing

United States District Court Judge Nancy Gertner agreed today to allow video cameras into her Boston courtroom to provide live Internet coverage of a hearing next Thursday in the lawsuit against Boston University graduate student Joel Tenenbaum, who allegedly downloaded seven songs illegally over a peer-to-peer network.

Background on the case from Judge Gertner's order:

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Fox Television WFLD-TV v. Progress Illinois

Threat Type: 

Correspondence

Date: 

11/18/2008

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

Progress Illinois LLC

Type of Party: 

Media Company

Type of Party: 

Organization

Publication Medium: 

Website

Relevant Documents: 

Status: 

Concluded

Disposition: 

Material Removed
Material Reinstated

Description: 

On November 18, 2008, Fox Television sent a letter to YouTube demanding the takedown of a video uploaded by Progress Illinois, an organization that "provides online news and commentary on issues important to Illinois working families and the progressive movement at large."  The video, Beavers On Back-Door Pay Raises, was embedded in a blog post that examined how some Cook County commissioners were using their expense accounts for personal gain and contained a 26-second clip from a FOX Chicago newscast that had aired a week earlier. 

Fox subsequently sent a second letter to YouTube claiming copyright infringement as to two additional videos, Axelrod: Obama Talked to Blagojevich about Senate Seat and Axelrod: "Our Job Is To Come In . . . With Guns Blazing",  that included 1-2 minute clips from an interview conducted with President-Elect Obama's adviser David Axelrod on Fox Chicago Sunday that Progress Illinois embedded in a blog post on its website, Axelrod Comments On Open Senate Seat, D.C. Leadership Vacuum.

On December 10, 2008, YouTube removed the two videos containing clips of the Axelrod interview and, later that day, suspended Progress Illinois YouTube channel "due to repeat copyright offenses."  

On January 5, 2009, Progress Illinois sent a counter-notification to YouTube pursuant to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, requesting that the three videos be restored and its account reinstated. (Note: lawyer Ben Sheffner at the Copyrights & Campaigns blog comments on some potential deficiencies in Progress Illinois' counter-notification to YouTube.)

Update:

1/12/09 - Progress Illinois, through its counsel Paul Alan Levy at Public Citizen, has stated that it is considering filing a lawsuit against Fox unless it withdraws its copyright objections.

1/29/09 - Progress Illinois' YouTube account has been reinstated.

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CMLP Notes: 

from John Bracken

Threat Source: 

User Feedback

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Fox Television Forces Shutdown of Progress Illinois' YouTube Channel

Progress Illinois, which "provides online news and commentary on issues important to Illinois working families and the progressive movement at large," has had its YouTube channel terminated after receiving three notices of copyright infringement from Fox Television Stations, Inc. arising from the organization's use of news footage from WFLD-TV, the Fox affiliate in Chicago. 

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Preliminary Thoughts on GateHouse Media v. New York Times Company

Like a storm coming over the horizon, the recent lawsuit filed by GateHouse Media against the New York Times Company, which operates Boston.com, has thrown the CMLP into disarray just as we were preparing to depart to warmer climes for the holidays.

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GateHouse Media v. New York Times Company

Date: 

12/22/2008

Threat Type: 

Lawsuit

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

The New York Times Co. d/b/a Boston.com

Type of Party: 

Media Company

Type of Party: 

Media Company

Court Type: 

Federal

Court Name: 

United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts (Boston)

Case Number: 

1:08-cv-12114

Legal Counsel: 

Mark S. Puzella, Richard D. Hosp, Parker H. Bagley, Ira J. Levy, Michael T. Jones - Goodwin Procter, LLP

Publication Medium: 

Website

Relevant Documents: 

Status: 

Concluded

Disposition: 

Settled (total)

Description: 

GateHouse Media, which operates more than 375 newspapers (in New England and elsewhere) and associated websites, filed a lawsuit against the New York Times Company in U.S. District Court in Massachussets, claiming, among other things, that headlines from -- and links to -- GateHouse content on Boston.com's "Your Town" sites constitute copyright and trademark infringement.  The New York Times Co., which owns the Boston Globe, operates local sites — currently in Newton, Needham, and Waltham, MA — that aggregate local content from the Globe, area blogs, and other newspaper websites, including GateHouse's Wicked Local websites.  

On December 22, 2008, GateHouse filed an eight count complaint against the New York Times alleging breach of contract, copyright infringement, false advertising, trademark infringement, trademark dilution, unfair competition, and unfair business practices.  On the same day, GateHouse also filed a motion for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction.

In a statement on Boston.com, New York Times spokeswoman Catherine Mathis said the company is simply doing what hundreds of other news sites already do -- aggregate headlines and snippets of relevant stories published elsewhere on the Web -- and believed GateHouse's lawsuit was without merit:
"Far from being illegal or improper, this practice of linking to sites is common and is familiar to anyone who has searched the Web," Mathis said. "It is fair and benefits both Web users and the originating site."

Update:

12/22/08 - Judge Young denied GateHouse's request for a temporary restraining order and set a hearing on plaintiff's motion for a preliminary injunction for January 5, 2009.  The court indicated that the motion for a preliminary injunction will be "collapsed with a trial on the merits."

12/30/08 -  Parties filed a joint motion (ordered by the Court) to set a trial date of January 26, 2009.  Fact discovery is to be completed by January 16.

1/12/09- GateHouse filed an Unopposed Motion for Ruling on Jurisdiction, arguing that the Court has jurisdiction over its copyright claims even though the Copyright Office has not yet issued a certificate of copyright for the works at issue.

1/16/09 - New York Times Company filed a Motion To Join Globe Newspaper Company, Inc. and Boston Globe Electronic Publishing, Inc., and Leave To File Answer, Affirmative Defenses And Counterclaims including a proposed Answer, Affirmative Defenses and Counterclaims.

1/21/09 - Court granted (without a written order) the New York Times Company's motion for joinder.

1/22/09 - GateHouse filed a proposed amended complaint.

1/26/09 - Case dismissed due to settlement.  The New York Times has posted a copy of the Letter Agreement between the parties.

1/27/09 - Rick Daniels, president of GateHouse Media New England, sent a memo to GateHouse employees describing the company's reasons for settling the lawsuit.

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1-High

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GateHouse v NY Times Co.: Not So Simple After All

One of the most intriguing current media legal cases pits GateHouse Media, which owns a pile of newspapers in New England (and elsewhere) against the New York Times Co., owner of the Boston Globe and Boston.com. I’ve been looking at this from both sides’ perspectives, and this is not as simple as it looks on first glance.

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