3 Count: Judgment Day

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1: Prenda Hammered: Judge Sends Porn-Trolling Lawyers to Criminal Investigators

First off today, Joe Mullin at Ars Technica reports that U.S. District Judge Otis Wright has filed an 11-page order against Prenda Law, both ordering the controversial firm to pay nearly $82,000 in legal fees and turning the case over to grand juries, bar associations and even the IRS for investigation.

Prenda law is best known for its massive lawsuits against file sharers who used BitTorrent to swap pornographic films. The law firm would sue hundreds of suspected pirates based on their IP address and attempt to compel ISPs to turn over the suspected sharer’s information. They would then attempt to push the suspected sharer into a quick settlement.

However, when some of the defendants fought back, it was revealed that the companies the law firm was supposed to be representing were actually shell companies for the lawyers themselves. Though Prenda scrambled to drop its cases, Judge Otis began to look at seeking sanctions against Prenda for its actions.

Judge Wright, in his order, decided that there wouldn’t be any sanctions as Prenda dropped the case too quickly. However, he ordered Prenda to pay some $82,000 in attorney’s fees, an amount that is double the actual fees in an attempt to punish Prenda. Wright also suggested that the attorneys involved be disbarred and says that they warrant criminal investigation, turning the matter over to grand juries, the IRS and both state and federal bar associations.

2: ‘They Stole It’: Dr. Phil Sues Gawker Over Manti Te’o Hoaxer Video

Next up today, Dominic Patten at Deadline.com writes that Peteski Productions, owners of the copyright to the Dr. Phil Show, has sued Gawker Media claiming that Gawker used footage from an episode of Dr. Phil on Gawker’s Deadspin without permission.

At issue is a heavily-promoted interview Dr. Phil gave with Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, the man who claims to have deceived now-former Notre Dame football player Manti Te’o into believing he was his online girlfriend (who later “died” due to Leukemia and a car accident). However, Deadspin discovered in January that the girlfriend was not real and Dr. Phil, weeks later, interviewed the person who claims to have pulled off the hoax.

However, according to Peteski, Gawker sabotaged that interview, which aired in two parts, by posting a 23-second of the second part of the interview to their site, which spoiled the cliffhanger the first part ended on. According to Peteski, Gawker did this before 98% of Dr. Phil’s audience had been able to see the show due to differing viewing times.

The lawsuit was filed in a Federal Court in Texarkana, Texas.

3: G.I. Joe Scribes Slap Paramount, MGM With Copyright Infringement Lawsuit

Finally today, Lucas Shaw at The Wrap writes that David Elliot and Paul Lovett have sued Paramount, Basbro, MGM and producer Lorenzo Di Bonaventura for $23 million in damages claiming that the most recent G.I. Joe movie, “Retaliation”, used content created by them.

Elliot and Lovett were the co-writers of the 2009 G.I. Joe movie, “The Rise of the Cobra” and, according to their lawsuit, were asked to write the script for Retaliation. However, for reasons not clear, the studio did not hire the them to write the script or credit them as such. But, according, to Elliot and Lovett, there are many similarities between the final movie and the work they provided.

Paramount declined to comment on the lawsuit.

Suggestions

That’s it for the three count today. We will be back tomorrow with three more copyright links. If you have a link that you want to suggest a link for the column or have any proposals to make it better. Feel free to leave a comment or send me an email. I hope to hear from you.

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