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First off today, Kate Tummarello at The Hill reports that The House Judiciary Committee continued its review of copyright law with a hearing about copyright remedies, which focused on the civil and criminal repercussions for copyright infringement.
David Bitkower, the acting deputy assistant attorney general in the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, testified that there was a need to make infringing streaming a felony, bringing it up to parity with illegal downloads. Currently, downloading an infringing file is considered a felony but streaming it is a misdemeanor, something the Department of Justice would like to see changed as the way pirated content is being access is shifting.
The committee also looked at the possibility of setting up a copyright small claims court, an idea supported widely by witnesses and committee members alike, as well as other aspects of civil and criminal copyright enforcement.
Next up today, Meredith Rodriguez at The Chicago Tribune reports that Northwestern University has filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against a former employee that they say illegally copied work she had produced as part of her job, possibly to publish a book elsewhere.
According to the lawsuit, Nina Barett, a part-time employee for the university, was commissioned to write a book about the murder trials of University of Chicago students Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb. She reportedly worked on the book from 2010 to late 2013, when she resigned her position. However, a forensic analysis of her school-issued laptop found that she had copied a draft of her manuscript to a USB drive and also restricted access to other files.
The university says that it sent Barett a request that she turn over any files she took with her but refused. However, Barett says that the lawsuit doesn’t accurately explain how everything happened, but declined further comment pending the legal case.
Finally today, Todd Spangler at Variety reports that The Expendables 3, a highly-anticipated action movie set to debut on August 15, has been leaked online in a high-quality format. To make matters worse, in just 12 hours, more than 200,000 copies have been downloaded.
Movie leaks have become extremely common in recent years but most are of low-quality versions, either early drafts of the film missing elements or versions captured with personal cameras. This version appears to have come from a DVD screener that was likely ripped.
A similar leak in 2009, over the film “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” resulted in some 15 million downloads of the movie and cost the film tens of millions in revenue. That case resulted in the arrest of Gilberto Sanchez, who was sentenced to a year in prison.
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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