3 Count: DRM Again

This is daily column on Plagiarism Today where the site brings you three of the days biggest, most important copyright and plagiarism news links. If you want to offer your feedback on the column, use the contact form or just follow me on Twitter at @plagiarismtoday.

1: Thomas judge bars Fair Use defense, OKs MediaSentry evidence

First off today, in a pair of major setbacks for the Jammie Thomas defense team, the judge in the case has barred them from offering any fair use defense and has decided to allow the controversial evidence from MediaSentry,

Previously, Thomas’ team had been trying to claim first that file sharing was a form of fair use. However, now they will be barred from even making that claim in front of a jury due to the fact that it is an affirmative defense, meaning it has to be raised before witnesses can be deposed, and the Thomas team only recently raised it.

Regarding MediaSentry, the judge denied all of Thomas’ claims against the evidence gathering company, saying it neither violated her privacy nor is bound by the Minnesota Private Detectives Act since it has no offices nor employees in the state. In short, he found that the MediaSentry’s activities, in this case at least, were legal.

These are two very big blows to Thomas’ case and leaves her with only the hope that the record labels can not prove their case against her with all of their evidence, something they were able to do in the first trial, but now face at least a slightly greater challenge due to a change in the jury instructions.

2: Record Companies Trying to Stop Music Sharing with New CD Security

Next up today, while we’re talking about the record companies, they are making another play with the DRM angle, this time using a new CD security technology that only allows a pre-packaged CD player to play music contained on the disk. This would effectively prevent ripping of the CD, including to put it on portable devices or into iTunes.

Warner Brothers is reportedly already using the new technology and Sony is supposedly next. Obviously this is going to upset many users, especially those who buy CDs primarily for the purpose of ripping them. For me, it’s just going to keep me buying my music from Amazon.

(Note: I am unable to get independent confirmation of this story, at this time I am treating this as a rumor)

3: Despite Piracy, The Sims 3’s Doing Fine

Finally today, in a more uplifting story, the Sims 3, Electronic Arts new highly-anticipated sequel, seems to be selling quite well despite being downloaded illegally over 2 million times via Bittorrent. The game, in its first week alone, has sold approximately 1.4 million copies making it EA’s biggest PC game launch in history.

Some of this may be due to the fact that no demo of the game is available, meaning some downloaders may be using it as a “try before you buy” system and it also appears that the pirated version is a pre-release build with many bugs still in it.

Either way, it appears that this is one case where piracy has not actively hurt PC games sales.


That’s it for the three count today, we’ll 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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