3 Count: Some Kind of Monster

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: Jammie Thomas challenges “monstrous” $1.92M P2P verdict

First off today, in a move that was widely predicted, Jammie Thomas has asked the judge in her case to either throw out the monetary award against her, reduce the $1.9 million judgment against her to the statutory minimum of $18,000 or to receive a new trial, which would be her third if granted.

Calling the verdict, “excessive, shocking, and monstrous” her attorneys have asked the judge to reduce the damages to be awarded and cites ratios of 1:62,015 and 1:5,333, which reference the amount the songs are worth to the damages awarded. However, the ratios are largely meaningless as the amount of actual damages can not be known since she was accused of distributing the songs via file sharing networks, making them available to millions.

Finally, her attorneys hinted that they will move to exclude RIAA investigator MediaSentry on appeal. MediaSentry, whose evidence was allowed in the first and second trials since they could not be held accountable to Minnesota’s private detective rules since it has no staff there, is now being accused by Thomas’ attorney of violating rules in their native states of Maryland and New Jersey.

This one definitely seems to be far from over.

2: Pez sues museum over giant dispenser

Next up, the makers of Pez candy are suing a museum of Pez-related memorabilia claiming that a giant Pez dispenser with a snowman head is a violation of their trademark and is demanding that the work be destroyed.

Several sites, sadly, have gotten this story very wrong reporting that it was a copyright dispute but the truth appears to be that it is a trademark issue, not a copyright one. Either way though, the makers of Pez candy are asking a museum about their candy to destroy world-record-holding homage to their product, making this suit one of the worst PR movies I’ve seen in a while.

3: Is the Copyright Royalty Board Unconstitutional?

Finally today, its an argument we’ve heard many times before but now it’s coming from an Appeals Court judge.

Though Judge Kavanaugh sided with the other two judges in the D.C. circuit Appellate court in its their recent ruling in the case of SoundExchange, Inc. v. Librarian of Congress, which deals with a dispute over the royalty rates paid by satellite radio, he did so with a caveat.

According to a concurrence he submitted along with the ruling, he said that the copyright royalty board, due to the way it appoints its members, raises constitutional questions. In short, they are appointed by neither the President nor vetted by the Senate but appear to be officers of the United States, they may be in constitutional limbo.

The issue was ducked in this case since neither side raised it in a timely manner but similar arguments have also been used against copyright registrars.


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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