First off today, The Pirate Bay defendants, who were convicted in April of contributing to copyright infringement and sentenced to approximately a year in jail, might be seeing a delay in their appeal, the trial for which was supposed to begin in November.
Two of three judges involved in the appeal, according to the defendants are potentially biased as they are members of pro-copyright organizations. The defense wants them removed and petitions the Appeals court, only to have that motion denied. They are now taking the issue to the Supreme Court in hopes of a more favorable ruling.
Allegations of bias have plagued this trial since the beginning, starting first with the district court judge who actually convicted the foursome. He was accused on similar grounds, but the Appeals court denied bias was an issue and blocked a potential retrial, setting up the appeal.
The defense had previously asked for a delay in the appeal for personal reasons but was denied though it now appears such a delay is likely.
Next up today, Australian movie theater chain has instituted a new policy, apparently at the recommendation of the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT) that they ban all laptops from their theaters. This has caught at least one customer by surprise who was only admitted into the theater after he proved his laptop didn’t have a camera. Reports elsewhere indicate that others have had to leave their laptops with management even if they had no recording devices.
Customers, especially those who come straight from work, often with laptops and netbooks, are understandably upset about the new policy. However, it also rings fairly stupid as a laptop is actually a very inefficient way to record a movie, especially considering how small and powerful camcorders are.
Mobile phones, however, including those that can capture movies, are still allowed in theaters.
Finally today, the sex tape featuring actors Eric Dane and Rebecca Gayheart, which was released on the Web in August, has been registered with the U.S. Copyright Office and the pair are suing several sites, including Gawker media, who put the video up.
Though it is easy to chuckle at the awkward registration, which has the official title “ED-RG-KAP Video”, it actually highlights several problems with the U.S. Copyright Office system. First, the system is woefully out of touch with the age of YouTube and online video, requiring a great deal of “hacking” to make it work. Second, the couple may have, or easily could have, missed out on a lot of their rights. Never having thought to register the tape as it was never intended for release, they only registered after the initial infringements. This means that, unless it was registered within 3 months of “publication”, which also difficult to define on the Web, they might not be able to claim statutory damages in some cases.
These types of situations can create real problems for amateur video producers, not just those who have sex tapes leaked.
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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