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First off today, the Shepard Fairey case has taken a surprising turn. The case, which centers around the artist’s “Hope” poster of Barack Obama, which was well-known and highly visible as an unofficial campaign poster during the run up to the election.
The Associated Press accused Fairey of violating their copyright, using an image of now-President Obama that they had captured at an event. Fairey had claimed that he had instead used an image taken by freelance photographer Mannie Garcia, who was also working for the AP at the time. Garcia had moved to intervene in the suit, saying that he was the copyright holder of the image, not the AP, under his contract.
However, Fairey has dropped a bombshell on the case, admitting that he actually did not use Garcia’s photo and that the Associated Press was correct. He also admitted to having tried to destroy electronic files and to having submitted at least some false evidence in the case. Fairey’s attorneys, which were headed by Anthony Falzone from the Stanford Center for Internet and Society, have also announced their intentions to withdraw from the case when possible though in other articles they did not say that this was the reason.
Despite the challenges, Fairey claims that this does not change his argument that the work is a fair use and plans to continue fighting the case.
Next up today, 2 of the 8 defendants sued by game maker Wizards of the Coast have settled their cases. The company had sued eight individuals for sharing a book entitled “Players Handbook 2”, which details rules and guidelines for the company popular Dungeon’s and Dragons game and routinely retails for approximately $40.
The book was offered for for sale digitally but all copies contained unique watermarks in them that could be traced back to the buyer. One individual agreed to a judgement of $100,000 while another agreed to a $125,000 judgement. Court filings have said that the book was downloaded over 2,600 times via the document sharing site Scribd and viewed over 4,000 other times.
Currently two other cases are still pending, another has been found in default and WotC has asked for a $30,000 judgment to be filed against him. Three other cases are yet to move forward as WotC are yet to confirm the identities of the individuals involved.
Finally today, even as the UK begins to take steps to ban file sharers from the Web, at least in extreme cases, it appears that public opinion is decidedly against the move. A recently survey found that some 70% of people polled would not approve of such a move and only 16% favored it. To make matters worse, 73% said that, if they were disconnected “They would find their ability to use vital commercial services, such as shopping and banking, completely disrupted or fairly harmed.”
On the other side of the coin, it did not seem that passion ran particularly deep on the issue. The majority said that they would not be more likely to vote against a party that supported such a measure though 31% did say they would be “much less likely” to vote for such a party.
Current measures related to this issue are being debated right now by government officials though they stress that disconnection is the absolute last resort, instead favoring other methods such as throttling.
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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