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First off today, the Innovative Design Protection and Piracy Prohibition Act has moved out of the Senate Judiciary Committee and has been referred to the full Senate, where it may see a vote before the upcoming session recess. The bill, which still has a low chance for passage, would extend limited copyright protection to fashion designs, which currently have none, based on a similar provision in the law for vessel hulls. This version of the bill came about after a great deal of negotiations between fashion designers and organizations representing manufacturers, which had opposed previous bills.
Next up today, as the first criminal case involving game console “modding”, or altering a system so that it can play unauthorized games, is underway and the judge has reportedly berated the prosecution for, among other things, using two witnesses who may have violated the law themselves. One is accused of illegal videotaping and the other admitted to having performed mods in the past and the judge has said that the jury will hear about both crimes. He also backtracked at least some on a previously ruling saying a fair use defense would not be allowed, opening the door for at least limited discussion on legitimate uses for modding, such as backing up games. Prosecutors have asked for a recess to either seek a deal with the defendant or to see if they want to push the case forward.
Finally today, German file hosting site Rapidshare has been hit with a €150,000 fine after a local court found the company had not done enough to prevent books from being uploaded to its site. Rapidshare had been previously ordered to block the reuploading of about 150 works by various publishers but those same publishers, after finding many of the works back on the site, had demanded the court impose fines and the court did so. Rapidshare is supposed to introduce a keyword and other metadata filtering system to block the works from appearing on the site but seems to have failed in doing so.
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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