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First off today, in an announcement made yesterday, Google has said it is reshaping the way it approaches copyright in its services and is taking several steps to be more friendly to the interests of copyright holders. Those steps include streamlining the DMCA takedown process to more quickly remove allegedly infringing material, prevent piracy-related keywords from appearing in Google Suggest and better enforcing its Adsense policies against sites that infringe copyright. Most importantly though, Google said that it will work to ensure sites that distribute content legitimately will rank higher than those who do not, ensuring they receive the lion’s share of the traffic. The news was welcomed by members of the various content industries but the optimism was cautious in most circles.
Matthew Crippen, the alleged Xbox modder who was facing up to 10 years in prison for violating the anti-circumvention provisions of the DMCA, has had all the charges against him dropped. Prosecutors got off to a rocky start with their case after the judge rebuked them for putting forth two witnesses who admitted to violating various laws. However, the death kneel for the case likely came after it was revealed there was no evidence Crippen had used any pirated software in the process of modifying Xboxes, meaning that the criminal case was not sustainable. There is no word if any civil action is pending.
Finally today, Gawker Media finds itself in the throes of another copyright infringement lawsuit, this time for publishing a copy of the image that, according to developers, inspired the game Dante’s Inferno. Gawker-owned Kotaku posted 12 versions of the image as part of a discussion about the inspiration and the interview where the developer made the statements. The creator of the image, Lindsay McCulloch, sued Gawker last month and the case is ongoing though many feel Gawker has a strong fair use argument in this case.
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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