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First off today, a DC judge handed a significant victory to the U.S. Copyright Group, ruling that its mass litigation campaign against suspected file sharers can continue, setting aside objects of procedure, jurisdiction and free speech made by varius ISPs, who are having their records subpoenaed, and groups such as the EFF and Public Citizen. According to the judge, the U.S. Copyright Group, which represents various independent movie studios, can move ahead with its massive lawsuit against suspected file sharers in DC, even though many, if not most, of the potential plaintiffs don’t reside in the jurisdiction. The judge also ruled that file sharing does have elements of speech that may be protectable under the first amendment but that those elements will not likely play a major role in these cases as little original expression was involved.
Next up today, legal questions are swirling around the new movie streaming service Zediva, which claims to have found a way to legally stream DVDs via the Web. According to the company, it legally purchases DVDs from suppliers and then plays them in physical players, turning the user’s computer into a remote. Each DVD is only streamed to one person at a time, at a cost of $2. However, many are sketpical of Zediva’s claims of legitimacy, citing an earlier case that involved a video rental store renting out booths to watch movies. In that case, the renting was found to be an unlawful public performance.
Finally today, talks between the Chinese search engine Baidu and the Copyright Protestant Alliance, which represents authors in the country upset over Baidu’s book and document service, have ground to a halt. The alliance had proposed a four-point plan for Baidu to make things right in their eyes namely a public apology, a compensation of loss, a stop of copyright violation and a legal operating model it and its partners. Baidu did announce yesterday that it would be using anti-piracy software to filter out infringing works on these services, but did not say if that move was a direct result of these negotiations.
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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