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First off today, as controversial as mass file sharing lawsuits are in the U.S., commonly called “speculative invoicing” due to the nature of such lawsuits to send quick settlement offers to plaintiffs, it seems Germany has gone well above and beyond what has been happening here. According to the country’s Internet industry association, ECO, ISPs in the country have turned over subscriber information some 300,000 times per month. This is more than the total of all such lawsuits filed in the U.S. combined. The increase in speed is due in part to a change in German law that no longer requires copyright holders to file a lawsuit to obtain information, instead just receive a court order to get the information. Most who have their identity turned over to copyright holders are asked to pay between €300 to €1200 ($430 to $1720 USD) for each unlawfully shared file.
Next up today, in Canada a judge has approved a $50 million settlement between the four major record labels and artists over the “pending list” claims. According to the lawsuit, the labels would often, especially when building compilation CDs, place artist songs on a “pending list” meaning that no payment was made yet but would be later. Those claims were often never paid, thus prompting the class action lawsuit. The settlement, where the labels admitted no liability, was held up due to a dispute over the estate over the lead plaintiff. However, that was resolved by simply substituting the lead plaintiff, allowing the case to go forward.
Finally today, when Stefanie Gordon took that now-famous photo of the shuttle Endeavour piercing the clouds after liftoff, she didn’t realize the impact it would have. But while she’s collected license fees from five different news outlets and others asked permission, most that have shared the image have not licensed it in any way. But while Gordon herself says she’s happy to have the image copied and doesn’t mind the use, it’s raised questions about the role of media outlets when using images and other copyrighted content from social media. Though the laws are straightforward, they are muddled by TOSes applied by third parties and the fact amateur photographers don’t know how to distribute and control images they take.
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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