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First off today, Poland has announced that it is delaying ratification of the controversial Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) for at least one year to give the government more time to get public input and to analyze the treaty for any potential human rights issue. The country signed the agreement last week amid widespread protests but is now delaying Parliamentary approval. The treaty, which is primarily aimed at patent and trademark issues, also deals with copyright and is an attempt to harmonize enforcement between the 31 countries involved. However, the agreement has come under fire both for fears that it goes too far with enforcement and the secrecy with which it was negotiated.
Next up today, Liuxia Wong was sued by pornography company Hard Drive for allegedly downloading and sharing one of the company’s movies via Bittorrent. Wong is fighting the lawsuit and, in part, using a novel theory that pornography itself is not copyrightable as it is not a science or a “useful art” as per the Constitution. Though the argument is a long shot, Wong’s arguments also raise questions about how Hard Drive’s lawsuit was filed, actions not taken by the company to mitigate losses (such as sending DMCA notices) and the nature of its evidence against her.
Finally today, in California several colleges are cracking down on students that sell classroom notes, including taking disciplinary action against students who offer their notes for sale online and sending cease and desist letters to larger sites specializing in buying/selling notes. However, the crackdown has led to questions as to who holds the copyright in the notes, the professor who gives the lecture or the students taking the notes? Generally, it is though to be the students who hold the rights, making these actions dubious legally, but various state laws in California aim to make the practice illegal. Many of the larger sites have already stopped taking notes from the schools that complained, citing academic honesty policies.
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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