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First off today, Alison Frankel of Thompson Reuters reports that, in the heated battle over the future of the character Superman, the lawyer for the heirs of Superman’s creators, Jerome Siegel and Joe Shuster, lost a key decision in his side-battle with DC Comics and its parent Warner. The heirs wish to terminate their copyright with DC, thus returning control of the character to them. However, DC is fighting back claiming that much of the character was created as a work for hire and not eligible for such termination. At the center of the dispute is attorney Marc Toberoff, who Warner accuses of inducing the heirs to file for termination to increase his own profit. Toberoff had claimed that such communication was privileged and not discoverable but yesterday the court decided that wasn’t the case, opening up a potentially large amount of documents shared between Toberoff and his clients for discovery by Warner. This dispute began after a lawyer working with Toberoff leaked papers to Warner, making them aware of the potential conflict.
Next up today, Ernesto at TorrentFreak reports that Rapidshare, one of the leading cyberlocker services, has announced a new set of policies that it believes will help thwart piracy on its service and that it hopes similar services wil adopt. Many of the provisions are akin to existing notice-and-takedown laws though others go well above and beyond. Among its proposals, Rapidshare said it will remove infringing links within 1 hour of being notified, terminate account holders after multiple accusations of infringement (regardless of evidence), the requirement of a valid email address (to help respond to legal requests) and revising privacy policies to allow looking at user files. Rapidshare goes beyond even its own proposal by also monitoring inbound links to files for infringing uses and disabling them automatically.
Finally today, BBC News reports that publisher John Wiley & Sons is demanding a trial against four individuals accused of sharing one or more of their popular “For Dummies” books via Bittorrent. The publisher had filed some 15 suits seeking information on 200 different sharers but had settled out of court with most for the minimum $750 damages under the law. However, if the case does make it trail, it may be the first time that evidence gathered in Bittorrent swarms has been tested at trial, raising questions about its validity. The potential damages for those sued could reach up to $150,000.
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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