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First off today Timothy B. Lee at Ars Technica reports that a New York judge has lashed out at several of the “copyright troll” lawsuits before his court, limiting discovery in each of the cases to just the first defendant cited. The cases work by filing a single massive lawsuit against hundreds or thousands of IP addresses linked to suspected file sharers, asking for discovery to compel ISPs to turn over subscriber information and then sending settlement demand letters to those subscribers. The judge in the cases refused to grant discovery for most IPs, saying that the copyright holders would have to file separate lawsuits for each infringement and that that the connection between IP address and actual infringer was tenuous. He also attacked the notion that a Bittorrent swarm counts as a conspiracy since the protocol is automated and the people involved do not know each other. The judge also said that, if the plaintiffs wish to move forward, they will compel the ISPs to reveal subscriber information to the court rather than the plaintiff so the party can have an opportunity to seek counsel and appear.
Next up today, Marie Szaniszlo at the Boston Herald reports that recent changes at Pinterest may not be enough to prevent copyright issues. The recent changes, which include automatic attribution for Flickr, YouTube and Vimeo works, even when pinned from 3rd party websites, don’t necessarily change the legality of the service. According to at least one attorney, if Pinterest is infringing before the changes, it almost certainly is after. Pinterest, which works by letting users “pin” photos to virtual boards, creating concerns that it may be encouraing infringement of those images.
Finally today, Steve Green at Vegas Inc. writes that, while Righthaven’s copyrights and trademark may be on the auction block, but there seems to be precious few takers. In a series of auction listings on eBay, none of the copyrights have received any bids, resulting in the auctions being extended with their minimum bid prices being reduced from $100 to $50. Righthaven’s trademark was successfully sold to an unknown bidder for $1,025 in a similar auction. Righthaven became famous for its no-warning lawsuits against sites that used content from the Las Vegas Review-Journal and the Denver Post. However, it lost several cases on fair use and standing to sue grounds, prompting judges to order Righthaven pay attorney’s fees to their former defendants. Righthaven, unable to pay, has been slowly having its properties auctioned off, including the copyrights it was supposed to protect.
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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