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First off today, Caleb Garling at Wired writes that Google and Oracle have reached a partial deal in their copyright dispute, one that could speed the case along. Oracle sued Google claiming that the search giant violated both their copyrights and patents when developing their version of JAVA for the Android mobile operating system. The judge separated the case into copyright and patent trials and the jury returned a partial verdict in the copyright portion last week, ruling that Google infringed but was deadlocked on the issue of fair use. Oracle has said that it plans on going after a portion of Google’s profits in the copyright matters but it’s possible the judge may rule that Application Programming Interfaces, may not be copyrightable after all and eliminate most of Oracle’s victories in this area. If that does happen, Oracle has agreed to NOT seek profits on the remaining infringement, which is just nine lines of code, and will instead only seek statutory damages, which is limited to $150,000. However, there is still the specter of a retrial and the outcome of the patent portion, for which the jury is, literally, still out.
Next up today, Andy Chalk at The Escapist writes that an iPhone app entitled “Dragon Shout” has attracted the attention of ZeniMax, the parent company of Bethesda Softworks. The app is a map for the popular Bethesday Softworks game Skyrim and helps players navigate the large environment the game takes place in. ZeniMax has filed a copyright complaint with Apple, asking that the app be removed from the app store. However, the app has not been pulled yet because ZeniMax has not clarified how the app is infringing. Dragon Shout’s creator, Blalock, said that he worked hard to ensure it wasn’t infringing, including having his own map drawn and checking for trademark filings on the name.
Finally today, Nate Anderson at Ars Technica writes that Joel Tenenbaum, one of the two people from the original RIAA file sharing lawsuits to have taken his case to a trial and verdict, is petitioning the Supreme Court to address the issue of remittitur in the file sharing trials. In Tenenbaum’s case, the jury returned a verdict of $675,000 in statutory damages for his admitted file sharing. The judge ruled that was too high and overturned it, reducing it to $67,500. The RIAA appealed, that reduction and the Appeals court said that the judge needed to use a process known as “remittitur” to reduce the judgment. However, If the judge were to do that, the RIAA would be able to demand a new trial on damages. This is what happened in the other such case, the Jammie Thomas-Rasset case, which is now potentially headed to its 4th trial because of remittitur issues. Tenenbaum’s attorney is arguing that this process is unfair because it allows the RIAA to put the defendant in endless litigation until they are forced to settle. The Supreme Court should decide later this week if they will hear the case or not.
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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