3 Count: 50 Shades of Infringement

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1: ‘Fifty Shades’ Publisher Sues Porn Dealers

First off today, Court House News reports that Fifty Shades Ltd. and Universal City Studios, the copyright holders for the popular “Fifty Shades of Gray” books, has sued several adult film companies over a porn parody of the book series.

According to the lawsuit, the movie, which has two planned sequels, attempts to unfairly capitalize on the book’s brand and uses characters, events and story elements in the movie, making them as close as possible to the original. According to the owners, this makes the movie a copy and not an actual parody. Traditionally, porn parodies have been deemed protected under fair use but that assertion has gone largely untested in the courts. The studios involved had no comment on the litigation.

2: Third Member of Internet Piracy Group “IMAGiNE” Sentenced for Criminal Copyright Conspiracy

Next up today, InfoZine writes that a fifth member of the IMAGiNE piracy group has been sentenced. IMAGiNE was a group to aimed to release major Hollyood movie on the Internet while they were still available in theaters. However, the group shut down and its members indicted in April.

Gregory A. Cherwonik became the latest member of that group to be sentenced and will serve 40 months in prison along with 3 years of supervised release. He will also have to pay $15,000 in restitution. He had pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement. Cherwonik has received the longest sentence so far of anyone in the group though another member has yet to receive his and will have his hearing in March of 2013.

3: Meet Rep. Bob Goodlatte, Hollywood’s New Copyright Ally

Finally today, Declan McCullagh from CNet reports that Rep. Lamar Smith, the former Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee best-known for being the author of the controversial (and now shelved) Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), has been replaced by another Republican Representative, Bob Goodlatte. However, Goodlatte also has a reputation for being a staunch supporter of copyright, being described as a “copyright maximalist” by the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Smith, who is losing the position due to term limits, will instead be charing the Science, Space and Technology Committee. However, Goodlatte was also a staunch supporter of SOPA and said in an interview two months ago that he is “committed to enacting strong copyright laws.” However, he has also worked with the tech community on many issues, most notably privacy and introduce an amendment to SOPA that would have blunted the bill’s impact on foreign sites with only some content infringing.


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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