3 Count: Tomorrow Escaped

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1: U.S. Court Denies ABC Request to Halt Sales of Dish’s ‘Hopper’

First off today, Donna Tam at CNet reports that a New York District Court Judge has denied a request by ABC seeking a preliminary injunction against against Dish Network to prevent it from selling its “Hopper” DVR, which lets users automatically skip ads in recorded shows.

ABC claims that the Hopper DVR violates both their copyrights and the retransmission agreement that allows Dish to carry ABC programming. The ruling mirrors one that a California judge handed down in July in a lawsuit filed by Fox, that decision was upheld by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

CBS, who is also involved in the lawsuit, did win a a small victory as the judge refused to toss out its claim that Dish concealed the Hopper from them during negotiations. Dish had argued they had no obligation to give CBS, or anyone else, a “sneak preview” during negotiations. The lawsuit is now set for a possible trial.

2: White House Asks FCC to Decriminalize Cell Phone Unlocking

Next up today, Jared Newman at Techhite reports that the White House, through the U.S. Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and INformation Administration, has filed a petition with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), asking it to take action to legalize the unlocking of mobile devices.

Unlocking cell phones to move them to a new carrier became illegal in January after the U.S. Copyright Office declined to make it exempt from the anti-circumvention rules in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. However, most carriers will voluntarily unlock a phone as long as the account is in good standing, though there are some notable exceptions.

The White House is asking the FCC to take action and find a way to lift the ban so long as “the original customer has complied with any contractual service obligations” and the device was not obtained unlawfully. However, it is unclear what action that the FCC will take, especially as it is waiting for Senate approval of its new Chairman.

3: Disney’s Non-Strategy Strategy to Combat Unauthorized Disneyland Horror Movie

Finally today, Seth Abramovitch at The Hollywood Reporter writes that the widely-anticipated lawsuit against the film “Escape from Tomorrow” has not materialized and that, even as the film is set for an October 11 release, no such lawsuit is in the works.

The movie is a horror film that is set inside Disney World. It was shot inside the park without permission and features many Disney elements, including a thread about the Disney Princesses being prostitutes. When the film debuted at Sundance, it was widely expect that the film’s director Randy Moore would end up in Disney’s legal crosshairs. This was furthered by a poster that featured a bloodied hand that looked like Mickey Mouse and a font similar to Disney’s iconic style.

But despite potential copyright and trademark infringements, Disney has not filed a suit and Disney has said that they have no plans to. The reason being that they don’t wish to give the film any free publicity and avoid helping it.


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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