3 Count: Soapy Opera

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1: Prenda’s John Steele: Accused of Identity Theft by His Own Mother-in-Law

First off today, Joe Mullin at Ars Technica reports that controversial bulk piracy litigation firm Prenda Law was in a Minnesota courtroom yesterday and John Steele, the lawyer widely believed to be the head of the firm, took the stand in his own defense.

Prenda Law is widely referred to as a copyright troll, best known for filing mass lawsuits against individuals accused of pirating pornographic content while failing to distribute the content legitimately. However, their campaign has largely ground to a halt after accusations that the companies the firm represented were actually shell companies owned by the lawyers themselves.

It was one of the “owners” of one of those companies, Alan Cooper, who initially shined light on the allegations. Previously, he showed up in court saying his signature had been forged. Steele, yesterday, said that Cooper was a willing partner and teamed up with Mark Lutz to set up the company. However, Cooper denied that and said that it wasn’t until a text from Steele’s mother in law that he became aware his identity was being used. Steele, however, said his mother was confused and had been reading material posted about him online.

Lutz did not appear at the hearing, which involves a judge asking Prenda Law questions about cases in the state it tried to drop. Representatives for Prenda said they have no idea where Lutz is, though he was scheduled to appear.

2: Copyright Office Website Shuts Down; Patent Office and SEC Have Money for “A Few Weeks”

Next up today, Jeff John Roberts at Gigaom reports that, as part of the shutdown of the U.S. government, the U.S. Copyright Office is also closed. Though the site is still accepting new copyright registrations, those will not be processed until the office reopens.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), however, has funding for at least a few more weeks and will operate normally during that time.

The Copyright Office is encouraging registration filers to go ahead and submit their registrations now to ensure the most prompt processing when they reopen. However, all public information, including its guides on copyright, have been removed for the time being.

3: Vevo Launches in Germany

Finally today, Georg Szalai at The Hollywood Reporter writes that digital music service Vevo has launched in Germany, a move that times out with Oktoberfest, and brings with it the site’s 75,000 plus official music videos and other programming.

German consumers can now access Vevo content via the Web, mobile devices and other services, such as Apple TV and Roku. The launch is being kicked off by a series of exclusive content, including the premiere of a new Britney Spears song.

However, the launch was not without hitches. Vevo’s skill at the German language has been called into question as the company misspelled the German word for “Welcome” in its banners as well as at least one other misstep.


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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