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First off today, David Kravets at Wired reports that the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) has reached a settlement with the BitTorrent search engine isoHunt that will result in isoHunt paying $110 million in damages and shutting down within seven days.
The settlement brings an end to a seven year lawsuit that began in 2006, with the movie studios suing isoHunt, alleging that the site was liable for copyright infringement as it helped to enable users to find and download infringing files. isoHunt lost several early court rulings, including an appeal to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which found that the site was liable but a trial was scheduled to begin shortly on the subject of damages.
isoHunt claims to have over 44 million peers and 13 million active torrents. The site is currently online though Fung has pubished a farewell post indicating that he is moving on to other projects.
Next up today, Nick Galvin at the Sydney Morning Herald reports that journalist Mike Gerrard has found himself in a copyright spat with author Bill Bryson (or at least his publisher) over an interview that Bryson gave Gerrard in 1994 that Gerrard recently republished in an ebook.
Bryson’s publisher contacted Amazon and had the book removed on copyright grounds. Though Australian law, where the two men are from, has historically protected the transcription of speeches and interviews as copyrightable, the only relevant case law is over 100 years old, leaving journalists like Galvin in a gray area.
The dispute raises other questions about journalists and how they can (or can not) repeat the words from individuals they interview in their stories, including Bryson himself, who often quotes people as part of his travel writing.
Finally today, dabitch at Adland writes that artists, operating under the name “Right the Music” have launched an advertising campaign lampoon and criticizing BitTorrent (the company) over its recent billboard campaign.
Recently billboards by BitTorrent began to spring up with slogans such as “Your Data Should Belong to the NSA” and no company information. They were then altered to change the slogans, for example, “You Data Should Belong to You”, with the BitTorrent name underneath to put the attention on privacy. However, artists have fired back, buying online ads on sites such as Rolling Stone and Drudge Report, with slogans such as “Instead of Paying Artists, We Spent Money on Banners” with the BitTorrent logo.
BitTorrent has tried to distance itself from the piracy associated with its namesake technology, which it developed, and has tried to bill itself as a legitimate content distribution platform. Though it’s not clear who is behind the Right the Music site, it appears that this is just the first advertising campaign being planned.
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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