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First off today, Joh Ribeiro at PCWorld reports that six U.S. movie studios have filed a lawsuit against Megaupload, the company behind the now-defunct file sharing service of the same name.
The site was famously shut down in January 2012 by a joint U.S. and New Zealand action that resulted in the seizing of the site’s servers and arrests of many of the site’s employees, including its founder Kim Dotcom. Dotcom is currently battling extradition to the United States.
The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages but estimates that Megaupload earned some $175 million from its infringing activities. The lawsuit also alleges that the service was designed to enable sharing of infringing works, contrary to Dotcom’s claim it was intended for private file storage. The complaint lists some 30 films that were allegedly pirated on the site and also named Dotcom as well as other employees as personal defendants, in addition to the company itself.
Next up today, Joe Mullin at Ars Technica reports that a court document filed by Malibu Media has shed new light on the company’s copyright enforcement operations. The revelations include that the company has used lie detector tests and that it tracks other torrents downloaded by defendants, all in a bid to ensure that the lawsuits it files are accurate.
The company is often described as a copyright “troll” and is known for filing large lawsuits against multiple defendants that it accuses of illegally sharing pornographic films created by the company. The company has said that it has sued some 886 people, of which 49 were dismissed for hardship, 259 due to insufficient evidence and 304 because of lack of information from ISPs. The remainder either resulted in settlements, judgments or are in negotiation/litigation.
Malibu Media also moved to distance itself from the term “troll” noting that it has a legitimate, registered copyright in the works it sues over and it makes an active attempt to distribute them legitimately. The company also says that it does not attempt to use embarrassment to coax defendants into a settlement.
Finally today,Joe Harris at Courthouse News Service reports that Warner Brothers and Turner Entertainment have emerged victorious over defendants A.V.E.L.A., Inc., Art-Nostalgia.com, Inc., Leo Valencia and X One X Productions in a case that stretches back to 2006.
The defendants in the case were behind the site Art-Nostalgia.com, a site that sold counterfeit merchandise related to famous films such as The Wizard of Oz, Gone with the Wind and some 255 Tom & Jerry Cartoons. The judge has ruled that the amount of $10,000 in statutory damages per work infringed is reasonable, raising the total in damages $2.57 million for all of the works.
The case had been mired in discovery challenges as the defendants have repeatedly failed to turn over financial records that would indicate how much they had made in profits. They previously estimated that they had made just over $70,000 but the judge rebuked that claim, saying that there was no evidence.
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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