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First off today, Krista Hughes at Reuters reports that the United States Trade Representative has released its annual Special 301 report of countries that it feels are the worst offenders of copyright and patent protections.
Despite pressure from lobbyists, the USTR did not name India as the “Priority Foreign Country”, the top slot on the report. Instead, it placed Ukraine there for the second time in a row and kept India in the “Priority Watch List”, the second-highest tier in the report. The Priority Foreign Country is eligible for sanctions from the U.S. but the USTR has said that, due to the current instability in Ukraine, it won’t be considering such actions at this time.
The USTR also removed Italy and the Philippines from the report, citing progress that the two countries have made in enforcing intellectual property rights. It also promised to do a special review of India in the fall and to try to work closely with the new government, which will take hold after its upcoming elections.
Next up today, Mira Wassef at the Staten Island Advance reports that Zuffa LLC, the rightsowners in the UFC brand, has filed a $40 million lawsuit against Steven Messina over his alleged uploading of some 141 pirated pay-per-view events to file sharing websites, including The Pirate Bay.
According to the lawsuit Messina collected the events either from the Web or by capturing them from private Pay-Per-View broadcasts. He also created a special “Capping Fund” through PayPal to let others donate to his efforts.
The lawsuit further claims that Messina had the goal of being one of the most popular and best known pirates on the Web through his uploads, which he did through the name “Secludedly”. He reportedly described himself as “Provider of best MMA and Boxing rips online!”
Finally today, Eriq Gardner at The Hollywood Reporter Esquire reports that best-selling author Tess Gerritsen is suing Warner Brothers over the movie Gravity, saying that it is based on her 1999 book with the same name.
According to Gerritsen, the entered into an agreement to license her book for use in a movie for $1 million. She was told, in addition to that up front fee, she would receive a $500,000 production bonus when it was made, screen credit and 2.5 percent of defined net proceeds, none of which has been paid.
The lawsuit is not a copyright lawsuit but a contract one filed in California state court. Gerritsen had previously stated that she felt the movie was not based on her book but now says she has learned new information that makes it clear that it was. The lawsuit is seeking at least $10 million in damages.
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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