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First off today, Andrew Zajac at Bloomberg reports that AF Holdings, a company that holds the rights to various pornographic films, has lost an appeal in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia that denies them access to subscriber information for thousands of IP addresses that they allege were illegally sharing their content.
AF Holdings is widely regarded as a copyright troll as it files massive lawsuits against thousands of suspected defendants, seeking subpoenas from ISPs to get the information connected with the account. They then use that information to compel settlements, usually for small four-figure amounts.
However, the circuit court may have put an end to that, denying them access to that information on the grounds that only a few of the suspected infringers likely live in the D.C. area, it is unlikely any connection exists between the alleged infringers and that it would be impractical for AF Holdings to sue the majority of the defendants. This is the first Appeals Court to come down against such operations and it is likely that other Circuit Courts will defer to this ruling.
Next up today, the BBC is reporting that the two surviving members of The Beastie Boys, Adam Horovitz and Michael Diamond, are testifying against Monster Energy Drinks over the use of their music in a promotional video.
According to the lawsuit, Monster used a remix of several of The Beastie Boys’ songs, including Sabotage, So What’cha Want and Make Some Noise, for a promotional video for a snowboarding competition sponsored by the company. Monster admits that it infringed the copyright of the band but says that it was an accident, based on a mistaken belief that they had obtained the license to use the song.
The band is wanting some $2 million in damages but Monster says they should only have to pay $125,000 for the five weeks the video was online. The event began one day after the third member of the band, Adam Yauch, died, leaving explicit instructions that his music never be used for advertising, something the rest of the band had long supported. The video was posted online shortly after the event ended. It had been viewed some 14,000 times before being taken down.
Finally today, Eriq Gardner at The Hollywood Reporter Esquire reports that designer Juan Luis Garcia has sued film director Spike Lee over a collection of movie posters for the film Oldboy, which Garcia says he designed but was never paid for.
In November, Garcia wrote an open letter to Lee claiming that he spent two months designing the posters and, when presented to Lee’s advertising agency, was hit with a lowball offer that he was forced to walk away from. However, according to Garcia, Lee’s team went ahead and used the posters, or at least designs based upon them, without payment or permission.
Garcia filed his lawsuit yesterday and is suing both for copyright infringement and the removal of copyright management information. The lawsuit seeks some profits and unspecified statutory damages as well. Lee, for his part, has previously denied any knowledge of who Garcia is or his claims.
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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