3 Count: Uncivil Forfeiture

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1: Aereo to the FCC: Let us Join the Cable Companies We Tried to Replace

First off today, Brian Fun at the Washington Post reports that Aereo, the TV streaming service put on pause following a Supreme Court ruling against it, has filed a petition with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) telling it that it would accept the same limitations as other Muiltichannel Video Programming Distributor (MVPD), which would provide it a possible path to legitimacy but at the expense of paying retransmission fees.

Aereo was a TV streaming service that used a series of tiny antennas, one per customer, to capture, record and stream over-the-air broadcast television. Broadcasters sued but Aereo claimed that, since each customer had their own antenna, that its use of the content was non-infringing. Despite success in the lower courts, the Supreme Court ruled against Aereo forcing the service to “pause”.

However, Aereo is now hoping that the FCC will get it regulatory parity with other cable companies and satellite providers, or MVPDs. While they would be forced to pay retransmission fees, the broadcasters would be forced to negotiate those fees in good faith. However, this means that Aereo is dropping its claims that it is not cable company and does not have to pay any retransmission fees.

2: Kim Dotcom Fights U.S. Government’s Attempt to Seize $67 Million in Assets

Next up today, Eriq Gardner at The Hollywood Reporter Esquire reports that the U.S. government has filed a new civil complaint against Kim Dotcom and, in it, is seeking the seizure of some $67 million in assets that they government claims Dotcom earned from illegal activity.

Dotcom was arrested in January 2012 and his then-site, Megaupload, was shuttered in a joint action by U.S. and New Zealand authorities. He is currently facing extradition to the U.S., the hearing on which is currently scheduled for early 2015.

In the meantime, the U.S. government is hoping to seize millions in assets that it claims Dotcom earned through illegal activity. The motion doesn’t require the government to convict Dotcom, but only to show that the assets were gained from an illegal activity, namely the “Mega Conspiracy” that the U.S. government has taken to calling Megaupload. Dotcom, however, claims that the U.S. lacks the authority to make such a seizure in his home country of New Zealand.

3: Ford, GM Argue They Don’t Owe Any Music Royalties

Finally today, Andrew Romonas at The National Law Journal reports that Ford and GM have responded to a lawsuit filed against them over their in-car stereos and in it they claim that they do not owe any royalties under the Audio Home Recording Act of 1992 (AHRA).

The lawsuit was filed by the Alliance of Artists and Recording Companies, a small trade group that collects royalties from manufacturers of digital audio recording devices (DARDs). However, when a court ruled that personal MP3 players did not qualify as DARDs under the law, it’s application was severely limited and now the organization only collects a small amount of royalties per year.

However, the group filed a lawsuit against Ford, GM and the manufacturers of several in-car audio systems alleging that the systems qualified as DARDs under the law and that they were owed up to $2,500 per vehicle with a qualifying system. Ford and GM have now hit back saying that the systems involved are a “fixed computer” and thus is exempt. Further, the response claims that the systems do not allow serial copying, meaning that they are not under the purview of the art.


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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