3 Count: SLAPP Fight

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1: Flo & Eddie and the Right to Publicly Perform Pre-1972 Recordings

First off today, David Post at the Washington Post reports that, in the ongoing legal dispute between Flo & Eddie of the Turtles and both Sirius XM and Pandora, Pandora has responded by filing an anti-SLAPP motion, seeking to get the suit against them dismissed and to force the Turtles to pay them damages.

At issue is the use of pre-1972 sound recordings, which are covered under state laws and not the federal code. The Turtles sued Sirius XM in a variety of state courts alleging that the satellite radio provider failed to pay royalties for the use of their music. They have found some initial success in California and have followed up with a lawsuit against Pandora on the same grounds.

However, Pandora has hit back, filing an anti-SLAPP motion. California has a very strong SLAPP law, which aims to prevent abuse of the court system to stifle free speech by filing lawsuits that are unlikely to succeed. If it is granted, it will require the plaintiff, in this case The Turtles, to pay damages to Pandora. Given the Turtles recent successes, its unclear how likely the anti-SLAPP motion is to succeed but Pandora believes it has a new legal theory that proves performance rights are not applicable in this case as such rights were surrendered when The Turtles published their music.

2: MPAA Wants to Sue ‘Pirate Site’ Hosting Providers

Next up today, Ernesto at Torrentfreak writes that a leaked document from the MPAA reveals the organization was considering litigation against hosting providers that have a large number of pirate websites.

The document listed one company by name, LeaseWeb, but indicated that other companies might also be targeted. The plan also calls for, in the short term, research to distinguish legitimate and infringing cloud storage services, litigation against cyberlockers directly and criminal referrals.

LeaseWeb, for its part, has said it is surprised to find that it is being targeted in any way. It says it has a solid abuse procedure in all of the countries it operates and responds to takedown and removal requests.

3: Some Rights Holders Exploiting Canada’s New Copyright Notice-and-Notice System

Finally today, Jason Bouwmeester at TechAeris reports that some rightsholders are already taking advantage of Canada’s new copyright warning system, which began on January 1st and requires any service with a Canadian IP address to forward notices of copyright infringement to users.

While most of the notices have been benign, one group, Rightscorp, has been causing controversy with a notice that warns of damages ranging up to $150,000 and that the user connection could be suspended. However, the law in Canada currently caps those damages to $5,000 per case and includes no provision for disabling accounts.

The notice, which is sent via email, comes with a preface from the ISP, which makes it clear that it has not provided the identity of the suspected infringer. The email also advises users to secure their wifi to avoid unauthorized access to their account.


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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