3 Count: Sling Big

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1: Judge Rules That Dish’s Sling Features, Ad-Skipping Don’t Violate Copyright

First off today, Ted Johnson at Variety reports that the judge in Fox’s lawsuit against Dish Network has unsealed a January 12th summary judgment ruling, even though the case itself has been put on hold until October.

Fox sued Dish alleging that Dish’s AutoHop feature, which lets users automatically skip commercials in certain primetime shows, is a copyright infringement. They also claimed that the Sling feature, which allows users to stream recorded content over the Web, was also infringing, something they claimed the Aereo case supported.

However, the judge ruled that neither AutoHop nor Sling were copyright infringing, saying that Aereo was fundamentally different technology than anything Dish provides. But the judge did side with Fox on several key issues, including a feature called Hopper Transfer, that allowed users to copy shows to mobile devices and quality assurance copies of Fox programming made to test and improve the AutoHop feature.

The judge also ruled the quality assurance copies were not transformative and were infringing and the Hopper Transfer violated a contract Dish has with Fox, which requires them not to make copies of programming outside the home. The judge also favored Fox on other contract issues, including one that required Dish not to make Fox content available on demand.

2: Costco Dodges Luxury Watch Copyright Suit

Next up today, the Courthouse News reports that Costco has emerged victorious in a key ruling in its long-running battle with watchmaker Omega, with the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals affirming a lower court ruling that Omega committed copyright abuse with its lawsuit.

Omega sued the retailer after Costco imported watches from Europe and then sold them in their stories at a lower price than Omega. According to Omega, a small globe etched into the watch was a copyrighted work and the importation of it was barred by copyright law. Initially, the lower court decided against Omega but the 9th Circuit ruled overturned it, saying that the right of first sale, the right to resell works legally purchased, only applied to those manufactured and sold in the U.S.

However, the Supreme Court was split 4-4 on the case, which sent it back to the lower court. A separate but similar case involving textbooks was ruled upon and actually decided by the Supreme Court in favor of resale of works bought overseas. This prompted the lower court to rule in favor of Costco again, but also order Omega to pay Costco’s court costs saying Omega’s actions were copyright misuse. Today the appeals court has upheld that ruling.

3: Israeli Arrested in Madonna Song Leak Probe

Finally today, Maayan Lubeel at Reuters is reporting that an Israeli man has been arrested on charges surrounding a December leak of several Madonna songs on suspicions of computer hacking, copyright infringement and fradulent receipt of goods.

The leak, which involved unfinished tracks from her “Rebel Heart” album were traced back to a hack of Madonna’s personal computers from an unknown person in Israel. After learning this, Modonna and her label made a complaint to the FBI, which in turn worked with the cyber unit in Israel to track down the alleged leaker.

No charges have been filed yet and the name of the man has not been released, though it is reported he was a contestant on a popular singing contest in the country.

Suggestions

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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