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First off today, Matt Reynolds at Courthouse News Service reports that the six-year battle over the film Raging Bull has come to an end as MGM and Pamela Petrella have reached a settlement.
Petrella sued MGM in 2009 claiming that Raging Bull was based on a combination of a screenplay and a book that her father co-wrote with the movie’s subject, Jake LaMotta. Those rights, according to her, were passed down to her after her father’s death. MGM originally claimed that Petrella had waited too long to bring her claims, having been aware of them over a decade before filing suit, but the Supreme Court ruled she was not barred from bringing the claims, just limited in the damages she could win.
MGM then claimed that they had purchased the rights to the book but Petrella claimed it was the screenplay that was being infringed. This set the stage for a protracted legal battle comparing all of the works involved. That legal battle is now avoided by the settlement, the terms of which were not disclosed.
Next up today, Ben Grubb at The Sydney Morning Herald reports that, in Australia, Dallas Buyers Club LLC have won a landmark ruling against local ISP iiNet, which will force the provider to turn over contact information of suspected pirates.
Dallas Buyers Club LLC is the company that holds the rights to the movie Dallas Buyers Club. They have engaged in an international campaign against suspected pirates that, typically, has them subpoena ISPs for information about suspected infringers so they can then target them directly to push for a quick settlement. This approach has been controversial and is often referred to as “speculative invoicing”.
When company attempted to bring the campaign to Australia, local ISP iiNet fought them, taking the matter to court. The judge is now ordering iiNet to turn over the information and other ISPs to do the same. However, the judge is also saying that all letters to be sent must be seen by him first to avoid “speculative invoicing” and also that Dallas Buyers Club LLC can not disclose the identities of suspected pirates. Finally, he has said he will order the company to pay ISP costs associated with the campaign.
Finally today, Eriq Gardner at The Hollywood Reporter Esquire reports that Warner Brothers has filed a motion in court claiming that it has a first amendment right to pursue pirates of its content and, as a result, is seeking dismissal of a possible class action lawsuit against it and the piracy enforcement firm Rightscorp.
Rightscorp is a company that provides copyright enforcement for several large copyright holders, including Warner Brothers. It works by detecting copyright infringement for a specific work and then sending either a Digital Millennium Copyright Act notice or a subpoena to the ISP that manages the IP address involved. Once the DMCA notice is forwarded to the infringer or the subpoena reveals their identity, Rightscorp then moves to secure a settlement with them.
However, the aggressive tactics of Rightscorp, including robocalls and text messages, have come under fire with one suspected infringer, John Blaha, filing an abuse of process lawsuit against them and Warner Brothers hoping to make it a class action lawsuit. However, both Rightscorp and Warner Brothers are hoping to kill the lawsuit under the California anti-Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (Anti-SLAPP) law that is designed to quickly end lawsuits filed in an attempt to stifle free speech or due process.
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.