3 Count: Steamed Up

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1: Judge Denies Publishers’ Bid for New Evidence in GSU Copyright Case

First off today, Andrew Richard Albanese at Publishers Weekly reports that the judge in the Georgia State University e-reserves case has denied a request by publishers to gather new evidence in the case, pushing it toward a second hearing on the fair use status of the works already involved in the lawsuit.

Book publishers had sued the school claiming that its e-reserves system used unlicensed digital copies of coursepacks as an alternative to purchasing legitimate copies. GSU argued that the system was a fair use and the judge agreed, only finding possible infringement on 5 of 99 cases. However, the publishers won a reversal at the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, which remanded the case back to the lower court saying its fair use analysis was incorrect.

Publishers had wanted to gather more evidence from GSU, noting that, since the lawsuit was first filed in 2008, many new infringements had likely occurred, including many that had even weaker fair use arguments. However, the judge has put a halt to that request for now saying that the issue at hand is the second fair use analysis using the appeals court instructions.

2: Settlement Stalls in Palin Copyright Lawsuit

Next up today, Susanne Cervenka at USA Today reports that settlement talks between Sarah Palin and the New Jersey Media Group have stalled, pushing the lawsuit toward a potential court date.

The New Jersey Media Group, which publishes The Record, sued Palin and her political action committee, SarahPAC, in September 2013 after the politician used one of their photos on social media and their campaign website. The image, the iconic photo of three firefighters raising the flag over ground zero, was widely used around that time to commemorate the anniversary of the attacks.

According to filings by the New Jersey Media Group, the two sides had reached a settlement where Palin would pay $15,000 for use of the photo but the agreement hit a snag when looking at confidentiality. Palin’s camp wanted strict confidentiality to avoid headlines where the newspaper wanted to allow some news coverage. Another agreement was supposedly reached but the media group alleges Palin’s camp “stalled” when it came to signing the agreement, prompting the New Jersey Media Group to request that the court enforce the settlement, even though it is unsigned. Palin, for her part, says that they were not stalling but simply have to get many parties to agree to the deal.

3: Paid-for Skyrim Mod Removed in a Matter of Hours

Finally today, Ian Dransfield at PC Gamer reports that, yesterday, video game developer and distributor Valve announced that they would allow makes of game mods to charge for them on their Steam platform. The move was met with an outcry from the community, but also has raised some copyright issues as at least one of the paid mods reused content from others without permission.

The new system currently is only available to those who create mods for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, which is one of the most commonly modded games. It allows mod creators to set a price for their work and then receive 25% of the funds collected, the rest being divied between Valve, the game’s developer and charities.

However, Chesko’s Fishing Mod was pulled after it was discovered that it used assets from Fores New Idles in Skyrim, a free mod available on other sites. Whether the mod was pulled by its developer or by Valve is unclear, but a note posted by Chesko claims that Valve had given the ok to use material in free mods in paid ones.


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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