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First off today, Joe Mullin at Ars Technica reports that, more than two years after Prenda Law ended its copyright trolling campaign, the lawyers behind it found themselves before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and received a round drumming from the judges during the hearing.
Prenda became well known for a campaign where it would file lawsuits against suspected pirates of adult films. However, the operation began to unravel when it was revealed that the companies Prenda Law claimed to be working for were actually shell companies controlled by the attorneys themselves. This eventually led a district court to impose stiff sanctions and recommend the case be turned over to criminal investigators.
Prenda appealed that ruling, saying that it was denied due process, in particular that the judge held their use of 5th amendment protections against self-incrimination against them. However, the judges in the hearing said that such a decision was completely appropriate and pressed the lawyers for more details about the operation, which they failed to provide. The appeals court judges will render their final decision later.
Next up today, Micha Singleton at The Verge is reporting that Apple has drawn the attention of the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission over reports that it is working with the labels to try and kill free music streaming at Spotify and YouTube.
Reports indicate that Apple is pressuring record labels to stop offering their music for free streaming on Spotify and have even offered to pay royalties equal to what they earn from YouTube in order to have free streaming removed from it. The negotiations are ahead of a planned relaunch of Beats music, which Apple acquired last year when it bought out the Beats music company.
In addition to the U.S. agencies, regulators in the European Union are also said to be looking into the allegations as well. Apple does have an antitrust monitor its campus following a ruling involving ebooks, but it is unclear if that monitor is involved with this effort.
Finally today, Alina Selyukh at Reuters reports that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has given music streaming company Pandora a foreign ownership waiver that will open it up to by the small South Dakota radio station KXMZ FM.
Pandora, currently locked in a protracted royalty battle with the music industry is hoping that the buyout will allow it to leverage the cheaper royalties terrestrial radio stations pay. However, the plan ran into a snag because U.S. law forbids such radio stations to have more than 25% foreign ownership. Pandora, due to privacy concerns, could not verify that it is less than 25% foreign owned.
However, the FCC has decided to allow the station to be up to 49.99% foreign owned. If it needs to go over that amount due to changes or if a foreign group wants more than 5 percent interest in the company, they must get further approval from the FCC. The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers opposed the approval but the FCC ruled its duty was to analyze whether the foreign influence was unacceptable, not analyze the reasons behind the purchase.
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.