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First off today Ernesto at Torrenfreak writes that the FBI has been investigating Prenda Law and, as part of that investigation, has interrogated at least two former administrators of The Pirate Bay, asking for information about their logs.
Prenda Law is known for being a copyright troll organization that would file mass lawsuits against suspected pirates of pornographic films in hopes of securing quick settlements. The effort earned Prenda millions of dollars but fell apart after various targets fought back and revealed improprieties in the scheme, including that many of the companies Prenda represented were owned by Prenda Law members.
Another allegation accused Prenda Law of uploading some of the movies to The Pirate Bay itself in hopes of creating a honey pot that would entrap infringers. A 2013 article on Torrentfreak reported on this and apparently gained attention from the FBI, who asked Swedish authorities to ask Peter Sunde and Fredrik Neij, two of the founders of the site, about it while they were imprisoned for their role in the site. Both Sunde and Neij said they could not help as they are no longer involved with the site and can not decrypt the previous logs.
Next up today, Richard Chirgqin at The Register reports that a leaked draft of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) seems to show that United States is backing down from earlier demands for harsher notice-and-takedown rules and is allowing at least two countries, Canada and Chile, to keep their existing systems.
The TPP is a controversial trade agreement that has been negotiated in secret with over a dozen nations along the pacific rim. While the treaty covered a wide variety of topics, the intellectual property elements (including copyright) have seen a great deal of public attention as leaks of the draft indicate possible changes many of the signatories as the U.S. appears to seek to export elements of its law.
One of those elements has been the U.S. notice and takedown system, which requires hosts to remove or disable access to allegedly infringing material once notified. However, in the latest leak, Canada will be allowed to maintain its notice-and-notice system, so long as they accept greater liability for intermediaries, and Chile will be allowed to keep its system, which uses judicial review.
Finally today, Chris Morran at The Consumerist reports that Universal is continuing to defend the Lenz v. Universal case and it is heading to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals as both sides seek to overturn denials of motions for summary judgment that have steered the case on the path toward a trial.
The case began in 2007 when Universal Music filed a DMCA notice against a 29-second clip of a dancing baby with the Prince Song “Let Go Crazy”. Stephanie Lenz, the uploader of the clip, filed a counter-notice and got the video restored but, with the help of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed a lawsuit against Universal alleging that the record label knowingly filed a false notice, which is against the DMCA.
The case, however, has dragged on for eight years now with both sides being denied motions for summary judgment. Universal claimed that the DMCA does not require filers to consider fair use though those claims were tossed. However, Lenz’ attorneys failed to prove that Universal was willfully blind to fair use issues, meaning it would be up to jury to decide if Universal acted against the law. The issue is no on appeal and oral arguments are being heard today.