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First off today, Alex Hern at The Guardian reports that hackers have posted account information for over 36 million Ashley Madison users, following through on previous threats, and the company is using the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) to try and contain the leak.
In July the site was hacked and a small portion of user records were leaked. Ashley Madison, a dating site aimed at married people wanting to have an affair, used the DMCA to remove many if not all traces of the leaked content. However, now that the full data dump has been posted, the company has begun not only targeted sites reposting it, but also journalist tweets and other postings referencing it.
The move is highly controversial because user data is not considered to be copyrightable, making it so that the law likely doesn’t apply. Furthermore, the original data dump was placed on a The Onion Router (TOR) site, meaning that it is impossible to remove with a DMCA notice.
Next up today, Jonathan Steeple at Reuters reports that the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has overturned a district court ruling allowing a lawsuit over alleged copyright infringement of cheerleading uniforms to move ahead.
The lawsuit was sparked by sports clothing manufacturer Varsity Brands filing a copyright infringement lawsuit against competitor Star Athletica claiming that it ripped off patterns used in its cheerleading uniforms. However, the district court ruled that Varsity could not copyright its designs because they were a useful article and didn’t qualify for copyright protection.
The Sixth Circuit, however, took a different approach. They said that the stripes, chevrons and other elements could be treated as any other type of artwork, further noting that copyright protects fabric patterns already. The court also revived several state law claims, including allegations Star violated Tennessee’s unfair competition law.
Finally today, Melinda Miller at The Buffalo News reports that Alfonzo Cutaia is suing both the Canadian Broadcasting Company (CBC) and CNN for using his 30-second time lapse video of there “Buffalo Lake Effect”, which shows massive storms rolling over the city.
Cutaia posted the vide on YouTube and many local stations asked for and received permission to use it. However, according to Cutaia, CNN and the CBC did not, with the CBC even placing their logo on top of it. Cutaia says he contacted the CBC about the infringement but that they refused to remove it, claiming that they had received permission from CNN. However, CNN hadn’t licensed the clip either and, according to Cutaia, the CBC used the video longer than the license they claimed they held.
However, Cutaia is not just an ordinary YouTuber. He is an intellectual property attorney. As such, he filed the lawsuit but doesn’t specify damages, just that he would like a jury trial.
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.