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First off today, Patrick Frater at Variety reports that Hong Kong government is pushing for passage of a bill that would aim to modernize copyright in the territory though the updated bill is being accused of not taking into consideration free speech issues.
The legislation has been in discussion for years and is primarily an attempt to bring Hong Kong in compliance with international treaties that it has signed, including the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) treaty. However, critics of the legislation say that the law carves out too narrow of exemptions for reusing copyrighted works without permission. They also claim that the bill is already dated, copying elements of copyright law that other nations are seeking to revise.
Opponents of the bill have threatened to filibuster it, however, the bill is being pressed through its readings, with supporters saying that it has been hotly debated for years and is ready for a vote. Copyright holders in the country are pushing for the bill, saying the territory needs copyright modernization urgently and that, if anything, the bill does not go far enough.
Next up today, Andy at Torrentfreak writes that NextGen, a private BitTorrent tracker from Denmark, has shuttered its doors and, in a letter to its members, has said that it has been getting legal attention and that the only way it could protect its staff and users is by closing its doors.
Though a private tracker that limited who could register, the site had amassed some 40,000 users and was the 255th most popular site in Denmark. Private trackers typically remain small and niche-focused but exceptions, like NextGen, can still draw a great deal of legal attention.
Though efforts to shutter the site had been ongoing for years, in recent months, after it was revealed the operators were making approximately $200,000 per year from the site. Critics began to post information about the operators, including a document that claimed they were accepting Bitcoin through a fake web hosting company.
Finally today, Cyrus Farivar at Ars Technica reports that a judge in Minnesota has ordered former Prenda Law attorney Paul Hansmeier to liquidate his assets to pay his debts, including several legal judgments filed against him during his copyright campaign.
Prenda Law was a well-known copyright trolling group that would file lawsuits against John Doe defendants they accused of downloading pornographic films in hopes of forcing ISPs to turn over their identity. When the identities were learned, the firm would then seek quick settlements with the defendants. However, as defendants fought back, it was revealed that Prenda attorneys were also the owners of the clients they claimed to represent and earned a string of judgments against them for their misrepresentations.
Hansmeier had sought Chapter 13 bankruptcy protection, which would let him pay his creditors slowly over time. However, the judge has now ordered it converted to a Chapter 7, which will liquidate his assets to pay back creditors as quickly as possible. This will include the sale of his condo and other assets.
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.