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First off today, Paul O’Mahony at The Local reports that the Supreme Court in Sweden has ruled against Wikimedia, the non-profit group behind Wikipedia, saying that the organization violated the copyrights of artists when it published photographs of street artwork, including sculptures.
The lawsuit was brought by the Visual Copyright Society in Sweden, which accused the organization of copyright infringement for taking and publishing photos of public art including sculptures and paintings on display in public spaces. However, Wikimedia claimed that, because the European Union Court of Human Rights had ruled on the right of panorama, meaning the right to take photos of copyrighted works in public.
However, the Swedish court ruled that the right did not extend to creating a database of those works with commercial value. Even though Wikimedia is a non-profit, the court ruled that the compilation of the works into such a database was a violation of the copyrights in the works. Wikimedia has said it is working with its lawyers both in Sweden and in the U.S. to decide what action to take.
Next up today, Andrew Albanese at Publishers Weekly reports that the Supreme Court has delayed a decision on whether or not it will hear the Google Book Search case, likely pushing that decision back to later this month.
The case pits the Authors Guild against Google as the guild believes that Google’s Book Search service, which scans and indexes book for easy searching, violates copyright law. Early in the case, the two sides sought to settle repeatedly but the courts rejected them as being overly broad. The Authors Guild’s co-plaintiff, the Publisher Guild, reached a separate settlement but the Authors Guild pressed on, eventually losing in both the district and the appeals court.
The Authors Guild appealed to the Supreme Court, which was supposed to decide whether it was going to take the case on April 1st and make that decision public today. However, the court did not make that decision and will likely decide it on their next scheduled conference on April 15.
Finally today, Corinne Reichert at ZDNet reports that, in Australia, the Communications Alliance CEO, John Stanton, has said that the country’s controversial three-strikes policy should be put on hold for another 12 months while it evaluates if the increasing availability of legitimate streaming alternatives is enough to blunt the rise of piracy in the country.
Australia passed the bill in late 2014 and would require internet service providers in the country to disconnect suspected pirates after two warning notifications. It was supposed to take effect in September 2015 but was pushed back repeatedly over issues surrounding cost and technological challenges.
However, Stanton now says that the system may not be needed at all as the introduction of streaming services such as Netflix to the country have caused a reduction in piracy rates.