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First off today, Ashley Cullins at The Hollywood Reporter Esquire reports that a last minute effort to disqualify an expert witness at the Stairway to Heaven lawsuit has failed and trial is expected to begin today.
The lawsuit was filed by Michael Skidmore, who manages the estate of songwriter Randy Wolfe. According to Skidmore, the band Led Zeppelin, in their 1968 hit song Stairway to Heaven, borrowed heavily from Wolfe’s song Taurus, which he wrote and performed with his band Spirit.
The case is heading to a trial but, in some last minute filings, Skidmore’s lawyers wanted an expert witness for Led Zeppelin disqualified because of a conflict of interest. They claimed that he had been previously hired by the band’s publisher to evaluate similarities and that gave him a conflict. The judge denied the motion and that puts the case on track to begin today.
Next up today, Joe Mullin at Ars Technica reports that Prenda Law has lost its appeal at the 9th Circuit and wll be forced to pay some $230,000 in sanctions and legal fees for their scheme.
Prenda is operated by lawyers John Steele and Paul Hansmeier and they ran a copyright “troll” regime where they would track BitTorrent swarms for those illegally downloading a work and then use subpoenas to learn the identities of the suspected file sharers. They would then send them demand letters in hopes of security small but quick settlements. The regime began to fall apart after targets started to defend themselves and it was revealed that Prenda was representing shell companies owned by the lawyers themselves, setting the stage for sanctions and attorneys fees.
Those sanctions have now been upheld. Prior to the appeal, Prenda had been forced to post two bonds, one for over 81,000 in court sanctions (plus 25% in interest) and another $135,000 to pay legal costs of a defense lawyer who battled them.
3: ‘The Walking Dead’ Spoiler Fan Group Banned From Predicting Who Negan Killed, Reportedly Threatened With Lawsuit By AMC
Finally today, Minyvonne Burke at The International Business Times reports that AMC, the network behind The Walking Dead, has sent a cease and desist letter to The Spoiling Dead, a fan community that focuses on posting spoilers of the event.
According to a post on The Spoiling Dead’s Facebook page, they received the cease and desist over a cliffhanger that ended the latest season. With a villain having captured the heroes and having killed one of camera, the forum began to speculate as to who it was. This prompted the cease and desist letter on copyright grounds.
However, the group reports that this is far from the first time the community has been targeted. They claim that AMC has regularly sent takedown notices and even gone as far as to hire investigators to intimidate members.
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.