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First off today, Ernesto at Torrentfreak writes that a judge in the Oregon District Court has ruled that an IP address alone is not enough to prove that a defendant has committed copyright infringement and has dismissed a case sua sponte, meaning without any action from the other party.
The lawsuit stems from a complaint filed by the rightsholders of the movie The Cobbler. They sought damages from a user suspected of pirating and sharing the film via BitTorrent but, when they filed their case, the court dismissed it claiming that the only evidence they had was the IP address of the alleged infringer.
According to the judge, the evidence is not enough to show that it is plausible that the defendant is a copyright infringer. The plaintiffs were allowed to depose the suspected infringer, Thomas Gonzales, but that deposition provided no additional evidence. As such, the court ruled that Gonzales is just one of many potential infringers of the film and that means it is not “likely” that he is the infringer. The ruling is the first of its kind in the U.S., with other judges taking a contrary position. This sets up likely challenges at Appeals Court and elsewhere.
Next up today, Brian Gabriel at Cartoon Brew reports that experimental filmmaker Max Hattler has filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against music artist Lorin Ashton, better known as DJ Bassnectar.
The lawsuit alleges that Ashton used parts of Hattler’s work during his stage shows as accompaniment to his musical performance. The lawsuit targets three specific complaints. First, that Ashton “defaced, altered or destroyed” the work by using filters over it, making it a violation of California law. Second, that it created a derivative work. Third, that it removed copyright management information as part of the use.
Ashton has not yet filed a response to the lawsuit but, in a Facebook post back in April, he reached out to Hattler to try to “make it right by him”. He blamed the situation on a misunderstanding caused by a large crew not knowing what was happening.
Finally today, Nathan Grayson at Kotaku reports that The Orion Project, a dinosaur-based game by Trek Industries, was removed from the distribution platform Steam due to a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) notice by game maker Activision. However, despite the complaints by the game’s makers, others are saying it was justified.
David Prassel from Trek Industries took his complaint to Reddit, which initially objected to the takedown but users there began to investigate the complaint and found significant similarities between guns used in The Orion Project and Activision’s Call of Duty: Black Ops 3. Those similarities included gun sights that appeared to be direct copies of one another.
Prassel admitted that there were similarities between the two but said that they weren’t adequate to form a copyright complaint. However, he also said that the designer of the gun in question would redesign the weapon and create a new one for the game. He also said that the company can not afford a legal entaglement, especially amidst Steam’s summer sales.
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.