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First off today, Eriq Gardner at The Hollywood Reporter Esquire reports that VidAngel has hit back against Disney, 20th Century Fox and Warner Bros claiming that the three are engaged in a conspiracy to shutter services that enable customers to filter sex, violence and other objectionable material from their movies.
The lawsuit was filed in June by the film studios alleging that VidAngel was committing copyright infringement. VidAngel works by letting users purchase a film for $20 and then applying filters to it using software the service provides. Then, after the user is done with the video, they can return it and receive a $19 credit.
Hitting back, VidAngel is accusing the studios of violating antitrust laws and are conspiring to shut down services that enable users to filter films of content users might find offensive. They claim that the right of first sale grants them the right to sell and rebuy movies. They further claim that Family Entertainment and Copyright Act of 2005 allows them to create and implement content filtering tools.
Next up today, Wendy Davis at MediaPost reports that Google has dismissed it’s lawsuit against Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood, saying that the parties have reached an agreement to cooperate on the issue of harmful content in Google Search.
The dispute erupted between the two in late 2014 when Google asked a court to prevent Hood from seeking subpoenas about Google’s practices that the search giant felt was onerous. Hood was looking into Google’s practices regarding a variety of areas, including piracy, but when Google learned that Hood’s actions were largely at the request of movie studios, Google sought to quash the subpoenas on the grounds that they were improper.
Courts had previously ruled against Hood saying that states do not have authority over copyright issues. However, the 5th Circuit vacated that order claiming that an injunction was premature because Hood hadn’t taken any steps to force Google to comply with his subpoena. Hood withdrew the subpoena but the case remained active as the court was undecided about a declaratory judgment against future actions. Google and Hood have now settled the dispute with Google claiming that it will cooperate with Hood to address issues raised in his complaints.
Finally today, the BBC reports that Google has released an updated version of its How Google Fights Piracy Report but the announcement has already come under attack by members of the music industry, which calls Google “one of the key enablers of piracy on the planet.”
In its report, Google claims to have paid out some $3 billion to the music industry to date and that it’s YouTube Content ID program has some 50 million reference files in its database. It goes on to say that the music industry chooses to monetize, rather than remove, some 95% of those files.
However, the music industry claims that Content ID still fails to catch 20-40% of their recordings and recent changes to Google’s search algorithm have failed to reduce piracy. The report and the response comes as rhetoric between the two sides are heating up as the music industry accuses Google of not paying its fair share for using sound recordings on YouTube.
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.