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First off today, Fast Company reports that the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Justice, the Library of Congress and the U.S. Copyright Office alleging that the current ban on circumventing digital rights management (DRM) is an unconstitutional restriction on free speech and should be overturned.
In 1998, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) was signed into law and, as part of the act, made circumventing DRM illegal, even if the intent was to do something lawful. The law gave the Librarian of Congress the right to carve out exemptions but has only done so with a very narrow focus.
As such, the EFF is claiming that this part of the DMCA is a burden on free speech and points to several researchers who have not undertaken projects for fear of breaking the law. They are asking the court to force the government to allow the researchers named in the lawsuit to be allowed to continue their work and a declaration that the the law is a violation of the First Amendment as applied to those cases.
Next up today, Andy at Torrentfreak writes that, following the recent closure of Kickass Torrents (KAT), another popular site for illegal films, Solarmovie, has also shuttered its doors.
KAT was shut down earlier this week following the arrest of its alleged operator, Artem Vaulin, in Poland. Though the servers have not been seized, documents released by the government indicate that Department of Justice had infiltrated the operation through various security leaks and those allowed them to track down Vaulin.
Solarmovie has voluntarily shut down in response to the arrest, possibly due to connections between the site and KAT. Similarities cited include overlaps in the IP address of the site and other site similarities. Though these overlaps don’t prove that Vaulin owned or operated Solarmovie, it does seem to indicate that there was a connection between the two, which is likely explain the latter’s decision to close up.
Finally today, Michal Addady at Fortune reports that 12 artists have come forward to accuse the Spanish retailer Zara of stealing their designs and one of those designers, Tuesday Bassen, has filed an official complaint with the company.
Bassen became aware of the alleged infringement when several of her fans asked her if she was collaborating with Zara. However, when she approached Zara about the issue, they responded saying that they rejected her claim noting, in part, that she is a much less popular than Zara.
Another artist, Adam Kurtz, produced a graphic that compared Zara’s products to the original works, highlighting the similarities. Bassen created a similar graphic comparing her work to Zara’s. However, there is at least some disagreement as to whether the designs involved are distinctive enough to be considered copyright infringing though Zara’s parent company, Inditex, has responded to Fortune saying that it is investigating the matter and is in contact with Bassen’s lawyers.
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.