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First off today, Gene Maddaus at Variety reports that movie streaming and filtering service VidAngel was before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals asking the court to lift an injunction placed against it.
VidAngel was a movie filtering service that allows users to “buy” a DVD for $20, stream it and then sell it back for $19, making it functionally $1 per stream. While the Family Movie Act makes it legal to create movie filters, movie studios took issue with the ripping and streaming of their films, citing circumvention of digital rights management (DRM) software and copyright infringement.
The 3-judge panel, however, appeared to side with the movie studios’ arguments with one judge whispering to another “I think this one’s a lot easier”, contrasting the case to their previous one about police search. The judges also asked pointed questions to VidAngel’s lawyers about the circumvention of DRM and the same judge referred to VidAngel’s using “what appears to be illegal software.” No verdict is expected for several months.
Next up today, Ernesto at Torrentfreak writes that CloudFlare, the content delivery network (CDN) provider, has failed in a bid to reduce the scope of a piracy lawsuit filed against it as the judge holds that it may be held liable for content it serves even if the content originates from outside the United States.
The lawsuit was filed by adult content publisher ALS Scan, which sued over some 15 sites that hosted their content illegally but also took advantage of Cloudflare’s services both to improve their ability to deliver content and to mask the real location of their servers. ALS specifically argued that CloudFlare was liable for contributory copyright infringement but CloudFlare argued that they can’t be if the original site is not a direct infringer, which they can’t be if they are located outside the jurisdiction of the U.S. courts.
However, the court rejected that argument saying that the data stored on Cloudflare’s servers was more than enough to establish jurisdiction in the United States. The court also denied a fair use argument by Cloudflare, allowing ALS to move forward with all 15 complaints. If Cloudflare loses, it could have a drastic impact on how it does business, especially with relation to pirate websites and notices of copyright infringement.
Finally today, Ashley Cullins at The Hollywood Reporter Esquire reports that, even as the plaintiffs appeal the jury verdict, attorneys for Led Zeppelin have asked the appeals court to award them attorneys fees in the Stairway to Heaven lawsuit.
The lawsuit was filed by heirs to Randy Wolfe, the songwriter for the band Spirit. They alleged that Led Zeppelin copied Spirit’s song Taurus to make Stairway to Heaven. However, the jury sided with Led Zeppelin and found no infringement had taken place. The estate is currently appealing that verdict but, when Led Zeppelin’s attorneys asked the lower court for attorney’s fees, they were denied.
That has now prompted Led Zeppelin’s attorneys to file a cross-appeal on the issue of attorneys fees. In a bid to force Wolfe’s estate to pay the costs of the case, they are appealing the judge’s decision on attorneys fees even as the plaintiffs are appealing the jury verdict.