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First off today, Wendy Davis at MediaPost reports that the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has declined to hear LiveJournal’s en banc appeal before the full panel and is letting a three-judge panel decision stand.
The case pits the blogging platform against Mavrix Photographs, a company that licenses images of celebrities. According to Mavrix, LiveJournal both owns and hosts the gossip site OhNoTheyDidn’t, which in turn hosts moderated content provided by users. Some of the submitted images turned out to be copyright infringements of Mavrix’s photos. LiveJournal argued that they were protected by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) safe harbor provisions, which protect hosts from liability when a user uploads infringing material.
The lower court sided with LiveJournal but Mavrix appealed. The Ninth Circuit overturned that ruling saying that it was a question of fact whether LiveJournal’s unpaid moderators were “agents” acting on LiveJournals behalf and were aware of the likely infringements. If so, LiveJournal would lose its safe harbor protection and face liability. LiveJournal asked for an en banc hearing on that point, but the full court has now declined it.
Next up today, Ernesto at Torrentfreak writes that despite still being in theaters (and not yet released in all countries), The Hitman’s Bodyguard has appeared on pirate sites in a high-quality format.
The film has been doing well in the United States since its release here on August 18. However, the film has yet to debut in Australia, China and Germany, markets of growing importance for filmmakers. Despite that, a high-quality copy of the film was leaked onto pirate sites complete with 1080p resolution, English translation and Dolby 5.1 audio. Normally pirate releases of films this early are low-quality copies recorded in theaters on cameras or pulled from production sources.
The movie is tagged Web-DL, which means it was likely pulled from a web streaming service. The movie is currently available on Netflix in Japan, making that a likely source. The movie is by Millennium Films, which has a long history of being aggressive against piracy, especially with its previous film London Has Fallen.
Finally today, Dany Rys at Billboard reports that the music industry coalition musicFIRST has launched a new ad campaign that’s targeting radio and free streaming services over the royalties that they pay (or rather don’t pay) musicians.
The campaign includes a revamped “No Heart Radio” site that targets terrestrial radio for not paying royalties for using sound recordings. It also includes a “SiriusLY?” site that looks at the lower rates paid by satellite and digital streaming services. Finally, the “YouLose” site targets YouTube for paying significantly less in royalties than competing services.
The push is part of their broad Fair Play, Fair Pay initiative that seeks to harmonize (and ultimately increase) royalties across all platforms. The hope is to rally musicians and music fans alike to lobby Congress for real royalty reform, including the Fair Play, Fair Pay act before Congress now.