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First off today, Gene Maddaus at Variety reports that a judge has denied Disney’s request for an injunction against Redbox with regard to the rental giant’s selling (or reselling) of digital download codes.
Redbox is best known for its DVD and video game rental kiosks where the company rents out discs that it legally purchased. However, many of those discs came as part of combo packs that also had a digital download key. Redbox began reselling those download keys on their site, prompting Disney to file a lawsuit for copyright infringement.
According to Disney, their combo packs have warnings that the codes are not for transfer or resale. However, in his ruling, the judge found that the warning did not create a binding contract and agreed with Redbox that Disney is misusing its copyright to prevent the resale. However, the judge also ruled against Redbox saying that the codes do not apply to the first sale doctrine, which allows for the resale of legally-purchased copyrighted works. This, according to Disney, is because the code creates a new work rather than merely transfer ownership of a physical good.
Next up today, Corinne Reichert at ZDNet reports that the latest draft of the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement (TPP) has added in new copyright clauses, including ones that establish safe harbors and outline civil and criminal penalties for copyright infringement among signatories.
The treaty is a trade agreement between nearly a dozen countries along the Pacific rim. The original TPP was signed in February 2016 butt was ditched after the United States, following the election of President Donald Trump, pulled out of the agreement. The remaining nations began negotiate a revised treaty and largely set aside the original’s controversial copyright components, which were largely pushed for by the U.S.
However, now New Zealand and Australia are pushing for various copyright components in the TPP. This includes standards on both criminal and civil penalties for infringement, but also provides safe harbors that would require online service providers to remove allegedly infringing material. While the provisions are similar to those in the United States, the law would grant a wide safe harbor around libraries and educational institutions, which would be largely shielded from criminal and civil penalties.
Finally today, Timothy J. Seppala at Engadget reports that, as the triennial battle over the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) anti-circumvention exemptions is heating up and we now have dueling filings dealing with the issue of video games that are no longer accessible.
The DMCA makes it unlawful to circumvent copyright protection schemes in order to gain access to the work it protects. However, every three years the U.S. Copyright Office rules on exemptions to that ban with the most recent round entering the public comment stage and one of thee hot topics this go around appears to be video games that are no longer available, including online games where the server has been shut down.
Museum of Art and Digital Entertainment in California have filed a request to have a DMCA exemption for exactly those kinds of games in order to preserve them and video game history at large. However, the Electronic Software Association, an organization that represents software publishers, has filed their own comment saying that such an exemption would not just be unnecessary but would harm their business.
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.