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First off today, Eriq Gardner at The Hollywood Reporter Esquire reports that Fox News has emerged victorious at the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in their case against TVEyes, establishing a potentially significant new fair use standard.
TVEyes is a TV clipping service. It works by saving video from the major TV networks and enabling users to search through the content to find the mentions they want. The can then download the relevant clips. Fox News took no issue with the search functionality but claimed that the ability to download and view the clips violated their copyright.
The lower court issued a mixed ruling that found, while TVEyes was a fair use in many ways, had infringed by enabling users to share clips via social media and email. However, the Second Circuit has overruled ANY finding of fair use, saying that, while the video service was somewhat transformative, that didn’t outweigh the potential harm to the market for Fox News’ content. This may represent a shift away from the focus on transformative use when it comes to fair use and put more emphasis on the other fair use factors.
Next up today, Andy at Torrentfreak writes that four men sentenced to prison in Sweden for operating various pirate websites have had their prison sentences overturned but they will have to pay larger damages to the entertainment industries instead.
The case deals with the admins behind Dreamfilm and several other Swedish piracy websites, which were shuttered in 2015 after one of the admins was interrogated. The men admitted to operating the websites but insisted they had committed no crimes though they were eventually found guilty by a district court. They were then sentenced to various prison terms, with one receiving six months, two receiving eight and one receiving ten.
However, the ruling was appealed and, while the conviction was not overturned, the sentence was. The men will not have to serve prison time but will have to pay higher damages instead. This ruling comes as Sweden is considering tougher anti-piracy legislation that could see operators of similar sites imprisoned for up to six years.
Finally today, Wendy Davis at MediaPost reports that the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) is jointing with record label National Music Publishers Association (NMPA) to ask the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals to reconsider their decision in the Cox/BMG case, saying that their ruling sets a dangerous precedent when it comes to ISP liability.
BMG, a record label, sued Cox, an ISP, claiming that Cox was not doing enough to stop piracy by its users. They claimed they had submitted thousands of copyright notices to Cox but that the iSP had not taken any action. The lower court ruled in favor or BMG saying that Cox’s lack of a repeat infringer policy meant that it didn’t qualify for safe harbor protection and the jury found Cox liable for $25 million in damages
Cox then appealed to the 4th Circuit, which issued a mixed ruling in the case. Though it agreed Cox could not claim safe harbor protection, the court found that, even without such protection it may not be liable. The reason, they said, was because Cox may not have been aware of the infringement and, without that awareness, can not be held responsible for it. The RIAA and NMPA are asking the court to reconsider that ruling saying that it risks removing key copyright protections from rightsholders and creators.
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.