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First off today, David Robb at Deadline Hollywood reports that the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) has released its annual Special 301 Report, which is a report that both looks at the global copyright and piracy situation as well as identify countries the USTR feels is not doing enough to stop infringement.
This year the report focused almost entirely on internet-based piracy, in particular illicit streaming devices (such as “fully loaded” Kodi boxes) and stream ripping. The USTR also looked at more classical forms of piracy including optical disc piracy and movie theater camming.
When it was all said and done, the USTR placed 12 countries on its “Priority Watch List”. Those countries include China, Indonesia, India, Algeria, Kuwait, Russia, Ukraine, Argentina, Canada, Chile, Colombia and Venezuela. Another 24 countries were placed on the less-severe “Watch List”. The report is drafted every year to identify countries the USTR will seek to target in this area, up to and including sanctions if the country is on the Priority Watch List and fails to take adequate actions to reduce the piracy issues.
Next up today, Andy at Torrentfreak writes that the subreddit /r/megalinks has been closed following a formal warning from Reddit about the number of Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) notices that have been targeted at the community.
Reddit is one of the most popular sites on the internet and is divided up into smaller commnities named subreddits. One of those communities, /r/megalinks, existed for the primary purpose of sharing links to pirated material on the file sharing site Mega. Copyright holders were, predictably, not thrilled about this and began sending DMCA notices to Reddit. Reddit, bound by its repeat infringer policy, sent /r/megalinks a formal warning letter two days ago and the admins of the community opted to close down.
The group has restricted new posts to the community and posted an admin note saying that the subreddit is no more. Instead, they’re moving operations to a forum community hosted overseas, where they hope to be more free to post their links.
Finally today, Jacyln Peiser at The New York Times reports that, after 17 years, freelance authors and writers are getting their settlement money from publishers in the dispute over their work being used in Lexis/Nexis and other digital Databases.
The lawsuit was filed in 2001 when the Authors Guild teamed up with the American Society of Journalists and Authors as well as the National Writers Union to file suit against a slew of publishers including The New York Times, Down Jones, Knight Ridder and more. According to the lawsuit, the publishers had paid freelance authors for a single use of their work but then turned around and licensed it to Lexis/Nexis (also a defendant) and other digital databases.
The two sides seemingly found a settlement in 2005 but things hit a snag over the issue of authors who had not registered their work with the U.S. Copyright Office. A Supreme Court ruling in 2010 allowed negotiations to continue with a seemingly final agreement being reached in 2014. However, even that settlement was sidetracked due to 41,000 objections from the defendants as well as specific claims by the authors. Now, however, the lawsuit is over and the authors involved should start getting their checks this weeks, finally bringing an end to a lawsuit nearly 2 decades in the making.
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.