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First off today, the BBC reports that the highest court in the EU has ruled that a German school is liable for copyright infringement after it published a student project on its site that c contained an image taken by photographer Dirk Renckhoff.
Renckhoff had sued the German state of Land North Rhein-Westphalia alleging that a school it operates had published the photo on its site even though a travel website had been given exclusive rights to it. He had sought €400 ($460) in damages. The lower court ruled in favor of Renckhoff but lowered the damages to €300 ($350), prompting both sides to appeal to a German federal court, which in turn passed it off to the European Court of Justice.
The ECJ’s ruling looked specifically at whether or not the publication on the school’s website constituted publication to a “new public”. It found that, since the photo had only been authorized for travel website viewers, the publication on a school website did count as a new public. As such, the ECJ upheld the lower court ruling, possibly setting the stage for similar lawsuits in the EU.
Next up today, Ray Gronberg at The News & Observer reports that a judge is allowing Epic Games’ lawsuit against Caleb Rogers to continue, despite a letter from Rogers’ mother asking either the court or Epic Games to dismiss the case.
Rogers earned a reputation on YouTube where he goes by the name Sky Orbit. There, he posted several videos of him cheating on the game Fortnite, which Epic Games owns. After a series of takedowns and counterclaims plus some harsh words from Rogers, Epic Games chose to file a lawsuit claiming copyright infringement and breach of contract. However, after the lawsuit was filed, Rogers’ mother filed a letter with the court stating that Epic Game’s arguments were invalid because her son was 14 and not able to agree to the terms of service.
However, another court in the circuit had previously ruled a minor cannot avoid the obligations of a contract while enjoying the benefits of it. As such, since Rogers was playing the game, he had to play by the rules. Given that and the fact the court feels Epic Games has put forth arguments with a reasonable chance of success, it is allowing the case to move forward. However, there is no indication that Rogers or his family have obtained council and they appear to have already missed a deadline to file a formal response. In the meantime, Rogers is continuing to post videos on YouTube, even as Epic Games is seeking an injunction against him.
Finally today, Dylan Bushell-Embling at Technology Decisions reports that a new survey from the Australian Department of Communications has found that piracy is becoming less popular in the country, with 10% of its citizenry ceasing pirating in the last four years.
According to the survey of some 2,400 internet users, 67% of them obtain all of their content legitimately. Of those who remain, 23% obtain content from both legitimate and unlawful sources while the remaining 10% solely obtain content from pirate sources. In 2015, only 57% of users obtained all of their content legitimately.
The number of users who have solely pirated content has remained relatively flat over the past four years. However, more and more users who took a mixed approach have gone fully legitimate in the past four years.
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.