3 Count: DRM Detangling

It's that time of the three-year cycle again...

3 Count Logo

Have any suggestions for the 3 Count? Let me know via Twitter @plagiarismtoday.

Note: Due to my recent Halloween hiatus, this is more of a “catch up” edition of the 3 Count. Back to regular programming next week!

1: Researchers Can Now Legally Restore “Abandoned” Online Game Servers

First off today, Kyle Orland at Ars Technica reports that the Library of Congress (LoC) has approved new exemptions to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) that will make it somewhat easier for researchers to restore online video games that have been abandoned by their creators.

The DMCA makes it broadly illegal to circumvent digital rights management (DRM) tools that protect copyrighted works. However, every three years the LoC announces exemptions to that policy and this includes hearing that both push for new exemptions and removal of old ones.

In 2015 the LoC granted researchers the right to circumvent DRM on games that “phoned home” for authentication purposes but stopped short of allowing them to do the same for online-only games. Now researchers have that ability but only if they have legitimate access to the server software, which may prove difficult in many cases. 

2: AT&T to Cut Off Some Customers’ Service in Piracy Crackdown

Next up today, Sara Fischer and David McCabe at Axios reports that, beginning next week, it will terminate the service of more than a dozen of its customers for copyright infringement.

Under the DMCA (as well as the now-defunct Copyright Alert System) ISPs sent notices of infringement to customers when they were notified to do so by rightsholders. These notices were largely an attempt to educate consumers about piracy taking place on their account but many customers failed to cease infringing.

Now AT&T is taking the controversial step of discontinuing service to at least some of those who have ignored the warnings. Those individuals, many of whom likely live in an area without another ISP, may find themselves without broadband internet access entirely. This has made the move controversial even though the number of customers involved is very small and, according to AT&T targeted only at the worst of the worst suspected infringers.

3: Tracy Chapman Sues Nicki Minaj Over Unauthorized Sample

Finally today, The Guardian is reporting that Tracy Chapman has filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against Nicki Minaj over an alleged unauthorized sample.

According to Chapman, Minaj’s 2018 song Sorry featured elements from her 1988 song Baby Can I Hold You. Minaj had originally intended to include the track on her recent album, entitled Queen, but learned that it included the unlicensed sample.

However, Chapman denied permission to use it and the song was removed from the album. Despite its removal, the song was still made available online and on the radio, prompting Chapman to file the lawsuit.

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