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First off today, Nat Levy at GeekWire reports that the real estate website Zillow has secured a significant Appeals Court victory that reduces the damages the company owes and may result in an even more significant further reduction depending on the trial court.
In 2015, Zillow was sued by photography management company VHT, over allegations that Zillow had illegally used 28,000 of images it manages. In 2017 a jury sided with VHT and awarded it some $8.3 million in damages. However, that verdict was appealed and the district court judge reduced the judgment saying that the jury had no rational basis to find infringement on 22,109 of the images.
That knocked the damages down to $4 million but both sides appealed. Now the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled and largely upheld the lower court decision. The court also kicked the case back down to the lower court on the issue of whether the photos are a “collection” or if each image is an individual work. If the lower court rules it to be a collection, that would reduce the damages to just one award for statutory damages, which maxes out at $150,000.
Next up today, Andy at Torrentfreak writes that, in the UK, four men have received sentences of up to four and a half years for running the torrent site TheFoundry.name, which famously made The Expendables 3 available for download before it was released in movie theaters.
In 2014 the film was released on BitTorrent and other pirate networks weeks before it’s slated theatrical release. A then-26 year old man was arrested in 2015 for originally leaking the film but other sites that were involved in its distribution have been facing legal consequences, both civil and criminal.
The latest sentencing targets four people, aged 37 to 54, who ran a relatively small BitTorrent site that spread the film as well as other major movies. All four men pleaded guilty to running the site, two before trial and two on the first day of trial. One of the men received a sentence of four and a half years, another a sentence of three years and the remaining two received a sentence of two years, suspended for two years.
Finally today, Murray Stassen at Music Business World reports that a group of music publishers and organizations representing songwriters has filed a $150 million lawsuit against the exercise company Peleton alleging that the company has failed to properly license music used in its workouts.
The company sells a variety of exercise equipment but also offers a digital service where it streams workouts to users who pay a monthly fee. According to the lawsuit, the company did work to obtain licenses for at least some of the music it uses but not all.
Among those flinging the lawsuit is the National Music Publishers Association (NMPA), Downtown Music Publishing, Pulse Music Publishing and 6 other publishers. They are suing over more than 1,000 musical works that they say Peleton did not have proper licensing to use.