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First off today, Michael Zhang at PetaPixel reports that the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals has overturned a lower court ruling from Virginia that found a film festival in the state had not infringed on a photographer when it used an image of his without permission on their website in a bid to promote their event.
The lawsuit pits photographer Russell Brammer against Violent Hues Productions, the organizers of the Northern Virginia Film Festival. On the festival’s website, they included a photo from Brammer’s Flickr in their “things to do” section. Though the case seemed straightforward the lower court shocked many by determining that the use of the photo, which was cropped, was transformative and a fair use, granting summary judgment to the defendant.
However, the Fourth Circuit has overturned that summary judgment saying that none of the fair use factors favor Violent Hues, noting that the reuse is different from the kind of sharing images often see on Facebook and elsewhere. This has caused many artists to breathe a sigh of relief because. If upheld, the lower court ruling could have made it possible and legal to use any photo published online for nearly any purpose.
Next up today, Alison Flood at The Guardian reports that, in Brazil, author Nora Roberts has filed a lawsuit against Brazilian romance author Christiane Serruya.
Back in February, Serruya faced allegation that her books were heavily plagiarized from other romance authors, both large and small. Spearheaded by author Courtney Milan, researchers found at least 41 authors and 93 books that had been plagiarized in Serruya’s work, including several of Roberts’. Serruya, for her part, blamed the plagiarism on her ghostwriters.
Serruya has not responded to the lawsuit, saying she is unaware of it. As for Roberts, she is suing for the maximum allowed under Brazilian law, 3,000 times the value of the highest sale price of any work by Serruya mentioned in the lawsuit. If she receives any damages, Roberts has said she plans on donating them to a literacy program in the country.
Finally today, Ernesto at Torrentfreak writes that the United States Trade representative (USTR) has released its “Out-of-Cycle Review of Notorious Markets”, which highlights websites and services that they see as the most important for anti-piracy efforts.
Many of the sites were not surprises, such as The Pirate Bay, but many other websites and hosts got a mention as the report aimed to be more broad with the types of infringement it looked at. This year’s report included companies such as the pirate satellite broadcaster BEOUTQ, the academic file sharing websites Sci-Hub and LibGen and several stream-ripping websites, which have become targets of the music industry.
The goal of the report is to encourage local law enforcement in the countries they are hosted to step up enforcement action against the sites. On that front, the report did note several successes, such as the shuttering of the popular 123Movies website as well as the closure of the FAB IPTV service.