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1: ‘From Enemies to Allies’: Google Removes Piracy Websites from Search Results

First off today, Jennifer Duke at The Sydney Morning Herald reports that, in Australia, Google is voluntarily removing pirate sites from its search results and, to date, has pulled 832 of them.

The news comes from Village Roadshow chief executive Graham Burke. According to Burke, Google has agreed to remove sites from search results once courts order them blocked in the country. This is true even if the court order doesn’t apply to Google.

Australia has one of the broadest laws for blocking pirate sites, making it possible for rightsholders to obtain court orders that can require area ISPs to block suspected pirate sites. Google is simply following those court orders, even if they aren’t necessarily held to them. However, the Google removal only applies to queries from Australia and they may appear in other countries’ results.

2: Town: Plan To Move Uptown Mural Doesn’t Violate Copyright Law

Next up today, Ryan Denham at GLT reports that the town of Normal, Illinois is in a legal battle over its plans to move a mural as 13 artists are suing to prevent it from happening.

The town seeks to move the mural as part of a demolition of the building to which it is attached. However, the artists involved, 13 of the 30 that worked on it, claim that moving it risks damaging or destroying it and that makes it a violation of their copyright under the Visual Artists Rights Act (VARA).

However, the town claims that nothing about moving it violates their rights under VARA as the act doesn’t control how the work is displayed. Furthermore, the town says it is working to save the mural, not destroy it, and any delay in the project harms the people of Normal as it slows a new project that aims to bring new jobs to the region.

3: Tor Exit Node Operator Dodges Bullet in Piracy Lawsuit

Finally today, Ernesto at Torrentfreak writes that the operator of a TOR exit node has won a reprieve in his case against the company behind the film Dallas Buyers Club as a technicality prevented the court from issuing a summary judgment against him.

The case is against John Huszar, who operates a TOR exit node on his network. This means that some of the traffic leaving the TOR network appears to come from his IP address. This caused him to get swept up in searches for those pirating the film but, when the lawsuit was first filed, he didn’t respond. This nearly led to the court ruling in the favor of the plaintiffs as courts consider that a form of admission to the claims in the lawsuit.

Huszar did eventually respond but after the deadline had passed. However, Huszar was saved from an early defeat by the fact that he was not the named defendant in the lawsuit he failed to reply to. This prompted the district court to set aside the magistrate judge’s recommendations and allow the case to continue. While it’s a key victory for Huszar, it’s not necessarily the end of the case. as both sides are not to submit supplement pleading.

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