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First off today, Matthew Gault at Vice reports that New York Public Library recently completed a project to analyze copyright registrations of books published between 1923 and 1964 and found that around 80% of those books are now in the public domain.
The reason for this is that books published during that time had an initial 28 year copyright term and could be renewed for another 28 years. However, many of the authors and publishers didn’t file the renewal paperwork, letting the work lapse. The problem was that it was tedious to go through work by work and determine which had been renewed and which had not but the New York Public Library digitized the information in the print Catalog of Copyright Entries and analyzed it.
With this new information, many of those public domain books are being made available on public domain libraries online such as Project Gutenberg and The Hathi Trust. However, given the scope of the project, it will likely be a long time before they are truly available en masse anywhere on the net.
Next up today, Susan Decker and Christopher Yasiejko at Bloomberg report that judges are beginning to grow weary of the two most active copyright litigants in the country as they are throwing legal wrenches in their ongoing operations.
The litigants at issue are Malibu Media and Strike 3, both of which are distributors of pornographic material. According to a Bloomberg analysis the two companies make up nearly half of all of the copyright lawsuits filed in the first seven months of this year. However, their approach is to file large numbers of “John Doe” lawsuits against suspected infringers, have courts order that they be identified, and then attempt to secure a quick settlement from the suspected pirates.
However, courts appear to be growing weary of this practice after years of allowing it. In December one judge refused to order ISPs turn over the identities of suspected infringers and in a case in July, a judge granted Malibu Media the right to identify a user but refused to enter a judgment against him. The two companies say that this is the only approach that they have under the law to protect their rights but others accuse the companies of engaging in extortion, taking advantage of the fact people are often embarrassed of their porn viewing habits.
Finally today, Andy at Torrentfreak writes that the Dutch anti-piracy organization BREIN has secured a judgment against a local ebook pirate that had violated an earlier agreement.
The case deals with a 38-year-old man that operated under the name Ebookplaza and sold thousands of pirated ebooks on various sites. BREIN successfully tracked him down and struck a deal with him where he would pay just 450 euros ($505) and abstain from any further pirate activity. However, the man did not make the relatively modest payment, failed to respond to a summons basically disappeared.
This prompted BREIN to pursue him even farther, eventually finding him and bringing him before the court. There, he was hit with a 1,421 euro ($1596) judgment plus interest. To quote Tim Kuik, the head of BREIN, “Whoever burns his buttocks must sit on the blisters.”