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First off today, the Associated Press reports that a jury in Maine has convicted a former video rental chain owner of copyright infringement and mail fraud after he was charged with selling more than 48,000 counterfeit DVDs.
The man, Douglas Gordan, was the owner of a chain of video stores in eastern Maine and was accused of making and selling the DVDs. It is believed to be one of the largest criminal copyright cases in U.S. history.
According to Gordon’s lawyer, he is “a well-meaning small business owner trying to interpret very complex copyright law.” Nonetheless, he faces up to 20 years for the mail fraud charge and his attorney has said that he is unlikely to appeal.
Next up today, Ernesto at Torrentfreak writes that the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE) has announced that they are looking to address the issue of password sharing as it grows in popularity as a means for gaining unauthorized access to content.
ACE is a large industry group that includes movie studios as well as companies like Netflix, Amazon and several ISPs. In the past, they have launched various initiatives targeting different types of piracy including BitTorrent piracy, streaming piracy and so forth. However, this announcement represents a shift in strategy, focusing more on users gaining unauthorized access to legal platforms, such as Netflix and Amazon Prime.
The move enjoys support from the ISP members of ACE. This includes Charter, the organization’s newest member. The move also comes shortly after Netflix highlighted password sharing as a threat in a call with shareholders. No concrete plans were laid out, however, given the membership of ACE, it seems likely a collaborative effort is on the horizon.
3: Prominent Youtube Creator Lindsay Ellis Is Challenging the Platform Over the Way It Handles Copyright Claims
Finally today, Amanda Perelli at Business Insider reports that prominent YouTuber Lindsay Ellis is taking Universal Music Group (UMG) to task for placing a copyright claim on one of her videos and, in the process, jeopardizing her sponsorship.
Ellis specializes in video essays that critique and review elements of pop culture. In her most recent video, entitled Woke Disney, takes a look at how Disney’s remakes have tried, and usually failed, to address the controversies with the company’s previous works. As part of that video, she used a portion of a song from the recent Dumbo film, which UMG has claimed through YouTube’s automated tools.
As a result of that claim, YouTube is now showing ads on the video though Ellis secured a sponsorship with Audible that required her to prevent other ads from being shown on it. She said that Audible has written her to ask why ads are appearing. However, they have not broken her contract or taken any other action yet. Ellis is using this to illustrate the potential dangers of such copyright claims and encouraging YouTube to give a wider berth for fair use.