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First off today, Eddie Spence at Bloomberg reports that the radio streaming service TuneIn has suffered a legal defeat as a judge in the UK has ruled that the site violated the copyrights of Warner and Sony Music by streaming their music without a license.
TuneIn is an app that allows users to stream radio stations over the internet. The record labels sued, alleging, among other things, that TuneIn was allowing listeners in the UK to play stations outside the country though those stations did not have a license to stream music in the UK. The court agreed with the record labels and ruled that TuneIn had been infringing on the record labels’ rights.
TuneIn has said it is considering an appeal but also notes that the judge did rule in their favor on the question of whether they could provide UK listeners access to UK radio stations. The defeat solely dealt with offering users access to non-UK stations. The BBC recently pulled their stations from TuneIn, saying that the app could not provide adequate data on its listenership.
Next up today, Ted Johnson at Deadline reports that Openload and Streamango, prominent services that provided unlicensed TV and movie content to pirate sites, have both shut their doors following an agreement with the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE).
Openload was a file hosting website that allowed users to upload content for later streaming. It and Streamango were popular with pirate websites as they meant there was no need to host pirated content, only embed videos from these backbone sites. The company behind the sites had more than 1,000 servers across Europe and was providing infringing content to some 72% of the top 50 illegal streaming websites.
The Openload home page now redirects to a blank page and Streamango redirects to the ACE homepage.
Finally today, Ephrat Livni at Quartz reports that tomorrow the Supreme Court of the United States will be hearing a case dealing with copyright, state immunity and Blackbeard’s ship.
The case pits Nautilus Productions, a film production company, against the state of North Carolina. In 1996, Nautilus filmed the discovery of Blackbeard’s sunken ship, the Queen Anne’s Revenge, as part of a documentary on it. The state of North Carolina used images and videos from that recording on their website without a license prompting Nautilus to sue.
However, the case was complicated by the fact that copyright can only be sued for in a federal court and, normally, states have immunity from such courts. However, Nautilus argues that the 1990 Copyright Remedy Clarification Act repealed state immunity on this issue and won at the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals. The case is now before the Supreme Court with the state saying that the act is unconstitutional and Nautilus saying that the alternative is that states can infringe with complete immunity.