3 Count: Double Down

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1: Don’t ‘Blow Up’ State Copyright Schemes, Lawyer Tells SCOTUS

First off today, Jordan S. Rubin at Bloomberg Law reports that the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) heard oral arguments in the case of Georgia v. Public.Resource.Org, Inc. and will determine whether a state’s annotated code can be protected by copyright law.

The case deals with the website Public.Resource.Org, which was making available the Georgia state annotated code for free. The code is not the same as the regular legal text as the annotated code includes summaries of legal decisions and other elements that help interpret the law. According to the state of Georgia, those annotations are protected under copyright and they sell copies of/access to the annotated code for a high price. Public.Resource.Org aimed to make those codes available for free.

The lower court sided with them but an Appeals Court sided with the state, setting the stage for the battle at SCOTUS. There, the two sides argued whether the annotated code is covered by the government edicts clause, which, if they were, would make them automatically public domain.

2: Photographer Doubles Down On Tweet Copyright Protection

Next up today, Po Yi at Manatt reports that photographer Justin Goldman has filed a series of new lawsuits against media companies after previously winning a case that found other companies had infringed his copyright by embedding a tweet that contained his photo in it.

The story began in July 2016 when Goldman took a photo of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, Boston Celtics general manager Danny Ainge and uploaded it to his Snapchat account. Someone removed the image from his Snapchat and uploaded it to Twitter, where several mainstream media outlets embedded the tweet in their coverage of it. This prompted Goldman to sue and he won a surprise summary judgment and an appeal at the Second Circuit, affirming that such embedding was a copyright infringement.

Armed with those legal victories, Goldman is now targeting new sites and companies, most notably Cox Media Group. According to Goldman, the company used his photo on their various websites including accessatlanta.com and springfieldnewssun.com. He has brought the case before the same court as his previous one and mentions the earlier judgments in his filing.

3: Over 30,500 Online Piracy Sites Shut Down in Global Operation

Finally today, Sergiu Gatlan at Bleeping Computer reports that Europol has announced that some 30,506 domains have been shut down as part of the ongoing Operation In Our Sites.

Operation In Our Sites has been going on since 2014 and is a massive collaboration of law enforcement agencies all over the world. As part of it, almost every year they have a massive seizure/closure of domains right before the holiday season and, this year, that included over 30K domains that they say were offering pirated, counterfeit or otherwise unlawful goods and services.

In addition to the seizure, officials also arrested 3 suspects, seized 26,000 luxury products and other items connected with the devices. According to the press release, the focus of the mass seizure included but was not limited to, counterfeit pharmaceuticals, pirated movies, unlawful streaming services and other pirated products.

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