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First off today, Stepan Kravchenko and Jake Rudnitsky at Bloomberg reports that Russian police raided the offices of Nginx Inc., the company behind one of the most popular web servers in use today. According to reports, the raid is the result of a copyright dispute that dates back all the way to when Nginx was first created.
Nginx (pronounced Engine-X) is an open-source web server that was first released in 2004. Currently, more than 30% of all servers use the software. It was created by Igor Sysoev who was working at The Rambler Group at the time but, according to Sysoev, he worked on the project solely on his own time and with his own resources. Nonetheless, Rambler is now claiming that it owns Nginx and that business/copyright dispute has become a matter for law enforcement.
Rambler, for its part, said that it uncovered the violations after Nginx was acquired by U.S.-based F5 Networks for $670 million, a deal that concluded in May 2019. Sysoev, however, claims that the company had 15 years to make any claims of ownership and failed to do so, noting that it only took any action after the sale was completed.
Next up today, Taylor Tetford at The Washington Post reports that two Las Vegas men, Darryl Julius Polo and Luis Angel Villarino, have pleaded guilty to criminal copyright infringement as part of a case that looked at the massive streaming websites Jetflix and iStreamItAll.
Polo and Villarino worked together on the website Jetflix, a massive illegal streaming website that boasted more than 183,000 TV episodes and earned them more than $750,000 per year. Polo later left and started iStreamItAll, a massive online pirate website that, at its peak, had nearly 118,500 TV episodes and 11,000 movies. According to court documents, he made more than $1 million from the operation.
The duo are scheduled to be sentenced in March but six additional defendants in the case are slated to go to trial in early February.
Finally today, Ernesto at Torrentfreak writes that Strike 3 Holdings, previously the most active copyright litigant in the United States, has been oddly quiet in federal courts in recent months, having moved at least some of its copyright work to state courts.
Strike 3 is an adult entertainment company that has been very active in suing file-sharers and others that engage in piracy of their material. They have filed hundreds of cases in federal courts but recently stopped. Instead, they appear to be filing a small number of court cases in state court, where they group a number of defendants together in “a pure bill discovery” in hopes of learning the identities of the suspected infringers.
Previously, Strike 3 would file a single federal case against a single defendant since they could not bundle defendants in federal court. With state courts, they aim to group defendants together, reducing costs. That said, many are opposed to this approach, noting that there is no way to bring a copyright case to a state court and that the company is using the information for the sole purpose of seeking a quick settlement, not necessarily filing a lawsuit.