3 Count: Piracy Demo

When demos go really wrong...

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1: Senators Ask U.S. Copyright, Patent Offices to Study Infringement by States

First off today, Eriq Gardner at Billboard reports that two Senators, Thom Tillis (R-North Carolina) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), have asked both the U.S. Copyright Office and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to study the extent of intellectual property infringement that is done by state governments.

The request comes after a recent Supreme Court ruling found that states can not be held liable for copyright infringement due to sovereign immunity. In short, since copyright is a federal-only statute and states can not be sued in federal court, there is no way to hold states liable for their infringements.

However, the ruling said that, if the federal government could establish a pattern of unconstitutional infringement, they may be able to enact a law that would allow abrogate state sovereign immunity and pass muster with the Supreme Court. This study is likely the first step in that process.

2: Photographer Seeks To Revive Copyright Battle With Mashable

Next up today, Wendy Davis at MediaPost reports that photographer Stephanie Sinclair is urging a judge to reconsider a ruling against her saying that it went too far, that there was no evidence she consented to Instagram’s terms of service and, even if she did, the defendant violated those terms.

The case pits Sinclair against the website Mashable. Mashable sought to license one of her photos for an article. However, when the two sides could not reach an agreement, Mashable opted to embed Sinclair’s Instagram post that contained the image in question. This prompted Sinclair to sue Mashable for copyright infringement but the judge dismissed the case saying that, when she signed up with Instagram, she agreed to the site’s terms of service, which included enabling embedding.

However, in her reply, she says that it was actually Mashable that violated the terms of service. According to her filing, Mashable has an obligation to honor restrictions placed by the original artists but failed to do so by embedding the image after being denied a license. Further, she added that there was no evidence she actually agreed to those terms, at least not to the degree to allow for sublicensing.

3: Trials of Mana Demo Taken Down After Crackers Use it to Enable Piracy

Finally today, Kyle Orland at Ars Technica reports that video game company Square Enix has pulled the demo version of Trials of Mana from Steam after it was discovered that it could be used to fool Steam into loading the full version of the game even for those that hadn’t purchased it.

The trick required obtaining the Steam files for the full game elsewhere, most likely a piracy website, and then loading them to your Steam account. Normally, those files wouldn’t work because they don’t come with the relevant DRM files for the Steam account. However, by copying the “PAKs” directory from the demo, one could fool Steam into running the full game.

In a statement, Square Enix said that they are hoping to have the game back up very soon and that those who have downloaded and played the demo will keep their progress and game state when it’s back online.

The 3 Count Logo was created by Justin Goff and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License.

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