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First off today, Gene Maddaus at Variety reports that a Canadian court has ordered filmmaker Tommy Wiseau to pay nearly $700,000 to the makers of a documentary about him and his most famous film, The Room.
Wiseau rose to fame in 2003 with the release of his now-cult classic film The Room. Known for being the “Citizen Kane of bad movies” the film also propelled Wiseau into the spotlight though he has tried to keep much of his background a secret. So, when documentary filmmakers announced they were releasing the movie Room Full of Spoons, which is an unflattering look at Wiseau and his work, Wiseau sued to stop its release.
Wiseau alleged the documentary infringed both his copyrights in The Room and invaded his privacy. However, the court has ruled that the use of his film clips was covered under fair dealing and the information was obtained from public sources. The filmmakers allege the lawsuit was really about delaying the release of Room Full of Spoons until after the Wiseau-authorized biographical movie The Disaster Artist was released as the two were set to come out around the same time. If that’s the case, Wiseau was successful as Room Full of Spoons has still not been publicly released.
Next up today, Dan Rys at Billboard reports that Spotify has filed a countersuit against Sosa Entertainment and its founder Jake Noch alleging that the record label engaged in a scheme to generate “hundreds of millions of fraudulent streams” in a bid to extract more royalties from the music streaming service.
The case began when Noch, filed a lawsuit against Spotify alleging that the streaming service removed music he licenses in a bid to avoid paying royalties on them. Spotify, however, claimed that it was due to “abnormal streaming activity”. That case is ongoing but, in the meantime, Spotify has launched a countersuit over that alleged streaming fraud.
According to Spotify, they first noticed the abnormal streaming in March 2016, when multiple tracks of his would go from no streams to hundreds of thousands of streams in just a few days. They eventually banned him and, in June 2016, a whistleblower contacted him and even provided screenshots of messages that showed Noch speaking with a “bot farmer”. Spotify is suing for fraud, fraudulent concealment, breach of contract, indemnification, unjust enrichment and deceptive business practices.
Finally today, Ernesto at Torrentfreak writes that GitHub has restored previously-removed files related to the BitTorrent streaming platform Popcorn Time despite threats from the Motion Picture Association (MPA) and a takedown notice that temporarily removed them.
Dubbed the “Netflix for Pirates”, Popcorn time is a BitTorrent interface that has earned a large following for its easy-to-use interface that’s similar to legitimate streaming services. The project itself, or at least the current iteration of it, is open source and hosted on GitHub but at least some of those files were removed following a takedown notice filed by the MPA.
The reason for the restoration is that the developers submitted a DMCA counternotice and that resulted in GitHub restoring the files. However, the MPA has implied that it feels GitHub itself may be liable for copyright infringement due to the app. In the meantime, it’s unclear what additional action the MPA plans to take against either GitHub or the developers of the current Popcorn Time app.