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First off today, Elizabeth Harris at the New York Times reports that a group of publishers, headed by the Association of American Publishers, has filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against the Internet Archive (IA) over their “National Emergency Library” initiative.
Beginning in March 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the IA removed lending restrictions on its virtual library, enabling anyone who wanted to read the books in it to do so, regardless of how many copies they actually owned. This resulted in criticism from publishers and authors alike, with the former now filing a lawsuit.
The lawsuit not only targets the National Emergency Library but the IA’s long-standing approach of making digital versions of physical books available for online reading. The lawsuit accuses the IA of both direct and secondary copyright infringement and seeks both an injunction and damages for the alleged infringement.
2: Judge Upholds Much of the Record Industry’s Billion Dollar Win in Cox Case, but Orders Recalculation of Damages
Next up today, Chris Cooke at Complete Music Update reports that a Virginia court has largely upheld the $1 billion judgment against Cox Communications but may order some recalculations depending upon the number of works allegedly infringed.
Cox Communications was sued by the major record labels last year over allegations that Cox failed to take sufficient steps to stop infringement on its network. The labels won the case and secured statutory damages of $99,830.29 for each of the 10,017 songs identified in the lawsuit. This resulted in a more than $1 billion verdict that Cox decried as “Wholly divorced from any possible injury to plaintiffs, any benefit to Cox, or any conceivable deterrent purpose.”
The judge, however, rejected all of Cox’s motions to reduce the damages or have a retrial. However, he did ask for additional information as to whether the composition and the recording should be treated as separate works for the purposes of damages, setting the stages for a possible recalculation of damages. The labels have 60 days to justify obtaining damages for both.
Finally today, Nancy Gordon at the Associated Press reports that Eagles songwriter Don Henly and others testified before the Senate Judiciary subcommittee about possible changes to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) safe harbor provisions and called for changes to make the law more effective at reducing piracy online.
The safe harbor provisions are the laws that allow hosts and search engines to not be held liable when users upload infringing material. In return for that legal protection, they have to comply with DMCA notices by removing the allegedly infringing material. However, that material can be restored with a counter-notice if there is a dispute.
Henly called the law “a relic of a MySpace era in a TikTok world” and noted that, for every link removed, many more pop up. Tech companies, however, addressed the issue of false DMCA notices and said that they are already working with rightsholders to reduce piracy.