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First off today, Rob Harris at the Associated Press reports that the World Trade Organization (WTO) has issued a ruling that concludes Saudi Arabia has been facilitating sports-related piracy within its country.
The issue actually a smaller part of an ongoing dispute between Saudi Arabia and neighboring Qatar. Saudi Arabia currently has an embargo placed on Qatar, which means Qatar-owned beIN can not operate or air in the country. However, beIN has exclusive rights to many popular sports leagues. This gave rise to beaoutQ, a pirate network operating out of Saudi Arabia, to fill the gaps.
Various groups have attempted to shutter beoutQ for years but have failed. Many allege that Saudi Arabia is either operating the network directly or, at the very least, is protecting it. The WTO ruling backs those allegations, saying that Saudi Arabia failed to take action to stop beoutQ, including making it impossible for rightsholders to seek relief in Saudi courts. Saudi Arabia has said it is “committed to applying its national law and procedures in full conformity with WTO rules.”
Next up today, Nick Reilly at NME reports that Beyonce and Jay-Z are being sued by Jamaican dancer L’Antoinette Stines after using an interview with her as part of their song Black Effect.
According to Stines, she was approached by the duo in March 2018 to help them find the best dancers for a video they were working on. Sometime during that, they did a short interview with her where they asked her to talk about her feelings on the topic of love. She did so but claims she was repeatedly told that it was to be used for promotional purposes only.
However, after the song Black Effect was released as part of the duo’s Everything is Love album, Stines learned that the first minute of the song is part of her interview. According to her lawsuit, she never received attribution or royalties for the use of her audio on the track and is owed a writing credit. She is suing for both copyright infringement and a violation of her right to publicity.
Finally today, Kyle Orland at Ars Technica reports that Nintendo has sent a cease and desist letter to Logistics Consulting LLC, a Connecticut-based company that, up until recently, offered a service to solder modchips onto Nintendo Switch motherboards.
To be clear, the company did not sell the chips themselves. Instead, they solely provided the service to install the chips, which had to be acquired elsewhere (likely through links that were present on the company’s website). Such chips are used by gamers to circumvent copy protection schemes on the Switch and enable the playing of pirated games.
The company has pulled the offering, which it says was only available for 2 weeks and was purchased by about 20 people. They are seeking more information about the legality of the service and are negotiating with Nintendo’s lawyers. However, experts in the field say that the issue is cut and dry, noting that, even without selling the chips directly, they are likely trafficking in them by offering to install them. That, in turn, is a violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.