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First off today, Emma Woollacott at Forbes reports that authorities have made two arrests in relation to the Sparks piracy group and have an indictment out for a third member that remains at large.
In an update to a story we looked at yesterday, authorities have been targeting the Sparks group, a “scene” piracy group that obtains pre-release movies that eventually make their way to public piracy websites. According to the indictments, the group has been in operation since 2011 and would pose as DVD and Blu-Ray disc retailers to get pre-release copies of such discs for ripping and release.
Two individuals, George Bridi and Jonathan Correa have been arrested and a third member, Umar Ahmad, remains at large. Related raids have shuttered servers in 16 different countries. The men are all charged with copyright infringement conspiracy, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison. Bridi also faces charges of wire fraud conspiracy, which has a maximum penalty of 20 years.
2: Empire Copyright Case Shouldn’t Impact on Shake It Off litigation, Say Swift’s Song-Theft Accusers
Next up today, Chris Cooke at Complete Music Update reports that the battle over the Taylor Swift song Shake it Off is continuing, with a seemingly unrelated lawsuit over the TV show Empire now taking center stage.
The Swift lawsuit was filed by songwriters Sean Hall and Nathan Butler, who accuse Swift of lifting key lyrics from their 2001 song Plays Gon Play when making her 2014 hit. The judge originally dismissed the lawsuit on the grounds the similarities were too banal but the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals sent the case back to the lower court saying that such an issue needed to be tried by a jury.
Now the two sides are arguing over a different case that involves the TV show Empire, which had its own dispute over the separation between non-copyrightable ideas and protectable elements. Swift’s team believe the case should provide guidance to the Shake it Off dispute and allow for the case to be dismissed while, understandably, the plaintiffs disagree.
Finally today, Kristen Errick at Law Street Media reports that DISH Network has filed a lawsuit against an IPTV service provider for allegedly retransmitting DISH programming.
The lawsuit was filed in the Southern District of Texas and targets the unknown individuals doing business as Universe IPTV among other names. According to DISH, the company uses the internet to illegally broadcasts content that DISH has an exclusive license to transmit.
DISH is seeking an injunction as well as damages for the alleged infringement. They are also seeking impoundment and disposition of all infringing articles and transfer of the domains that the defendants use.