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First off today, Eugene Volokh at Reason.com reports that controversial copyright attorney Richard Liebowitz has been suspended, on an interim basis, from the Southern District of New York. That is the district where he has filed most of his cases.
Liebowitz has earned a reputation as a “copyright troll” for aggressively filing lawsuits on behalf of photographers whose work, he alleges, was misused by commercial outlets. Though his tactics were already divisive, he has since racked up a series of sanctions for his handling of many of those cases.
The matter before the Committee on Grievances in the district is ongoing. As such, the nature of the investigation is confidential and there are no details in the suspension order. However, it is noted that the committee found the evidence against Liebowitz compelling enough to suspend his right to file cases in the district pending the completion of the investigation.
Next up today, Laura Anaya-Morga at The Highlander reports that an alumni from the University of California Riverside (UCR) has filed a lawsuit against the school alleging that a professor at the school misused her student labor and infringed the copyright on work she produced for a class there.
According to the lawsuit, Ashanti McMillon was a student at the school in 2013 when she was enrolled in Professor Setsu Shigetmatsu’s class, MCS 190 Special Studies. There, she and other students worked to help the development of the Guardian Press Alliance, an educational media company that has published several books. Two of those books list McMillon as the primary author.
However, McMillon alleges that she was promised royalties and positions at the organizations, promises that were not fulfilled. Instead, she accuses the professor of using their free labor for her personal gain. As such, she is suing for copyright infringement, fraud and emotional distress. The case is scheduled for a hearing on Friday to address a motion to dismiss filed by the school.
Finally today, Chris Cooke at Complete Music Update reports that the European Commission has published a paper looking at a wide range of intellectual property issues including everything from illegal IPTV services all the way to issues with AI.
Broadly, the report calls for a greater effort both at the EU and the national level to fight piracy. The report also expressed concern over new forms of IP infringements including cyber theft of trade secrets and illegal IPTV services. The report also tackled the issue of IP and artificial intelligence saying that, according to them, an AI system should not be treated as an author or an inventor.
The report comes as the block implements changes to its copyright laws including the requirement that large hosts filter out infringing content before it is uploaded to the service.