3 Count: Spending Bill

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1: Lawmakers are Cramming Controversial Copyright Provisions Into a Must-Pass Spending Bill

First off today, Emily Birnbaum at Protocol reports that the House and Senate Judiciary Committees have agreed to include several intellectual property-related provisions in an omnibus spending bill, which aides say must pass before a Dec. 11 government shutdown deadline.

The provisions include the CASE Act, which would implement a copyright small claims court, the Trademark Modernization Act, which would a broad overhaul of trademark law, and a felony streaming proposal, which would make streaming content the same as distributing copies of it from a criminal law perspective.

Though all three have been heavily examined by Congress before, none have passed on their own. Tech groups are protesting the inclusion of packages in the spending bill, saying that they are major changes that could have significant negative consequences. Groups representing rightsholders, on the other hand, largely support the measures.

2: In a Blow to Experience-Art Emporium Meow Wolf, a Judge Allows an Artist’s Copyright Lawsuit to Proceed

Next up today, Sarah Cascone at Artnet News reports that a New Mexico judge has ruled in favor of artist Lauren Adele Oliver in her copyright lawsuit against the art collective Meow Wolf.

Oliver sued Meow Wolf back in March claiming that the collective raised significant money, $158 million off an exhibition that featured her work Space Owl but only paid her $2,000 in compensation. She alleges the collective breached their contract with her and, in doing so, committed copyright infringement.

The defendants had asked for the case to be tossed but the judge has denied those motions and is also allowing claims against the organization’s CEO, Vince Kadlubek, to continue as well. The judge did dismiss the breach of contract claims since there was no written contract between the parties. However, the judge is allowing Oliver to pursue unjust enrichment claims instead.

3: Pirating Cyberpunk 2077: CD Projekt Sends Waves of DMCA Notices

Finally today, Andy Maxwell at Torrentfreak writes that today, December 10, marks the release of Cyberpunk 2077, one of the most-anticipated games of all time. However, ahead of that release, pirates have been hard at work trying to both make available and access pirated copies of the game.

However, these early efforts have been stymied by bugs and issues with getting pirated copies of the game to work. Though pirates are releasing patches regularly, groups are encouraging people not to download the early builds and wait for things to stabilize.

CD Projekt Red, for their part, are not sitting idly by and are sending “waves” of DMCA notices targeting suspected pirated copies of the game as well as files that would enable pirated copies to work. However, despite the heavy interest in pirated copies, the game does appear to be selling quite well on legitimate channels, with over 1 million players enjoying it on Steam.

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