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First off today, Andy Maxwell at Torrentfreak writes that the case of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society versus the pseudonymous critic Kevin McFree has come to an end as Watch Tower has abandoned their efforts to learn his identity.
McFree is the creator of the Dubtown series, which is a stop-motion Lego project that takes place in a fake Jehovah’s Witness town and lampoons various elements of the church. The Watch Tower filed a lawsuit against him in 2018 and has attempted to use DMCA subpoenas to unveil his identity. McFree, who does not live in the United States, attempted to fight those, but was limited by both distance and finances.
However, that prompted the Public Citizen Litigation Group to step in. They began to challenge the motions filed by the Watch Tower organization and prompted the group to dismiss the case with prejudice, meaning that it cannot be refiled. Both sides have agreed to cover their own costs.
Next up today, Efe Udin at Gizchina reports that NetEase Cloud Music has filed a formal lawsuit against Tencent Music, alleging that Tencent is illegally using music through a variety of their services.
According to NetEase, Tencent, through its QQ Music streaming platform, has violated a contract with them by streaming music in provinces where QQ has no license to do so. It also accuses QQ Music of releasing NetEase content through an “import external playlist function” and by streaming unlicensed songs under fake names to avoid detection.
In addition to those issues, NetEase also claims that Tencent ripped off their app and interface designs. It is unclear what NetEase is seeking in the case in terms of either financial or injunctive relief.
Finally today, Umberto Bacchi at the Thomson Reuters Foundation reports that performers are expressing concerns over artificial intellegence (AI) use of their voice and image to create deepfakes of them performing online.
The move has been spurred by voice actor Bev Standing sued TikTok over allegations that the company used her voice in their text-to-speech feature without her permission. That case has since been settled, but it raised questions about other AI-powered uses of voices and likenesses, including performers both living and deceased.
According to some performers, there’s a need for a level of copyright protection over their performances to prevent this kind of misuse. However, the space of AI-created works is a messy one, with the U.S. Copyright Office already deciding that AI-created works cannot qualify for copyright protection.