3 Count: Last-Minute Settlement

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1: Major Record Labels and ISP Settle Piracy Lawsuit One Day Before Trial

First off today, Ernesto Van der Sar at Torrentfreak writes that the former internet service provider Bright House has reached a last-minute settlement with a group of major record labels, averting an imminent trial.

The labels sued Bright House, which is now owned by Charter Communications, three years ago. The labels alleged that the company was not taking adequate steps to prevent piracy on its network, including failing to terminate the accounts of repeat infringers. A similar lawsuit against Cox Communications ended up with a jury awarding the labels $1 billion in damages.

A trial in the Bright House case was slated to begin yesterday, but was delayed over a lawyer testing positive for COVID. The trial was instead supposed to begin today but, at the last moment, the two sides reached a closed-door settlement and have agreed to drop the case. There is no word on what the settlement includes, and both sides have declined to comment.

2: YouTube Must Face Suit by Grammy Winner Over Rights Protection

Next up today, Malathi Nayak at Bloomberg reports that YouTube has failed in its efforts to get a lawsuit filed against them dismissed, setting the stage for a possible trial down the road.

The lawsuit was filed by musician Maria Schneider, who alleged that YouTube’s copyright protection system is “two-tiered” and only protects “powerful copyright owners”. Specifically, she says that she was denied access to YouTube’s Content ID system, a service that is only granted to a handful of powerful rightsholders, leaving her with less effective options.

YouTube filed a motion to dismiss the case, but the judge found that their motion was “unavailing” and denied it. YouTube had no comment on the judge’s ruling.

3: Copyright Office Tells Tillis Deferred Copyright Examination Will Not Achieve Cost Reductions

Finally today, Steve Brachmann at IPWatchdog reports that the U.S. Copyright Office has sent a letter to U.S. Senator Thom Tillis outlining the results of a feasibility study of a deferred registration examination (DRE) option for those wanting to protect their works.

Currently, in the United States, copyright holders must register their copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office fore filing a lawsuit. A recent case, known as the Fourth Estate case, saw the Supreme Court holding that such a lawsuit could not be filed until the registration was completed. However, the U.S. Copyright Office often takes several months to complete such a registration, prompting Thillis to ask about DRE as a means of speeding up the process and reduce fees related to it.

However, the USCO has responded saying that such a process would, most likely, not result in reduced filing costs or expedited registration. They say that, for better efficiency, the focus needs to be on modernizing the copyright office, not changing how it handles registrations. It also says that the organization has been working for years in just this space, trying to upgrade and modernize its technology.

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