3 Count: Sunshine Place

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1: Judge Denies Taylor Swift’s Last-Ditch Request to Spike ‘Shake It Off’ Copyright Lawsuit

First off today, Nancy Dillon at Rolling Stone reports that the judge in the Taylor Swift Shake it Off lawsuit has declined a last-minute attempt to dismiss the case, putting it on track for a trial in January.

Swift had filed a motion for reconsideration asking that the judge change course on a motion to dismiss she filed last year. In December 2021, the judge ruled against the motion, saying that there was a “genuine issue of material fact” that needed to be explored at trial. As such, the judge is holding firm to the currently planned trial date, which is in January 2023.

The lawsuit was filed by songwriters Sean Hall and Nathan Butler, who claim that Swift’s Shake it Off is a copyright infringement of their 2001 song, Playas Gon’ Play, which was written for the R&B group 3LW. The original lawsuit was filed in September 2017 and was initially dismissed by the court the next year. However, when the plaintiffs appealed the dismissal, that decision was overturned, sending the case back to the lower court.

2: Robert Downey Jr. Accused of Stiffing Cult Expert to Make Synanon Podcast With His Reporting

Next up today, Benjamin Lindsay at The Wrap reports that cult expert Paul Morantz has filed a lawsuit against both Robert Downey Jr. and Team Downey, Downey’s production company, over a podcast episode that Lindsay claims infringed his work.

According to the lawsuit, Morantz was contacted by Downey’s staff about the possibility of using his book Synanon: From Miracle to Madness in an episode of the Team Downey-produced podcast The Sunshine Place. The book covers Synanon, a drug rehab facility that morphed into a cult. Morantz claims that he provided a digital copy of his book to aid in research, but that no deal to use it was struck before the episode was released.

Morantz, who is 77, is suing Downey over alleged copyright infringement, breach of contract and elder abuse. None of the defendants have responded to the lawsuit at this time.

3: Report Finds 12% of Ads on Piracy Websites Involve Malware to Target Users

Finally today, Samantha Manning at Cox Media Group reports that a new study from the Digital Citizens Alliance found that some 12% of ads featured on pirate websites attempt to place malware on users’ computers.

According to the report, the issue was so bad that the computer they were performing the analysis on was infected as they were gathering data, subjecting them to a ransomware attack.

The group hopes that the findings will deter others from logging on to piracy sites and, instead, obtain content from legitimate sources.

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