3 Count: SMART Introduction

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1: Armstrong Introduces Bill Tightening Digital Copyright Protection

First off today, David Olson at The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead reports that North Dakota Representative Kelly Armstrong has introduced the Strengthening Measures to Advance Rights Technologies Copyright Act of 2022 (SMART Copyright Act), which aims to place extra responsibilities on hosts to automatically remove and reduce copyright infringement on their services.

The law aims to modify and clarify the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, the law that governs the notice and takedown system in the United States. Under the law, hosts were expected to use “standardized technological measures” (STMs) to reduce copyright infringement (DMCA) but, even after 20 years since the DMCA was passed, no such STMs have been identified. The SMART Copyright Act would empower the U.S. Copyright Office to designate such STMs and set up requirements for their use.

The legislation was introduced on December 14th with both a House and a Senate version being introduced at the same time. A similar bill with the same name was also introduced in 2021, but failed to become law.

2: Kuku FM Settles Copyright Infringement Case With Pocket FM

Next up today, Chetan Thathoo at Inc42 reports that, in India, the audio streaming platform Kuku FM has reached an agreement with competitor Pocket FM to remove allegedly infringing material from their service.

According to Pocket FM, Kuku FM had published several audio summaries that they held an exclusive license to. This resulted in a heavily-publicized copyright dispute between the two rivals that included a copyright infringement lawsuit filed by Pocket FM.

However, the two sides have signed an agreement and Kuku FM has agreed not only to remove the works at issue, but also to not engage in any future infringement.

3: Unpaid Taxes Could Destroy Porn Studio Accused of Copyright Trolling

Finally today, Ashley Belanger at Ars Technica reports that the long-running story of Malibu Media may be coming to a close, but not due to a copyright issue. Instead, unpaid taxes.

For over a decade, Malibu Media has targeted individual file sharers of pornographic material with “John Doe” lawsuits and then following up with legal threats when the identities are learned. Their aggressive tactic lead many to refer to them as “copyright trolls”.

Though their campaign had been winding down in recent years, one of the last remaining cases may be tossed as the company has had their corporate status suspended in California for failure to pay back taxes. As a result, a Texas court has ruled that the company has until January 20 to either pay the taxes and get back in good standing, or have the case dismissed.

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