3 Count: Disney Dodge

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1: AI-Created Images Lose U.S. Copyrights in Test for New Technology

First off today, Blake Brittain at Reuters reports that the United States Copyright Office (USCO) has handed down its decision on the book Zarya of the Dawn, holding that the artwork in the book cannot be protected by copyright as it was created using an artificial intelligence (AI).

The book’s author, Kris Kashtanova had originally registered the book, which is done in the style of a graphic novel, without clearly indicating that the artwork was AI-generated. When the USCO found out, they began investigating the possible revocation of that copyright registration.

The USCO did provide some good news for Kashtanova, allowing them to register the copyright for the text, story and arrangement of the images. Only the images themselves were removed. According to the USCO, it’s because those elements were produced by a human author, while the images were not.

2: Reddit Should Have to Identify Users Who Discussed Piracy, Film Studios Tell Court

Next up today, Joe Brodkin at Ars Technica reports that a group of film companies have filed a petition with the court to demand that Reddit turn over all available information on some nine users that they allege posted comments about piracy on the site.

The lawsuit was filed in 2021 against the cable company RCN by a group of smaller movie studios. As part of that case, which aims to prove RCN knowingly ignored piracy on its network, the studios subpoenaed Reddit to learn the identities of nine users. However, Reddit only turned over limited information about one person and nothing on the other eight.

Reddit attempted to argue that some of the information was over three years old and, thus, beyond the statute of limitations for copyright. However, the plaintiffs argue that they aren’t attempting to pursue those users, just use the information to prove RCN’s “fairly lax” approach to piracy at the time. As such, the studios have promised not to retaliate against the users and claimed that the amount of information they want is both important and proportionate to the case.

3: Disney Ducks Copyright Action Over Animation Technology

Finally today, Natalie Hanson at Courthouse News Service reports that Disney has emerged victorious in a lawsuit that accused it of using copyright protected facial motion capture technology.

The lawsuit was filed by Rearden LLC, who accused Disney of using a contractor named DD3, which employed a former Rearden employee, to use their copyrighted and patented tools at a lower price. According to Rearden, the employee in question stole equipment and copies of the software that they used to create animated characters based on motion captured faces.

In 2018, a judge tossed much of the case out, but declined to dismiss claims of vicarious and contributory copyright infringement. That decision was upheld by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, However, now the court has dismissed those claims as well, claiming that Rearden has failed to prove the copying of any protectable element. With no such elements claimed, the judge was able to toss the claims against Disney because, without any evidence of direct infringement, there is no contributory infringement. However, the judge did dismiss the case without prejudice, meaning Rearden can refile if it chooses.

The 3 Count Logo was created by Justin Goff and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License.

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