3 Count: Czech Liability

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1: Instagram Gets Off the Hook for Copyright Claims on Embedded Photos

First off today, Kyle Barr at Gizmodo reports that a three-judge panel at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a lower court decision to dismiss a lawsuit filed by photographers against Instagram over the embedding of photos on third-party websites.

The lawsuit alleged that Instagram was liable for copyright infringement by allowing third parties to embed their images without permission. However, the lower court and now the Appeals Court ruled that, since embedding content was non-infringement, Instagram could not be held liable for secondary copyright infringement.

The case is seen as a challenge to the “server test”, which was established by the Ninth Circuit and looked at where infringing content was hosted, not where it is displayed. However, various courts in other districts have either ignored or refused to uphold that test. Here, the Appeals Court has said that it considers that test valid, though it did invite the plaintiffs to appeal the decision en banc, which would get it in front of a much larger panel of judges.

2: Court Orders File-Sharing Service to Pay $46,000 Piracy Damages For User Upload

Next up today, Ernesto Van der Sar at Torrentfreak writes that a court in Prague has ordered the Czech file sharing site Ulož.to to pay 976,000 Czech Koruna ($46,000) to a movie distributor over alleged infringement that took place on its service.

The case was filed by the local distributor CineMart and claimed that the site was unjustly enriched when a user uploaded a pirated copy of a film. Though the site does comply with takedown notices, CineMart opted to file a lawsuit to seek tougher anti-piracy measures, namely blocks that would prevent files from being uploaded that referenced the title of the movie.

Ulož.to says that the ruling is inappropriate and has promised an appeal. They further added that they’ve had success in appealing similar cases. Meanwhile, CineMart expressed satisfaction with the verdict, saying it was the first time that a platform has been ordered to pay a rightsholder for copyright infringement in the country.

3: House IP Subcommittee Mulls Copyright and Design Patent Revisions Amid Right-to-Repair Debate

Finally today, Eileen McDermott at IPWatchdog reports that, yesterday, the House of Representatives’ Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet met to discuss intellectual property issues around the right to repair, including copyright issues.

The meeting featured a panel of individuals predominantly from the repair industry. One of the concerns voiced was how copyright, in particular the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) can hinder the owners of products from seeking unofficial repairs. This is because the DMCA has a provision to bar the circumvention of technical protection measures, something companies use to prevent unauthorized repairs.

One measure that was floated in the meeting was a “standard essential copyright” that would force companies to make proprietary information necessary for repairs, including copyright-protected works, available for broad use. The hearing closed with an exchange between Subcommittee Chair Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Devlin Hartline, a Legal Fellow at the Hudson Institute’s Forum for Intellectual Property. Issa claimed that copyright was “not a right to exclude” but Hartline responded saying that a right to exclude is precisely what copyright is.

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