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First off today, the EFF is reporting that, in the past few weeks, some 40,000 copyright infringement defendants, mostly sued as part of “speculative invoicing” cases have been dropped due to a variety of enjoinder and jurisdiction issues. The defendants, who were largely suspected of sharing content via p2p networks and had been sued as “Doe” defendants, have had their cases dropped though they could be refiled individually. However, the business model for speculative invoicing largely requires the use of massive lawsuits to be economically viable, making the prospect of suing large numbers of copyright infringers at once much more difficult.
Next up today, in Australia Attorney-General Robert McClelland has announced he is making three inquires into copyright reform. The first aims to expands safe harbor protections to content providers such as Google and Yahoo (similar to how it is in the U.S) and not limiting it to ISPs and other telecommunications providers. The second aims to allow for exemptions to their anti-circumvention rules, which forbid the breaking of digital locks for virtually any reason. The final announced inquiry is a “clearly defined” inquiry by the Australian Law Reform Commission to look at the current state of the law in the country. Copyright holders in Australia have lobbied hard against the first two proposed changes, making it likely that there will be a battle over these inquiries upcoming.
Finally today, one of Russia’s mascots for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games has been accused of being a copyright infringement. Specifically, a chubby polar bear, which came in second during public voting, has been called an act of plagiarism by Viktor Chizhikov, who designed the brown bear cub mascot for the 1980 Moscow Olympics. Specifically Chizhikov said, “It’s exactly the same as mine: the eyes, the nose, the mouth, the smile, though it’s askew.” There is no word about possibly legal action, such action would be unlikely anyway, but this controversy follows another that saw a version of Grandfather Frost, Russia’s equivalent of Santa Claus, be disqualified at the last minute due to fears of him becoming property if the International Olympic Committee.
That’s it for the three count today. We will be back tomorrow with three more copyright links. If you have a link that you want to suggest a link for the column or have any proposals to make it better. Feel free to leave a comment or send me an email. I hope to hear from you.
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