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First off today, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) has announced that he has made several tweaks to the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) to address “legitimate concerns” about the bill. Those changes include narrowing which sites could be targeted by rightsholder lawsuits, restricting which sites would be ordered to remove such sites from their queries and enable the removal of just a portion of a site. However, the heart of the bill remains, including giving copyright holders the ability to order ISPs, payment processors and advertising networks to block or stop doing business with so-called “Rogue” sites. As a result, the changes have not done much to appease critics of the bill. The bill is due for a vote in the House Judiciary Committee tomorrow where it widely expected to make it through.
Next up today, Righthaven, fresh off a string of defeats appears to be backed into a corner as a judge appears to be ready to auction off Righthaven’s copyrights, possibly marking an end to the company’s litigation campaign. Righthaven had sued some 275 defendants over using content from the Las Vegas Review-Journal and the Denver Post but filed as the copyright holder rather than the law firm representing the companies. They lost several cases based on a lack of standing to sue as it was revealed the newspapers had retained control over the copyright. The Review-Journal did eventually assign control in some of the works to help with Righthaven’s appeals but, after being ordered to pay legal fees for several defendants and unable to muster up enough cash, Righthaven may have those same copyrights auctioned off, giving it nothing to sue over.
Finally today, one of the Bratz lawsuits was tossed but it wasn’t the big one between MGA and Mattel. Instead, it was the one that pitted photographer Bernard Belair against MGA, the makers of the Bratz line. Belair had created a series of advertisements in the late 90s featuring oddly proportioned dolls. A representative for MGA admitted that the ads were inspiration for the Bratz line but a judge ruled that the inspiration did not cross the line into infringement as it didn’t rise to “substantial similarity”. There is no word if Belair plans on appealing.
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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