3 Count: Clamp Down Under

3 Count: Clamp Down Under Image

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1: Stop the Torrents: Australian Government Eyes Copyright Crackdown

First off today, Josh Taylor at ZDNet reports that the Australian government is looking at the possibility of new legislation that will create a “three-strikes” system that aims to clamp down on those who illegally download copyright-infringing material.

The announcement came from Attorney-General George Brandis, who discussed the plan in a speech to the Australian Digital Alliance. He also said that there would be other changes including removing mentions to outdated technologies and making changes to accommodate international trade agreements.

Brandis also said that the government was considering giving courts the power to order ISPs to blow copyright-infringing websites. He also says that he wants Australia to adopt a flexible fair use scheme, one more similar to that in the United States.

2: River Ridge Businessman Facing Federal Copyright Infringement Charges

Next up today, Michelle Hunter at The Times-Picayune reports that Rainer Wittich, the owner of The Brinson Company, a New Orleans-area company that sells replacement parts Mercedes-Benz and BMW vehicles, has been charged with criminal copyright infringement and several violations of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which forbids the circumvention of copyright protection systems.

According to the complaint, The Brinson Company partnered with a North Carolina company in 2001 to manufacture fake versions of Mercedes-Benz’s Star Diagnostic System (SDS), which is a computer used to diagnose problems with Mercedes-Benz cars.

An official system can cost up to $22,000 but The Brinson Company sold some 700 over the course of ten years for between $5,000 and $10,000. Wittich also tapped a programmer in the UK who “unlocked” the software on the computer and allowed them to make the duplicates. He faces a minimum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

3: You Won’t Believe How This Magazine Replied to a Photographer’s Copyright Claim

Finally today, David Griner at Ad Week reports that Kathy Shea Mormino, a blogger at the popular “The Chicken Chick” site, which focuses on raising chickens in your yard, said shat she was threatened by Survival Magazine when she contacted them about removing a photograph that she says she took and was used without her permission.

According to Mormino, she was alerted by a friend that the magazine was using a photo she took on business’ Facebook page. She attempted to contact them via email and Facebook but was ignored, prompting her to file a takedown notice with Facebook. After it was removed, Survival Magazine then sent her an email saying “You have cost us hundreds of dollars in promotions of our posts, and we will be sueing (sic) you to recoup that and legal fees, which are estimated to be between 5-10k.”

The letter went on to call her a vulgar name, which was repeated in the subject line, and say that she has “Nothing better to do than go around the web filing false takedown notices.” It ended with a threat to contact her site’s sponsors about the situation.


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.

Want the Full Story?

Tune in every Wednesday evening at 5 PM ET for the live recording of the Copyright 2.0 Show or wait and get the edited version Friday right here on Plagiarism Today.

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