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First off today, the BBC is reporting that music-streaming service Grooveshark has shuttered its doors as part of a settlement with the major record labels.
Grooveshark was a service that considered itself a YouTube for audio, allowing users to upload tracks for others to listen to. However, invariably the site became filled with copyright-infringing audio, leading to various lawsuits being filed by the record labels. While Grooveshark claimed that it was protected by the Digital Millenniym Copyright Act (DMCA) safe harbor provisions, which protect hosts from infringements by users, courts ruled those protections didn’t apply because Grooveshark employees uploaded many of the tracks and the company failed to meet the requirements of the law.
Grooveshark was facing a trial on damages that could have seen them facing up to $736 million for infringing thousands of tracks. However, the company announced that it had settled its case and was shuttering immediately. A short message on the Grooveshark site says that the company made “Serious mistakes” in not obtaining licenses and encourages users to check out legitimate streaming alternatives.
Next up today, BusinessWorld reports that the U.S. Trade Representative has released their annual Special 301 report, naming countries that it believes have inadequate protection for intellectual property, and it placed 13 countries on the “priority watch list” including Russia, China, Ukraine and India.
The list contains three tiers, a watch list, which has 24 nations in this edition, a priority watch list, with 13 and a priority foreign country, which was left blank in this year’s report. The priority foreign country designation is often used as a precursor to sanctions and and other diplomatic action.
The report did notice progress in many countries, including China, which lifted many of its “buy local” requirements and India where the report said there have been “substantial and measurable improvements” in intellectual property enforcement.
Finally today, Eriq Gardner at The Hollywood Reporter Esquire reports that an Ohio couple has filed a lawsuit against Apple, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and an author known as Lacey Noonan over the cover of the self-published erotic fiction novel A Gronking to Remember over the use of their engagement photo on the cover.
The book is a work of erotic fiction featuring New England Patriots tight end Rob “Gronk” Gonkowski. It entered the national spotlight after being featured various late night talk shows. After learning about the book and the use of their image, the couple sued alleging invasion of privacy and defamation. However, they did not claim copyright infringement as they are not the copyright holder in the work.
However, Amazon is claiming that it is not the publisher of the book and further that it is protected under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act and that the couple may have assumed the risk of the use by posting the photo online.
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.