3 Count: Virtual Insanity

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1: Facebook’s Oculus Facing $500 Million Bill in Copyright Case

First off today, Michael Liedtke at the AP reports that Facebook-owned Oculus has been hit with a $500 million judgment as ZeniMax Media emerges victorious in a jury trial against the company.

According to ZeniMax, and now the jury, Oculus co-founders  Palmer Luckey and Brendan Iribe infringed on ZeniMax’s copyrights and trademarks as they built their products. Oculus is best known for the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset, which has become a household name for PC gaming.

The jury did not find that Oculus had stolen trade secrets and, instead, focused solely on the copyright and trademark issues. It found Oculus itself liable for $300 million in damages, Iribe himself responsible for $150 million and Luckey for the remaining $50 million. Oculus has said it plans to appeal the decision but, even if the jury verdict stands, it would only be a quarter of the $2 billion that Facebook paid for the company.

2: Police Seize Domains of Fifty ‘Pirate’ Newspaper and Magazine Sites

Next up today, Andy at Torrentfreak writes that authorities in Italy have seized some 50 domains over allegations of copyright infringement. However, rather than trading in movies or music, the sties involved were offering free versions newspapers and magazines.

The move follows and investigation by rights rightsholders and the Public Prosecutor of Rome. The operation, nickamed “Odyssey 2” is part of a new tact for Italy, which previously employed a “follow-the-money” approach to pirate sites. Now it appears to be targeting hosting providers and tracking down operators of pirate sites that way.

Still, the move is most exceptional due to the rightsholders it helps. Such massive anti-piracy sweeps are rare against sites lifting news content. Publishers applauded the move though it is unclear how many of the sites are still offline and how many have since reopened.

3: Texas A&M Sued for Copyright Over Iconic 12th Man

Finally today, Cameron Langford at Courthouse News reports that Alabama author Michael J Bynum has filed al wasuit against Texas A&M University alleging that its athletic department posted the “heart” of his unpublished book on their website.

At issue in the case is Texas A&M’s tradition of the “12th Man”. The tradition began in 1922 when the school’s football coach called student Earl King Gill down from the stands to suit up and fill in for injuries. Gill didn’t play but hist story gave rise to the tradition of referring to the crowd as “The 12th Man”, which the school trademarked in 1990. The school has since defended that trademark more than 550 times according to their site.

Bynum was seeking to write a book about Gill entitled “12th Man: The Life and Legend of Texas A&M’s E. King Gill”. However, according to Bynum, the school published portions of the book that were sent to school officials for comment/clarification on their website. They were published as an article titled “The Original 12th Man”. According to the lawsuit, one official said it was a simple mistake, having confused Bynum’s book excerpt for a submitted article. However, Bynum is now suing for copyright infringement, alleging that the publication has harmed his chance at a successful print run.


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.

The 3 Count Logo was created by Justin Goff and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License.

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