3 Count: MGM’s Misdeed

How to get sued for violating the copyright of your own movies...

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1: GitHub Takes Down Popcorn Time Desktop App After Copyright Complaint

First off today, Jordan Pearson at Vice reports that, following a DMCA takedown notice filed by the Motion Picture Association (MPA), GitHub has removed pages and code belonging to the torrenting app Popcorn Time.

GitHub provides repositories for code that allows multiple people to work on the same project. Among the projects it hosts, or hosted, were various versions of the Popcorn Time App including both the desktop and Android versions. However, the takedown has removed the aforementioned desktop versions of the app, but not the Android ones.

It’s worth noting that this has no bearing on the downloadable versions of the app and those that currently use Popcorn Time are not impacted. A spokesperson for the app said that they have already filed a counter-notice and expect to have it reinstated within 10 business days.

2: US Removes Switzerland From ‘Pirate WatchList’

Next up today, Ernesto at Torrentfreak writes that The United States Trade Representative (USTR) has removed Switzerland from its pirate “Watch List” following a new copyright law in the country that introduces a “stay down” policy for infringing content and also enables rightsholders to track suspected pirates.

The Watch List is part of the USTR’s annual Special 301 report, which looks at countries that it claims are not doing enough to protect the copyrights of U.S.-based creators as a tool to encourage copyright reform and action in those countries. Switzerland was added to the Watch List in 2016. after which it started work to update and amend its copyright law.

Downloading content remains legal in the country as long as it is for personal use only. Despite that, the USTR felt that the new laws went far enough to warrant the removal of Switzerland from the list at this time.

3: Starz Sues MGM for Not Honoring Exclusivity Deal

Finally today, Eriq Gardner at The Hollywood Reporter Esquire reports that MGM has managed to do the nearly impossible and is being credibly sued for violating the copyrights in its own movies.

The lawsuit was filed by the pay-TV service STARZ which, according to their complaint, signed an exclusive agreement to show films in the MGM library. However, STARZ claims that, in spite of that agreement, MGM licensed many of its films to other services including Amazon and MGM’s own streaming service Epix.

MGM, for its part, admits that it has breached the agreement but there is a dispute as to how much. STARZ claims that it has become aware of some 136 movies and 108 TV episodes that are in breach. MGM, however, claims that the lawsuit is an attempt by STARZ to deflect from its own shortcomings and put the blame for its failings on MGM.

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