Right from the start, the most obvious problem with these bittorrent cases was that it was clear the courts in DC lacked personal jurisdiction over most (if not all) of the John Doe defendants. When someone pointed this flaw out to the guys at DGW, their response was generally along the lines of, “oh yeah, we know, we’ll eventually just re-file in the proper court but it’s gonna cost you more if you don’t deal with it now.”
The consensus was that they were bluffing. Now it’s not so clear:
The US Copyright Group—also known as the Virginia law firm of Dunlap, Grubb, & Weaver—wasn’t bluffing. Stymied by a federal judge overseeing several of its massive lawsuits against file-swappers, the law firm has teamed up with local lawyers around the country to refile its copyright infringement cases in courts closer to each accused defendant.
Note, this is just one more state. They haven’t filed in Oregon yet. But all along, I’ve been telling clients that the worst-case scenario is that we spend the time and money to beat DGW in DC and then they find someone to bring the same claims here. With this case in Minnesota, we’re . . . → Read More: DGW Files New Complaint in Minnesota
There’s been a copyright infringement case going on in California for the last few years involving promotional CDs and the first-sale defense. There’s a pretty good description of the claims over at The Legality. I just noticed that the decision came out from the 9th Cirucit last week- and the little guy won.
In a nutshell, the first-sale defense says that a copyright owner can exercise the section 106 exclusive rights over the first transaction involving its work, but once a physical copy has been sold into the stream of commerce, those rights are exhausted as to that physical copy. Therefore it’s perfectly legal to operate used book stores and used CD sales and half.com and gamestop and Redbox and Netflix, etc etc etc, and if a copyright owner decides to sue someone for selling a “used” copy of their book, the defendant usually has a legitimate defense in section 109.
In this case, the record company sued a guy for selling the demo CDs they sent him to promote their artists. They claimed, among other things, that he was bound by a license agreement they put inside the CD package they mailed to him, even though he never signed . . . → Read More: First Sale and Promo CDs
Edit on 1/5/11: this post is primarily about the impact of the internet on traditional “meatspace” privacy interests. It doesn’t discuss electronic surveillance via GPS tracking, the implications of smartphones and cloud applications for locational privacy, or pen registers on email accounts. It doesn’t deal with the illusory nature of most online anonymity. Those topics are also hot, but they’ll be covered in different posts.
Privacy on the internet was a volatile topic in 2010. Many industry leaders have suffered well-publicized gaffes in the last year. Google launched Buzz and was promptly sued by angry users and subsequently revised its default privacy settings. Turns out Gmail users didn’t necessarily want their web of email contacts and news feeds on display for the whole internet to explore. Microsoft was involved in a DMCA-takedown-turned-Streisand-Effect privacy flap over an internal how-to document that provided instructions on giving user data to government agencies, but closed out the year by trying to promote new privacy-guarding features in its next version of IE. And Facebook continued to receive frequent criticism for its exploitative business practices (most recently for revealing the sexual preference of its users to advertisers) all the . . . → Read More: Topics For 2011 Continued: Privacy
It seems like most of the issues that we pay attention to here at Rational Law have taken a holiday break from the news for the last month or so. The new year promises new activity as everyone gets back to work this week. Here are a few of the issues we’re keeping an eye on:
MBS putback lawsuits: It has been clear for some time that the biggest cause of the 2008 financial crisis was outright fraud perpetrated by mortgage originators such as Countrywide and GMAC. It has taken somewhat longer for it to become apparent that the tree is rotten to the core. Continue reading Back From The Holiday
If you have received a notice from your internet provider or a demand letter from a movie studio, you are not alone. Thousands of people all over the United States have been dragged into lawsuits accusing them of downloading movies with bittorrent. If you live in Oregon or Michigan, Steve may be able to help. If you are interested in a consultation, please click here for more information, or send us . . . → Read More: Look What Came In The Mail