October 2011 Quick Links

By Eric Goldman


* MUST READ from Techdirt: MPAA Helped Police Seize ‘Pirated’ DVDs That Were Actually Fully Authorized. On the topic of errors in determining copyright infringement, the incident a powerful reminder both that even those “in the know” overclaim copyright infringement, and that the targets of such overclaiming can suffer catastrophic losses. That makes the incident an important reminder of the value of procedural safeguards in the copyright setting.

* An amended Capitol v MP3Tunes opinion explains why 17 USC 512 applies to state copyright claims (see pages 14-17). Prior blog coverage.

* Megaupload settles with Perfect 10, and the judge vacated her opinion. Prior blog coverage.

* Permanent injunction issued against Zediva. Prior blog coverage.

* Supplemental briefing requested in Viacom v. YouTube:

The parties are hereby ordered to submit letter briefs, not exceeding ten pages doublespaced, on the following questions: (1) whether and how the red-flag knowledge provision would apply under the Defendants’ “specific” knowledge construction of § 512(c)(1)(A); and (2) whether YouTube’s “syndication” of videos to third parties falls outside the scope of safe harbor protection for activities that occur “by reason of . . . storage at the direction of a user” under § 512(c)(1).

Mark Lemley on Viacom v. YouTube.

* Mick Haig Productions, e.K. v. Does, 2011 WL 5104095 (N.D. Tex. Sept. 9, 2011). In a mass copyright lawsuit, the plaintiff’s lawyer issues subpoenas without authorization to identify the defendants and gets sanctioned $10k for it.

* Righthaven LLC v. Newman, 2011 WL 4762322 (D. Nev. 2011):

the restated SAAs are not a simple attempt to clarify or supplement the facts pleaded in the complaint with additional facts that were present at the time of filing. Rather, the restated SAAs present a new set of facts with respect to the alleged copyright ownership, which is impermissible because Righthaven may not amend the defects in the jurisdictional facts themselves. See Newman–Green, 490 U.S. at 830. Next, the restated SAAs’ terms substantially contradict the original SAA. Again, defects of allegations may be amended, but not defects in the facts themselves.

* Righthaven LLC v. Inform Technologies, Inc., 2011 WL 4904431(D. Nev. Oct 14, 2011). Upholding personal jurisdiction in Nevada but issuing an order to show cause why the suit shouldn’t be dismissed for lack of standing.

* Righthaven v. Newsblaze (D. Nev. Nov. 4, 2011). Another Nevada judge, this time Judge Jones, dismisses a Righthaven case for lack of standing.

* Sam Francis Foundation v eBay complaint: Class action suit against eBay under CA’s “resale royalty” statute.

* Google got a good copyright win in a German case over its image search service.

* Wired: U.S. Copyright Czar Cozied Up to Content Industry, E-Mails Show

Search Engines

* Google implements SSL on its search results pages and knocks out search terms from the referrer URL. This may sound like a privacy win, but it also means that Google will increase the gap between its database and the databases of indexed websites. So this is a backdoor way for Google to hoard data for itself…and perhaps increase incentives for advertisers to pay. More on this point from Danny Sullivan: “if Google thinks this needs to be done for privacy reasons, then it needs to block referrers for everyone and not still allow them to work for advertisers. That move is one of the most disturbing, hypocritical things I’ve ever seen Google do.”

* Google Buzz is dead, but Google has a 20 year hangover with the FTC, which approved the settlement. Prior blog post. Francoise Gilbert offers some lessons.

* Search Engine Land: Organic Click-Thru Rates Tumbling; Only 52% Click On Page One, Study Suggests

* News.com: Google’s whimsical Easter eggs.

Content Regulation

* Darm v. Craig, the Oregon Twitter libel lawsuit, settled.

* Language Line Services, Inc. v. Language Services Associates, LLC, 2011 WL 5024281(N.D. Cal. Oct 13, 2011). Complicated dispute between two competitors. Many claims based on one competitor’s blog post were stricken under CA’s anti-SLAPP law. Rebecca’s coverage.

* Crookes v Newton, 2011 SCC 47 (Can Sup Ct): Linking to defamatory content on 3rd party site isn’t “publication” of linked content.

* Hollywood Reporter: Misappropriation of personality claim in Hurt Locker case gets anti-SLAPPed.


* Ninth Circuit will rehear the Nosal case en banc. Prior blog post. Tom O’Toole’s reset.

* Zing Brothers LLC v. Bevstar LLC (D. Utah Oct. 14, 2011: “This specific inclusion of Utah in the drop down list of states, and the website statements that orders are solicited anywhere “inside the USA” is sufficient to establish that this site is “something more” than a non-targeted transaction site.”

* Ferris & Salter P.C. v. Thomson Reuters Corp. (E.D. Mich. Oct. 19, 2011): “There is no basis under Michigan law or, for that matter, in the vast majority of those states whose courts have considered the issue, to deem computer consultants and service providers professionals…. Thus, the Court concludes that—under Minnesota or Michigan law—no professional negligence action will lie against computer engineers and technicians.”

* From the Chronicle of Higher Ed: What Wikipedia Deletes, and Why.

* A new article tries to answer the question, “Why did Wikipedia succeed while other encyclopedias failed?” My Wikipedia article touched on this issue.

* Actors’ unions ask IMDb not to publish the age of actors. NY Times coverage.

* Tom O’Toole: ICANN’s .xxx sunrise period was a success–for ICANN.

* A behind-the-scenes look at the creation of the Paris Hilton brand:

* I was on TWiL 134 with Denise Howell, Evan Brown and Ernie Svenson. Listen in.