With a federal judge ruling against LimeWire in a copyright infringement suit last month, it is almost down for the count. It is on the verge of being shut down as a result of that decision. The fatal blow also means that it will most likely be deprived of the ironic sense of relief that comes with being knocked out from a bout dominated entirely by the opponent. But wait! It has another bout lined up on its way to the grave. A group of music publishers sued LimeWire on Wednesday.
The fresh copyright infringement lawsuit was filed by the National Music Publishers' Association (NMPA) in US District Court for the Southern District of New York. The NMPA is composed of eight music companies, including EMI Music Publishing, Sony/ATV Music Publishing, Universal Music Publishing Group and Warner/Chappell.
The NMPA wants to be compensated at a rate of $150,000 per infringed song. NMPA's chief executive David Israelite told the New York Times, “we’re looking for more than cessation of infringement, we’re looking for damages for all of the infringement done over the years.” According to court documents, the plaintiffs in the first suit fear that damages may run into "hundreds of millions of dollars, or even billions."
While Duke Nukem’s half-brother Max Payne may be world-renowned for his time-slowing prowess, Duke obviously taught him everything he knows. After all, when matched against a tumultuous 13-year development cycle, Duke’s year-long development-impeding court case seems like it went by in the blink of an eye. For gaming’s favorite perpetually gumless ass-kicker, it was just another American legal system-shaped bump in the road. Now, though, it’s time to get back to business.
"The above action, including any and all claims that were or could have been asserted by the parties, is dismissed with prejudice in accordance with the terms of the Settlement Agreement executed by the parties on May 14, 2010," reads the filing that ended the suit.
So, with the legal battle dismissed, is the Take-Two/3D Realms divorce a done deal? Or have the two companies kissed and made up? There’s no way of knowing just yet, but The US Trademark and Patent Office currently lists Duke Nukem as a 3D Realms property, which seems to suggest that 3D Realms got to keep the kids. And, seeing as development on DNF never actually ground to a complete halt, we’re guessing the tortoise will just keep right on chugging along in spite of the hare – who, in this metaphor, represents “common sense, normal game development standards, and the entire videogame industry.”
We’ll attempt to contact both 3D Realms and Take-Two on the matter, though we doubt either side will talk until it’s good and ready. But, you know, E3’s a nice time for announcements. Just putting that out there, 3D Realms.
Late last month, the Hurt Locker’s producers filed a copyright infringement complaint against 5,000 people it accused of illegally downloading digital copies of the critically-acclaimed film using BitTorrent. In the complaint, the producers of the film informed the court that the defendants were only known to them by their IP addresses, and that they would amend the complaint to include true names of the downloaders at a later time.
The makers of Hurt Locker have now taken the first step toward identifying the alleged infringers by providing a list of 700 IP addresses to the court. The list also contains the names of their respective ISPs and the time when the infringement was recorded.
Time Warner customers don’t figure on the list as their ISP has chosen to excuse itself from what it considers a tedious process. As for the ISPs that do figure on the list, they will only be required to reveal the true identities of alleged offenders only if the court orders them to do so. And in the eventuality that it does, the downloaders will receive a $2500 settlement offer.
Five years after Google settled a class-action lawsuit brought against it for conniving at click fraud, the online ad heavyweight has been slapped with a similar lawsuit, this time by a Seattle locksmith that used Google's AdWords service for online advertising.
123 Lock was awakened to the possibility of it being a victim of click-fraud when there was a sudden spike in daily clicks, but the “clicks never converted into phone calls.” It says that earlier 80% of the clicks used to lead to phone inquiries.
123 Lock owner Guy Aloni says that although he tried to draw Google's attention to the issue - even suggesting that the shady clicks might be the handiwork of a competitor, he could not elicit a satisfactory response.
Taking a leaf out of the Recording Industry Association of America's (RIAA) book, the producers of the Hurt Locker on Monday instituted legal proceedings against people who illegally downloaded the critically acclaimed film from the internet. Voltage Pictures, the production company responsible for the film, fired the first salvo in the form of a copyright infringement complaint against 5,000 people. The scope of the complaint might even be expanded to accommodate more downloaders later on.
“The true names of Defendants are unknown to the Plaintiff at this time. Each Defendant is known to the Plaintiff only by the Internet Protocol (“IP”) address assigned to the Defendant by his or her Internet Service Provider on the date and at the time which the infringing activity of each Defendant was observed,” reads the complaint.
Voltage Pictures told the court that it will amend the complaint to reflect the true names of the defendants as and when it is able to identify them. And yes, the complaint also mentions the Hurt Lockers's amazing feat of six Oscar victories (probably in a bid to make a strong first impression).
The production company believes it is entitled to recover from the downloaders actual or statutory damages, costs of filing the suit and attorney fees. It is also seeking “injunctive relief” in the matter, asking the court to prohibit illegal downloaders from further downloading, pirating or hosting/storing unauthorized versions of its films.
Although RIAA has abandoned the mass lawsuit strategy, the contagion seems to be sweeping the film industry, with a consortium of film studios called the US Copyright Group filing a similar complaint against 20,000 downloaders in March.
Apple is known in the tech industry for being a bit of a patent bully, but it turns out what goes around really does come around. This week a number of infringement cases were filed in a Texas federal court which allege that iTunes, Safari, and even OSX infringe on a number of patents held by a company named Sharing Sound. The most interesting of the suits filed was against the iTunes store, which as far as we can tell, insinuates that Apple should not be allowed to sell music through the iTunes interface. The patent being contested would prevent Apple from using any type of online store environment which allows them to provide song previews, a shopping cart, or even an application to play any purchased content. The absence of these features would make iTunes decidedly less useful than it already is, so I imagine Apple is taking this one rather seriously.
Most people wouldn't recognize Sharing Sound on its own, but codefendants include Rhapsody, Napster, Brilliant Digital Entertainment, and Microsoft. Apple is the big player named in the suit, but similar actions were filed against Amazon, Netflix, Wal-Mart, Barnes & Noble, and even GameStop. It is somewhat unclear why Sharing Sound would wait so long to test out the validity of its patent holding, but were pretty sure a lawyer was carefully consulted at each step. A verdict in their favor could radically alter the online music distribution landscape, but is also the key reason why it is likely to die off. The better question here is not if Sharing Sound will be able to lock out the big players in the online music industry, but rather why the patent office would grant such a broad and ridiculous patent at all.
Xerox will fork over $69 million to put to rest the last of what ended up being several shareholder lawsuits following the company's acquisition of Dallas-based Affiliate Computer Services Inc. (ACS) a year ago.
The $6 billion acquisition drew criticism from shareholders when it was discovered that ACS founder Darwin Deason was receiving additional payments, including a $300 million premium for his Class B shares of ACS. All told, Deason received a billion in stock and cash from Xerox, which he said was "consistent with other strategic acquisitions of similar scope and size."
It didn't take long for shareholders to file lawsuits in Dallas and Delaware, all of which pretty much alleged that Deason's deal was overly generous compared with what other ACS stockholders would receive.
Under terms of the deal, Deason will forfeit $12.8 million of the settlement, while Xerox "did not admit any wrongdoing."
A lawyer for Gizmodo said today that his clients may choose to file a lawsuit against the San Mateo County Sheriff for the raid on editor Jason Chen's home. The search was part of the investigation revolving around Gizmodo's acquisition of a prototype next-gen iPhone. The warrant was served to Chen on Friday, and authorized police to take Chen's computers and hard drives. Gizmodo has held that the warrant was improperly issued because California's shield law should protect Chen from seizure of property.
Stephen Wagstaffe, chief deputy district attorney in San Mateo County claims the issue was examined before the search was conducted. The sticking point is that if Gizmodo is the target of the investigation for the purchase of the phone, the shield law would probably not apply. The distinction is that in cases of direct wrong doing, journalists aren't protected from searches.
Civil rights groups, including the EFF, have come down firmly on the side of Gizmodo here. It would set a disturbing standard if the shield law were ignored simply because Chen works from home, and not in a traditional newsroom. Where do you come down? Should Gizmodo file the suit? More importantly, what does this mean for online journalism?
If you dealt with a snooping parent in your early years, you probably never thought of filing a harassment suit. But that's just what one 16 year old Arkansas teen is doing after his mother reportedly broke into his Facebook account. The mother, Denise New from Arkadelphia (sort of like Philadelphia, but in Arkansas?) is looking at a May court date.
New does not currently have custody of the teen, but says their relationship was good before the Facebook incident. According to the complaint, New logged into the Facebook account in question and posted "slanderous" content before changing the password. "You're within your legal rights to monitor your child and to have a conversation with your child on Facebook whether it's his account, or your account, or whoever's account," said New.
The county attorney wouldn't comment on the specific case, but clarified the harassment statute as an action "with purpose to harass, annoy or alarm another person without good cause". It seems that the mother's actions may apply, but New intends to fight the charges. Do electronic communications assume a special kind of privacy? More importantly, would you consider this sort of behavior harassment?
Another popular torrent search engine finds itself staring down the barrel. A U.S District judge has ordered IsoHunt to remove all unauthorized content. The order is not merely restricted to the removal of infringing dot-torrent files, though, but further requires that IsoHunt limit the scope of its search function to only legal content “using or based on infringement-related terms.”
However, IsoHunt owner Gary Fung believes a keyword-based filtering system will render the search engine useless. “Filtering against keywords. It amounts to nothing less than taking down our search engine,” Fung told Wired in a telephone interview. He contends that by banning certain keywords altogether would make it difficult for the search engine to display even legal content.
The court has asked IsoHunt to purge the site of all unauthorized content within 14 days of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) furnishing it with a list of all such content.