During 2019, TorrentFreak has regularly reported on the controversial DMCA-related takedown efforts of entertainment companies and their anti-piracy partners. This year several were targeted at our own site, having been filed against us with Google. We can proudly (but sadly) report that every single one of them was completely bogus.
This is all perfectly legal, but given some of the many questions people have raised over the years about why the Copyright Office frequently appears to be more an arm of Hollywood, rather than the American public (as is supposed to be the case), this move should raise a few more eyebrows. It won’t, of course. This is just how things are done.But even Hollywood folks should be concerned about this. For all the laughable claims it makes about how we need more “respect” for copyright, the one doing the most to undermine that respect is Hollywood itself, with such a blatant display of “soft corruption.” No one actually believes the Copyright Office has any of the public’s interests in mind, when the head of the office is simultaneously lining up her next job directly with Hollywood’s biggest lobbyist.
Back in 2010, Disney released the game Tron: Evolution. The game was laced with SecuROM and suffered many of the same problems as previously described. As an example of how you don’t really own what you buy anymore, the game simply bricked when Disney decided not to renew its SaaS subscription for SecuROM software.
A YouTuber who used a royalty-free track supplied by YouTube itself has had all of his videos copyright claimed by companies including SonyATV and Warner Chappell. According to the music outfits, Matt Lownes’ use the use of the track ‘Dreams’ by Joakim Karud means that they are now entitled to all of his revenue.
American Films Inc, a company that ‘acquired’ the US operations of notorious ‘copyright troll’ outfit GuardaLey earlier this year, says it has made a new acquisition. With the addition of “strategic data company” Maker Data Services LLC, the company hopes to help Hollywood bring lawsuits against ISPs and VPN providers.
Former attorney John Steele was sentenced this week to five years in prison for his role in the Prenda Law porn-trolling scheme, putting an end to a years-long legal drama wild and stupid enough to be prime-time TV.Steele pleaded guilty in 2017 to federal charges of fraud and money laundering and then cooperated with authorities in the investigation into his former legal partner Paul Hansmeier. That cooperation weighed heavily in Steele’s favor at his sentencing, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports.US District Judge Joan Ericksen said federal guidelines recommended a sentence of 10 to 12-1/2 years for Steele’s “vile scheme” but agreed that given Steele’s extreme willingness to cooperate, his defense attorney’s recommendation of five years was “eminently fair.”
The film, called “IPIDENTICAL: Imagine a world without creativity” is supposed to be an example of what the world would look like without intellectual property. In this world, everything is the same. There is one song in the world, called “The Song” and that’s it. There is one movie, “The Movie.” There is one car in one color. Everyone wears the same clothes. All products on store shelves are identical. See? How dystopian.
Paul Hansmeier, one of the lead attorneys behind the controversial Prenda law firm, is appealing his conviction as well as the 14-year prison sentence. The former attorney will await the result of his appeal in prison. The court further ruled that a $75,000 settlement Hansmeier recently received, will be reserved for the victims of the copyright-trolling scheme.
A couple of weeks back, we discussed the story of Caterpillar Inc., famous manufacturers of tractor equipment, deciding to bully Cat & Cloud Coffee, makers of you’ll-never-guess-what, all because the former had long ago trademarked “CAT” as a truncated brand. At issue specifically is Cat & Cloud’s use of the word “cat” on clothing and merchandise it sells, with Caterpillar claiming there is the potential for public confusion with its own clothing and merch lines. This is, of course, plainly ridiculous. There is no overlap in the branding and nobody is going to confuse the tractor folks with the coffee folks.Others pointed out that there are tons of other companies out there that sell apparel and/or merch while holding trademarks that incorporate the word “cat.” If those other companies are allowed to exist, why not Cat & Cloud? Caterpillar Inc. heard you dear friends, but its response is probably not the one you were hoping for.
It’s the trademark story that simply won’t go away and in which the legal system appears to get everything wrong. The saga of the San Diego Comic-Con’s legal adventures against what was formerly the Salt Lake Comic Con (now rebranded as FanX Salt Lake Comic Convention) has been brutally frustrating. The whole thing started when the SDCC decided somewhat out of the blue to begin enforcing a trademark it had been granted for “Comic-Con” against the Utah production. The trademark original sin of this story began all the way back with the USPTO, which absurdly granted the SDCC its trademark for a purely descriptive term, one which is only unrecognizable as such due to the shortening of the second word from “convention” to “con.” Despite that, the trademark suit brought against the Salt Lake Comic Con somehow ended in a win by jury for the SDCC, which was awarded only $20k. In the trial, SLCC had pointed out several times that the term “comic-con” was both descriptive in nature and clearly had been abandoned by SDCC, evidenced by the long list of other comic conventions going by the term carried out throughout the country.