Viacom v. YouTube: District Court Again Dismisses All Copyright Claims Against YouTube

Judge using his gavelOn remand from the Second Circuit, which had partially reversed the district court’s summary judgment dismissing Viacom’s copyright infringement claims against YouTube, the district court has again dismissed all claims on DMCA safe harbor grounds.

After Judge Stanton first dismissed Viacom’s case, holding on summary judgment that YouTube was shielded by the DMCA safe harbor, the Second Circuit reversed and remanded for further briefing due to questions regarding, inter alia, whether the record evidence established (1) YouTube’s actual or “red flag” knowledge of specific infringing activity, (2) willful blindness to such activity, and (3) whether YouTube had the right and ability to control the infringing activity.

On remand, and after further briefing, Judge Stanton again granted summary judgment on all counts to YouTube. [Read more…]

Supreme Court Holds First Sale Doctrine Applies to Copies Sold Overseas

Judge using his gavelIn a 6-3 decision and a complete win for the defendant, the Supreme Court today held that the first sale (or exhaustion) doctrine applies to copies of copyrighted works created outside of the United States. That means, irrespective of where the particular copy of a book, sound recording, movie, etc., was manufactured or sold, a lawful purchaser has the right to import, re-sell or otherwise re-distribute that copy in the United States without violating Sections 106(3) or 602(a)(1) of the Copyright Act.

Note that two of the majority issued a concurring opinion, inviting Congress to legislatively overrule the holding with respect to the Section 602 importation right (which would effectively gut this holding’s applicability to U.S. consumers).

Website Developer’s Unauthorized Login to Website Not Actionable Under DMCA

What's your password
Creative Commons License photo credit: TheRealMichaelMoore
In a recent decision, Ground Zero Museum Workshop v. Wilson, a District of Maryland court held that a former website developer who allegedly gained unauthorized access to the plaintiff’s website after a dispute and altered the website did not violate the DMCA’s anti-circumvention provision.  In a familiar fact pattern of the jilted lover, er, I mean website developer, the developer used his password to access the back end of the plaintiff’s website after the two parties had a falling out and the developer resigned.  Then, depending upon whose version of reality you choose to believe, the developer either (1) pulled out the website functionality he had created and left the website in the same condition it was in before he started work or (2) altered the website so that users would think it was no longer functioning and inserted code that would redirect users to various news articles about the plaintiff and its owners. [Read more…]

The Vanishing First Sale Doctrine: Second Circuit Joins Ninth In Holding First Sale Not Applicable To Copies Manufactured Outside U.S.

Get out of here
Creative Commons License photo credit: benchilada
In Wiley & Sons, Inc. v. Kirstaeng, the Second Circuit has now (by a 2 to 1 majority decision) joined the Ninth in holding that the first sale doctrine, recognized in Section 109 of the Copyright Act, does not apply to copyright-protected works embodied in copies manufactured outside the United States. [Read more…]

Suing For All The Tea In China: Court Exercises Jurisdiction Over Chinese Government And Companies In $2.2 Billion Copyright Infringement Case

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Creative Commons License photo credit: irrezolut

The Central District of California is allowing a software copyright infringement suit to proceed against the People’s Republic of China and several Chinese corporations, in which the pleaded copyright damages exceed $2.2 billion.  The Amended Complaint in CYBERsitter, LLC v. Peoples Republic of China, the plaintiff software developer alleges that large and important chunks of its Internet content filtering software were copies wholesale by two Chinese software developers working in conjunction with the Chinese government, and that China then essentially mandated that every new computer sold or distributed within China have a copy of the infringing “Green Dam” filtering software installed.  [Read more…]