2017 Anti-Piracy, Copyright and Trademark News


Hacker Says They Stole the New Season of ‘Orange Is the New Black’ — Demands Ransom

A hacker calling themselves The Dark Overlord, claims they stole the new season of the Netflix “Orange is the New Black” hit TV series. They’re asking for an unspecified ransom payment to keep new episodes from being released prematurely. Apparently, they have already uploaded episode #1 to a file-sharing service. The episode’s authenticity could not be confirmed. The new season is slated for official release on June 9. A small production company that works with various television studios experienced a breach, and the situation is currently being investigated by the FBI and other agencies. Pirated episodes could hurt Netflix’s subscriber numbers and stock price. USA Today, April 28, 2017 (The Associated Press)


The Eagles File Lawsuit Against Hotel California

The Eagles have filed a complaint with the Central District of California court, alleging that a Mexican hotel is using the name Hotel California—the title of their 1976 Grammy-award-winning song—without the band’s permission. The lawsuit states that the owners of the hotel, located in Baja, California, let guests believe that the facility is associated with the group. According to court documents, online reviews confirm that U.S. guests do believe that the hotel has an affiliation with the Eagles, which is not true. These false connections, which are used for advertising to Americans, are furthered by playing the band’s music on the hotel’s sound system. The band also claims that the defendant has registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to trademark the name. The Guardian, May 3, 2017 (Guardian music)


Monkey Owns Copyright to His Selfie, PETA Says

San Francisco’s 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals held a 45-minute hearing to determine whether an animal can be the copyright holder of their own selfie photos. It all started with Naruto, a crested macaque monkey, who took a perfect selfie back in 2011. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) sued David Slater, British nature photographer, and his publishing company Blurb, for putting out a book titled “Wildlife Personalities,” claiming it infringed upon Naruto’s copyright. In 2015, they pursued a court order that would allow them to use all proceeds from photographs taken in the Indonesian wildlife reserve to benefit the animal and its habitat. Slater’s attorney argued that a monkey could not sue for copyright infringement. Chicago Tribune, July 13, 2017 (Associated Press, Linda Wang, Janie Har contributing)

HBO at War with Game of Thrones Pirates

In what may be a losing battle, HBO is trying to crack down on people who illegally download the immensely popular series. According to one source, as many as 90 million fans may have pirated the first episode of season seven. Many of the pirates are used streaming to obtain the episode, which is easy to do, even for those less technically inclined, but difficult to track. In an effort to target those suspected of downloading Game of Thrones illegally, HBO is sending notices to individuals’ internet providers. The letter asks the provider to request that the customer stop and offer them ways that they can legally watch the show. CBC News, July 30, 2017 (Sophia Harris) 


Canadian Cable Companies Engage in Piracy Battle with Montreal Software Developer

Cable giants Rogers, Bell and Vidéotron (owned by Quebecor) conducted a court-ordered search of the software developer’s home and interrogated him for over nine hours. This new legal battle is part of an aggressive expansion on the cable companies’ war on piracy. The founder of TVAddons, Adam Lackman, said that the interrogation experience was “horrifying.” He is the defendant in the copyright infringement lawsuit. The companies claim that Canadian dealers sell Android boxes advertised as “free TV,” and that consumers can stream pirated content with these devices. Some of the apps (add-ons), such as 1Channel and Exodus, give people access to pirated television shows, movies and live TV. CBC News, August 2, 2017 (Sophia Harris)


Lawsuit Settlement: ‘Monkey Selfie’ Legal Battle Is Over

A settlement has been reached in the legal battle between People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and wildlife photographer David J. Slater. The issue? A male crested black macaque monkey named Naruto took photos of his own face with Slater’s camera, at the Tangkoko-Batuangus Nature Reserve on Indonesia’s Sulawesi Island. PETA maintained that the copyright ownership of the photographs belonged to the monkey. Slater’s lawyer argued in his defense. Slater explained that it was tough enough for photographers to earn a living. As part of the agreement, reached out of court, Slater will donate a quarter of the proceeds from the “monkey selfies” to Indonesia charities that protect crested macaques, an endangered species. Naruto will no doubt be pleased by the decision. The Washington Post, September 12, 2017 (Amy B. Wang)

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