Copyright News

Judge Allows the Lost Boys of Sudan to Pursue Copyright Against ‘The Good Lie’ Film Producers

 

Incredible in scope and rife with inherent drama, it is little surprise that Hollywood sought to make a film based on lives of the estimated 20,000 boys and girls who fled Sudan during the Second Sudanese Civil War during the early 2000s.

The Lost Boys of Sudan’s journey encompassed thousands of miles and thousands of dangers — enduring disease, escaping wild animal attacks and evading forced recruitment into the Sudanese People’s Liberation Army.

While The Good Lie, a 2014 drama starring Reese Witherspoon that was based on their story, didn’t have much box office success, it is becoming grounds for an intriguing legal battle swirling around authorship and rights.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, U.S. District Judge Leigh Martin May will allow The Lost Boys to continue their copyright and fraud claims lawsuit, originally filed in February 2015. Fifty-four of the displaced Sudanese people living in Atlanta filed lawsuits against Ron Howard’s Imagine Entertainment and other producers on the film for breaching their initial contract terms for compensation and joint authorship.

The plaintiffs state in the lawsuit that they, “partnered with Defendants to create The Good Lie’s script, in part, based upon their promise that a non-profit foundation organized and run by the refugees would be the sole beneficiary of any fundraising efforts associated with The Good Lie.  However, neither the refugees nor their Foundation have been compensated in any fashion for sharing their traumatic personal stories and assisting with the creation of the script for The Good Lie.”

According to the lawsuit, the Lost Boys met with film producer Bobby Newmyer and screenwriter Margaret Nagle in 2003 to conduct recorded interviews to provide facts, background, and stories for the eventual screenplay. In her decision, U.S District Judge Leigh Martin May ruled that the Lost Boys have enough facts to support findings of copyright infringement and a possible future injunction.

“The Interviews, however, did not consist merely of  ‘ideas, facts and opinion made during a conversation,’ like the interviews by journalists in the cases Defendants cite,” Judge May states. “Rather, the Interviews were a creative process designed to create material for a screenplay and film. All that an ‘original work’ must possess is ‘some minimal degree of creativity’ … even a slight amount will suffice. Plaintiffs’ telling of their personal stories in response to questions designed to elicit material to create a fictional script for a feature film likely includes enough creativity to render the Interviews an original work of authorship.”

Judge May concludes, “Plaintiffs have stated a cognizable claim for protection against continuing infringement by Defendants that, if proven, warrants entry of a permanent injunction.”

It’s not an uncommon practice in “based on true events” movies for screenwriters to conduct interviews to mine facts and incorporate them into the screenplay.  It’s also not uncommon for writers to move things around, create composite characters and other events, which is why the term “based on true events” exists.  When these types of films come out, there’s always the question of how much is true, what role the subject plays and how much input they have in the story.

If The Lost Boys of Sudan get a favorable verdict, this changes the game on how contributions from the subject influence authorship and original work on “fact-based” films.

Read the rest

Florida Man Allegedly Posted Explicit Photos of His Estranged Wife on Facebook

Steven Ward mugshot

Steven Ward posted explicit photo of estranged wife on Facebook

A man accused of posting sexually explicit photos of his wife on Facebook is being charged under a new state law that outlaws “revenge porn.”
The Seminole County Sheriff’s Office charged Steven James Ward, 32, with sexual, cyberstalking and violation of pre-trial release after his wife showed deputies messages and the Facebook post.
Ward is facing charges under the state’s so-called revenge porn laws, which took effect in October. It makes it illegal to post sexually explicit photos in an effort to seek revenge or harass someone.

Ward was last arrested on Dec. 11, 2015 on domestic-violence related charges.

Reports show he was released four days later under the condition that he would only have consensual communications with his wife.

After that, Ward sent his wife harassing text messages and an explicit sexual photo of herself, deputies said.

He then sent her a screenshot of his public Facebook post, which included her name and a sexual image of her, deputies said.

She told deputies that those photos were sent when they were still together but were meant to remain private. Reports show the couple is still legally married.

She texted Ward, “DO NOT CONTACT ME ANYMORE STEVEN” after receiving multiple unpleasant text messages from him, but deputies saw that he continued to text her.

Deputies arrested Ward at his Geneva home in rural Seminole County on Friday.

According to the arrest report, “Steven became belligerent when confronted and was immediately secured in handcuffs.”

Deputies said Ward was hostile toward detention deputies when given the opportunity to provide a sworn statement.

Ward remains at John E. Polk Correctional Facility in Sanford without bail.

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/breaking-news/os-revenge-porn-steven-james-ward-20160125-story.html… Read the rest

Woman successfully sues ex-boyfriend for posting ‘revenge porn’ online

The Fourteenth Court of Appeals released its published opinion in No. 14-14-00459-CV. A woman successfully sued her ex-boyfriend in Texas for posting “revenge porn” of her on the Internet, receiving $345,000 in damages.

Upset with his ex-girlfriend, Nadia Hussein, for breaking up with him, Akhil Patel posted pornographic video of her to YouTube and porn sites, sending the links to some of Hussein’s family members, as is revealed in released text message exchanges between Patel and Hussein.

Hussein sued Patel for IIED (intentional infliction of emotional distress), defamation, public disclosure of private facts, and intrusion on seclusion, for which she was awarded $500,000.

Patel appealed the decision; the IIED and defamation charges were dropped, resulting in her receiving $345,000, instead of the original $500,000.

“It was traumatizing,” Hussein said in her testimony, “I didn’t know what I—I didn’t know what I could do. . . . I didn’t want to face anyone.”

Before and after posting the videos, Patel harassed Hussein with phone calls, text messages and emails between the years of 2010—their breakup—and 2013—when Hussein sued.

In one of Patel’s messages to Hussein, he writes, “All I want is some kind of response, if I don’t get that at least, even a single “A”, imma act like you IMMATURE and send stuff to spite/hurt you cause you love to hurt me soo much so I guess I will return the favor, im tired of being hurt by you.”

WARNING: Contains explicit language and material

Patel also sent Hussein messages such as “stp rackin up shi on the credit gurl! debt getting hi,” which she interpreted as him having acquired personal information of hers. In Hussein’s testimony, she said that Patel sent her the social security numbers of herself and her mother.

After the videos had been posted, Hussein became less confident, paranoid and more reclusive, according to the testimony of her friends. However, the defense adduced picture of Hussein from her social media accounts–taken during the time in question–out with friends at events.

At one point, Hussein even moved out of her house into a burglar-proof apartment, where she installed an additional lock, Hussein testified.

Hussein and Patel began dating in high school.

http://www.chron.com/national/article/Woman-successfully-sues-ex-boyfriend-for-posting-6787996.php… Read the rest

Revenge porn purveyor labelled ‘worst man on internet’ has change of heart

Scott Breitenstein cashed in on the internet phenomenon of Revenge Porn.

A REVENGE porn mogul labelled “an internet terrorist” has announced an astonishing change of heart, removing thousands of nude photos from the web.

Scott Breitenstein spent years raking in cash from providing a platform for users to post sexually explicit, non-consensual images of their exes, alongside personal details.

The 45-year-old’s website was so prominent on Google, it would often be the first result if you searched a victim’s name, ruining their lives and even driving one woman to suicide.

But two weeks after filming a documentary with fusion.net, Breitenstein claimed he had finally seen the error of his ways, and has now removed all the naked photos from his website. The Ohio husband and father of one says the move has caused his monthly earnings from the website to drop from $1200 to just $200.

It’s a surprising about-face from a man who appears unrepentant in the documentary about collecting tens of thousands of dollars in settlements from victims who tried to get their photos removed.

In one scene, he shows the camera a naked picture of one a teacher, along with a picture of her school and her email address, one that will have now been inundated with sick, aggressive messages.

“Whore by night, elementary third grade schoolteacher by day,” reads the caption. The photo had been viewed 982,000 times.

While posting revenge porn is now illegal in some US states, running a website that hosts it remains legal. Victims, 90 per cent of whom are women, can file a DMCA (Digital Millenium Copyright Act) complaint, forcing the site to disable the image.

But Breitenstein told fusion.net that if the victim didn’t file for an injunction within ten or 14 business days then he would reinstate the post. “That wastes our time, so what we do is we charge them $10,000.”

He did draw the line at child pornography, but demanded photographic ID from girls to prove they were under 18 before he would remove a post.

Adam Steinbaugh, an LA lawyer who specializes in revenge porn and has confronted Breitenstein in the past, told news.com.au: “I don’t believe Breitenstein’s change of heart for a moment. He took the oh-so-courageous step of deleting a category on his website, but still posts revenge porn in other categories and on other sites.

“Breitenstein’s story is a lot like other revenge porn site operators: they’re often impoverished, usually male, and they universally have little, if any, regard for the impact their sites have on people.

“Many, if not most, are victims of some form of domestic violence, as posting revenge porn is often part of a course of conduct intending to harass and intimidate the victim. When they do talk, what they say is uniform: they’re hurt and they’re scared.”

It’s a vile enterprise, but a lucrative one. Breitenstein, a former plumber and electrician, bought his website, ComplaintsBureau.com, from a previous owner, when it was solely a consumer rights forum.

Many of those posts were defamatory and had devastating effects on businesses with no right no reply. But when one user posted a naked photo of a cheating ex, traffic to the site went through the roof, and Breitenstein began making serious money from Google ads.

He faced all sorts of roadblocks. His site was dropped by several internet providers, before he began hosting it in France, and was hacked by a member of vigilante group Anonymous, who called him a disgrace to the country. He was once threatened at gunpoint.

Homeland Security even removed the site for a year after an extremist shared a photo of a beheading and Breitenstein stuck to his usual policy of ignoring requests for removal.

It was only when the documentary producers showed him a videoed message from revenge porn victim and Cyber Civil Rights Initiative campaigner Annmarie Chiarini that Breitenstein said he’d seen the light.

Unfortunately, he’s far from the only entrepreneur callously making money from humiliating women. This is big business, and the authorities have been slow to do much about it.

Rachel Lynn Craig, a 28-year-old from Virginia, became the first person to be charged with revenge porn in October 2014, when she was accused of posting an image of her ex-boyfriend’s new girlfriend naked on Facebook.

Hunter Moore, Breitenstein’s main competitor for the title of “most hated man on the internet”, was sentenced to just two years in prison in December for stealing and distributing thousands of naked images on his website, IsAnyoneUp.

The 29-year-old Californian was ordered to pay just $145 in restitution to the women whose lives he destroyed when he hacked their computers.

As for Breitenstein, lawyer Mr Steinbaugh alleges he has created some of his revenge porn copies himself, and reposted some content from other sites. If that’s the case, he would be liable. He could also potentially be prosecuted under various child pornography laws.

He’s keeping his head down for now, running ComplaintsBureau as a straightforward consumer advocacy site, along with ethically dubious but text-based STDRegistry, CheatersRUs and ReportMyEx. He says he might have to close his previously most successful website if business doesn’t improve.

He may be financially worse off, but at least he’s finally done the right thing.

If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault or family violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit www.1800RESPECT.org.au. In an emergency, call 000.

emma.reynolds@news.com.au /

http://www.news.com.au/technology/online/security/revenge-porn-purveyor-labelled-worst-man-on-internet-has-change-of-heart/news-story/e72205349bc6012cc5b0ccefde7304ccRead the rest

State lawmaker goes 3rd try on ‘Revenge Porn’ law

FOX10 News | WALA

PHOENIX (KPHO/KTVK) –

Arizona lawmakers hope the third time is the charm for a so-called “Revenge Porn” bill. Revenge porn is when someone posts sexually explicit photos of a former mate without that person’s consent or knowledge. A revised third version of the bill passed the Arizona House on Wednesday. That bill will likely pass quickly in the Senate, potentially on Thursday.

The ACLU initially opposed the law, saying it was written too broadly. Librarians, photographers and artists, for example, could be unfairly prosecuted the civil rights group feared. Meanwhile, victims have had no way to get justice.

The bill is a bipartisan measure that would protect a growing number of victims, but it has struggled to leave the State Capitol.

“This is the third session dealing with this issue,” Rep. J.D. Mesnard, LD-17, said. He is sponsoring the bill.

House Bill 2001, a proposed revenge porn law, has been hanging in the balance for eight months.

“We’ve had, I think I identified about 10 cases for you, where we weren’t able to prosecute under the law as written,” explained Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery.

The first version of the bill passed in 2014 but county prosecutors couldn’t enforce it after the ACLU sued over concerns about how the law may infringe on First Amendment rights.

Mesnard then revised it.

“We sent it over to the Senate,” Mesnard said. “You can ask them why they neglected to vote on it. It was probably just a mistake.”

Ultimately, the bill that would have made revenge porn a felony missed out on a vote before the last legislative session ended.

“I felt extremely frustrated because I know that there are victims out there,” Mesnard said.

Mesnard was referring to victims like “Nicole” who described for us last June how an ex-boyfriend humiliated and harassed her using intimate photos.

“He got angry after the relationship ended and he posted them online without my permission and without my knowledge,” she said.

Will the third time be the charm?

The bill is fast-tracking through the Legislature and specifically spells out what it means to digitally humiliate or harass an ex.

“What the ACLU wanted was a ‘motive’ behind the sharing or spreading of the photo, as well as an expectation of privacy when the photo was originally shared with the person who then spreads it,” Mesnard explained.

The bill has an emergency clause, meaning it goes into law as soon as Gov. Doug Ducey presumably signs it. County attorneys will certainly be checking cases they’ve been unable to prosecute to see if they can now bring charges.

http://www.fox10tv.com/story/30961269/state-lawmaker-goes-3rd-try-on-revenge-porn-law… Read the rest

Australian Court: Google Liable as Secondary Publisher in Internet Defamation Case

 Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP Internet Defamation Attorneys
Australian Court: Google Liable as Secondary Publisher in Internet Defamation Case
Then, some of the psychics retaliated with the allegedly false defamatory remarks about Duffy. As many people and businesses are aware of today, Ripoff Report postings (which the website will not remove) tend to rank highly in Google search results.

 … Read the rest

David Lowery Sues Spotify for Copyright Infringement, possible $150 Million

David Lowery is an advocate for musicians’ rights. He is suing over copyright violations.Spotify has been sued for copyright infringement in a case that accuses it of failing to properly license songwriting rights in the United States. The suit highlights an escalating fight over the complex system of royalties for online music.

David Lowery, the leader of the rock bands Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven, and an outspoken advocate for musicians’ rights in the digital age, filed the suit on Monday in federal court in California. It contends that the company makes many songs available on its service without properly securing — or paying for — “mechanical rights,” which date back to the era of piano rolls but are still a major kind of music copyright.

Mechanical rights refer to a copyright holder’s control over the ability to reproduce a musical work. Mr. Lowery’s suit contends that Spotify copies and distributes versions of his songs on its service, which streams music to some 75 million people around the world, 20 million of whom pay for monthly subscriptions.

In his suit, filed in United States District Court in Los Angeles, Mr. Lowery applied for class-action status, arguing that Spotify has failed to handle the mechanical licensing for a huge but unspecified number of songs by many songwriters. Citing statutory damages for copyright infringement, which range from $750 to $30,000 — or $150,000 for each instance of willful infringement — Mr. Lowery’s suit says that Spotify could be liable for up to $150 million.

“We are committed to paying songwriters and publishers every penny,” Jonathan Prince, a spokesman for Spotify, said in a statement. “Unfortunately, especially in the United States, the data necessary to confirm the appropriate rights holders is often missing, wrong or incomplete.”

As streaming has grown, the songwriting rights — which are handled separately from those of recordings — have become more valuable and their licensing increasingly contested. Songwriters like Mr. Lowery often complain of low royalty rates or of not being paid at all, while online outlets and music publishers alike say that incomplete or conflicting data often hampers proper accounting.

In October, Spotify removed from its service thousands of songs from Victory Records, an independent punk and metal label, after the label’s publishing arm complained that Spotify was not paying for millions of streams. Spotify said it did not have enough data to resolve the issue, but Victory and Audiam, a company that administers its royalties, disputed this, saying they had provided data with years’ worth of information.

Victory’s songs were quietly restored to Spotify a few weeks later, but the issue has continued to simmer. The National Music Publishers’ Association estimates that 25 percent of the activity on interactive streaming services like Spotify is not properly “matched” to the right data to let songwriters and their publishers get paid.

Last week, Spotify announced that it would create a “comprehensive publishing administration system” to fix the problem of faulty royalty information.

Read the rest

Bill Cosby’s former attorney seeks to remove judge in Janice Dickinson defamation suit

Janice Dickinson says the lawyer defamed her when he defended Bill Cosby against allegations of rapeBill Cosby‘s former attorney wants to bar a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge from hearing a case in which model Janice Dickinson says the lawyer defamed her when he defended Cosby against allegations of rape.

On Monday, attorney Martin Singer filed court papers seeking to remove Judge Debra Katz Weintraub from the civil suit, which accuses both Singer and Cosby of defamation.

The filing comes roughly a month after the judge ruled both Cosby and his former attorney could be deposed by Dickinson’s lawyer, Lisa Bloom.

Singer did not state a reason in court papers as to why the judge should be removed. As a named defendant in the lawsuit, he can exercise the right to disqualify the jurist. If the petition is granted, the presiding judge will assign someone else to the case.

Cosby and Singer had been scheduled to answer questions about the case in November, but the Los Angeles-based 2nd District Court of Appeal ordered those depositions delayed after Cosby challenged the ruling.

Dickinson sued Cosby in May after Singer issued a statement calling her allegations “a lie.” Cosby also said that he did not rape Dickinson while in Lake Tahoe in 1982, as she has alleged.

Last month, attorney Gloria Allred, who is Bloom’s mother, deposed Cosby, 78, in a lawsuit filed by Judy Huth, who alleges she was sexually assaulted by the comedian in the 1970s at the Playboy Mansion when she was 15 years old.

After that deposition, Cosby replaced Singer with attorney Christopher Tayback.

In recent years, more than 50 women have accused Cosby of sexual assault or abuse.

http://www.latimes.com/topic/entertainment/television/bill-cosby-PECLB001147-topic.html… Read the rest

South Australian Government moves to make ‘revenge porn’ a crime

South Australia proposed revenge porn laws

DISTRIBUTING nude images of an ex-partner without their consent could soon be a crime under a State Government proposal.

Attorney-General John Rau has released draft laws which would criminalize “revenge porn” — the distribution of intimate and pornographic images without consent.

Mr Rau said the proposed laws would also address concerns about the potential for young people who “sext” — sending or receiving sexually explicit images — being listed on the Child Sex Offender Register.

Under the proposal, prosecutors and courts would be given added “flexibility” to consider the context of a young person’s behavior when deciding whether they should be listed on the Register.

The push to ban revenge pornography followed a recent in which intimate images of more than 400 Adelaide women were published on a US website.

Under the government’s proposal, – currently out for consultation – a person who threatens to distribute an invasive image or intends to “arouse a fear” that the threat would be carried out would be guilty of an offense, carrying a maximum penalty of $10,000 or two years jail, if the image was of a minor, or $5000 or 12 months jail if the image depicted an adult.

It would also increase the penalty for distributing an image of a minor to a maximum fine of$20,000 or four years jail, singling it out as an offense worthy of harsher penalty.

Mr Rau said what might start out as a bit of fun between two people may end up causing great distress and ruining lives.

“Young people in particular need to understand that if they take a naked selfie and share it with one person — that image might be shared with hundreds, possibly thousands of other people,” Mr Rau said.

“These images can all-too-often be used as a means of bullying and harassment, as once an image enters cyberspace, it is there forever.”

Mr Rau said while no minor had been listed on the Child Sex Offenders Register for a sexting related offense, there was potential for it to occur and that needed to be addressed.

“Whilst there will still be cases where a young person may be properly charged with an offense relating to child exploitation material, these new laws ensure there is flexibility for prosecutors and courts to consider the context of the behavior,” he said.

“This is something that the late Bob Such was a strong advocate for and I am pleased the government will be able to progress this issue when Parliament resumes in the new year.”

A discussion paper will be released in the new year.

The draft laws can be accessed online.

http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/south-australian-government-moves-to-make-revenge-porn-a-crime/news-story/1b98fd867079f2369979667110888a74… Read the rest

New sexting laws in SA to spare children from facing child pornography charges

Teen sexting will no longer be a crime in Australia

Children who share sexual images of themselves will avoid being charged with [police] offenses under legislation being drafted by the South Australian Government.

Under current laws, minors who ‘sext’ could face [police] [police].

But under the changes, a new filming and sexting offense would be created for those under the age of 17 to prevent minors from potentially being listed on the Child Sex Offender Register.

The offense would attract a maximum fine of $20,000 or four years imprisonment.

South Australia’s Attorney-General John Rau said the proposed legislation would also include a crackdown on so called “revenge porn”, or those who threatened to send a sexual image of another person.

“Young people in particular need to understand that if they take a naked selfie and share it with one person, that image might be shared with hundreds, possibly thousands of other people,” he said.

“These images can all too often be used as a means of bullying and harassment, as once an image enters cyberspace it is there forever.”

Under the changes, children or adults who threaten to send such images would face up to two years in jail or a $10,000 fine if convicted.

“It’s a no brainer really,” Mr Rau said.

“If you’re a young person, you should ask yourself this question, ‘do I want to see the image I’m about to send to somebody on the front page of the newspaper?’

“If the answer to that is ‘yes’, go ahead and send it. If the answer to that is ‘no’, don’t send it.”

Mr Rau said it was up to the police to decide whether or not to prosecute.

“I don’t expect all of these things to go into the courts,” he said.

“If they [police] come to the view that the matter is trifling or is of a minor nature they have a discretion about whether it is in the public interest to prosecute.”

He said no child had been listed on the Child Sex Offenders Register for a sexting related offense but that was more “good luck than anything else”.

A discussion paper on the draft legislation will be released early next year.

Teens ‘should not’ be punished under child porn laws

The state’s District Court judges have previously expressed concern about teenagers being punished under child pornography laws for such behavior.

In 2014, a 21-year-old South Australian man was convicted of [police] offenses for taking consensual semi-naked photos of his then 16-year-old girlfriend.

The Victorian Government recently introduced similar ‘sexting’ legislation and Mr Rau said he would continue his push for uniform national laws.

Opposition spokeswoman Vickie Chapman expressed support for the proposed changes.

“We would support some relaxation to ensure that those who are young — they’re not innocent but they’re certainly immature — should not have the same risk of penalty as adult offenders.”

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-12-30/new-laws-in-sa-to-protect-children-‘sexting’-from-porn-charges/7059932… Read the rest