By Susanna Lichter
Fair Use Defense Bolstered by 7th Circuit Decision in South Park Viral Video Lawsuit
In a victory for fair use proponents, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a District Court’s grant of a motion to dismiss based on fair use before any discovery took place in a lawsuit between the makers of the South Park television show and plaintiff Brownmark Films, LLC. Judge Cudahy found South Park’s substantial recreation of Brownmark Films’ viral video “What What (In the Butt)” to be clearly fair use based solely on the two videos, allowing the defendants to avoid costly discovery and trial expenses, Ars Technica reports. South Park’s near shot-for-shot rendition substituted the flamboyant star of the original with a young boy and was considered by the court to be an “obvious” example of parody. The court further commented that Brownmark Films’ broad discovery request gave the plaintiffs the appearance of a “copyright troll.”
24 Arrested by FBI in Global Cyber Crime Sting Operation
“Operation Card Shop,” a two-year FBI investigation into the buying and selling of credit card data, identity theft, and counterfeit documents culminated earlier this week in the arrest of twenty-four people around the globe. The sting was announced in a statement by the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York and involved the apprehension of eleven suspects located in the United States, thirteen located abroad, and the execution of more than thirty search warrants. According to a report by Wired, the FBI facilitated the bust by setting up a phony web forum to monitor hackers’ online exchange of stolen financial data. Among the suspects arrested was Mir Islam, aka “JoshTheGod,” a self proclaimed founder of the online carding forum Carders.org and member of the hacking group UGNazi.
NZ Court Rules Search of Megaupload Founder’s Mansion Illegal
The High Court of New Zealand found the search and seizure of the infamous Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom’s electronic data, automobiles, and bank accounts performed by New Zealand police to be invalid and illegal. New Zealand police issued warrants and stormed Dotcom’s mansion earlier this year pursuant to an official request for legal assistance by the United States as part of an extradition treaty between the two countries. The High Court’s 56-page decision may prove to be crucial to Dotcom’s effort to avoid extradition to the United States on charges of copyright infringement and money laundering. In their coverage of the ruling, Ars Technica expressed uncertainty that Dotcom will be able to retrieve his unlawfully retained data since the FBI has already returned to the United States with copies of the data.