Hollywood Docket: Biggest File-Sharing Lawsuit Ever; Google Loses In Europe; More

The lawsuit brought by Nu Image against pirates of The Expendables has turned into the largest file-sharing lawsuit in U.S. history.

As we first reported here, Nu Image Films signed up with the U.S. Copyright Group earlier this year to file legal action against John Does accused of sharing its films on BitTorrent. As an update, more than 23,000 IP addresses have been flagged, and a federal judge is allowing the plaintiff to subpoena ISPs to find out customer identification. Once identified, these customers will likely get a letter demanding settlement and a threat of further litigation.

In other entertainment law news:

  • The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments last Friday in an appeal by UMG over a lower court decision that granted safe harbor to Veoh Networks over allegations of copyright infringing material posted on its video site. The forthcoming decision will be important, not least because many of the same issues are currently being debated in another high-profile case between Viacom and YouTube in the 2nd Circuit. Meanwhile, there's audio of last week's hearing.
  • Was Rupert Murdoch right? A Belgian appeals court has ruled that Google is infringing newspapers' copyright by linking to stories on its news service. Google has to remove the links, according to the appeals court, and faces financial penalties each day it doesn't. Previously, Murdoch had faced off with Google on this issue, doubting whether "fair use" applied.
  • The European Court of Human Rights has rejected an attempt by celebrities to get news organizations to notify them before being the subject of an article. The plaintiff, a former president of Formula One Racing, claimed that public figures deserve privacy protections, but the court has ruled that such a move would lead to a chilling effect on free speech.
  • FCC commissioner Meredith Attwell Baker, who was helpful in leading the agency to approve Comcast's acquisition of NBC Universal, is leaving the regulatory agency to become—shocker!—the senior vp of government affairs for NBCU. Per recently enacted rules, she will be barred from direct lobbying for two years.