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Australia The Courts Entertainment

Bogus Takedown Notice Lands $150k Settlement In Australian Court 115

Fluffeh writes "Richard Bell, an Australian Film Maker, on a fellowship in New York, produced and directed approximately 18 hours of raw footage for a film with the help of an assistant called Tanya Steele and paid her for these services. Ms Steele, through her American lawyers, sent letters to Mr Bell and his agent claiming that she owned the copyright in the footage and demanding that the trailer be removed from the Internet. She also caused the Vimeo website to remove the trailer. In response, Bell went to the (Australian) courts, which declared him the owner of the copyright in the film, and deemed Steele's threats "unjustifiable". Bell then asked for damages. These were granted in the latest judgment because Bell had lost the opportunity to sell some of his works, which typically cost tens of thousands of dollars, as a result of Steels' threats. The Australian judge awarded over $150,000 in damages plus another $23,000 costs against her."
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Bogus Takedown Notice Lands $150k Settlement In Australian Court

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  • refreshing! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by v1 ( 525388 ) on Friday April 06, 2012 @08:36PM (#39603617) Homepage Journal

    Now THAT is how copyright law is supposed to work! So refreshing to see it actually properly applied.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 06, 2012 @08:48PM (#39603691)

    While we're at it....

    Noted woo-woo and anti-vaccination crank, Meryl Dorey of the AVN (Australian Anti-Vaccination Network), uses blizzards of fake DCMA takedown notices to harass and annoy people criticising her harmful propaganda, and gets away with it, ostensibly because despite being American, she's out of reach of the US courts, because she lives in Australia.

    Does this mean that karma will catch up with this idiot too?

  • I just don't get it? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Grayhand ( 2610049 ) on Friday April 06, 2012 @09:25PM (#39603867)
    I come out of the film industry and my saying is "some one always gets greedy". I told this to my expartner on my last film and he claimed that wasn't the case. Just to prove my point he stole the film literally from my home and to this day it's gone unfinished and is effectively worthless. I've seen it happen time after time that some one involved gets greedy and often the films get shelved because of it so no one benefits. The oddest thing it tends to be the person least involved that thinks they deserve it all which is what happened to me. On my previous film an actor sued the distributor because he thought he should get a share of the profits in spite of the fact the film broke even and his contract didn't grant him profits. He lost the first lawsuit and got a $25,000 judgement against him so what did he do? He sued a second time and lost again. It's shocking how greedy people get when they think they can make a quick buck.
  • by sl149q ( 1537343 ) on Friday April 06, 2012 @09:43PM (#39603939)

    DMCA takedowns should have a built-in cost to the issuer. Issue a cheque for $X when the notice is sent. $X is returned if they subsequently prove the copyright is valid.

    $X does not have to be very large (even a couple hundred dollars) as its just meant to defray the costs of processing the takedown iff it was not valid. And to make massive numbers of invalid notices costs something (currently the only cost is their lawyer to draft and issue them.)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 06, 2012 @09:47PM (#39603953)

    Clare Torry was awarded half copyright and something in "an undisclosed settlement" for her contribution in Pink Floyd's A Great Gig in the Sky even though she initially did it as work for hire and was paid 30 for it years earlier. The PF case is a little different and that Clare was eventually awarded the 1/2 copyright, this case sounds like the performer is just assuming she has 1/2 copyright. []

  • by tibit ( 1762298 ) on Friday April 06, 2012 @10:22PM (#39604095)

    A visa is a document that entitles you to cross the border, nothing more, nothing less. It doesn't need much to do with what's your immigration status once you're in the country.

    You can own and operate a business in the U.S. even without a visa -- obviously, because a visa is to cross the border and that's it. You can also own and operate such a business without having any immigration status. Heck, you can even without ever having to set foot in the U.S. None of it is illegal. Now, being employed by or rendering services for said U.S. business while also being on the U.S. soil, that's what requires appropriate status with DHS (fka INS).

  • Re:refreshing! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 07, 2012 @01:07AM (#39604647)
    Think you will find there is a whole raft of Copyright treaties between Australia and the US. She can certainly take further legal Action, but the Australian court decision will be in effect for both countries.

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