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On March 30 The Hollywood Reporter broke a story that appears to prove consumer file-sharing lawsuits are back in a big way. (link) SaveCinema.org is the home page for U.S. Copyright Group, a team of intellectual property attorneys who sued more than 20,000 movie downloaders in Washington D.C.'s U.S. District Court and are finalizing another lawsuit against 30,000 more. THR's report seems to indicate this is a new contingency venture of the established law firm Dunlap, Grubb & Weaver, (link) using torrent-tracking technology to identify the Internet addresses of infringers and then pursuing users' identities through their Internet service providers to negotiate settlements. Consumer advocates Electronic Frontier Foundation said, "If this story is correct, it's the latest evidence that copyright law has become unmoored from its foundations. Copyright should help creators get adequately compensated for their efforts. Copyright should not line the pockets of copyright trolls intent on shaking down individuals for fast settlements a thousand at a time." (link) A counter-argument could be made that this approach finally puts Internet technology on the side of copyright owners, and that lawsuits like these can enable movies' creators to receive hundreds of thousands of dollars in compensation for actual infringement. The potential bad publicity from this approach might deter trade organizations that lobby elected officials from openly supporting the effort, but there is no shortage of film producers who would appreciate revenue that could help them make their next project.
Four submissions were published on the Web on March 24 responding to the request for comments by the U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator Victoria Espinel (link) — three from rightsholders organizations and one from consumer advocates.
The IPEC will proceed to develop a joint strategic plan considering all the comments that were submitted by the March 24 deadline — potentially a major landmark in the history of intellectual property in the United States.
Umbrella rights organization UK Music published seven recommendations for British music's next decade on March 29 in a document titled "Liberating Creativity." (link) Its executive summary begins, "Unsurprisingly, our ambition for the music industry is simple yet challenging: we want to be number one."
On March 26 British regulator Ofcom released its annual "UK Children's Media Literacy" report. (link) Among children between ages of 12–15, only 1 percent "do not use the Internet at all" and 44 percent believe "downloading shared copies of music and movies should not be illegal."
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