In the U.S. the Department of Justice is conducting a review of the consent decrees governing the nation’s largest music performance rights organisations, which many see as a critical development amid the ongoing debate over copyright reform. ASCAP last had its consent decree, which governs how the collection society collects and distributes royalties, updated in 2001, while BMI’s has not been updated since the 1990s - and boy oh boy, has technology moved on since then! Both songwriters and publishing companies have suggested that the consent decrees need serious revision, with some even arguing they should be abolished - and ASCAP have already publicised some suggested changes. But the push for updates grew louder earlier this year when a federal rate court gave an unfavorable ruling to ASCAP in its royalty rate dispute with Pandora. Review of the consent decrees will trigger a 60-day public comment period, which is sure to draw in stakeholders ranging from songwriters and publishing companies, to broadcasters and record labels.
Just as Shakespeare could not copyright iambic pentameter, an architect can't claim clapboard siding on colonial houses as his intellectual property, the 2nd Circuit Appeals Court has ruled, saying "Shakespeare wrote his sonnets; Brahms composed his Hungarian dances; and plaintiff designed his colonial houses" ...... "Because we must preserve these forms for future artists, neither iambic pentameter, nor European folk motifs, nor clapboard siding are copyrightable." in a case brought by architect James Zalewski and his firm Draftics Ltd. against construction companies T.P. Builders and Cillis Builders, the court held that the similarities Zalewski spied between his designs and the defendants' buildings "are features of all colonial homes, or houses generally" and not protected.
The Beastie Boys have won $1.7m (£1m) in a copyright violation case against the Monster Energy Co who produce the energy drink.of the same name. The case was for copyright infringement and implied endorsement. Monster had used a montage of Beastie Boys tracks in a promotional video relating to a snowboarding event the brand sponsored, which was posted shortly after the passing of Beastie Boy Adam Yauch, who had included a clause in his will prohibiting his name, image or music being used in advertising or marketing materials. Monster conceded that it had used the music without permission, but said that it had done so by mistake, after one of its marketeers mistakenly inferred from Z-Trip, the DJ the company had worked with on the party in the promotional video, that the music had been cleared. The beverage maker had insisted it should owe no more than $125,000 (£74,000). The Beastie Boys had sought $2m (£1.1m) - and got most if it.
China is considering raising penalties for copyright infringement, according to a draft amendment. The draft amendment to the Copyright Law will see miscreants face fines of five times their illegal gains, or up to 250,000 yuan when the exact sum cannot be established. Previously the figures were three times and 100,000 yuan. The draft document was published by the Legislative Affairs Office of China's State Council to solicit public opinion, (which must be submitted before July 5th).