1709 Blog: for all the copyright community

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

The CopyKat - the Dung Beetle is back - and its angry now

Miriam Elia, the artist who was threatened with legal action by Penguin for a humorous book introducing children to the art world in the style of the Peter and Jane readers from the 1960s and 1970s has taken satirical revenge, after the publisher announced its own series of humorous retro titles based on the Ladybird books, telling the Guardian that when she realised Penguin had stolen her idea she was "a little angry" but rather than slinging insults on Twitter she  thought she would create a ‘satirical Ladybird book’ about the situation with "We Sue an Artist", her "Dung Beetle guide to corporate intimidation".  Our September 2014 Blog on this can be found here.

In China, the State Administration of Press & Publications, Radio, Film & Television (SAPPRFT) has announced several measures to tackle illegal copying and recording of films in cinemas. Technological analysis will be used to trace the time and venue of illegal recordings, and more education and training courses will be provided to raise IP awareness. The excellent China IP newsletter from the IPO, the British Embassy in Beijing and UK Trade and Investment points us to the SAPPRFT website.

Online radio provider Pandora is to pay out some $90 million to the three major record companies, Universal, Sony and Warners, along with ABKCO, as payment for use of pre-1972 recordings. In June, Sirius paid $210 million to resolve a long-running lawsuit over its broadcast of older tracks. Pandora will pay $60 million for the use of recordings through 2015, and another $30 million to cover through 2016. Last year, recording companies filed a lawsuit in New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan, accusing Pandora of violating the state’s copyright protections by using recordings of older songs without permission. The move followed the success of Flo & Eddie (The Turtles) in garnering copyright protection for sound recordings under state laws in both New York and California - although they failed to convince a judge in Florida on the same arguments.

Having sent a cease-and-desist letter to Donald Trump, asking the Republican presidential candidate to stop using “Dream On” during his campaign, Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler has now penned an open letter explaining his views on U.S. copyright laws — and how they need to be rervised (from the perspective of a very successful long term recording artiste methinks!). “My intent was not to make a political statement, but to make one about the rights of my fellow music creators,” the singer writes in his open letter, first published on Huffington Post. “But I’ve been singing this song for a while now” adding his campaign was "to make sure that songwriters and artists can practice their art without threat of extinction. "To make sure those who practice their craft get paid fairly when others use their work" and The laws need to change. We have so many laws in America that control how we get paid for our music. Seventy-five percent of songwriters' income in the U.S. is regulated by the government? Too much government intervention in art and music is a bad thing." Image from wikicommons.

The European Commission has no plans to weaken copyright, but wants a "targeted" and "balanced" reform with concrete benefits for consumers and right holders. That's according Gunther Oettinger, the member of the European Commission with responsibility for the Digital Economy and Society, speaking at the Frankfurt Book Fair.

The saga of 'Happy Birthday' in the USA isn't over by a long shot. Not only do the current plaintiffs want the court to give a clear statement over the status of the copyright protection (or in their view lack of copyright protection) attached to the song, the matter remains of the millions of dollars paid to Warner/Chappell by licensees who wanted to use the song.  But Warner/Chappell hasn't given up either .... the music publisher is seeking Judge King's reconsideration of his September ruling, in particular, they disagree with King's interpretation of a 1940s agreement between Summy and the Hill sisters, and, as an alternative, has requested permission to file an immediate appeal. More on this on the Hollywood Reporter here.

Over on the IPKat, Eleonora tells us that he US Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit has delivered its judgment in the Google Books case and has confirmed the decision of Judge Chin -  that the scanning activities of Google within its Library Project are to be considered a fair use of copyright works.

And finally, A federal court jury in Nevada has ordered a Las Vegas-based software maintenance firm and its chief executive to pay just over $50 million in damages to technology giant Oracle in a copyright infringement lawsuit. Oracle had sought nearly $246 million in damages. The verdict against Las Vegas-based Rimini Street Inc. and CEO Seth Ravin followed a two-week trial in U.S. District Court in Las Vegas. It focused on copies of J.D. Edwards and Siebel-branded Enterprise software. Ravin was found jointly liable for $14.4 million of the $50 million figure. Rimini Street has filed a separate action against Oracle asking the court to confirm that Rimini Street's new processes for it's PeopleSoft update development do not infringe on Oracle copyrights.

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