1709 Blog: for all the copyright community

Monday, 18 April 2016

The CopyKat

It been eight years since the publisher John Wiley & Sons sued Supap Kirtsaeng for re-selling Asian market textbooks in the USA - and now despite his ultimate win in the Supreme Court under the 'first sale' doctrine, his textbook business is shuttered and he has moved into academia - BUT in his first print interview he makes clear his conviction that he wasn’t doing anything wrong by reselling those textbooks, and that the lawyers who helped him prove it are entitled to be paid for their work because he found counsel willing to represent a student and small business owner against a global company with billions of dollars in annual revenue. So he now wants almost $2 million from John Wiley - but so far he has been knocked back by the trial court and the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Now the Supreme Court will hear Kirtsaeng’s second petition for certiorari, this time to resolve uncertainty among the federal appellate courts on the appropriate standard for fee-shifting in Copyright Act litigation. 

The song that inspired one of America’s greatest freedom fights is now the subject of a battle over its own. A California non for profit organisation has filed a class-action lawsuit against Richmond Organization and Ludlow Music over the copyright to “We Shall Overcome,” a song the Library of Congress calls “the most powerful song of the 20th century.” “It’s an important part of our political and social history and we certainly see the irony in the fact that this song, which has represented the civil rights movement, needs to be emancipated itself,” says Mark Rifkin, an attorney and partner with Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz, who is representing the We Shall Overcome Foundation in the suit who will argue that “The basic story is the song was written well before anybody copyrighted anything” - that " the song belongs in the public domain", and seeks a return of "unlawful licensing fees" from the publishers. Could be fun!

Justin Bieber’s 2010 hit song ‘Somebody To Love’ faced a claim back in 2013 when he and his producer Usher, were accused of copyright infringement.  The lawsuit was brought forward by singer De Rico and songwriter Mareio Overton.  De Rico and Overton’s track was also titled ‘Somebody To Love,’ from their similarly-titled album, My Story II. In 2014 the court dismissed the case finding significant differences in the songs. However, in June of 2015, the US Court of Appeals in Virginia re-opened the lawsuit and since then, the case has been ongoing. But Bieber keeps failing to show up to depositions and having cancelled twice said he was ‘unable to sit for deposition’. As a result, the singer has now been ordered to pay over a whopping $10 million and the court has scheduled discovery to be completed by April 18th. Errrrrr, that's TODAY JUSTIN!

With a retrial scheduled for May, Oracle and Google have failed to settle the copyright lawsuit over Android operating system. Reports said that the CEO of global software major Oracle, Safra Catz and Google Chief Executive Sundar Pichai met for six hours on April 15 in a court-ordered settlement conference before a U.S. magistrate in San Jose, California, in an attempt to stave off retrial in May. U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul Grewal, who mediated the talks issued a statement saying the talks were unsuccessful.

And finally: Universal Music Australia, Warner Music Australia, Sony Music Entertainment Australia and Albert Music have combined in an effort to combat offshore site Kickass Torrents, filing an application in the Federal Court of Australia to have Kickass blocked from local access. The action is under Section 115A of the Australian Copyright Act 1968 and the companies are seeking to have Kickass Torrents and its affiliated proxy sites blocked by Australian ISPs in an effort to tackle local and global music piracy.

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