Tuesday, 8 January 2019


January 1st 2019 saw a real “public domain day” in the United States as a large number of films, books, songs, and artistic works once protected by US copyright, and all from the year 1923, fell into the public domain, including Marcel Duchamp’s original “The Bride Stripped Bare By Her Bachelors, Even (The Large Glass)”. Other works included Kahil Gibran’s "The Prophet", Virginia Woolf’s "Jacob’s Room", Agatha Christie’s "The Murder on the Links", Marcel Proust’s "The Prisoner" (La Prisonnière, vol. 5 of In Search of Lost Time), William Carlos Williams’s "The Great American Novel", H. G. Wells’s "Men Like Gods", AND any poem from Robert Frost’s Pulitzer Prize-winning compendium New Hampshire. Cinemas  can now screen Cecil B. DeMille’s The Ten Commandments, Charlie Chaplin’s The Pilgrim, Buster Keaton’s Our Hospitality, or Rin Tin Tin’s Where the North Begins. And theatres can have performances of songs from Noël Coward’s London Calling! or George Gershwin’s Stop Flirting without having to pay a royalty The Chip Woman’s Fortune, the first drama by an African-American author produced on Broadway also enters the public domain today. Neil Wilkof has more on the IPKat here.

A court in southern China has upheld the country's largest fine of 260 million yuan (37 million U.S. dollars) for copyright infringement on media player software company Qvod. The official website of the Guangdong Court said on Saturday that the Supreme People's Court of Guangdong Province had rejected an appeal against the fine. It ruled that the penalty was justified and the Shenzhen marketing supervisor, the local regulator, had the right to impose it on the Shenzhen-based company. More on CGTN here

Nirvana are suing designer Marc Jacobs for copyright infringement. The brand’s recent Redux Grunge collection features several items that resemble the Seattle grunge band’s black-and-yellow iconography.

And MBW reports that US District Judge Louis Stanton has ruled that a jury will decide if Ed Sheeran's 2014 hit single Thinking Out Loud infringed the copyright of Marvin Gaye's 1973 classic Let's Get It On. The action has been brought by estate of the late Ed Townsend, the producer who co-wrote Let’s Get It On with Marvin Gaye. Sheeran has denied the alleged copyright infringement. A second song infringement claim is also destined for a jury trial: LMFAO are facing a legal action over their 2010 hit 'Party Rock Anthem' and its line "everyday I'm shuffling", which it is claimed plagiarises the lyric "everyday I'm hustlin" from the 2006 Rick Ross track 'Hustlin'. Just two words in that one!

The Federal Government shut down in the USA brought on by the Trump wall debacle has closed the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) but the "Office of the Inspector General will continue operations until further notice." The US Copyright Office was still open for normal business, at the time of writing saying ."We are not affected by the partial government shutdown ...... Online registration is available every day."

Do you know what a Klini is? Neither did the copyKat. Apparently it's a crocheted bikini, launched on the US market by Ipek Irgit:  made in China for $29 and retailed for $285. It had sales of $9 million in 2015 and was all the rage - and Irgit took legal action against a number of retailers for producing copies of her klinis. She filed her first lawsuit in October 2015 against Victoria’s Secret, accusing the company of copyright infringement for its similar bikini. The suit settled. But the move backfired when Irgit launched a new suit and one of the defendants, PilyQ, got a lawyer and did some digging and promptly discovered a street artist in Brazil called Maria Solange Ferrarini, who is known in her Brazilian beach town as the bikini lady - and whose work seems to be the source of the Klini. And then PilyQ did a deal with Ferrarini and the legal battle flipped on its head. More here on the ABA Journal including the update that Ferrarini isn't going to be getting rich anytime soon - her non-exclusive licensing deal will generate just $7,700 in royalties in 2019.  

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