Wednesday 11 December 2013

The CopyKat - and a yankee doodle dandy to you sir!

A copyright infringement lawsuit against the US Government filed in 2012 by Apptricity, an Irving, Texas-based provider of software solutions has been settled for $50 Million according to the plaintiff’s press release.  The complaint filed in U.S. Court of Federal Claims (Case 1:12-cv-00080-TCW)  claimed that the US Army had improperly installed Apptricity’s software on 98 servers and 9063 devices. According to the company, Apptricity software was used to manage logistics related to troop and supply movements in theatre operations around the world. The complaint states that the US Army originally purchased Apptricity’s software in 2004 for a maximum of 5 servers, 150 stand-alone devices, and for the use of this software by 1,500 named users. The relief requested was for a judgment awarding $224 million in damages. 

Brad & Carrie
A US federal judge has ruled that a "song-theft" lawsuit against country superstars Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood over their duet “Remind Me” can move forward. Judge Aleta Trauger has ruled that songwriter Amy Bowen, who performs as Lizza Connor, had established a plausible claim of copyright infringement by performers Paisley, Underwood and songwriters John Kelley Lovelace and Charles DuBois. According to Bowen’s complaint, she wrote a song called “Remind Me” in 2007 and then went on to perform it during a country music songwriting workshop at which Lovelace and DuBois were advisors. No decision has been made on the substance of the claim, More in the Tennessean here

And now for a couple of of non-US updates:

There may be trouble in store for the Musical Society of Nigeria  (MCSN) after the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) filed a six-count charge alleging the illegal collection of royalties . Justice Ibrahim Buba of the Federal High Court, sitting in Lagos, held that criminal charges filed MCSN over the enforcement of Section 39 of the Copyright Act were in order and that an application to dismiss the claims was "misconceived". On each charge, MCSN was accused of demanding royalties from a particular company and carrying on the businesses of soliciting and granting licences on behalf of copyright owners without the approval of NCC, thereby committing an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 39(4), (5) and (6) of Nigerian Copyright Act Cap C28 LFN 2004.

In Germany the chief executive of a software company has been found liable for copyright infringement after software developed by the company was amended in an open source environment to allow copyright-protected material to be accessed unlawfully. The Register reports that Appwork created "JDownloader2", a download management tool, but allowed any external developers access to the underlying code to test and upgrade the software. A beta-version of the software was adapted in an open source environment which could be used to circumvent an existing encryption tool that prevents the downloading of copyrighted material, and this tool was subsequently made available for download and use commercially. A regional court in Hamburg said it was an infringement of German copyright laws to circumvent the technological protection measure. It ruled that the chief executive of Appwork was liable for that infringement after finding that the company had opened the possibility for open source integration, allowed the infringing version to be labelled as Appwork's own product, and failed to provide any restrictions against the downloading of such unofficial, infringing versions of its software.

TPP Postponed - but maybe soon! The ministers and heads of delegation for the somewhat controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership countries have released the following statement:

"We, the Ministers and Heads of Delegation for Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States, and Vietnam, have just completed a four-day Ministerial meeting in Singapore where we have made substantial progress toward completing the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement. 

Over the course of this meeting, we identified potential “landing zones” for the majority of key outstanding issues in the text.  We will continue to work with flexibility to finalize these text issues as well as market access issues.  

For all TPP countries, an ambitious, comprehensive and high-standard agreement that achieves the goals established in Honolulu in 2011 is critical for creating jobs and promoting growth, providing opportunity for our citizens and contributing to regional integration and the strengthening of the multilateral trading system. 

Therefore, we have decided to continue our intensive work in the coming weeks toward such an agreement.  We will also further our consultations with stakeholders and engage in our respective political processes.

Following additional work by negotiators, we intend to meet again next month."

Finally, but importantly, the German state of Bavaria has said that it will seek to block any publication of Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf when the copyright expires in 2015 - 70 years after Hitler's death. The state owns the copyright in Mein KampfThe move represents a change of tactics - Bavaria had previously intimated that it would allow publication with "critical commentary". The Bavarian governor's chief of staff, Christine Haderthauer, said Hitler's anti-Semitic memoir amounts to incitement and the government will file a criminal complaint if anyone tries to publish the book in the future. 

Eleonora's blog from January 2012 on British publisher Alberta's Peter McGee plans to sell excerpts from Hitler's Mein Kampf in Germany can be found here


goldenrail said...

In perhaps a good example of the importance of branding: that's the logo for the wrong NCC. The Nigerian Communications Commission, which is often known as the Big NCC, is different than the Nigerian Copyright Commission.
Interesting that the battle between the NCC and MCSN is continuing. It's been a long fight with some deep history.

Ben said...

Thank you! My error as the 'wrong' NCC comes up first in a google search - indeed one Nigerian article on this manage to use the wrong logo. I hope the new image is correct - please let me know if I am still wrong. Ben