Thursday 6 March 2014

The CopyKat - snappers paradise: skating clear of Getty's images, it's in Degeneres we trust!

In Taiwan, the Dutch television production company Endemol has lost a lawsuit against the the producers of a Taiwan game show called "Go to Top 101" which  it accused of copying its popular program called "1 vs 100."  "Go to Top 101" was a 29-episode show in which a single contestant went up against 101 contestants. It was aired by Taiwan's China Television Company in 2009 and was hosted by Hu Gua. Endemol argued that "Go to Top 101" had similar scenic designs as "1 vs 100" and just like the foreign show, made three "helps" available to contestants. The Taipei District Court ruled that although the two shows had very similar rules and ideas, elimination and helps are common concepts in game shows and should not be overly protected by copyright. 

Rival services in Australia have accused Netflix of turning a 'blind eye' to copyright - pointing out that although it has not launched in Australia, Netflix has anywhere between 50 and 200,000 subscribers there, who use a VPN (virtual private network) such as Hola to gain access, and yet the 'unavailable' service has no agreement with content owners to operate in the market in Australia.

Rightscorp, "the leading provider of monetization services for artists and holders of copyrighted Intellectual Property" has said that it has closed more than 60,000 cases of copyright infringement to sate. The company, which says it "helps monetize copyrighted intellectual property for rights holders and provides valuable Digital Millennium Copyrights Act compliance Solution for ISPs" announced that it has settled more than 60,000 cases of copyright infringement to date. The Company says that it's monetization service "successfully collected payments from illegal distributors through notifications sent by their Internet Service Providers (ISPs) on digital assets including music, films, books, video games and software." It will be interesting to see how the digital world reacts tp the news - this blogger expects cries of 'trolls ahoy' to echo around cyberspace.

Two copyright law professors have told the US Supreme Court that Aereo's service is illegal and they say that in denying broadcasters request for an injunction against Aereo, the Second Circuit of Appeals got just about everything wrong, misconstruing the "text, structure, specific legislative guidance, and general legislative purposes of the 1976 [Copyright] Act." Berkeley Law Professor Peter Menell and UCLA law professor David Nimmer say that the Second Circuit handed Aereo a copyright "get-out-of-jail-free card" that unravels the basis of the Copyright Act of 1976 that the Congress has reaffirmed  numerous, times saying in an amicus brief "That ruling cannot stand" submitting that the Court should hold that Aereo’s service infringes the copyright owners’ exclusive right of public performance," they said.

Getty Images has rolled a social sharing feature that "unshackles a vast section of its image collection". Getty’s new Embed tool will allow bloggers and the like to easily embed and share its imagery - at no cost - for  non-commercial use (hmmm, what DOES that mean) on websites, blogs and social media channels. Users will be obliged to include photographer attribution and provide a link back to Getty Images and the company said that the “embed” tool provides people with a simple and legal way to utilise content “that respects creators’ rights, including the opportunity to generate licensing revenue". I am so in awe of the previously ever litigious Getty that I have just stuck with the cowards mantra of 'no image' for this blog as Getty is mentioned (and I couldn't quite understand their website).  But we are not so worried by the Oscars ..........

(c) 2014 - but to whom?
Question: Who owns the copyright to Ellen's selfie image at the Oscars? Well apart from Eleonora's article and the 20 odd comments on the IPKat on this topic, and various opinions here  and here and here  (all saying the man who pushed the button, Bradley Cooper, owns it) we were alerted to a very well written opinion by photographer Bettie Robertson who said the snap belongs to Ellen DeGeneres -- and probably to Ellen alone - UNLESS -  she was doing this as part of a "work for hire" for the Academy - and that those featured in the "groupie" would  not be joint authors, and in all events Ellen told them what she was going to do with the snap - and Bradley who pushed the button "was just acting like a thoughtful gentleman".  The fairly heated discussion on the IPKat also suggested that sponsor Samsung might be the owner, having possibly directed Ellen to arrange the shot on the S5 mobile phone as a publicity stunt, although our very own John Enser opines "Surely the answer is that anyone who goes anywhere near the Oscars stage will have signed a release handing over all their rights to the Academy - so irrespective of who was the first owner, it is now owned by the Academy?". 

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