Tuesday 18 November 2014

The CopyKat - snippets of copy writes from around the globe

Russia’s State Duma, the parliament’s lower house, has approved a package of amendments to the anti-piracy law, which will cover video, books, music and software, but not photos.  Tass reports that rights’ owners can now demand suspension of Internet sources, which violate authors’ rights, for a period of court proceedings. Two couyrt defeats will lead to an closure of the offending website and the court will decide on a permanent blocking of a Web site. Among the amendments there is an initiative under which a Web site owner must delete during 24 hours any content, rather than limit access to it, upon an electronic request from a rights’ owner. “Our fundamental aim was to protect rights’ owners from professional pirates without creating serious problems for Web’s users, who may not be familiar with details of the law on authors’ rights and are authorized to use the whole content that is available,” Duma deputy speaker Sergey Zheleznyak said in his Facebook account.

The Turtles - happy again?
The Turtles, the 1960s pop band,  have  won a second victory against SiriusXM Holdings Inc. U.S. District Judge Colleen McMahon in Manhattan rejected Sirius' request to dismiss the lawsuit accusing the satellite radio company of playing pre-1972 songs from the band, best known for the hit "Happy Together" without permission or paying royalties. She said that unless Sirius raises any factual issues requiring a trial by December 5th, she will rule outright for the plaintiff, Flo & Eddie Inc, a company controlled by founding Turtles members Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman, and begin to assess damages. The Judge said "Of course, the conspicuous lack of any jurisprudential history confirms that not paying royalties for public performances of sound recordings was an accepted fact of life in the broadcasting industry for the last century. So does certain testimony cited by Sirius from record industry executives, artists and others, who argued vociferously before Congress that it was unfair for them to operate in an environment in which they were paid nothing when their sound recordings were publicly performed.... That they were paid no royalties was a matter of statutory exemption under federal law; that they demanded no royalties under the common law when their product as ineligible for federal copyright protection is, in many ways, inexplicable.  But acquiescence by participants in the recording industry in a status quo where recording artists and producers were not paid royalties while songwriters were does not show that they lacked an enforceable right under the common law - only that they failed to act on it  and Modern federal law supports the notion that an express carve-out is required in order to circumscribe the bundle of rights appurtenant to copyright.  More here and here. Digital Music News opines that based on Judge McMahon's comments  " Although the defendant in the case is a digital service, the ruling would appear to apply to any radio station, nightclub, or any other venue that plays recorded music in New York". So, traditionally free from paying royaties for recorded music in the USA  - is broadcast radio next???

Oracle's 2007 case against SAP, alleging that the latter’s Texas-based subsidiary TomorrowNow had illegally downloaded millions of copyrighted documents and programs from its customer connection website has finally bee settled. In 2010, a jury awarded Oracle $1.3 billion in damages based on the value of a hypothetical license that SAP should have negotiated for using Oracle’s copyrighted software. In response SAP filed a suit claiming that the amount should not be based on hypothetical licenses but on facts. In 2011, U.S. District Judge Phyllis Hamilton rejected the previous claim and settled the amount at $272 million.
Oracle then appealed to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to revert the amount to the original $1.3 billion. The court considered Oracle’s appeal and agreed that the second amount was too low. However, earlier this year, Oracle was ordered to either accept $356.7 million or file for another claim and Oracle has now settled the case for $359 million ($356.7 million plus $2.5 million in interest). 

The Federal High Court in Lagos has thrown out a case brought before it by the Musical Copyright Society of Nigeria (MCSN) seeking to restrain the Copyright Society of Nigeria, Coson, from declaring that it is Nigeria’s sole collective management organization for musical works and sound recordings. Justice O.E. Abang ruled against the MCSN In its battle for legitimacy against Coson and the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC). In the suit, MCSN had asked the court to declare that Coson fraudulently misrepresented particulars of its membership to the NCC, which particulars the NCC relied upon to grant approval to Coson. MCSN asked the court to revoke the approval and to declare that the approval of Coson as a sole collective management organization deprived MCSN, its members, assignors and affiliates of their fundamental and constitutional rights to freedom of association, freedom to own and enjoy property in copyright and access to justice and as such is unconstitutional, null and void.   Suit No. FHC/L/CS/377/2013. More on the Premium Times here.

The Brisbane Times reports that websites that host or link to copyright infringing movies and TV shows could soon be blocked if the Australian cabinet approves a government submission to tackle online copyright infringement. It seems Attorney-General George Brandis and Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull are canvassing a range of options put forward in response to their online copyright infringement discussion paper released in late July and intend to present cabinet with their own submission before Christmas. The ministers will likely recommend government put a requirement on internet service providers to forward letters about alleged copyright infringement from movie and TV studios to their customers. It's also likely they will recommend making it possible for rights holders to seek an injunction in court to require multiple internet providers block websites hosting infringing content.

In New Zealand MegaUpload founder Kim Dotcom is facing a number of new temporary conditions to his bail over allegatiuons of multile breaches of previous conditions an an assessment that he may be a 'flight risk' Dotcom's full extradition hearing to the US on criminal copyright charges has been long long delayed - it's nearly three years since his controversial file-transfer business was shut down by the US authorities - and this will be subject to further delays after Dotcom's US lawyer confirmed that he and co-defendat Finn Batato had lost their legal team with New Zealand law firm Simpson Grierson and barrister Paul Davison QC withdrawing from the case. The new restrictions on Dotcom imposed by Judge Nevin Dawson in the Auckland District Court bans Dotcom from travelling more than 80km from his home, and from using helicopters or boats and he must hreport to police on a daily basis. Reports say that prosecutors have  called for Dotcom to be jailed again pending extradition, a proposal that will be considered by a judge next week.

And finally from China comes news that the Government is planning to create 3 Special IP Courts in Guangzhou, Beijing and Shanghai, where, according to a new update on the IPKat, the majority of Chinese IP cases are filed.  This is ostensibly to handle the growing backlog of cases in these jurisdictions and to address the special technical requirements and intricacies of IP cases. The new IP courts would be trial as well as appeal courts and it seems the Beijing IP court may focus more on administrative cases, while the other twocourts would  focus predominantly on civil infringement cases

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