Wednesday 24 December 2014

The CopyKat's Christmas baubles

The attorneys representing Sirius XM Radio Inc. in the potentially industry-shaking copyright litigation about pre-1972 sound recordings, O'Melveny & Myers, have been rapped by District Judge Colleen McMahon in Manhattan who has now ruled that she hadn't erred when she failed to apply the 1940 case of RCA Manufacturing v. Whiteman in concluding last month that Sirius must pay royalties to broadcast pre-1972 records - telling the lawyers that their newly-cited precedent had been overruled 60 years ago.  "The only clear error in this case is O'Melveny's" Judge Colleen McMahon wrote - telling the  lawfirm that they had "deliberately missing the point" and "doing nothing but raise red herrings" since making its initial appearance in the case in November. The ruling stems from a lawsuit in which the two founding members of the 1960s rock band The Turtles allege that Sirius infringed on the group's rights under state law by playing its tracks without permission. Federal copyright law doesn't govern sound recordings made prior to 1972, and Sirius has argued in its defence that New York law also doesn't cover performance rights for pre-1972 sound recordings.

The IPKat reports that the Centre Pompidou in Paris is now showing a retrospective of Jeff Koons’ work. Among them is  Fait d’Hiver, a porcelain sculpture representing a pig looking at the torso of a woman lying in the snow (above left). The woman is rather scantily dressed as her bare chest is visible through her fishnet top. Her body has been cut below her breasts, along with her left hand, which lies separated from her body on her left side. The pig, a rather plump, but very clean and pink specimen, has two penguins as companions. He carries around his neck a garland of flowers and a barrel, such as those used by Saint Bernard dogs to rescue people lost in the snow. What of it you ask? Well Fait d’Hiver is also the title of the earlier 1985 Naf Naf advert (above right), which also represents a woman lying in the snow, eyes wide open. One cannot see her body below her torso, and only her right hand and arm are seen in the ad. She is dressed in a Naf Naf ski jacket, popular during the cold 1985 winter. A piglet is seen on the right of the ad with a Saint Bernard barrel around its neck, and the ad bears the Naf Naf slogan Le Grand Méchant Look (The Big Bad Look). A claim is expected from adman Frank Davidovici - and the Marie-Andree muses on possible defences Koons might have - fair use maybe? parody? Koons has been in the courts before and has a mixed history with litigation, so we shall see!

Just drifting into designs ..... Rob Law, owner of luggage company Magmatic, which produces kids’ travel accessories brand Trunki, believes he has secured a victory for British design businesses by winning the right to fight the ruling made by the UK Court of Appeal that PMS International's discounted - and allegedly copycat  - Kiddee Cases - did not infringe Truki's designs - overturning Mr Justice Arnold (Magmatic Ltd v PMS International Ltd [2014] EWCA Civ 181). The Supreme Court awaits. 

Canada's new ISP notification system - the 'Notice and Notice' system is preparing to make it's entry on January 2nd 2015 with TechDirt opining "like the country's copyright reform efforts, it tries to actually incorporate the concerns of all parties involved (gasp, again). The system is first and foremost designed to raise awareness of copyright violations. That really doesn't take much -- Canadian ISPs state that simply notifying the user (especially the user's parent) puts a big dent in infringement right out of the gate. More specifically, ISPs claim 89% of notice recipients don't infringe after the second notice". Whether a 'notice and notice' system works better than a 'notice and takedown' system works for content owners remains to be seen, and the new system is not without critics.

Our 2014 review of THE COPYRIGHT YEAR is nearly done and we are just putting the finishing touches to that. Expect a blog post here soon!

And finally - if you get bored over the festive break - why not try The EFF's festive crossword puzzle, packed full of all sorts of questions about IP and copyright news from 2014 - it's a good one! Thereis an online interactive version here or try


1 comment:

Ben said...

UPDATE: "Jeff Koons Sculpture Removed From Pompidou Centre Amidst Plagiarism Allegations" : More here