Wednesday 9 March 2016

The CopyKat

The YouTube channel of the state-run Vietnam Television (VTV) has been suspended with the national broadcaster later admitting that the termination was due to copyright infringement regarding its content. The channel, titled VTV - Đài Truyền hình Việt Nam, remained inaccessible, with a message saying it has been terminated because YouTube had “received multiple third-party claims of copyright infringement regarding material the user posted.” More here. However it should be noted that YouTube has set up a new team dedicated to improving the quality of policy enforcement and subsequent erroneous takedowns, responding to community criticism.

Indeed last month Google reported that it had received more than 75 million requests to remove from search results URLs that point to infringing content. That's more than double the number of requests it received in the same period last year, or around 34 million, according to the search giant's updated transparency report.

Controversial 'appropriation artist' Richard Prince has responded to a recently-filed copyright infringement lawsuit, claiming he should be shielded from infringement charges because his use of others’ copyright-protected images amounts to fair use. Prince has recently released a new series, entitled, New Portraits, which consists of blown-up photos from several Instagram accounts, including those of Pamela Anderson, Kate Moss, and Cara Stricker. Prince has added comments under the photos. For example, under one photo, Prince adds, “No Cure, No Pay” with an emoji. The case was brought by Los Angeles-based photographer Donald Graham against Prince, the Gagosian Gallery and Larry Gagosian, alleging that the defendants infringed the federally registered copyright in his photo, Rastafarian Smoking a Joint. Prince has asked the Southern District of New York court to dismiss the case as  attempt to ‘essentially re-litigate’ his controversial fair use victory against another photographer Patrick Cariou.

More than £200,000 has been spent by the Welsh government defending claims for copyright infringement over its use of photographs of Dylan Thomas, figures obtained by BBC Wales have shownOver the last 18 months, £205,417 was spent defending claims brought by Pablo Star Media Ltd. The claims relate to two 1930s images of Thomas and his wife Caitlin. The Welsh government said it was seeking to recoup the costs. A judge in Dublin threw out one of the claims last month, but Pablo Star Media - which claims it owns the copyright - has launched an appeal.

The Hong Kong copyright amendment bill has failed to pass before the government-imposed deadline. The government plans to reshuffle the items on the agenda, meaning that the bill will not be discussed again in this legislature’s term. “We have decided to change the order of the bills to be discussed and move the copyright bill to the end of the agenda,” said the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Gregory So Kam-leung at a press conference.

The U.S. Supreme Court is staying out of a copyright dispute involving a Mark Towle, the California man who produced $90,000 replicas of the Batmobile for car-collecting fans of the caped crusader. SCOTUS has let stand the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that said the Batmobile's bat-like appearance and high-tech gadgets make it a character that can't be duplicated without permission from DC Comics, the copyright holder.

There's an interesting article from Tucker Arensberg on the JDSupra website that looks at the recent case, Dryer v. Nat’l Football League, No. 14-3428, 2016 WL 761178 (8th Cir. Feb. 26, 2016) - where former National Football League players sued the NFL over the use of their name, image, voice, and likeness in films and promotional videos released by NFL Films. The Players did not dispute the NFL’s right to record their performance in live sporting events, or the NFL’s valid copyright in the footage.  Rather, the Players challenged the NFL’s right to further use this footage by incorporating it into other films and promotional videos. The question before the Court was whether or not the district court erred in finding that the Copyright Act preempts the Players right-of-publicity claims.  The appellate court said no error - the Copyright Act prevails.

And finally - this one could be fun: Author Erick DeBanff, a self help guru who promotes living your life "to the max", has filed a lawsuit is against Google for copyright infringement, because it appears that Google (as TechDirt puts it) used a 'kind of trite message' in a commercial about making every moment matter - in the same way that Debanff subtitled his book. DeBanff's book is called "Vie Max" which also seems to be the name of the movement/fad/concept/something that he's selling. But the subtitle is "How to live the next 2 billion heartbeats of your life to the max." The claim says the wording in Google's ad "are essentially a direct copy of the words and philosophy in Mr. DeBanff's book and is a violation of the U.S. Copyright Act.". We shall see!

Farewell Sir George Martin. A wonderful and inspiring musician and producer - and a true gentleman.

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