Monday 5 September 2016

The CopyKat

Jacobsen egg chair
A change in copyright law has now come into effect in the UK, which looks to protect classic designs from imitation. The repeal of section 52 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 came into effect on 28 July, and means that iconic design products will now be protected for 70 years after a designer dies - and this would include products such as Arne Jacobsen’s Egg Chair and Charles and Ray Eames’ DSW plastic chair. The change means that no replica products can be sold after 28 January 2017, which will mark six months after the legislative amendment. Additionally, no new replica products can be manufactured between now and January, unless the company gains rights from the original copyright holder. To be granted this right, 3D designs must qualify as “works of artistic craftsmanship”, according to the Intellectual Property Office – this means they have required special training and skill to make, they are seen as a “piece of art”, and the designer purposefully intended to create a work of art.

Billboard reports that a German court has ruled that file-sharing platforms that illegally distribute and exploit copyright-protected music, film and television are liable to pay damages to rights holders. The ruling, which has potentially far-reaching consequences, came in a legal case between German collecting society GEMA and file-sharing service, operated by Swiss tech company Cyando AG.  GEMA demonstrated to the court that had not only failed to remove large numbers of illegal files, but, by its design and application, increased the likelihood of copyright infringement. As an “accomplice” in the distribution of pirated content, the court ruled that Uploaded should assume responsibility for infringement. “The Regional Court [of Munich] has decided in the interest of our members. Their ruling confirms that file-sharing hosts play a significant role in the proliferation of music piracy” said  Dr Tobias Holzmüller, GEMA’s General Counsel, welcoming the decision. “Online service providers have previously only been obliged to remove contents infringing copyright from their platforms. By pronouncing the liability to pay damages for file-share host Uploaded, composers, lyricists and music publishers at least get a small compensation for the rights infringements of their works that have been committed on a massive scale.”

AgencySpy is trying to find out who filed a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown request with their parent company’s legal team earlier this year, using a fake name, a fake employer and a fake job description - trying to remove two articles from 2010  headlined “Hot Ad (Wo)Man of the Day: Torrence Boone” and “Google Hires ‘Unemployable’ Torrence Boone”. The articles aren't very nice - and clearly as Mr Boone is currently VP of global agency sales and services at Google he is employable ... but what's been going on with the takedown notices?

Universal Music Group is $20m richer thanks to a settlement from a two-year copyright infringement case. The major label has accepted a settlement package from in-flight entertainment provider Global Eagle that could be worth more than $40m in total. Universal launched a lawsuit against Global Eagle in May 2014, alleging that 4,500 of its tracks – including those from The Beatles and Taylor Swift – had been infringed via the on-demand music platform available on American Airlines flights.

Having determined a $14 million fund for anyone previously charged to use ‘Happy Birthday’ by previous publisher Warner/Chappell, U.S. District Judge George H. King supported the award of 33% of that amount for attorney’s fees, totalling around $4.6 million.  The remaining funds from Warner/Chappell Music will be used to reimburse those who had paid to license the song.

And finally, TorrentFreak tells us that the Swedish Internet service provider Bahnhof is launching a direct attack against Spridningskollen, the group that's spearheading copyright trolling efforts in Sweden. Bahnhof accuses the anti-piracy outfit of trademark infringement and demands the shutdown of its website. Bahnhof is accusing the group of trademark infringement, noting that they have a claim on the “spridningskollen” mark. “Bahnhof was the first to apply for the Spridningskollen trademark rights at the Swedish Patent and Registration Office,” the ISP announced. 

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