Wednesday, 16 October 2019


Reuters report that France is pushing for the creation of a European-wide regulator of digital platforms including Google and YouTube, to sanction any possible abuse of power. A spokesperson cited the dispute between Google and European publishers saying “A big American company, Google namely, has announced it would not comply with an EU copyright directive,” the official told reporters. “France and Germany share the view that... we have to put an end to this illegal behavior.”

And more on Google: In a U.S. Supreme Court filing, the Justice Department has urged the court  to deny Google’s petition for review of a pair of rulings that put the company on the line for billions of dollars in damages for infringing Oracle’s copyrights in the Java computer code. Reuters say that Google’s lawyers at Goldstein & Russell have argued that the case presents important questions about the copyrightability of certain kinds of computer code and fair use of that code. The Justice Department, however, said in Friday’s brief that the copyrightability question has already been resolved definitively - and that the Google case isn’t a good vehicle for the Supreme Court’s consideration of fair use.

The Verge reports that alleged copyright troll Christopher Brady will no longer be able to issue DMCA takedowns to YouTubers. According to a lawsuit settlement, an agreement has been reached and  Brady is banned from “submitting any notices of alleged copyright infringement to YouTube that misrepresent that material hosted on the YouTube service is infringing copyrights held or claimed to be held by Brady or anyone Brady claims to represent.” Brady agreed to pay $25,000 in damages as part of the settlement. He is also prohibited from “misrepresenting or masking their identities” when using Google products, including YouTube.

Queen have joined the long list of bands who have taken action against President Trump for using their music without permission. A campaign video featuring 'We Will Rock You' has been removed from his Twitter following a copyright complaint from the band’s publisher. According to Buzzfeed, within hours of the video going live Queen had "already entered into a process to call for non use of Queen song copyrights by the Trump campaign”. After being viewed more than 1.7 million times, the video was disabled by Twitter and the post now reads: "This media has been disabled in response to a report by copyright owner.” They join REM, Prince, Neil Young, Rihanna, Nickleback and Adele (amongst others) who have objected to Trump using their music. More details on Nickleback's recent takedown can be found here. A Twitter spokesperson told CNN that the company responds to copyright complaints sent to them by a copyright owner or their authorised representatives.

Why bring a Trade Mark claim in place of a copyright claim? Well it seems that the super secret street artist Banksy might be doing that to avoid revealing his true identity. Above the Laws's take on this is "Banksy’s Fake Store Is An Attempt To Abuse Trademark Law To Avoid Copyright Law" but it's an interesting story in Banksy's attempt to stop a small greeting from selling “fake Banksy merchandise.” Full Colour Black "run a small business that does photography and sells cards involving public graffiti". Above the Law say this "But… that’s all about copyright. In reading the news coverage of all of this, I was stumped as to why were were discussing trademark at all — until I realized something kind of important. Banksy is using trademark because Banksy can’t use copyright without revealing who Banksy is". And Full Colour Black’s lawyer, Aaron Wood, explained “We are contesting the validity of one of his [Banksy's representing company Pest Control Office Limited] EU trademarks on the basis that he has freely permitted it to be reproduced such that it no longer functions as a trademark (if it ever did), on the basis that he never intended to use it as a trademark and that he is trying to register for collateral purposes (ie, to avoid evidential issues with copyright and to avoid having to file a ‘statement of use’ in the US).”

US comedian Jerry Seinfeld has defeated a lawsuit which alleged he had stolen the idea for a TV series. But the case was decided on basis that the statute of limitations must bar the claim - and not on any infringement or otherwise. Christian Charles, a former colleague claimed he had originally pitched the idea for "Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee" to Seinfeld in 2002 - a decade before it debuted. Manhattan District judge Alison Nathan said Charles had taken too long to sue, The statute of limitations appies after three years and Charles had waited for six years to file his lawsuit after Seinfeld rejected his copyright claim in 2012, the year the first series of the show aired.

Current chair of the House Judiciary Committee, Jerrold Nadler, has aired his thoughts on what might be the next challenges for legislating for music copyright in the USA. He 
joined National Music Publishers' Association president and CEO David Israelite for NYU Steinhardt's inaugural Ralph S. Peer Lecture, named after the music visionary who founded Peermusic in the 1920s. Prioritising the unity that led to the unanimous passage of the Music Modernization Act, Nadler opined "If you want real legislation, the different segments of the industry have to get their act together and speak with one voice," and admitting that most members of Congress aren't well-versed in music industry particulars. "Once they did that, we were able to pass legislation unanimously." Nadler then went to on talk about the fact that in the US there is no performing right for recorded music terrestrial AM/FM radio play - an almost unique position in the World adding "As terrestrial radio becomes relatively less important and streaming becomes more, the question is the extent to which broadcasters will see their interests as less opposed to performance rights. At some point, I do think we will get some [agreement], because the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) and their people will see that their interests are less adversely affected than previously.

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