Monday, 25 November 2019


In a curious turn of events, police in Thailand have now said that they will seek a warrant to arrest copyright agents who allegedly attempted to extort 50,000 baht from a 15 year old for copyright infringement. About 50 vendors in Korat are also said to be preparing to file criminal complaints against the same copyright agents. They had ordered krathongs decorated with cartoon characters from the teenage girl and had been threatened with 'fines' or they would face criminal charges. Korat provincial police chief Maj. Gen. Sujin Nitpanit said the investigation was almost complete and court warrants would be issued for copyright agents, whose names have been withheld by police: Police said they were in contact with the actual owners of the copyrights in the cartoon characters who were not involved in the attempts to.extort money from the teenage girl. Press reports say that Korat City police chief Col. Kachen Setaputta had been moved from his post after allegations that police officers under his command were colluding with the so called copyright agents. 

Hypebot reports that despite an acknowledgement that the the 1923 song “Yes! We Have No Bananas” by composers Irving Cohn and Frank Silver had slipped into the public domain, Universal Music stepped up to claim ownership. Glenn Fleishman had posted a video of the song to YouTube in celebration of it entering the public domain earlier this year. He even titled it “Yes! We Have No Bananas, now in the public domain.” The video is of him and his friends and family singing it at a New Year’s Eve Party: However, Hypebot says that video has now been “claimed” by Universal Music with a claim to “monetize” the video on YouTube  - despite them "literally having no rights to speak of". Hypebot say "What’s possibly troubling is that YouTube doesn’t even seem to offer up an option for you to point out that the work is in the public domain, and even if these entities might have once had a claim on the song". 

In a related update, says that another YouTuber is struggling with the platform's harmful and often confusing copyright protection system. This time it's the turn of Kerbal Space Program game aficionado Matt Lowne, who has come under fire from copyright holders for using what he was sure was a royalty-free track in his videos. The creator, with a quarter-million subscribers and more than 55 million views, tried to navigate the system by carefully choosing a legal and copyright-unencumbered audio track – only to fail all the same with YouTube  informing him that the music featured in these videos – namely, “Dreams” – “may” be licensed or owned by music industry heavyweights like SonyATV, PeerMusic, Warner Chappell, Audiam and LatinAutor. 

The US The Supreme Court has agreed to hear the appeal by Google in the case where Oracle accused the tech giant of violating copyright laws when developing its Android mobile platform. The court's decision to hear the case comes more than a year and a half after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled against Google, saying the company's unauthorized use of 11,500 lines of code in Oracle's open-source Java application programming interface was not fair use, and will provide the final say in the 2013 claim accused Google of infringing the copyright on its Java APIs in the development of Google’s Android OS. Google denied any wrongdoing and has argued, in part, that software APIs cannot be protected under U.S. copyright law. 

Nirvana‘s 2018 lawsuit against Marc Jacobs will proceed. According to The Hollywood Reporter, a Californian judge has denied the motion to dismiss the band’s copyright complaint over the designer’s smiley face T-shirt which seems to bear an uncanny resemblance to Nirvana's own artwork.  he copyright infringement concerns Jacobs’ “Redux Grunge” collection, which Nirvana's representatives claim used the band’s smiley face logo created by Kurt Cobain in 1991. The Jacob's T-shirt features a similar coloration and font to Nirvana's original T-shirt, replacing the word Nirvana with “Heaven” and the smiley face’s X eyes with “M” and “J.”  iN MaRCH 2019 Marc Jacobs filed a motion to dismiss the complaint, arguing, among other things, that the band doesn't explain how or when Cobain transferred the rights in his design and that the two designs aren't sufficiently similar. U.S. District Judge John A. Kronstadt has denied the motion, finding the complaint sufficiently alleges Nirvana owns the copyright registration and that the only "discernible difference" in the faces is the use of "M" and "J" as eyes instead of two X's. Kronstadt found that the asymmetrical circle of the face, the relatively wide placement of the eyes, the distinctive squiggle of the mouth and the stuck-out tongue are enough to distinguish the happy face from a generic smiley saying "It is also noteworthy that the Accused Products have combined this protectable artwork with other distinctive elements of the Nirvana T-shirt, including through the use of yellow lines on black background and a similar type and placement for the text above the image on the clothing". The case is Nirvana LLC v Marc Jacobs International LLC et al. LA CV-18-10743 JAK. 

AsianAge reports that Hyderabad-based short-filmmaker Nandi Chinni Kumar has sent legal notices to the makers of forthcoming Hindi film "Jhund" and megastar Amitabh Bachchan, the lead actor of the movie, over alleged copyright infringement. At the heart of this seems to be a dispute over who owns the rights to the story of the life of Akhilesh Paul, a slum soccer player who was the Indian captain at the Homeless World Cup. 

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