Archives: Copyright

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Paul McCartney Refuses to Let It Be and Launches Effort to Reclaim Copyrights to Songs

Legendary songwriter Paul McCartney has begun the process of acquiring the rights to songs he co-wrote with John Lennon while both were members of the Beatles. Although McCartney and Lennon authored most of the band’s hits, they signed over their copyrights at the start of their career on the advice of manager Brian Epstein. By … Continue Reading

Where’s the Beef?: Locating the Situs of Injury for Jurisdictional Purposes in Cross-Border Copyright Infringement Cases

In spring 2015, plaintiffs Pablo Star Ltd. and Pablo Star Media Ltd., each a company organized under the laws of Ireland and the United Kingdom, sued the Welsh government and various content-providing companies for copyright infringement. At issue were two photographs of Welsh poet Dylan Thomas, allegedly improperly used by the Welsh government as part … Continue Reading

The Beastie Boys Fight for Their Rights and Win

On Wednesday Judge Alison J. Nathan of the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of New York ordered record label TufAmerica, Inc. to pay the Beastie Boys (Michael Diamond, Adam Horovitz, and Adam Yauch), Universal-Polygram International Publishing, Inc. and Capital Records LLC, $845,597.23 in attorneys’ fees and costs. TufAmerica brought suit in 2012 against … Continue Reading

Singers Chris Brown and The Weeknd Resolve Copyright Disputes

Last year, songwriter Nayeri Gregor filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against Chris Brown, Benny Benassi, and others, claiming Brown’s 2012 song Don’t Wake Me Up infringed her 2009 song of the same title. According to Gregor, in 2011 she played her song for Irish singer-songwriter Brian Kennedy. Gregor further claimed that Kennedy memorized the music … Continue Reading

Return to Sender: Elvis Presley Enterprises All Shook Up Over Rejected Discovery in German Royalty Dispute

The Southern District of New York recently denied an application brought by Elvis Presley Enterprises LLC  (“EPE”) for an order to take discovery pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1782, a provision of the United States Code that allows for discovery in aid of foreign litigation. See In re Elvis Presley Enters. LLC, No. 15mc386 (DLC) … Continue Reading

Can Software Be Created As a Work-for-Hire?

In early February a decision out of the Southern District of New York added another layer of dicta supporting the notion that software created by an independent contractor can qualify as a work-for-hire. In Stanacard, LLC v. Rubard, LLC, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 15721 (S.D.N.Y. February 3, 2016), the court found in dicta that work … Continue Reading

Copyright Content & Platforms – This Week’s Odds & Ends

Fear the Walking Dead. Popularity and piracy go hand in hand. The most tormented television shows are Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead. In many instances, episodes of those shows are available for illegal download before they air. This week, AMC took action by rolling out a new watermarking technology, which will not directly … Continue Reading

Russia’s Primary Social Network in Hot Water Again Over Failure to Police Infringement

Russia’s Facebook, vKontakte, is under fire for its allegedly poor handling of pervasive copyright infringement on its platform (literally translated from Russian, “v kontakte” means “in contact”). The Association for the Protection of Copyright on the Internet, or AZAPO, has sued vKontakte in Moscow City Court on behalf of author Zahar Prilepin for his book “Resident.” … Continue Reading

Timberlake & Will.I.Am Sued by Disco Artist’s Estate

In a new case that is sure to draw comparisons to the “Blurred Lines” lawsuit, Justin Timberlake and Will.I.Am have been hit with a copyright infringement lawsuit from the estate of a disco artist. The suit alleges that key portions of their pop hit “Damn Girl” were taken from the relatively obscure 1969 jazz song … Continue Reading

9/11 Photo Fair Use Case, North Jersey Media Group v. Fox News, Settles on First Day of Trial

Fox News and North Jersey Media Group have announced they have settled their copyright dispute over the use of the iconic photo taken in the aftermath of 9/11, “Raising the Flag at Ground Zero,” that was posted on Facebook by Fox News. And so it appears we will not get the jury’s guidance on the … Continue Reading

Copyright, Content, and Platforms – This Week’s Odds and Ends

Copyright Office May Get $15 Million Budget Increase for 2017 The increase—about twenty-five percent over this year’s budget—could help towards the Copyright Office’s goal of making registration and other transactions simple, transparent, and technologically savvy, as laid out by the 5-year plan released by Maria Pallante, United States Register of Copyrights. It will also help … Continue Reading

1 in 5,000: How John Doe Defeated Porn Producer Malibu Media

Litigation-friendly pornography producer Malibu Media has suffered a rare loss, which may spell trouble as it proceeds with more cases. According to the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, Malibu Media has filed 5,207 copyright lawsuits in the past four years, only two of which have reached judgment. Malibu Media typically brings its cases as “John Doe” … Continue Reading

Author’s Family Gets an Early Christmas Gift and Wins Back Rights to Song

Back in October, the Second Circuit reversed a district court’s ruling that the heirs of John Frederick Coots, the author of the song “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town,” could not terminate the copyright assignment currently held by music publisher EMI.  (Baldwin v. EMI Feist Catalog, Inc.)  In doing so, it held that EMI’s copyright … Continue Reading

Buzzfeed Sued for Copyright Infringement

News and entertainment website BuzzFeed, Inc., known for its quizzes and listicles, was hit with a copyright infringement lawsuit last week in California district court. Photographer Jennifer Rondinelli Reilly sued BuzzFeed and five unidentified (or “Doe”) defendants for allegedly displaying, reproducing, distributing, and creating derivative works of her copyrighted photograph of guitarist Carlos Santana, taken … Continue Reading

Copyright, Content, and Platforms – This Week’s Odds and Ends

Copyrights in Tattoos? Can tattoos be copyrighted? That will be the central question in a new lawsuit filed by Solid Oak Sketches, which brought a copyright infringement claim against Take Two Interactive. According to the lawsuit, Solid Oak owns the copyrights to many of the tattoos visible in the NBA 2K14, NBA 2K15, and NBA … Continue Reading

SoundExchange to Audit Pandora and Others to Ensure Accurate Reporting of Music Plays

On January 22, 2016, the Copyright Royalty Board published SoundExchange’s notices of intent to audit broadcasters — including Beasley Broadcast Group Inc., Greater Media Inc., Saga Communications Inc., Townsquare MediaBroadcasting, and Univision Communications Inc. — and commercial webcasters — including Pandora Media Inc., Batanga, DMX, and Muzak Inc. — for payments each made to SoundExchange … Continue Reading

The Monkey in the Machine

In 2011, a Celebes crested macaque took a shot that was heard ’round the world. In a jungle in Indonesia, it depressed the remote trigger button of a photographer’s camera, effectively taking a selfie. The “monkey selfie” has ignited a great deal of commentary musing on the nature of copyright ownership. The human photographer claimed … Continue Reading

Department of Commerce Issues Recommendation on Statutory Damages

Last week, the U.S. Department of Commerce issued a long-awaited report titled White Paper on Remixes, First Sale, and Statutory Damages, which recommends amendments to U.S. copyright law. The task force report makes recommendations on three separate issues referenced in its title, though with respect to remixes and the first-sale doctrine, the recommendation is to … Continue Reading

Artist Richard Prince Sued for Use of Photo from Instagram

It is not the first time artist Richard Prince has made headlines for appropriating others’ artwork into his own without attribution or license. But this time, he has done so in a way that may have implications on the use of photographs posted on social media. He is being sued on one of the 37 … Continue Reading

Pandora Enters Into License Agreements With ASCAP and BMI

Following the Copyright Royalty Board’s ruling to raise Pandora’s royalty rates, last week Pandora announced new licensing agreements with the country’s two largest performing-rights societies, Broadcast Music Inc. and the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers. Although the precise terms remain under wraps, these blanket licenses will govern Pandora’s right to play ASCAP’s and … Continue Reading
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