Author: Tiffany Samuel

As key evidence vanishes, ‘Peas’ prevail

A U.S. district judge in Santa Ana has granted summary judgment for defendants Williams Adams Jr. and members of the Black Eyed Peas band, their producers, publishers and record company and against plaintiff-songwriter Bryan Pringle in a copyright infringement dispute.  The court ruled that the Peas’ 2009 song, I Gotta Feeling, did not infringe plaintiff’s 1998 tune, Take a Dive, nor his derivative work, Take a Drive (Dance Version). And the judge found that Pringle, though his attorneys were warned to preserve evidence potentially crucial to defending the case, later would claim these key materials had vanished and were unavailable.  The court said that an important basis for Pringle’s claim, an eight-bar guitar twang sequence in Take a Dive (Dance Version), lacked standing.  A previous post on iptrademarkattorney.com compares the two musical works in this suit; click to listen to audio clips and read the initial complaint. In 1998, Pringle registered a CD, Dead Beat Club: 1998, containing an original of Take a Dive and other works with the U.S. Copyright Office. Then in November, 2010, he filed an infringement suit after the Peas released I Gotta Feeling.  He also sought registration from the U.S. Copyright Office for both the sound recording of Take a Dive (Dance Version) and the music of a guitar twang sequence. The sound recording was registered but officials denied registration to the music, saying it lacked original authorship.  The court said that because Pringle’s registration for the...

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A new history of Hollywood and copyright

While those of the internet era might think that Hollywood’s a johnny-come-lately to matters of intellectual property law, Peter Decherney, a University of Pennsylvania associate professor of cinema studies, English and communications, shows in his new book, Hollywood’s Copyright Wars:  From Edison to the Internet, that cinematic pioneers dealt with copyright concerns — and this area has been an important concern of the industry ever since. Still, as Decherney points out, the history of the movie business and copyright law has been unpredictable, at best — what could have been big legal matters weren’t, while some lesser issues turned out to be key. For entertainment law practitioners who want a readable work that provides a longer view and context to today’s trade pub headlines, this book might be a boon; it wins praise in a review from the 1709 blog and here’s more info on Decherney, his main book page and his YouTube discussion , “Can the Supreme Court save the Public Domain … and Hollywood?”...

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An appellate remix in Viacom-YouTube lawsuit

A mixed ruling from the Second Circuit Court of Appeals has reversed in part a June, 2010, judgment in favor of YouTube in a lawsuit filed by Viacom. That lower court decision had been appealed by Viacom International Inc, The Football Association Premier League Ltd. and an array of television networks, movie studios, sports leagues and music publishers after YouTube Inc., YouTube LLC, and Google, Inc. prevailed in 2010 and the full decision in the latest twist in the case can be read here. In 2010, a federal district court in New York heard arguments regarding claims of direct and secondary copyright infringement, based on the display, public performance and reproduction of 79,000 clips on YouTube put up between 2005 and 2008.  In its June 23 ruling, the district court granted summary judgment on all claims, finding the defendants had safe harbor protection under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), 17 U.S.C. § 512. The appellate judge were asked to clarify the contours of the DCMA’s “safe harbor,” especially limits on the liability of online service providers (OSPs) for copyright infringement, occurring “by reason of the storage at the direction of a user of material that resides on a system or network controlled or operated by or for the service provider.” 17 U.S.C. § 512(c). Plaintiffs had sought statutory damages under 17 U.S.C. § 504(c), or in the alternative, actual damages from the claimed...

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Prof. Fagundes on ‘Pinterest, Jigidi, factor four’

David Fagundes, the Irving D. and Florence Rosenberg Professor of Law at Southwestern and at the Donald E. Biederman Entertainment and Media Law Institute, shares a timely analysis on the applicability of the fair-use defense, factor four in particular, tackling concerns raised by online users who upload images and other content for various purposes to two websites of interest, Pinterest and Jigidi. Prof. Fagundes’ teaching and research interests span a range of property law issues, including copyright, real property and trademark. A productive writer of numerous legal publications, including books, study guides and articles, his work has been selected and presented at numerous national and international conferences. His full, thought-provoking article, cross-posted at PrawfsBlawg with permission, follows: Pinterest, Jigidi and factor four of the fair use defense One of the best things about being a law professor is that your students leave your classroom, and, if you’ve done your job right, see things in and about the world that they may not have before.  Recently, two of my copyright students wrote to call my attention to two sites that raise the same interesting emergent online copyright issue. Pinterest describes itself as an “online pinboard” that allows users to “organize and share things you love.”  Pinterest users each have a space on the site (their “pinboard”) that allows them to re-post images they like from around the internet and organize them into categories (e.g., food,...

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In Britain, a legal win for recording industry

The record industry in Britain is celebrating a recent win in its legal battle against The Pirate Bay, after the High Court of Justice Chancery Division ruled that the site was and in essence continues to be an illegal operation.  In the written judgment, [2012]  EWHC 268 (Ch) (20 February 2012), Pirate Bay describes itself as “the world’s largest bittorent tracker.  Bittorent is a file-sharing protocol that in a reliable way enables big and fast file transfers.” The claimants, represented by British Recorded Music Industry Ltd (BPI) and Phonographic Performance Ltd (PPL), included nine record companies: Dramatico Entertainment Ltd, EMI Records Ltd, Polydor Ltd, Rough Trade Records Ltd, Sony Music Entertainment UK Ltd, Virgin Records Ltd, Warner Music UK Ltd, and 679 Recordings Ltd.  BPI sought and won an injunction against Pirate Bay under section 97A of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (the 1988 Act), which implements Article 8(3) of European Parliament and Council Directive 2001/29/EC of 22 May 2001 on aspects of copyright and related rights in the information society (as describeed in the Information Society Directive). The defendants included: British Sky Broadcasting Ltd., British Telecommunications PLC, Everything Everywhere Ltd., Talk Talk Telecom Group PLC, Telefonica UK Ltd. and Virgin Media LTD. They are six main internet service providers (ISPs) with a fixed line market share of nearly 94% of UK internet users.  Although the defendants failed to attend the hearing or to...

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