"Copyright cases can be esoteric affairs. But the “Blurred Lines” trial, which began Tuesday before Judge John A. Kronstadt in United States District Court for the Central District of California, has provided a rare window into an unseemly and embarrassing side of the music industry. Testimony and a flurry of pretrial documents have revealed lurid details of drugs, unearned songwriting credits, and intentional deception of the news media employed as a standard promotional practice... If Mr. Thicke’s side loses, the potential damages could be large. “Blurred Lines” has sold 7.3 million copies in the United States, and Richard S. Busch, the Gaye family’s lawyer, claimed in his opening statement that the song had earned at least $30 million in profit — a figure Mr. Thicke’s lawyers disputed. If Mr. Thicke’s side is found liable of infringement, then the jury would decide what percentage of the song’s profits should be shared with the Gayes as damages."
Monday, March 2, 2015
Ben Sisario, New York Times; Industry Issues Intrude in ‘Blurred Lines’ Case:
Wednesday, February 18, 2015
Noah Bertlatsky, Pacific Standard; How Copyright Terms Restrict Scholarship:
"Copyright in the United States is supposed "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries," according to the Constitution. Yet, in the case of the early Marston and Peter comics, copyright appears to have failed. DC is not keeping the comics in print: So, in order to read the complete run of Wonder Woman in her two comics (Wonder Woman and Sensation Comics) for my research, I had to find unlicensed digital editions. Without piracy, my book would have been impossible to complete."
A Cheat Sheet for Copyright Reforms: Radio Royalties, Simplified Licensing and More; Billboard, 2/17/15
Ed Christman and Glenn Peoples, Billboard; A Cheat Sheet for Copyright Reforms: Radio Royalties, Simplified Licensing and More:
"The complex issue of copyright reform took center stage during the Grammy Awards telecast on Feb. 8 when Recording Academy chief Neil Portnow urged Congress to ensure that "new technology [pays] artists fairly." His comments echoed some of the contents of a 250-page music-licensing report issued just three days earlier by the U.S. Copyright Office. Congress may or may not enact some of those recommendations into law -- but if it does, the ramifications are enormous."
Jennifer Schuessler, New York Times; A New Copyright Complaint Against Richard Prince:
"A lawyer for the photographer Donald Graham has sent cease-and-desist letters to the artist Richard Prince and the Gagosian Gallery, requesting that they stop displaying or disseminating any artworks or other materials that include Mr. Graham’s images. The complaint, which was first reported by the website Hyperallergic, stems from a work shown last fall at Gagosian in the exhibit “New Portraits,” which featured ink jet prints of images Mr. Prince had taken from Instagram. The work shows Mr. Graham’s photograph “Rastafarian Smoking a Joint, Jamaica” as it appeared on the Instagram feed of a third party, with the comment “Canal Zinian da lam jam” added by Mr. Prince."
Reuters via New York Times; Indonesia Fails to Solve Olympic Ring Row Amid IOC Ban Talks:
"The Indonesian Olympic Committee (KOI) and the Indonesian National Sports Committee (KONI) failed this week to resolve a copyright row involving the Olympic rings logo which has put the country's hosting of the 2018 Asian Games in jeopardy. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) told the Indonesian government last month they faced a ban unless KONI stopped using the Olympic rings in its logo, saying only their member, KOI, was allowed to do so."
Saturday, February 14, 2015
Hollywood Reporter; 'Dumb and Dumber To' Piracy Leads to Copyright Lawsuits (Exclusive) :
"The rights-holder of Dumb and Dumber To, last year's sequel starring Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels, is the latest to jump aboard the legal stratagem of suing anonymous users of BitTorrent for sharing copyrighted work. At least five lawsuits were filed in Oregon federal court on Thursday with "Does" and their IP addresses listed as defendants. In court papers, the rights-holder says that the film is currently one of the top 10 most downloaded movies though BitTorrent and with over 1,000 IP addresses from Oregon alone. The plaintiff says it is seeking relief because it is "suffering notable and irreparable harm though piracy."
Friday, February 13, 2015
Anna Scott, Guardian; Open data: how mobile phones saved bananas from bacterial wilt in Uganda:
"Bananas are a staple food in Uganda. Ugandans eat more of the fruit than any other country in the world. Each person eats on average 700g (about seven small bananas) a day, according to the International Food Policy Research Institute, and they provide up to 27% of the population’s calorie intake. But since 2002 a disease known as banana bacterial wilt (BBW) has wiped out crops across the country. When plants are infected, they cannot absorb water so their leaves start to shrivel and they eventually die... The Ugandan government drew upon open data – data that is licensed and made available for anyone to access and share – about the disease made available by Unicef’s community polling project Ureport to deal with the problem. Ureport mobilises a network of nearly 300,000 volunteers across Uganda, who use their mobiles to report on issues that affect them, from polio immunisation to malaria treatment, child marriage, to crop failure. It gathers data from via SMS polls and publishes the results as open sourced, open datasets. The results are sent back to community members via SMS along with treatment options and advice on how best to protect their crops. Within five days of the first SMS being sent out, 190,000 Ugandans had learned about the disease and knew how to save bananas on their farms."