Tuesday, August 4, 2015

To Some, Beijing Olympics Song Is Suspiciously Similar to Ballad From Disney’s ‘Frozen’; New York Times, 8/3/15

Didi Kirsten Tatlow, New York Times; To Some, Beijing Olympics Song Is Suspiciously Similar to Ballad From Disney’s ‘Frozen’ :
"On the YouTube page for “The Snow and Ice Dance,” one of 10 official songs of the Games, many of the comments were in Chinese, although it was not clear how many of them came from the mainland, where an official ban on the site makes access difficult...
Caijing Online, the website of a prominent Chinese business magazine, also noted the similarities, and offered a technical analysis that went beyond the melodic parallels. Among the main points: Both songs employ a piano as the major instrument, have similar prelude chords and an eight-beat introduction, and they run at almost exactly the same tempo...
Accusations of plagiarism and other forms of intellectual property theft are not new in China, where the legal concepts of trademarks and copyrights are not rigorously enforced and remain a source of tension between China and the United States.
Just last month a dispute erupted over a Chinese animated film, “The Autobots,” in which the characters look remarkably like those in “Cars,” produced by Disney’s Pixar Animation Studios. Viewers called “The Autobots” a shameless copy, but the film’s director said he had never even seen “Cars.”"

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Talks for Pacific Trade Deal Stumble; New York Times, 7/31/15

Jonathan Weisman, New York Times; Talks for Pacific Trade Deal Stumble:
"Trade negotiators from the United States and 11 other Pacific nations failed to reach final agreement on Friday, with difficult talks on the largest regional trade agreement ever deadlocking over protections for drug companies and access to agriculture markets on both sides of the Pacific...
In the end, a deal filled with 21st-century policies on Internet access, advanced pharmaceuticals and trade in clean energy foundered on issues that have bedeviled international trade for decades: access to dairy markets in Canada, sugar markets in the United States and rice markets in Japan...
Australia, Chile and New Zealand also continue to resist the push by the United States to protect the intellectual property of major pharmaceutical companies for as long as 12 years, shielding them from generic competition as they recoup the cost of developing next-generation biologic medicines."
Negotiators say they substantially narrowed the number of outstanding issues. They vowed to keep the momentum going. But, as one non-United States official said, if talks go into hiatus for long, it could be easier for many of the countries to say no than yes."

Friday, July 31, 2015

Lilly Pulitzer sues Old Navy for copyright infringement; Fortune, 7/30/15

Laura Lorenzetti, Fortune; Lilly Pulitzer sues Old Navy for copyright infringement:
"Lilly Pulitzer, known for its bright and unique fabric patterns, is suing Old Navy for copyright infringement, saying the Gap-owned unit blatantly stole two of the designer’s fabric prints.
While apparel designs are not covered by any intellectual property laws, one-of-a-kind prints and patterns do fall under that protection. Sugartown Worldwide, which owns the Lilly Pulitzer brand and its 33 retail stores, alleged that Old Navy knocked off two of its colorful prints, causing “irreparable harm” to the company."

Librarians stir the pot for copyright reform; Brisbane Times, 7/31/15

Natalie Bochenski, Brisbane Times; Librarians stir the pot for copyright reform:
About 1500 libraries around Australia will on Friday, July 31, take part in ALIA's Cooking for Copyright campaign, with everyone else encouraged to take part as well.
Sue McKerracher, of the Australian Librarian and Information Association, said it was inspired by the thousands of vintage recipes that lay dormant in unpublished library collections.
"What we want is for everyone to cook something, photograph it, and send it to us using the hashtag," she said.
Advertisement "That will effectively give us a good petition to take to the government and ask the Attorney-General to review the legislation, make this change and give a gift to the Australian people."
ALIA has declared Friday, July 31, Cooking for Copyright Day, to draw attention to the quirk of legislation that prohibits unpublished documents from being uploaded online.
"We've got lots of real treasures locked up in museums, libraries, galleries, historical societies that can't be shared online with the Australian public because of this copyright restriction," Ms McKerracher said...
Ms McKerracher said the National Library in Canberra alone held more than two million unpublished works.
"Those include letters from Jane Austen, Prince Albert, Captain Cook, Charles Darwin, Dame Nellie Melba, Christobel Pankhurst and Banjo Patterson, but you wouldn't know that, because we can't put them on the web," she said."

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Conan O'Brien Targeted in Lawsuit Claiming He Lifted Jokes from Twitter; Hollywood Reporter, 7/27/15

Eriq Gardner, Hollywood Reporter; Conan O'Brien Targeted in Lawsuit Claiming He Lifted Jokes from Twitter:
"The new lawsuit comes amid some focus on joke theft on Twitter. This past week, a few jokes published on the media service were removed, apparently at the request of a freelance writer. This led to numerous articles that Twitter was taking joke theft seriously, though it's probably nothing more than an individual submitting a simple form pursuant to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
Internet service providers only give light scrutiny towards takedown requests. By expeditiously removing material that's claimed to be a violation of copyright, services like Twitter gain an affirmative defense against copyright liability. Users who have material removed then have the opportunity of submitting a counter-notice, which typically results in restoration and provides notice to the rights holder of whom to sue if there's still a dispute."

Pitt Law Librarians Help Uncover Smoking Gun Evidence in Historic “Happy Birthday” Song Lawsuit; Pitt Law, 7/28/15

Pitt Law; Pitt Law Librarians Help Uncover Smoking Gun Evidence in Historic “Happy Birthday” Song Lawsuit:
"It’s evidence that might prove conclusively there is no copyright to the lyrics of the “Happy Birthday” song, and attorneys for the plaintiffs in the class-action lawsuit Good Morning To You Productions Corp. v. Warner/Chappell Music, Inc discovered it was housed in the University of Pittsburgh’s library storage facility. Scrambling to get a hold of it, the attorneys contacted Pitt Law professor and intellectual property law expert Michael Madison. He put them in touch with the Barco Law Library's interim director Marc Silverman and law librarian Linda Tashbook.
The fourth edition of The Everyday Song Book was published in 1922 and contains lyrics for “Happy Birthday To You” without any copyright notice, which predates Warner/Chappell’s 1935 copyright registration...
Now with the help of Pitt Law and the University, the world’s most recognized song in the English language (according to the Guinness Book of World Records) may become free to the public. In a new filing in the case (PDF), the attorneys for the plaintiffs write, “[T]he documents prove conclusively that the song is in the public domain, thus making it unnecessary for the Court to decide the scope or validity of the disputed copyrights…""

"Happy Birthday" Lawsuit: "Smoking Gun" Emerges in Bid to Free World's Most Popular Song; Hollywood Reporter, 7/27/15

Eriq Gardner, Hollywood Reporter; "Happy Birthday" Lawsuit: "Smoking Gun" Emerges in Bid to Free World's Most Popular Song:
"The filmmakers working on a documentary about the world's most popular song, "Happy Birthday to You," and currently suing Warner/Chappell for the right to use the song in the documentary without any license fee, filed court papers on Monday touting newly uncovered evidence that "proves conclusively that there is no copyright to the Happy Birthday lyrics."
The "proverbial smoking gun," as the plaintiffs put it to a California judge, is a book of children's songs that comes straight out of Warner/Chappell's digital library.
Betsy Manifold and Mark Rifkin, attorneys for the plaintiffs, were only given access to these files just three weeks ago. They were told the documents were held back "mistakenly." What they found was a blurry version of the 15th edition of The Everyday Song Book, published in 1927. The book contained Happy Birthday lyrics. Intrigued by the discovery, and looking for a cleaner version, the lawyers started hunting down earlier editions, and in the archives of The University of Pittsburgh, they came upon the fourth edition, published in 1922, which included the famous Happy Birthday song without any copyright notice."