Thursday, November 3, 2016

'Gone With the Wind' and 'Wizard of Oz' protected by copyright in merchandising suit; Los Angeles Times, 11/1/16

David Ng, Los Angeles Times; 'Gone With the Wind' and 'Wizard of Oz' protected by copyright in merchandising suit:
[Kip Currier: This week in my IP and "Open" Movements graduate course we looked at two high profile music infringement lawsuits, Capitol Records v. Thomas-Rasset and Sony BMG v. Tenenbaum. Good case studies (among others) for thinking about use of copyrighted works by individuals/institutions and copyright enforcement. Timely to see Capitol Records v. Thomas-Rasset damages assessment and rationale cited in the case discussed below.]
"The defense filed another appeal, but this week, a court upheld the ruling as well as damages amounting to $10,000 for 257 copyright infractions, resulting in an award of nearly $2.6 million.
The judgment “sends a strong message about the risk of engaging in copyright and trademark infringement,” said Frederick J. Sperling, a partner at the law firm Schiff Hardin LLP, who represented Warner Bros.
Valencia, the defendant, didn’t respond to a request for comment sent through a lawyer.
The case was filed in Missouri because some of the licensees selling the products in question were based in the state.
In upholding the damages amount, the appeals court cited a 2012 Capitol Records case in which the label sued an individual for putting copyrighted songs on the Kazaa file-sharing platform. In that case, a court awarded damages of $9,250 per infringed work.
Damages for copyright infringement range between $750 and $30,000 per instance, according to U.S. law.
In its 2011 decision, the 8th Circuit court ruled that characters such as Dorothy and the Scarecrow, as well as Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler, are “sufficiently distinctive to merit character protection under the respective film copyrights.”"

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