Monday, November 14, 2016

YouTuber Faces $300,000 Fine Over Donald Trump Parody; Digital Music News, 11/14/16

Paul Resnikoff, Digital Music News; YouTuber Faces $300,000 Fine Over Donald Trump Parody:
[Kip Currier: Interesting fact pattern but misleading clickbait headline and incomplete/inaccurate statements in some areas regarding the potential damages, i.e. the maximum amount for an instance of willful copyright infringement is $150,000. But the range of that damages continuum is $750 - $150,000. Under the U.S. Copyright Act, § 504. Remedies for infringement: Damages and profits sets out under the Statutory Damages provision that: "(1) Except as provided by clause (2) of this subsection, the copyright owner may elect, at any time before final judgment is rendered, to recover, instead of actual damages and profits, an award of statutory damages for all infringements involved in the action, with respect to any one work, for which any one infringer is liable individually, or for which any two or more infringers are liable jointly and severally, in a sum of not less than $750 or more than $30,000 as the court considers just. For the purposes of this subsection, all the parts of a compilation or derivative work constitute one work.
(2) In a case where the copyright owner sustains the burden of proving, and the court finds, that infringement was committed willfully, the court in its discretion may increase the award of statutory damages to a sum of not more than $150,000. In a case where the infringer sustains the burden of proving, and the court finds, that such infringer was not aware and had no reason to believe that his or her acts constituted an infringement of copyright, the court in its discretion may reduce the award of statutory damages to a sum of not less than $200."]
[Paul Resnikoff writes here that:]"Perhaps more importantly, the cost for infringing on copyright is $150,000 per work. At two license violations, that comes to $300,000. Atkins may face that penalty if a judge rules against him. [In that last sentence, "...may face that penalty...", is an important nuance.]
The teardown and lawsuit is raising fresh questions about whether parody is indeed protected by copyright law. Or, whether substantial uses of copyrighted material constitute grounds for a complete rip-down. The ‘Clockwork Trump’ YouTube clip employs plenty of snippets from A Clockwork Orange, though it also borrows heavily from Carlos’ version of William Tell Overture.
Atkin is obviously arguing that this isn’t infringement, though his parody makes no mention of the music itself.
Update: 5:30 am PT: Looks like another version of the Donald Trump video is back up, though we’re not sure if this is the original upload. We’re still determining if this is because the counter-notification was indeed granted.
The teardown comes at a tense moment between YouTube and the music industry. Outspoken critics like manager Irving Azoff have blasted YouTube for failing to compensate artists properly, while YouTube says its takedown system is effective. Now, it appears that copyright owners are taking matters into their own hands."

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