Rapper Tekashi 6is9ine sued for copyright infringement on his hit single ‘Gooba’, Court grants Pinterest’s motion to dismiss in a copyright infringement suit filed by a Photographer, Developer Katrina Parrott sues Apple for alleged copyright infringement over use of multi-racial emojis, The Dubai Taxi Corporation issued Ghanaian Rapper a cease and desist notice, Justice League accidently released on HBO Max, The Mail must publish its own defeat in suit against Meghan Market on the first page, CJEU rules that framing content would amount to communication to the public.

Rapper Tekashi sued for Copyright Infringement

After being accused of copying by producer Magix Enga, rapper Tekashi 6is9ine has once again been sued by a Texas production group ‘BEATDEMONS’ for copyright infringement. Tekashi’s hit single ‘GOOBA’ was released in 2020 after his release from prison, has about 700 million YouTube views and was also the most-watched hip-hop video in a twenty-four hour span. It is BEATDEMONS’ claim that ‘GOOBA’ has copied the melody, form, structure and function of their track ‘Regular’ which was released two years prior to ‘GOOBA’.

Court grants Pinterest’s motion to dismiss Infringement Suit

Mr. Harold Davis, a digital artist and professional photographer sued and accused Pinterest of allowing its users to easily infringe on copyright by capturing images without due authorization from the web and copying them to their Pinterest boards. He also alleged that instead of taking steps to curb the infringement, Pinterest monetized such images and works using targeted advertisement. Davis sued the platform for both direct and contributory copyright infringement. The district court in the Northern District of California granted Pinterest’s motion to dismiss Davis’s contributory infringement claim as the photographer failed to allege the facts to support that Pinterest had actual knowledge of infringement on its platform.

Apple sued for infringement of Emojis

In 2013, Katrina Parrott, a Texas developer, was the first one to introduce multiracial emojis through her application called iDiversicons. In the nascent stage, more than 300 emojis were available in the application, which reportedly were registered with the US Copyright Office. She also applied for three patents for her application. The inspiration behind this idea was her daughter who was upset she could not represent herself on keyboards. This application allowed “the users to copy and paste emojis with five different skin types into their messages”. She claims that after she had presented her idea to Apple representatives and associates, Apple refused to work with her in October 2014.
However, within a short span of time, Apple launched its own diverse emojis in February, 2015. Thereafter, Katrina has filed a suit claiming copyright infringement against Apple at the Texas Federal Court. According to reports, it is Apple’s claim the company did not infringe on Katrina’s work and that Katrina has no claim to copyright over the multi-racial emoji as copyright law does not protect the ideas.

Dubai Taxi Corporation issues notice to Ghanaian Rapper  

The Dubai Taxi Corporation, a subsidiary of the Dubai Roads and Transport Authority, issued Ghanaian Rapper Amerado a cease and desist notice via social media regarding the unauthorised use of its logo. The Rapper was allegedly using the logo of the Dubai Taxi Corporation on promotional materials and content for his new single ‘Taxi Driver’. The music video was shot in the United Arab Emirates and released on March 05, 2021. It was demanded that all the promotional material, images, videos including cover art for the song in which the logo has been used should be taken down from all platforms. On March 10, 2021, the Rapper stated that he has abided by the request and made the requisite changes in the official cover of his music and shall replace all such promotional material and content.

Justice League accidentally released on HBO Max

On March 8th, 2021, several subscribers reported that HBO Max accidentally released Zack Snyder’s Justice League which was scheduled to release on March 18th, 2021. Some subscribers said that when they attempted to play Tom and Jerry, there were able to instead watch Justice League. Several subscribers noticed the glitch, captured screenshots and glimpses of at least one hour of the new film and shared it on various social media platforms like Twitter, before it was finally rectified by HBO Max.  However, HBO Max took cognizance of the glitch and fixed it within an hour. Some of the tweets sharing the glimpses of the movie were deleted by Twitter for infringement of copyright.

The Mail ordered to publish its defeat in suit against Meghan Markle

The English High Court had earlier ruled in favour of the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, stating that ‘The Mail’ violated her privacy and infringed her copyright by publishing a private letter to her father. In an order dated March 5th, 2021, the court has directed ‘The Mail’ to publish a statement acknowledging the win of Meghan Markle against Associated Newspapers for an article published in ‘The Mail on Sunday’ which was an infringement of Meghan Markle’s copyright and violation of her right to privacy. The statement shall be published on the front-page in addition to a detailed notice on page five as well as run on its website for a week. ‘The Mail on Sunday’ has indicated that it is contemplating appealing the said order before the English Court of Appeal.

CJEU rules framing content amounts to communication to the public

The visual arts society, VG Bild-Kunst negotiated a licence fee and a provisional agreement enabling a visual library, Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz (SPK) to display thumbnails of the society’s individual works on its portal. The Society demanded that SPK should adopt technical measures preventing third parties from integrating the thumbnails via framing. Framing, known as embedding, allows third-party content to be included within an online web page. SPK labelled the demand as unreasonable and argued that framing, like hyperlinking, does not amount to copyright infringement. The Society appealed against the decision of the Berlin Court of Appeal to the Bundesgerichtshof (Federal Court of Justice, Germany) which in turn asked the Court of Justice for the European Union (CJEU) to determine whether framing must be held as communication to the public and hence infringing on copyright.
The grand chamber of the CJEU opined in favour of the Society. It was held in the judgment dated March 9th, 2021 that “the embedding by means of framing, in a website page of a third party, of works protected by copyright and made freely accessible to the public with the authorisation of the copyright holder on another website constitutes a communication to the public”. In essence, a copyright holder can restrict linking by imposing a contractual obligation on a licensee to implement technological measures to protect works against infringement.

FBT Productions seek damages for cancelling re-release of ‘Infinite’

FBT Productions have approached the London court seeking damages from a British Record company after they had to cancel their plans to release the 25th anniversary editions of Eminem’s debut album ‘Infinite’ which was originally released by them. FBT Productions, Eminem’s first record company contests that it lost the opportunity to exploit the copyright in ‘Infinite’ when they discovered that a British record company, Let Them Eat Vinyl pressed up 2891 unlicensed and unauthorized copies of the album ‘Infinite’ which were also later distributed its sister concern. It has been reported that FBT Productions it is entitled to damages to the tune of USD 222,000 or 160,000 Pounds.
This is not the first time these parties have met at court. In 2019, in another suit amongst the parties, the court had held that Let Them Eat Vinyl infringed the sound recording copyrights owned by FBT Productions by pressing up a short run of ‘Infinite’ on vinyl.

Authored and compiled by Neharika Vhatkar (Associate, BananaIP Counsels) and Ashna Shah (Legal Intern) 
The Copyright Law News Bulletin is brought to you jointly by the Entertainment Law and Consulting/Strategy Divisions of BananaIP Counsels, a Top IP Firm in India. If you have any questions, or need any clarifications, please write to [email protected]  with the subject:  Copyright Law News
Disclaimer: Please note that the news bulletin has been put together from different sources, primary and secondary, and BananaIP’s reporters may not have verified all the news published in the bulletin. You may write to [email protected]  for corrections and take down

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