Google Inks Copyright deal with French Newspapers, Wixen Music Publishing sues Triller for USD 50 Million, Facebook introduces revised Rights Manager Tool, Apple faces Copyright Infringement Lawsuit, The Band, Lady A sued for copyright infringement, Obama’s Publisher sued by Ex-White House Photographer, NBC Universal sued over infringing Script and TikTok removes videos for violating Guidelines.
Google Inks Copyright deal with French Newspapers
Google has recently signed copyright agreements with six French newspapers, including dailies Le Monde and Le Figaro, following the order of an appeals court in France. The court directed Google to consult publishers and news agencies before using their content and providing the publishers and news agencies appropriate remuneration for such content. Prior to this court order, as per the agreement that Google had with the publishers, Google was not required to pay any fees to the publishers for using their content in return for the rights granted by the publishers to Google.
However, this new order is in line with the “neighbouring right” enshrined in revamped EU copyright rules, which allows publishers to demand a fee from online platforms for showing news snippets. This is a first of its kind ruling given by any court around the world.
Wixen Music Publishing sues Triller for USD 50 Million
Wixen Music Publishing (WMP) has filed a copyright lawsuit against short-video app Triller, for allowing its users to include content owned by WMP, in the videos uploaded on Triller. Users of the video app can create short videos with a musical background and upload the same on Triller. WMP has claimed that even though Triller was aware it had to negotiate a licensing deal with WMP, Triller chose to ignore that and engage in wilful infringement. WMP is seeking USD 50 million for the infringement as per the lawsuit.
While responding to the lawsuit, Triller stated that it was not liable for copyright infringement since the videos were uploaded by the users and not the app itself. WMP is seeking the maximum statutory relief, working out to $150,000 per infringed work.
Facebook introduces revised Rights Manager Tool
In a bid to curb the rising instances of copyright infringement, Facebook has revised its Rights Manager tool, to now allow photographers to track the infringing use of their photographs. The social media platform has made this revision after receiving complaints from several photographers over the years with regard to the unauthorized use of their photographs on Facebook and Instagram. With the new Rights Manager tool, the creators can easily track which of their posts have been re-shared on the social media platforms, following which they can decide if they want such posts to only be monitored or to be blocked as well. The creators can also file a take-down request for the same.
Additionally, the creators can add an attributing credit to such posts through a link, and can “decide which territories their images can be viewed in by adjusting the match settings. From there, they can choose whether their ownership applies worldwide or only to specific regions.”
Apple faces Copyright Infringement Lawsuit
Cub Club Investment LLC (CCI), has filed a lawsuit against Apple, in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas, WACO Division, for alleged copyright infringement of emoji’s developed by CCI. In the lawsuit, CCI claims that it had originally developed the iDiversicons Emoji, which was a set of diverse emoji’s aiming to represent a variety of people. CCI stated that it has previously registered the copyrights for these iDiversicons emoji’s, which include the copyright for five different skin tones and that it also “owns trade dress rights in the designs and appearances of the iDiversicons® emoji.”
According to the lawsuit, CCI had launched the iDiversicons Emoji on the Apple App Store in 2013 and on Apple iTunes in 2014, following which CCI joined the Unicode Consortium, to make the emoji’s available to the consumers. Further, CCI claimed in the lawsuit that Apple had decided to enter into a partnership with CCI, for the iDiversicons emoji’s and CCI provided samples of the same to Apple. However, Apple soon featured the iDiversicons emoji’ app on the Apple App Store, without taking any licenses for the copyrighted content from CCI. Due to such unauthorised use by Apple, CCI has reported a decrease in sales for iDiversicons® emoji. CCI has asked the court to grant a permanent injunction against Apple, in addition to a full and complete accounting for the defendant’s profits, gains, advantages received from its alleged infringement, and an award for damages.
The Band, Lady A sued for Copyright Infringement
A Blues singer named Anita ‘Lady A’ White, has countersued the country band Lady A. The band which was originally known as Lady Antebellum, changed its name to Lady A, last year in June after the death of George Floyd and Black Lives Matter protests, since the word Antebellum had links to slavery. Following this change by the band, the Blues singer claimed that she had been performing under the name Lady A for decades, since the 1990’s and has now been losing sales due to the confusion in the name.
The band Lady A, stated that they were unaware of the Blues singer with the same name and counter sued the Blues singer to allow the band to use their new name. Later, White counter-sued the band claiming that “she has a common law right to the Lady A trademark, based on her use of the name for albums and live performances dating back more than two decades.” White is currently seeking undisclosed damages in a jury trial, as well as the sole rights to the Lady A name.
Obama’s Publisher sued by Ex-White House Photographer
Anna Wilding, an ex-White House photographer is suing publishers Penguin Random House, for using an image on the cover of Obama’s memoir, claiming that the image was a rip-off of a photograph that she had previously taken. Wilding stated that the image used for the memoir is part of a published work from an exhibit.
Penguin Random House however, denied Wilding’s claims and stated that the photo used in the book cover was taken by Pari Dukovic and therefore does not infringe on Wilding’s copyrights. Wilding is seeking a minimum of USD 50,000 compensation from Penguin Random House.
NBC Universal sued over infringing Script
NBC Universal, the American entertainment and mass media company and actor Gary Oldman, have been sued by writer Ben Kaplan for allegedly infringing upon parts of his scripts in the film Darkest Hour. Kaplan claimed that he had previously written scripts based on Winston Churchill and some parts of those scripts had been adopted into the film without providing any credit to him. The writer filed a complaint in the Superior Court of the State of California for the County of Los Angeles, in which Kaplan alleged trademark infringement, unlawful business practices, breach of implied contract, interference with contractual relations among other claims against NBC Universal and its subsidiaries.
Further, Kaplan claimed in the complaint that he had written three scripts for the film titled Churchill, in which actor Gary Oldman had agreed to play the title role and therefore had access to Kaplan’s scripts. However, later Oldman backed out of Kaplan’s film and signed the film Darkest Hour, because of which Kaplan’s film was shut down.
TikTok removes videos for violating Guidelines
TikTok, the video sharing platform, has removed more than 104 million videos from its platform, in the first half of 2020 on the grounds that these videos violated TikTok’s policies and community guidelines. These videos were removed in response to the multiple copyright claims and almost 1800 legal notices that TikTok had received against several videos for violating copyright infringement laws.
Additionally TikTok has also been banned in India, since this year and was almost about to be banned in the United States of America. In an effort to relaunch TikTok in the US, the video sharing platform has published a transparency report, since it has repeatedly been accused of violating privacy laws and being used by the Chinese government to collect user data. Further, TikTok also announced the harmful content coalition and a UK parliamentary committee scheduled a harmful content hearing in order to regulate the content published on TikTok.
Authored and compiled by Neharika Vhatkar (Associate, BananaIP Counsels)
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.