Ford Faces USD 8.1 million Infringement Lawsuit, Jennifer Lopez Sued over Infringing Photograph and U.S. Copyright and Patent Offices Asked to Study Infringement by States.
Ford Faces USD 8.1 million Infringement Lawsuit
Freeplay Music, a music library, recently filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against automobile manufacturer, Ford Motor. In the lawsuit, Freeplay music claimed that Ford, allegedly used music owned by Freeplay in its web broadcasted advertisements, without taking necessary licenses or acquiring prior permission to use the songs from the music library. The lawsuit which was filed in the United States District Court in the Eastern District of Michigan, Southern Division, claims that the multi-billion dollar automobile company, still continues to violate Freeplay’s copyright on a large scale. Freeplay was able to discover the infringement across several of Ford’s advertisements, with help of TuneSat, which is a digital fingerprint and unpaid-royalty detector. Through TuneSat, Freeplay found 54 instances of alleged copyright infringement spanning across 74 of Ford’s promotional videos.
Freeplay and its legal team are requesting USD 150,000 for each of these claimed copyright violations, bringing the grand total of sought damages to USD 8.1 million.
Jennifer Lopez Sued over Infringing Photograph
A New York photographer, Steve Sands, has sued Jennifer Lopez, for allegedly sharing a photograph, which is a close-up portrait of Lopez, taken by Sands. This photograph was shared on Lopez’s Instagram account, where she has 119 million followers and she appears to be dressed as her Shades of Blue character, Harlee, in the photograph. Steve Sands, claimed that Lopez’s production company Nuyorican Productions, used the photograph to promote their brand and in doing so, neither did they take his prior permission, nor did they provide him with appropriate compensation. Sands’ lawyer stated that, the number of likes the photograph receives coupled with their number of social media followers is primarily used as a tool to commercialize their posts.
Steve Sands is now claiming statutory damages worth USD 150,000, for each of his photographs that have been subsequently infringed.
US Copyright and Patent Offices Asked to Study Infringement by States
Two members of the Senate Judiciary Committee have written letters, asking the U.S. Copyright and Patent Offices to initiate a study into the extent to which intellectual property owners are suffering infringement at the hands of state government. This request was sent following the judgment passed by the high court, in the matter of Allen v. Cooper, where the high court held that North Carolina was immune from a filmmaker’s copyright suit. In the matter of Allen v Cooper, Rick Allen’s Nautilus Productions had pursued the state of North Carolina for posting his footage of the salvaging of an 18th century pirate ship online. However, in a unanimous decision, the Justices opined that while drafting the Copyright Remedy Clarification Act of 1990 (CRCA), Congress had exceeded their authority by making a provision in the Act, that allowed the states to have sovereign immunity, from copyright infringement lawsuits.
Congress was then instructed to re-draft the provision which provided sovereign immunity to states, in order to make it more reasonable and unbiased towards the parties who claimed infringement. In the letters written by the Senate Judiciary Committee, they have referred to the order passed in the matter of Allen v. Cooper, as a “blueprint for how to validly abrogate State sovereign immunity.” The letters have urged the U.S. Copyright and Patent Offices to refer to these aforementioned parts of the Allen v. Cooper judgment and include the same in their analysis. While analysing the judgment the offices “should consider the extent to which such infringements appear to be based on intentional or reckless conduct.”
The senators have now asked the US Copyright and Patent Offices to reveal their findings latest by April 30th, 2021.
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
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