Latest updates in Copyright case decisions

Jury clears Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” from copyright infringement claim

A lawsuit alleging copyright infringement was brought against Robert Plant and Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin group  by Michael Skidmore. He alleged that there were similarities between the opening chords for 1971 song Stairway To Heaven  and a composition called Taurus  which was released four years earlier by a band called Spirit.

The US District Judge Gary Klausner had ruled in April that “Stairway to Heaven” bore “substantial” similarities with “Taurus”. However, the jury found that the two songs were not “substantially similar”. This decision of the Jury was welcomed by the musicians and Led Zeppelin’s record label Warner Music Group as a victory for creative freedom.

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Content sharing websites cannot be held liable for copyright infringement for unknowingly hosting content

In another copyright decision from the US courts,  the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York in a copyright infringement suit brought by Capitol Records and Sony Inc. alleging copyright infringement over music in 199 videos that Vimeo users had uploaded on the site, held that the Video-sharing website, Vimeo LLC cannot be held liable for copyright infringement for unknowingly hosting older music uploaded by its users.This decision was welcomed by other content hosting platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Google and other similarly interested companies.

It is pertinent to note that, the law provides various remedies to the aggrieved party whose copyright has been infringed which includes sending a notice to the content hosting site to take down the infringing elements. However, if the content hosting site despite genuine request to take down the infringing element fail in their duty, they shall be held liable for breach of relevant copyright laws and IT laws.


Disney Enterprises sue three Chinese companies for copyright infringement

Disney’s subsidiaries ,Disney Enterprises Inc. and Pixar have sued three Chinese production companies G-Point, PPTV and Bluemtv for copyright infringement and unfair competition.  The movie ‘The Autobots’ produced by the defendants is visually similar to Disney’s animated franchise ‘Cars’. The Autobots was heavily criticized by netizens in China on its release for bearing striking similarities. More details regarding this matter is awaited. Look out for this space for further updates.

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Authored by Bhuvana S. Babu

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