WEEKLY COPYRIGHT NEWS: 2 WIPO TREATIES APPROVED, ONLINE APPLICATION PROCESSING BY COPYRIGHT OFFICE, DANCING BABY COPYRIGHT LAW SUIT, GLOBAL LICENSING DEAL BY TRILLER AND MORE
Union Cabinet approves 2 WIPO treaties, Copyright Office Regarding Electronics Processing of Online Application, European Union Parliament Rejects the controversial copyright law, Oculus will pay $250 million to ZeniMax for copyright infringement, Nats appeal to decrease damages for copyright infringement of ‘Eminem-esque’, Dancing Baby copyright lawsuit Finally ends, Amazon is Expanding its Merchandise Services, Triller Announces First Global Licensing Deal with Universal Music Group
COPYRIGHT QUOTE OF THE WEEK
I think if the copyright regime focuses on the people we are supposed to be helping, the artists and creators, and builds a system that gives them the freedom to choose and to protect and to be rewarded for their creativity, then we will have the right focus.
– Lawrence Lessig
INDIAN COPYRIGHT STATISTICS
There is a decrease of 18.5% in the total number of copyright applications filed this week as compared to the applications filed last week. A total of 317 applications were filed for copyright registration during the last week. Most of the applications were filed for literary and artistic works. Applications for sound recordings increased substantially from 12 to 55.
|S.no||Types of Work||Number of Applications filed in the Previous Week (18th June- 24th June, 2018)||Number of Applications filed in the Recent Week (25th June- 30th June, 2018)||Change||Percent Change|
INDIAN COPYRIGHT NEWS
Union Cabinet approves 2 WIPO treaties
On 4th July, 2018, the government approved the proposal to become a part of the WIPO Copyright Treaty and WIPO Performers and Phonograms Treaty, which extend coverage of copyright to the Internet and digital environment. After this India will also be a part of global treaties on copyright, encouraging authors, producers and performers to upload their works on the internet. This proposal was prepared by the department of Industrial Policy and Promotion under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. The Commerce and Industry Ministry expects the potential benefits to include fair monetization of artists’ work, return on investment in the digital domain, and protection in foreign countries. The initiative taken by the government is also likely to create more investment chances from those companies which were hesitant to share their know-how with India due to weak copyright laws.
Copyright Office Regarding Electronics Processing of Online Application
On June 28,2018. Copyright office issued a notice regarding Electronics Processing of Online Application. In this notice copyright right office stated that if any discrepancy arises with respect to the application received online, the office would be communicating the same to the applicant through e-mail. Also, applicant should upload their response using their copyright login account. The Public Notice can be accessed here.
INTERNATIONAL COPYRIGHT NEWS UPDATE
European Union Parliament Rejects the controversial copyright law
On 5th July, 2018, the EU Parliament rejected the controversial copyright Laws, which put more responsibility on websites to check for copyright violation, and unreasonably forced platforms to pay for linking to news. This copyright law was intended to bring the EU’s copyright laws in line with the digital age, but it led to protests from website and much debate before it was rejected by the European Parliament with margin of 318-278 votes.
The proposed copyright law is known as Copyright Directive. These directives contained two highly controversial Articles: Article 11, which would have required platforms like Google, Microsoft and others to pay publishers for news snippets; and Article 13, which put the responsibility for enforcement of copyright laws on social media platforms like Google and Facebook, and required them to use content recognition technologies — branded “censorship machines” by critics — to filter out images, audio, code or footage that infringes on copyrights. In protest of these directives, Wikipedia temporarily shut down in Spain, Italy and Poland. After the rejection of these directives, Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales said, “One of my biggest concerns is we would just be entrenching the power of Google and Facebook, who already have the technical capacity to do this, and smaller players and start-ups are going to be shut out as they would face the cost of doing it.”
Oculus will pay $250 million to ZeniMax for copyright infringement
Facebook Inc. won a partial victory against Bethesda Softworks parent company ZeniMax media in a copyright infringement suit. Besides having its damages payable to Zenimax halved from $500 million to $250 million, Facebook also convinced the US District Court in Dallas to reject ZeniMax’s request to ban sales of Oculus headsets. At the trial in 2017, Oculus has contended that the copyright infringement wasn’t “substantial” and that the claim for damages should be rejected. The company argued that just seven lines of computer code in Oculus software were copied literally from ZeniMax “out of approximately 42 billion lines”.
Nats appeal to decrease damages for copyright infringement of ‘Eminem-esque’
The National Party of New Zealand has appealed to decrease the amount of damages it has to pay for copyright violation in its 2014 election campaign. In 2014, the National Party copied rapper Eminem’s song “Lose Yourself” in their Nats’ election campaign videos. Last year the High Court had ordered the National Party to pay $600,000 to Eight Mile Style, Eminem’s music publisher for the breach of copyright. However, the National Party lawyers questioned how that figure was reached.
The actual amounts involved in the copyright case were suppressed by the High Court as they were commercially sensitive and they have not been referred to in the Court of Appeal.
Dancing Baby copyright lawsuit Finally ends
The long-running copyright suit on the dancing baby has finally come to an end. This case was filed in 2007 by Stephanie Lenz after Universal Music accused her of copyright infringement for a home video of her toddler dancing in her kitchen. She posted this video on YouTube to show their friends ‘how her little one was progressing with his walking’, and despite only receiving 20 views at the time, Universal Music sent her a notice claiming that she was infringing its copyright.
The reason for copyright infringement was, in the background of video, the Music of Prince’s song “Let’s Go Crazy” could just about be made out. But it was the fact that she titled the video “Let’s Go Crazy #1” that led to it being discovered by Universal Music – which owns the rights to the song. But the apex court refused to hear that appeal, sending the case back down to Ninth Circuit.
MERCHANDISING AND LICENSING NEWS
Amazon is Expanding its Merchandise Services
Although Amazon’s Merch by Amazon platform is still a new entrant in the custom products business, it appears to be following the lead of CafePress, Redbubble and Custom Ink (among others) who are adopting the direct-to-consumer model of custom products sales.
Even in the growth stage, the Merch program is currently invite-only, but has attracted huge names like Disney, Marvel, Cartoon Network, Fortnite and Dr. Seuss as some of its merchandise creators.
Amazon is mainly printing and selling soft goods at present, but it’s also testing popular promotional items like pop sockets and cell phone cases. This foray by Amazon into the customized product market is likely to put pressure on smaller businesses using the supplier-distributor model. However, it is still early to predict how the increased competition will affect the market or consumers.
Triller Announces First Global Licensing Deal with Universal Music Group
The AI-powered platform Triller, which allows users to create music videos using AI, announced its first major partnership last week. Triller will be partnering with UMG, thus providing Triller users with access to the entire UMG catalogue.
This deal follows closely on the heels of Facebook’s recent deals with Warner Music Group, Universal Music Group, and Sony / ATV Music Publishing. Like the Triller deal, these too allowed users of Facebook and its Oculus and Instagram platforms to use music from partnering labels in their videos without fear of copyright violations.
Before filing a copyright infringement suit, it is advisable to conduct a comprehensive comparison of both works to ensure that the infringing work is substantially similar to the original work. Filing suits merely on the basis of similarities in movie trailers is not recommended. Having said that if it can be inferred from the analysis of the trailer and information/ communication about the film including press releases, that the work may be infringing then filing a suit may be an option. Once the full script of the film is available the decision to continue with the suit may be taken after performing a detailed analysis.
Author: BIP’s Copyright and Entertainment Law Attorneys
Led by Sanjeeth Hegde, Senior Partner, the entertainment law attorneys at BIP are among the well-known lawyers in the field. They work with clients such as Yash Raj Films, Dharma Productions, Ananda Audio, Anushka Sharma, Sushant Singh, and Arka Media (Producer of Bahu Bali). BIP’s entertainment law team helps clients protect, manage and effectively license and merchandise their creative works such as films, music, brands and other content, to maximize financial returns.
The weekly copyright and entertainment law news initiative is a part of their pro bono work, and is aimed at spreading entertainment law awareness. You are free to share the news with appropriate attribution and backlink to the source.
If you have any questions, you may write to BIP’s Copyright and Entertainment Law Attorneys – [email protected]