Weekly Copyright News: No Copyright in Mechanical Compiled database, ‘Suspiria’ Copyright Suit settled, Tracy Chapman Sues Nicki Minaj, Comments on Digital Copyright System, CD Baby Partners with Cosynd and more
Tamil Film Anti-Piracy Cell Suspends Piracy Platforms, Delhi HC: No Copyright in Mechanical Compilation of Customer Database, Artist’s Estate and Amazon Studios Settle ‘Suspiria’ Copyright Suit, Tracy Chapman Sues Nicki Minaj for Copyright Infringement, Songwriter Awarded $44 Million for Being Uncredited on Usher’s Album, US Copyright Office Seeks Comments on Digital Copyright System, CD Baby Partners with Cosynd to Streamline Copyright Registration, Facebook Expands Music Features and Lip Sync Live.
COPYRIGHT QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“Moral rights form the essence of copyright law. When they conflict with economic rights, moral rights must always prevail”. -Dr. Kalyan C. Kankanala
INDIAN COPYRIGHT STATISTICS
There is a decrease of 35% in the total number of copyright applications filed last week as compared to the applications filed in the previous week. A total of 227applications were filed for copyright registration during the last week. Most of the applications were filed for literary works and artistic works.
|S. No||Type of Work||Number of Applications filed in the Previous Week|
(8th October to 14th October, 2018)
|Number of Applications filed in the Recent Week|
(15th October to 21st October, 2018)
|1.||Literary Work||185||114||71||Decrease of 39%|
|2.||Musical Work||7||5||2||Decrease of 29%|
|3.||Artistic Work||121||73||48||Decrease of 40%|
|4.||Cinematograph Film||2||0||2||Decrease of 100%|
|5.||Sound Recording||5||13||8||Increase of 160%|
|6.||Software||26||22||4||Decrease of 15%|
|Total||347||227||120||Decrease of 35%|
INDIAN COPYRIGHT NEWS
Tamil Film Anti-Piracy Cell Suspends Piracy Platforms
The Anti-piracy Cell of the Tamil Film Producers Council (TFPC) has decided to suspend a number of domains, including Torrents and Tamil Rockers, that have been involved in movie piracy. The move follows the leak of the movies Vada Chennai and Sandakozhi 2, within a few hours after their release.
On October 20th, 2018, TFPC tweeted out a list of domain names that it has suspended, which includes tamilrockers.hn, tamildbox.online, goldminesmovies.online, tmvplay.fun, tmrockers.pw, and octloan.pw. They stated that “there have been many instances where movies have been leaked online on the first day of their release, costing filmmakers a huge loss, and suspension of the domain could help prevent the same”.
Delhi HC: No Copyright in Mechanical Compilation of Customer Database
In a recent decision, the Delhi High Court held that that no copyright can exist in an information database which is a mere mechanical compilation. The suit was filed by logistics company Navigators Logistics Ltd against its former employees for using confidential information in carrying out their own business.
The court reiterated that, in accordance with Section 13 of the Copyright Act, a copyrightable work requires the application of some skill or judgment by the author. Section 13(1) of the Act allows the grant of copyright only in original works of certain types, including literary and artistic works, sound recordings and cinematograph films. The Court came to its conclusion based mainly on two factors: first, that the compiled database could not be classified under any category specified in Section 13(1), and second, that the plaintiff had neither specified any human author for the works nor claimed confidentiality of the author’s identity.
INTERNATIONAL COPYRIGHT NEWS UPDATE
Artist’s Estate and Amazon Studios Settle ‘Suspiria’ Copyright Suit
The estate of artist Ana Mendieta has reached a settlement with Amazon Studios in a copyright infringement suit over the film “Suspiria”. The estate’s representatives had alleged, in a suit filed last month, that Amazon Studios original production borrows heavily from the late artist’s work. The suit included allegations that some images in the film are derived from Mendieta’s pieces, based on a trailer released in June, and a viewing of the full film in November. The images did not appear in a subsequent trailer, and were removed from the film. The terms of the settlement agreement have not yet been disclosed.
Tracy Chapman Sues Nicki Minaj for Copyright Infringement
Singer Tracy Chapman has filed a suit against singer Nicki Minaj, for unauthorised use of a sample of Chapman’s 1988 hit, “Baby Can I Hold You”. The suit alleges that Nicki Minaj used a sample of the Chapman song in her recent release titled “Sorry”. Minaj’s song also features rapper Nas, and it is unclear as to whether he will be subject to legal penalties, even if the court decides in favour of Chapman. It is reported that Chapman refused Minaj’s repeated requests to grant her the rights to sample the song in Chapman’s works. Chapman’s suit claims that Minaj’s song “incorporates the lyrics and vocal melody” of her song, including “its most recognizable and memorable parts.”
In her suit before a California Court, Chapman is seeking damages and is hoping to stop the official release of the song. Minaj released the song in August 2018, but has not included it in her latest album “Queen”. Chapman’s suit also intends to prevent Minaj from “copying or otherwise using or exploiting” her work. The official “Sorry” video on Minaj’s VEVO-owned channel has received a copyright strike on YouTube. Following the filing of the suit, the song is also no longer available on any streaming platforms.
Songwriter Awarded $44 Million for Being Uncredited on Usher’s Album
Songwriter Daniel Marino, based in Philadelphia, US, has been awarded USD 44.35 million in damages from a lawsuit against his co-writers. In the suit, Marino claimed that he was cut out of profits and credit from the song “Bad Girl”, written and recorded by the singer Usher. Marino alleged that the “guitar hook, tempo and chord progression” in Usher’s song were based majorly on his own song “Club Girl,” which he had created in 2001-02. “Bad Girl” was part of Usher’s breakout album “Confessions”, which failed to credit Marino for his work on the song. Usher was not named as a defendant; instead the suit was filed against Marino’s co-writers and producers who owned the song. As a result of the award, Marino now holds one-third ownership of the song, and will be receiving streaming royalty payments for his contribution.
US Copyright Office Seeks Comments on Digital Copyright System
The U.S. Copyright Office has published a notice seeking written comments on how to improve the regulations and practices related to the registration of copyright claims. The notice hopes to elicit feedback from creators on improving user experience and efficiency, and decreasing processing times. The Office has expressed its intent to replace the current electronic system with a more modern, digital copyright registration system.
The notice and instructions for submitting comments can be accessed here.
MERCHANDISING AND LICENSING NEWS
CD Baby Partners with Cosynd to Streamline Copyright Registration
Major digital distributor CD Baby has announced a partnership with legal services platform Cosynd, to help creators get their works copyrighted. The deal will give CD Baby users free access for one month to Cosynd’s Essential and Premium tiers of service to document ownership of their content. Members can then create unlimited copyright split sheets, full copyright ownership agreements, and work-for-hire agreements to enable registration. Enabling simple and quick creation of agreements is also expected to help ensure authorised exploitation and proper royalty distribution. Both companies issued statements expressing how the deal will help artists monetise their content and avoid disputes.
Facebook Expands Music Features and Lip Sync Live
Facebook has announced an expansion in its music features, which will allow users to pin song clips to their profiles, and add soundtracks to Stories and Feed. It has also opened its Lip Sync Live service to Pages, which will allow artists to perform for their fans through their official profiles. The pinning and Stories’ soundtrack features currently allow profile visitors to only listen to a short clipping, but may extend to full songs if Facebook partners with streaming services for increased access. Lip Sync Live provides access to full soundtracks, along with lyrics. The expansion of music features builds on Facebook’s recently acquired music licenses from major record labels. These features are currently available only in select countries, and may be rolled out worldwide in the coming months.
A compilation of mere information or facts is not copyrightable. An input of creativity by the author in the form of artistic, graphic, written or video would be necessary.
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]