Sunday, August 28, 2016

Copyright: Updates and Esoterica

Update: The artist Peter Doig prevailed in the multi-million dollar suit brought against him for refusing to certify that he was the author of a work of which he was not the author.

Interestingly, he can thank his highschool yearbook photos in part for convincing the court that the Peter Doig being sued was a schoolboy in Toronto at the time that his hobbyist namesake was incarcerated somewhere else.

Read more, courtesy of Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP

and from Sullivan and Worcester LLP

Moral of the story? Keep your yearbooks!

What we can learn from Led Zeppelin... who, as defendants, won the copyright infringement lawsuit brought against them on account of some alleged similarities in a riff in Stairway To Heaven with an earlier musical work, but who did not prevail in their claim to recover their legal costs.

Analysis courtesy of Dorsey & Whitney LLP

Loser does not always pay!  Motivation (of the plaintiff) and reasonableness of the factual and legal arguments (by the plaintiff) may weigh more heavily than three or four other factors that a judge considers in making a determination whether or not to award costs. New in this case was a sixth factor: alleged litigation misconduct and alleged tasteless courtroom antics on the part of the plaintiff's counsel.

Thirdly, a cautionary tale from Russell Kennedy about how the mischievous use of social media can be expensive for the mischievous, even if the posting is only up for a brief time and exposed to a limited readership.

Defamation on social media can be ruled "defamation" even if the mischievous party does not identify the plaintiff by name, as long as the description of events makes it possible for any reasonable observer to identify the  plaintiff.

Finally, Eversheds reports that the music industry is seeking to change the protections afforded to "platforms" that profit disproportionately from "user generated" piracy of copyrighted works, and that, when the DMCA was written twenty years ago, the lawmakers' intent was not to protect business models that had not at that time been invented.

All the best,
Rowena Cherry

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