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First off today, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear a case regarding Internet downloads, letting a lower court ruling that said Internet downloads were not public performances stand. The suit stemmed from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), which sued to have digital downloads declared as public performances so they could collect royalties, potentially in the tens of millions, on digital sales for songwriters and composers. The Appeals Court, however, ruled that downloads don’t meet the criteria for a public performance and the Supreme Court declined to hear the case without comment, letting the ruling stand.
Next up today, the Supreme Court will hear a case that pits teachers, conductors and other content users against the U.S. government. At issue is whether Congress can take works out of the public domain once they have been placed there. The suit stems from treaties and copyright extensions that removed works from the public domain and placed them under copyright protection again, works including “Peter and the Wolf” and Alfred Hitchcock’s movie “Number 17”. If they win their case, these works could be placed back into the public domain and be eligible for use by all without paying a fee.
Finally today, Mac clone maker Psystar has announced that they are prepared to take their case to the Supreme Court. Psystar has been involved with litigation over Apple, which sued them claiming that Psystar’s making of Mac clones, computers running Apple’s OSX operating system though not made by Apple, was a violation of Apple’s OSX license. Apple won both in the lower court and on appeal, the courts agreeing that it was a license violation and shooting down Psystar’s claim of copyright abuse, but Psystar’s lawyers say they are prepared to appeal to the Supreme Court if needed.
That’s it for the three count today. We will be back tomorrow with three more copyright links. If you have a link that you want to suggest a link for the column or have any proposals to make it better. Feel free to leave a comment or send me an email. I hope to hear from you.
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