3 Count: Not Myspace

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1: A Revamped Myspace Site Faces a Problem With Rights

First off today, Ben Sisario at the New York Times reports that Myspace, which recently launched a revamped version of its site, has already run into a legal wrinkle as Merlin, an organization that represents independent record labels, claims that the site is distributing music its members own illegally.

According to Merlin, the site had a license to stream music from its labels but the license expired last year. Myspace claims that the music was uploaded by users and that they will remove infringing tracks if notified.

Merlin has said that they are preparing a legal response but Myspace, which launched a music-centric revamp of its site to help bolster its struggling brand, will likely be claiming DMCA safe harbor protection prevents it from being held liable.

2: Twitter Pictures Put in Spotlight Following London Helicopter Crash

Next up today, Lisa O’Carroll at The Guardian reports that photos from a fatal London helicopter crash last week have appeared in various area publications including the London Evening Standard, despite the fact that they were used without permission off of Twitter.

The case is similar to a recent ruling in New York regarding the AFP wire service and Daniel Morel, a photographer that had tweeted out photos of the Haiti earthquake. That ruling found that the Twitter terms of service did not allow the AFP to use the photos commercially and that the service could be held liable for infringement.

The London newspapers have said that they are unable to contact the photographers in the heat of a breaking story but are willing to pay licensing fees. This trend has led some licensing agencies to work to seek representation rights to important Twitter photos so they can license them to various publications, though many Twitter users seem reluctant to collect on such fees.

3: Web Activists Are Waging a Guerrilla War to Free Martin Luther King from Copyright

Finally today, Alex Pasternack at Vice writes that, as the U.S. celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. day, protesters have taken to posting copies of King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech online, in violation of the speech’s copyright.

Copyright in the speech was, until recently, licensed through EMI, which had its publishing rights sold to Sony. King established copyright in the speech days after giving it to prevent others from profiting from his work but, today, finding a complete video version of the speech is challenging and not even available in the digital archive of the King Center. Unlicensed copies posted online are routinely removed due to an aggressive copyright enforcement effort by the King family and it partners.

In response to this, on the one-year anniversary of the SOPA/PIPA protests, activists began posting the speech widely online, including on many video sharing sites, only to have most copies taken down quickly, prompting others to begin what they call a campaign of civil disobedience and protest, by working to put and keep the video up online wherever possible.

Suggestions

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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Tune in every Wednesday evening at 5 PM ET for the live recording of the Copyright 2.0 Show or wait and get the edited version Friday right here on Plagiarism Today.

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