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First off today, Matt Hamilton at the LA Times reports that Warner/Chappell Music has released details on a tentative settlement in the Happy Birthday to You lawsuit. The settlement, first announced in December, would not only pay up to $14 million to those who paid for a license to the song but also completely release their claim on the composition.
The battle began when a filmmaker sought to use the song in a documentary about it. She paid a license fee but sued alleging that Warner/Chappell had no rights to charge it. She, along with other filmmakers who joined the lawsuit, believed the at the song, written in 1893 by sisters Patty and Mildred Hill, was public domain. The judge, after some legal back and forth, agreed and ruled Warner/Chappell had no rights to license the song.
The settlement still needs to be approved by the court and a hearing is scheduled for March 14th. If approved it would also provide an additional award to the named plaintiffs in the lawsuit and $4.6 million to cover legal fees. Most importantly, anyone who paid to use the song as far back as 1949 may be eligible to have some or all of their license fee repaid.
Next up today, Kelly Dennett at Stuff reports that Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom’s extradition appeal will be held on August 29th and that he might be extradited by Christmas if the appeals court upholds the lower court ruling.
Kim Dotcom was the owner of Megaupload, at the time the web’s largest cyberlocker site. In January 2012 Dotcom was arrested and his site shuttered in a joint action by U.S. and New Zealand authorities. Since then, the U.S. has sought extradition of Dotcom from his home in New Zealand but repeated delays slowed the process. However, late last year, a court ruled that Dotcom is eligible for extradition.
The next step is an appeal of that ruling and the United States had asked for an expedited hearing but was denied. The appeal will now take place in late August, over 8 months after the original court date.
Finally today, Jonathan Stempel at Reuters reports that “Pharma Bro” Martin Shkreli is facing a new lawsuit, this one over the use of images in the $2 million Wu-Tang Clan album he purchased.
Shkreli has achieved fame for raising the price on life-saving drugs by more than 5,000 percent, pleading the fifth amendment when questioned about it by Congress and generally being one of the most hated people in the world. Last year he purchased a special Wu-Tang Clan album entitled Once Upon a Time in Shaolin, an album that the band only printed one copy of.
However, artist Jason Koza says that his fan art of Wu-Tang members was used in the packaging of the CD without permission. As such, he has filed a lawsuit in New York City against members of the Wu-Tang Clan and against Shkreli himself. Koza is seeking unspecified damages and profits from the infringement.
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.