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First off today, Alexis Madrigal at The Atlantic reports that the National Library of Norway plans to digitize all of its books by the mid 2020s in a bid to make them both machine-readable and available to the public.
Since publishers in Norway are legally required to deposit copies of books published in the country with the library, this collection should include all or nearly all books in the Norwegian language. Norway has said that it will make the collection searchable and accessible to anyone with an IP address from within the country due to deals with publishers. For works out of copyright, the files will be able to be downloaded.
The Library says that the process of scanning the books and making them available will take between 20-30 years.
Next up today, Eriq Gardner at The Hollywood Reporter Esquire reports that a U.S. District Court Judge has ruled that directors are not authors in the films they create and, as a result, do not have a copyright claim in the finished work in many cases.
The case centered around a director Alex Merkin and a producer he worked with, Robert Krakovski. According to the ruling, Merkin helped Krakovski produce a short film entitled “Heads Up” even though the two had never signed a full agreement. After a falling out, Merkin secretly registered a copyright claim for the film and sent a cease and desist to Krakovski when he tried to screen the film. This prompted Krakovski to sue Merkin, seeking a declaratory judgment that the registration was invalid and that Merkin had no copyright interest.
The judge ruled that, even if Merkin is an author in the film his is, at best, a joint author, meaning he had no right to prevent the screening. However, since the two hadn’t agreed to be joint authors, the judge ruled the “dominant” one, Krakovski in this case, was the sole author. In addition to ruling the registration invalid, he also ordered Merkin to pay $175,000 in attorneys fees and court costs to Krakovski. However, Merkin has already stated his intention to appeal to the Second Circuit.
Finally today, Allan Kozinn at The New York Times reports that Universal is planning on releasing an iTunes only “bootleg” recording of The Beatles that, previously, had never been published.
The reason for the publication is EU law that grants an copyright extension to sound recordings published within the last 50 years. The recordings, captured in various places during 1963, would lapse out of copyright if they hadn’t been published this year.
The move follows a similar release of Bob Dylan music from earlier this year and it’s expected that other rare recordings will see (brief) publication due to these rules.
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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