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First off today, Dominic Patten at Deadline Hollywood reports that the estate of famed comic author Jack Kirby has filed a petition with the Supreme Court, asking it to overturn lower court decisions that have denied the estate the right to terminate the rights granted to Marvel in many of Kirby’s characters.
Copyright termination allows artists or their estates to terminate any licensing agreement after a set number of years. This is to guard against a work being licensed at a low rate after creation and then becoming very valuable, all without the artist receiving fair compensation. However, in the case of the Kirby estate, the court ruled that Kirby’s creations were works-for-hire, and thus ineligible for termination.
The characters involved in the dispute include Captain America, The Avengers and the X-Men, among others.
Next up today, Colin Mann at Advanced Television reports that two consumer rights organizations, Consumer Federation of America (CFA) and Consumers Union (CU), have filed a friend of the court brief in the Aereo case, telling the Supreme Court that Aereo is a completely legal service and that shutting it down would harm consumer choice.
Aereo is a TV streaming service that uses a series of tiny antennas, one per customer, to capture over the air broadcast television and stream it to consumers. Aereo has been sued repeatedly by broadcasters with mixed results. The first lawsuit, which saw the broadcasters denied an injunction, is currently before the Supreme Court.
The CFA and CU, in their brief, likened the case to the Sony Betamax ruling, which ruled that Sony’s Betamax player was a legal device since it had significant legitimate uses, saying that Aereo has worked diligently to stay within the bounds of what is legal consumer use.
Finally today, Campbell Phillips at Power Retail reports that Seafolly, one of Australia’s best-known swimwear brands, has won a case against the online retailer City Beach Australia over the infringement of several patterns.
City Beach was accused of copyright infringement of three separate patterns, described as “English Rose, ” Covent Garden” and “Señorita Embroidery”respectively. The judge agreed that the City Beach patterns were infringing and ordered the online retailer to pay some $250,333 in damages.
Seafolly added that they “invest significant time and money” into their designs and that they felt it important to protect their original work.
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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