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First off today, Eriq Gardner at The Hollywood Reporter Esquire reports that the cyberlocker service Hotfile has reached a settlement with the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and will both pay $80 million in damages and shut down. (Note: The site has already shuttered.)
The settlement averts a trial between the two parties, which was scheduled to start Monday. Hotfile had already been found liable for copyright infringement but a trial was scheduled on the issue of damages. Hotfile had previously tried to claim that the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) protected them from liability but the court found that Hotfile’s policies were inadequate for such protection, especially when it came to terminating accounts of repeat infringers.
The settlement also puts an end to a counterclaim that Hotfile filed against Warner Brothers, alleging that the studio abused their DMCA procedure to remove non-infringing files. The judge also ordered Hotfile, if it is to remain open, to employ “Digital fingerprinting” to filter copyrighted files, a requirement that caused Hotfile to close.
Next up today, Stuart Dredge at The Guardian reports that streaming music service Spotify has launched a new “Spotify Artists” website aimed at addressing concerns musicians have raised about the service and its payout to artists.
The company is also allowing artists to get free analytics to see how much their music is being paid on the service and is also announcing plans to help musicians sell merchandise from their Spotify profiles, possibly adding new revenue streams for artists.
Spotify has been heavily criticized by musicians for paying out very small amounts, often pennies, even on songs that have a large number of plays. As part of the new site, Spotify is outlining how it calculates its royalties and providing estimates on how those royalties can grow as the service expands.
Finally today, in another post from Eriq Gardner at The Hollywood Reporter Esquire, he reports that country musicians Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley are facing a lawsuit that their song “Remind Me” was stolen from another songwriter.
The lawsuit was filed by Amy Bowen, who is known professionally as Lizza Connor. She alleges that she composed the song in 2008 and participated in a “Country Music Songwriting Workshop” where she performed her version of it for other composers, including John Kelley Lovelace and Charles DuBois, who critiqued it and went on to work on Paisley’s and Underwood’s version of the song.
The judge in the case has allowed it to move forward even though most of the lyrics are different though the judge argues that, since the defendants had a high degree of access, the plaintiffs have a lower standard of proof on the issue of substantial similarity, meaning that even the use of “Remind Me” in both songs is enough to move the case forward.
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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