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First off today, Eriq Gardner at The Hollywood Reporter Esquire reports that two members of the band The Turtles have taken the lead on a new class action lawsuit against SiriusXM, alleging that the satellite radio giant has infringed millions of older recordings by broadcasting them on the service.
At issue specifically are sound recordings created before 1972. Prior to then, sound recordings fell under state copyright, not Federal and, according to the lawsuit, the Federal laws that Sirius uses to broadcast its music does not apply to those recordings.
The lawsuit says that there is, conservatively, $100 million in damages at stake but the lawsuit is filed as a misappropriation lawsuit under California law, rather than a Federal copyright claim (for obvious reasons). The lawsuit could also impact DMCA safe harbor rules and other Federal laws that most assume also cover pre-1972 sound recordings.
Next up today, Jonathan Stempel at Reuters is reporting that the Department of Justice has proposed a spate of penalties against Apple over its collusion with publishers to race the prices of Ebooks. Those punishments include forcing Apple to terminate all contracts with publishers, barring them for five years from signing new contracts that raise prices on other services and forcing Apple to allow other book sellers to directly sell their products on Apple devices.
The case stems from a lawsuit filed by the Department of Justice and some 33 states that accused Apple of working with book publishers to artificially raise Ebook prices. The publishers settled separately and Apple lost its case at trial, prompting the DOJ proposal.
Apple, however, calls the proposal “draconian” and says that it is out of proportion with what they are accused of. The proposal would also require Apple to hire a monitor to watch after their contract negotiations and file regular reports on them, including, most likely, in other content areas such as music and movies.
Finally today, Eric Lightblau an Michael S. Schmidt at The New York Times reports that the National Security Agency has been in the spotlight a great deal lately over leaks that have indicated the secretive agency has been engaged in widespread spying of online activity. However, other agencies have been wanting access to that information but the NSA, so far, has largely turned them down.
Units within the Drug Enforcement Agency, Secret Service, and others have sought information from the NSA’s cache, including drug trafficking, money laundering and copyright infringement, but the NSA has not deemed those issues to be serious enough or a high enough priority.
According to reports and anonymous sources, this has led to a great deal of tension between the departments. The National Intelligence Director has the responsibility for overseeing who has access to what data and Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court has to approve targeting of U.S.-based groups or individuals.
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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