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First off today, the Google Book Search Settlement has a new, very powerful enemy, the U.S. Copyright Office. Maybeth Peters, the Register of Copyrights, has explained her objections to the settlement to Congress.
Peters calls the settlement, which would allow Google to scan and display out of print but in-copyright works, including “orphan works” where the owner can not be found, a end run around the legislative process. According to her, it would give Google broad powers over scanning and reprinting books that would amount to a compulsory license, which is something that can only come from the legislative branch, not the judiciary.
This comes as Google announced it would be willing to allow others to sell access to the Google Book Search database, an attempt to appease those who accuse Google of trying to obtain a monopoly on the industry.
The future of the settlement seems more and more uncertain as opposition to it grows both domestically and internationally.
Next up today, Ellen DeGeneres, or at least the produces of her daytime talk show, are in a dispute with several record labels over the show’s alleged unauthorized use of copyrighted music, particularly during the segments where Ellen dances in the audience.
Claiming that over 1,000 songs were used without a license, Sony, Universal and EMI have filed suit against the show though the suit does not involve DeGeneres herself. The record labels said that, in addition to music used without a license, there were some songs used that are not available for license on daytime television, including some of the most popular current songs.
The labels did not specify the damages they are seeking in the case.
Finally today, Jessica Seinfeld, the wife of comedian Jerry Seinfeld, prevailed in her copyright dispute over a cookbook she published in 2007. According to the suit, Seinfeld had copied several recipes and elements in her “Deceptively Delicious” book from an earlier work entitled “The Sneaky Chef” by Missy Chase Lapine.
However, the judge tossed the suit out saying that the similarities did not amount to copyright infringement and only dealt with similarities one would expect between two similar kinds of books books with similar goals.
An unrelated defamation lawsuit, which stems from Jerry Seinfeld calling Lapine a “nut” on David Letterman’s show, was tossed out of Federal court but may be refiled in a state one.
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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