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First off today, the Google Book Search settlement, which would give Google the ability to scan and display out of print but in-copyright books on their site has made yet another powerful enemy for itself, the U.S. Department of Justice.
In a briefing filed with the court late last week, the DOJ said that the settlement “raises significant legal concerns”, especially in terms of copyright and anti-trust issues. Saying that the settlement seeks to create” forward-looking business arrangements” between Google, the Author’s Guild and the publishers involved in the original lawsuit, Furthermore, the DOJ does not believe that the lawsuit can adequately represent those who were not directly apart of the settlement, though, if they failed to opt out, their works may be copied freely under it in certain cases.
Without a doubt, the DOJ, along with the Copyright Office, who filed their objections previously, are two of the biggest and most powerful forces to have opposed this case. But they join hosts of other companies, including Microsoft and Amazon, as well as other countries, including France and Germany, in opposing the settlement, making it much less likely to be approved.
Next up today, heirs to Jack Kirby, who partnered with Stan lee in the creation of many of Marvel’s most popular heroes, have filed papers to have the copyright in many of his creations returned to the estate. Under current law, creators can seek to have the copyright of their creations returned to them after fifty-six years and can file an intention 10 years prior to that.
Kirby’s works include The Fantastic Four, The Hulk and X-Men, which will be available for transfer in 2017, 2018 and 2019 respectively.
This comes shortly after Marvel was purchased by Disney for $4 billion in one of the largest and most highly-publicized sales of its kind.
Finally today, Elaine Scott has filed suit against the document-sharing site Scribd claiming that the site enabled her book, “Stocks and Bonds: Profits and Losses, A Quick Look at Financial Markets” to be downloaded repeatedly. According to the suit, Scribd doesn’t qualify for DMCA safe harbor protection due to the nature of their site, something Scribd denies, and the site “shamelessly profits from the stolen copyrighted works of innumerable authors.”
However, the real story is not the suit itself, even though it is seeking class action status, but rather the attorneys behind it: Joe Sibley and Kiwi Camara. The two famously defended Jammie Thomas when she was sued by the RIAA, which they lost the district court retrial to the tune of $1.9 million. That case is still ongoing.
Though there is nothing unusual about attorneys arguing both sides of the copyright coin, given Camara’s standing in the anti-RIAA world, it certainly seems to be an odd case for his firm to take. The two had promised to take up cases for copyright holders if they “believed in the issue”, this apparently being a case they feel strongly enough about to take.
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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