3 Count: Retreat!

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1: Parties Seek Google Books Hearing Delay; New Deal Brewing

First off today, in an ominous sign for the current Google Book Search deal, all of the involved parties are seeking and postponement on the upcoming Oct. 7 hearing so they can discuss and retool the agreement to better placate concerns about it.

The settlement, which would allow Google to scan and display in-copyright but out-of-print books on their site, has been blasted by critics including several nations, many major companies and even the Copyright Office. However, it appears that the recent objections by the Department of Justice may be the one that did the current deal in, pushing the parties back to the negotiating table.

The hearing, which would have been part of the process to formally approve the settlement, which was initially approved in 2008, may still go on but will likely be postponed as both sides have agreed to delay it so they can address issues raised by the DOJ and other groups.

2: Who Created Spider-Man?

Next up today, we have an update on the Jack Kirby copyright case. As recently reported. the heirs of Jack Kirby, who famously teamed up with Stan Lee to create some of Marvel Comic’s best-known characters, have filed a notice stating that they are seeking the return of Kirby’s copyright, something the law allows after 56 years of publication.

It appears that the heirs have added Spider-Man to their list of properties they are hoping to have returned. The problem, however, is that there is a great deal of controversy as to exactly what Kirby’s role in creating Spider-Man was, if any.

Though Spider-Man was a Stan Lee work, it appears that artist Steve Ditko was Lee’s partner in this one, not Kirby. Though Kirby did apparently propose many things for Spider-Man, it appears none, or almost none, were incorporated into the printed story.

Odds are this will be a case for the courts to decide, likely becoming a similar mess to the Superman drama going on right now with the heirs of his creator.

3: Paris Court of Appeals condemns Edu4 for violating the GNU General Public License

Finally today, The GNU General Public License has been upheld in a French court ruling. The case involved the company Edu4, which distributed copies of the remote desktop application VNC, which is GPL licensed, to its customers but did not provide the source code and also removed copyright notices, two violations of the license.

What makes the lawsuit unique is that it wasn’t one of the copyright holders that filed suit, but one of the customers. French education association AFPA, filed the suit to force compliance. They won their case, creating a very important test case for the GPL license moving 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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