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First off today, after a nine-month standoff, Warner Music’s videos are returning to YouTube. Warner and YouTube, which is owned by Google, had a falling out after the two companies could not agree on the amount WMG should be paid for users of their content on the site. This lead to many videos being removed or muted if they had WMG music, which includes artists such as Madonna and Metallica.
The two have resolved their differences and, in a statement, WMG even hinted at some new changes to YouTube including “an enhanced user experience on YouTube with a feature-rich, high-quality premium player and enhanced channels” whatever that may mean.
YouTube says it expects the WMG vides to be online by the end of this year.
Next up today, a court has denied a preliminary injunction against the Copyright Royalty Board and the Copyright Office that was requested by music streaming service Live365. Live365 had sued the CRB claiming that the appointment of the judges was in violation of the U.S. Constitution, as they were not appointed by an appropriate government official.
This is an argument that has been raised before, including in a recent case involving SoundExchange, and there is a case on this topic in front of the Supreme Court currently. If it is found that the CRB is unconstitutional, it would almost certainly be stripped of its powers to set licensing and royalty rates while also endangering many of its recent rulings, including ones dealing with podcasting and music streaming over the Web.
The Live365 case is continuing. With the preliminary injunction denied, the case will now move on toward a trial.
Finally today, we have a continuation in one of the strangest copyright cases in a long time. In 1970 Anthony Cox shot video of former Beatle John Lennon at home who, in turn, sold the rights to World Wide Video LLC in 2000 for $125,000. However, in 2002, it Yoko Ono, Lennon’s widow, claims to have bought the rights to the video for $300,000 from Anthony Pagola. The problem being that Pagola, by all accounts, had no rights to offer the footage for sale.
Despite this, the courts recently ruled that Ono is the rightsholder following a suit that saw World Wide Video file against both Pagola and Ono after Ono threatened a documentary produced using the footage. According to the judge, World Wide Video did was aware of Ono’s claim and did not act timely to resolve it. However, the court also found that Pagola, who did not respond to the suit, did not have the rights and now World Wide Video is asking for a judgment of $6.3 million against him. According to World Wide Video, this accounts for the value of the video, which is between $4-$6 million according to their attorneys, and the sale price of $300,000.
The judge has not ruled but did hint that she found the amount to be “speculative”. Ono has said that she has never cleared the work for any commercial use and that the value seemed inflated.
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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