3 Count: Joyce’s Wake

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1: Ideas, originality, and copyright. Coldplay accused of infringement again.

First off today, I kind of thought that we were done with Coldplay after they settled their suit with Joe Satriani but it appears I was wrong. But now Andy J. Gallagher is also crying foul, though at least this time it isn’t a claim over Viva La Vida. Rather, this time the music video for the song “Strawberry Swing”, which he accuses the band of infringing upon his video for “Something Else”.

The similarity that prompted these accusations? Both videos use the idea of the musicians interacting with chalkboard drawings.

As even the most amateur copyright scholar will tell you, you can’t copyright an idea so it doesn’t seem as if any court case would go anywhere, however no lawsuit has been filed at this time.

2: Joyce Estate Settles Copyright Dispute with US Academic

Next up today, the James Joyce estate, has settled a long-standing copyright lawsuit by agreeing to pay $240,000.

Stanford University academic Carol Shloss penned a controversial biography of Jame Joyce’s mentally ill daughter, Lucia, but the estate refused to allow Sholss to use excerpts from Joyce’s works to support some of the arguments in the book.

Shloss sued the estate, which is notoriously protective of Joyce’s works, and eventually signed a settlement to allow her to use the content in the U.S. and on the Web. The judge in the case also awarded Shloss $240,000 in legal fees but the estate had appealed that ruling.

However, now the state has dropped the appeal and agreed to simply pay the amount owed. However, since it was resolved on settlement, this will prevent the case from becoming a precedent for future disputes.

3: Crime Scene: In Linden Incident Reports, Content Theft Violations Hardly Register

Finally today, we turn the virtual world of second life where Linden Lab, the game’s creator, has provided information on all of the community enforcement actions it has taken over the past two years. What is interesting is, despite the game’s reputation for being a haven for content theft and copyright infringement, there were only 17 reports for such infringement during that time, this is out of over 21,000 published incidents.

Commenters, however, were quick to point out that most copyright issues are handled via the site’s DMCA policy and not through the in-world’s issue reporting system (where this data was collected) and, as such, it likely suffers from significant underreporting.

Types of incidents that were more common include virtual assaults, spamming and indecency.


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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