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First off today, Shepard Fairey, the much beleagured artist of the Obama “Hope” poster, found himself in court again yesterday. However, this time, he got some good news as he was allowed to change legal teams. His previous attorneys, headed by Anthony Falzone from the Stanford Center for Internet and Society, had asked to withdraw after it was discovered that Fairey had falsified evidence in the case.
Fairey, who is being sued by the Associated Press, after suing them first, is accused of violating the AP’s copyright in the creation of his now-famous poster. Fairey claims that his use is transformative and, thus, qualifies as a fair use. However, Fairey had originally claimed that he had used a different picture, one with George Clooney in it as well, something the AP disputed. However, Fairey pushed the issue, even after discovering he had made a mistake, going as far as to submit false evidence. After he admitted to doing this, his attorneys filed a petition to remove themselves from the case, which the AP opposed.
However, the judge sided with Fairey’s attorneys and he will now be represented by, among others, Geoffrey Stewart of the Jones Day law firm and William Fisher III. Stewart is also the director of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University.
The judge does not expect any delays in the case, seeking a trial by early summer, and the next hearing is scheduled for March 5.
Next up today, Microsoft has once again earned the ire of open source advocates and has removed, at least temporarily a product it was offering at their request.
The application, a tool used to install Windows 7 on netbooks and other computers with a DVD drive, appears to have used source code from the open source application ImageMaster, without complying with the requirements of the GPL, including the disclosure of alterations to the source code. Microsoft has removed the product while it evaluates the situation and apologizes for any inconvenience.
Microsoft has had several run ins with the open source community, even as they have been more aggressive in courting them in recent years, including releasing several projects under open source licenses.
Finally today, for those who like a little bit of weird news with their copyright diet, we have an appeal in the $400 billion (yes, billion, with a “b”) lawsuit against Bon Jovi.
According to the lawsuit, in 2004 Samuel Bartley Steele released a song entitled “(Man I Really) Love this Team,” as an ode to the Boston Red Sox. Copies were sent out to executives of the team as well as players and others involved with the team. Then, in 2007, during the playoffs, Bon Jovi released “I Love This Town”, which was used by MLB to promote baseball on television. According to Steele, the song is an infringement of his work but even his own musicologist testified they weren’t very similar. This caused the judge in the suit to toss it before it went to trial, saying that no reasonable jury would believe it to be an infringement.
However, Steele has now appealed the ruling, letting the lawsuit live for another day. That is, at least until the appeal gets shot down…
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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