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First off today, Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder is being sued by Canadian singer/songwriter Gordon Peterson for changing the lyrics to a song he wrote, entitled “Hard Sun.” Vedder recorded his version of the tune for the soundtrack to the 2007 Into the Wild and apparently altered some of the lyrics in a way that Peterson did not approve of.
Though this might not seem to be a copyright matter, moral rights protections, which are granted artists in nearly all other countries, permit them to object to uses of their work they find offensive and, without having seen a copy of the suit yet, I am forced to assume that is the cause of action of the suit.
Also being sued is Universal Media Group, who allegedly licensed the track without Peterson’s permission. The suit is seeking all profits from the recording, which Peterson calls an “act of infringement”.
Next up today U2 member Bono has used his weekly New York Times column to call for greater control over the Internet to prevent illegal file sharing and piracy. He said that the tools and technologies were available and cited, probably poorly advised, the controls placed on China’s citizens to prevent them from freely accessing the Web.
Bono went on to say that the only difference between the movie and the record industries is the size of the files being swapped, hinting that once speeds catch up, the movie studios will be in the same boat as the record labels.
His article caused a great deal of controversy, much of it due to the reference to China, but also because his band has been doing very well, recently closing a $123 million tour. Bono, however, said that his statement was more to protect smaller, lesser-known artists who “can’t live off ticket and T-shirt sales like the least sympathetic among us.”
Finally today, though the recent Sherlock Holmes movie appears to be a success both financially and critically, the U.S. rightsholder in the Sherlock Holmes series, Andrea Plunket, has threatened to revoke Guy Ritchie’s rights the rights to make a sequel if he does not remain “true to the spirit of the books.”
The tiff arose from an interview given by the movie’s star Robert Downey Jr. on the “Late Show with David Letterman” in which he hinted at the homosexual overtones to the film and lead many to wonder if a romantic relationship between Holmes and his sidekick Dr. Watson may be a part of the almost inevitable sequel.
Though it is unlikely that this spat will actually result in any major changes, it is very rare to see a copyright holder to threaten withdrawal of permissions so close to the release of a successful movie.
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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