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First off today, Google, which has found itself under siege regarding its Google Book Search product, has publicly apologized to Chinese authors for what it calls poor communication with Chinese authors over its book scanning project.
This follows a lawsuit filed by Chinese fiction author Mian Mian, who sued the company over the project in December. It also comes as Google is working to settle a lawsuit by U.S. authors and publishers against the company. That settlement will see Google pay $125 million and enter into a profit-sharing system with authors and publishers, however, it will also enable Google to scan, display and sell copies of in-copyright but out-of-print works.
According to the article, the China Written Works Copyright Society is in negotiations with Google over these issues but, so far, the authors have refused all of the settlement offers. In the meantime, Google has said they are no longer scanning books without author approval.
Next up today, Marvel Comics has hit back against the heirs of Jack Kirby, saying that they are attempting to rewrite his history with the company when they filed to reclaim copyrights to some of the works Kirby had a role in creating, including X-Men and Fantastic Four.
The copyright termination process allows copyright holders, or their heirs, to reclaim the last 39 years of the copyright of a property from a party they signed it away to if they provide a timely notice. Kirby’s heirs filed the notice recently, stating that they would begin reclaiming the copyright in 2014.
However, Marvel is saying that Kirby was an employee of the company at the time and that the works are works for hire and, thus, are owned wholly by Marvel.
Marvel is asking for a declaratory judgement of ownership and seems to be preparing for a very pitched legal battle. This comes mere months after Marvel was purchased by Disney in one of the most prominent deals the industry has seen.
Finally today, Fox News is at the center of a copyright lawsuit, this one from F. Marc Schaffel, a former adviser to Michael Jackson, who holds the copyright in an interview he conduced with Jackson’s ex-wife, Deborah Rowe, which the channel aired portions of in order to allegedly balance ABC’s running of another, more damaging, interview Schaffel videotaped with Jackson himself.
Schaffel also took the opportunity to take a dig at Rupert Murdoch’s past attempts to accuse Google and other search engines of copyright infringement, saying that “Fox sanctimoniously operates unencumbered by the very copyright restrictions it seeks to impose on its competitors.”
Fox did not have a comment on the lawsuit, citing a policy of not commenting on pending litigation, but this is not the first lawsuit for Schaffel, who had a famous falling out with Jackson 2006 over the footage in question.
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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