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First off today, the Eight Circuit Court of Appeals has filed a ruling that may impact the public domain and, more specifically, Wizard of Oz remakes that are being planned. According to the court, AVELA, a company that specializes in nostalgic merchandise, violated copyright by placing images of characters from the 1939 movie “The Wizard of Oz” on various products. This despite the fact that the original books, written in 1900, have long lapsed into the public domain. According to the court, the visual depictions of the characters, though based on public domain figures, are still protected because the movie itself is still under copyright. This could have a drastic effect on the estimated nine “Oz” remakes in the work, including at least one by Disney.
Next up today, Righthaven, the group that has sued over 200 sites for allegedly infringing content from the Las Vegas Review-Journal and the Denver Post, is paying some $3,815 in legal fees to Michael Leon, a defendant it sued but served the wrong paperwork to. However, that case may just be the tip of the iceberg as the law firm that backed Leon has also won at least one other case against Righthaven and is asking for some $34,000 in that case as it had to provide a more robust defense. According to the firm, most of the $3,815 was actually spent on negotiating the amount of legal fees to be paid, which the judge allowed.
Finally today, the normally peaceful art of meditation is now the center of a very nasty legal dispute as two leaders in the world attempt to resolve a copyright dispute on a particular set of meditation materials. At the center of the dispute is Drunvalo Melchizedek, an expert in Flowers of Life meditation and the former head of Flower of Life Research, an organization he founded. When he resigned Ronald Holt took over and received a license from Mechizdek’s that required his approval before releasing new videos. Holt did so and the two swapped lawsuits claiming breach of contract and copyright infringement. An arbiter has already awarded Mechizdek some $50,000 in damages but was unable to rule on the copyright issues, the matter going before the court now.
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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