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First off today, even as the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) is in the process of being signed and ratified by participating countries, the next potential big copyright-related treaty is already being discussed. The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a regional trade agreement that involves copyright issues though it is difficult to say what is in it as the negotiations, which are going on right now in Hollywood, are being held in secret. Various public interest groups have attempted to participate in the negotiations but, so far bave been denied access and even key information about the negotiations. The negotiations come as ACTA is drawing more controversy globally, including threats from some nations to not ratify the agreement.
Next up today, in Australia, local mobile phone service provider Optus has won the first round of its case against the National Rugby League, the Australian Football League and competing provider Telstra. At issue is Optus’ “Optus Now” service that lets users record and stream recorded TV to their mobile devices, as quickly as two minutes after the recording took place. The leagues fear that subscribers will use the service to stream their matches, which they gave exclusive streaming rights to Telstra. The lower court judge, however, ruled that since it was the users doing the recording, the use was not an infringement. However, the AFL, NRL and Telstra have all planned to appeal the suit and there are rumors that new legislation could be in the works to address this issue.
Finally today, a judge has sided with DC Comics in not throwing out their lawsuit against the maker of a car kit that’s designed to recreate the classic Batmobile. The lawsuit, which was filed against Mark Towle, who is the operator of a company named Gotham Garage that sells the kits, claimed that the kits were a violation of copyright law but Towle claimed that, since it was a car and a useful article, that it didn’t qualify for protection. However, the judge ruled that the Batmobile design had elements that were independent from its nature as a useful article and those elements could qualify for copyright protection. Though the decision doesn’t mean DC wins the lawsuit, it does mean that Towle is faced with a tough choice of either settling the case or litigating an expensive copyright case.
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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