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First off today, Ed Christman of Billboard Magazine reports that the U.S. Court of Appeals in the District of Columbia has ruled that the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB), the panel that decides royalty rates for music played on radio, is unconstitutional. The lawsuit was brought forth by the Intercollegiate Broadcasting System (IBS), which represents college and non-profit radio stations. The CRB was ruled unconstitutional on the grounds that its memebers were appointed by the Register of Copyrights, not the President (with Senate confirmation) as per the Constitution. However, the court found that if the Register of Copyrights were given greater power to fire judges on the panel, they could be seen as “inferior” rather than “principal” officers, which would, according to the court, make the board compliant. The ruling raises questions on whether or not IBS will now challenge royalty rates set up by the CRB, with most thinking it unlikely since the ruling did not address anything specific to the rates that were set.
Next up today, Reuters reports that Jennifer Barker has filed suit against several pornograpohy studios alleging that the studios have used the courts to harass and shake down suspected file sharers without any evidence. Barker is seeking class action status for her lawsuit, hoping that others threatened by the mass Bittorrent lawsuits will join in. However, if similar cases are any indication, Barker may have an uphill battle ahead of her as judges have found in the past that mere threat of litigation does not warrant damages, even if the rest of the suit is dismissed on jurisdictional grounds. The studios involved, Patrick Collins, Inc, Malibu Media, Raw Films, K-Beech and Third Degree Films, have not issued a comment.
Finally today, Rhapsody founder Rob Reid, perhaps best known for his “Copyright Math” TED talk, has released a book entitled “Year Zero”, which is about aliens who, upon discovering earth music, share it freely until they realize that they are breaking our planet’s copyright laws. The aliens now owe earth a great deal of their wealth but certain groups of the aliens are displeased about this and plot to destroy the earth rather than sacrifice all of their wealth. The book is available in both electronic and hardback formats.
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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