3 Count: Banana Verdict

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1: Judge Dismisses Part of Velvet Underground’s Lawsuit Against Andy Warhol Foundation

First off today, Eriq Gardner at The Hollywood Reporter Esquire reports that a judge has tossed the copyright portion of a case that pits The Velvet Underground against the Andy Warhol Foundation. The case began when the Andy Warhol Foundation began selling iPad covers and other merchandise featuring a painting of a yellow banana that was painted by Warhol and used by The Velvet Underground on the cover of their album “The Velvet Underground & Nico”. The Velvet Underground sued and argued that that the use of the banana was a trademark violation but also sought to have any copyright claim by Warhol struck down saying that the banana was in the public domain due to lack of copyright registration (as was the law in 1967 when the work was painted) but they later amended the lawsuit to say the foundation couldn’t claim copyright on it. However, the foundation promised not to sue the band over copyright infringement, which prompted the judge to dismiss those claims because there was nothing to resolve. The trademark portion of the case, however, continues.

2: EU’s Kroes Says Europe’s Copyright Laws Are Outdated

Next up today, Jennifer Baker at PC World reports that the EU’s Digital Agenda Commissioner Neelie Kroes, speaking at the 2012 Intellectal property and Innovation Summit in Brussels, said that the blocs copyright laws are out of date and are in need of reform to keep up with rapidly-changing technology. Kroes particluarly warned that copyright laws were holding back clinical research as data mining is a big part of a great deal of research. When pressed on specific reforms, in particular the term of copyright, the commissioner declined to say if she would put a term reduction on the agenda. Kroes is is the EU’s highest-ranking politician dedicated to digital issues.

3: Publishers Appeal Ruling in GSU E-Reserves Case

Finally today, Andrew Albanese of Publishers Weekly reports that three publishers, backed by the Association of American Publishers and the Copyright Clearance Center, have decided to appeal an earlier ruling in their case against Georgia State University (GSU). The case centers around GSU’s e-reserve system in which faculties exchanged course packs for free rather than paying publishers for theirs. However, in May, the lower court found that only 5 of the 99 counts in the case were actually infringing, tossing much of the publishers’ case. The publishers have said that the ruling was “inconsistent” with previous decisions and plans to appeal the case after much deliberation.


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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