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First off today Joh Shiffman at Reuters reports that a Chinese business man has pleaded guilty to criminal copyright infringement for pirating and selling more than $100 million in highly-specialized software. The software was taken from an estimate 200 U.S. manufacturers and sold to some 325 black market buyers in 61 countries between 2008 and 2011.
The businessman, Xiang Li of Chengdu, China was arrested in June after being lured out of the country to the US territory of Saipan, which is near Guam. According to prosecutors, some of the software purchased during the investigation was designed to assist the military, aerospace and intelligence industries.
Li was originally charged in a 46-count indictment but pleaded guilty to a single count of conspiracy to commit criminal copyright violations and wire fraud. Li, in a court statement through a translator, said that he was “sorry” for his actions.
Next up today, Allan Kozinn at The New York Times reports that Sony has issued an extremely limited-edition print of Bob Dylan tracks to avoid them falling out of copyright in Europe. The CD, entitled “The 50th Anniversary Collection: The Copyright Extension Collection, Vol. 1” was shipped to stores in Germany, France and Sweden just after Christmas following a small 100-copy run.
The CD was printed to protect the tracks, which included unreleased outtakes and live recordings produced between 1962 and 1963, from falling out of copyright. Though the EU is extending copyright on recordings from 50 years to 70 years, there is a “use it or lose it” catch that requires recordings to be published to enjoy the extension, prompting Sony to release the songs to prevent them from lapsing.
Copyright on recordings in the US last 70 years past the death of the last-surviving artist.
Finally today, Jessica Rawden at Cinema Blend writes that funk musician George Clinton has temporarily lost the copyright to four of his songs as a means of repaying debts the singer owes to attorneys who helped in between 2005 and 2008.
Clinton owed the lawyers some $1.5 million in payments though he was only able to pay them some $340,000, prompting the lawyers to sue him for back payments. The judge forced Clinton to hand over copyright to four of his songs, “The Electric Spanking of War Babies,” “Uncle Jam Wants You,” and “One Nation Under A Groove,” to pay the debt and the firm will return the copyright once they’ve collected the money they are owed.
They attorneys, Hendricks & Lewis law firm, can use the copyrights as they wish in the meantime.
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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