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First off today, the AP is reporting that the islands of Antigua and Barbuda have won final approval from the World Trade Organization (WTO) to ignore US copyrights to the tune of $21 million per year.
The move stems from an international disagreement, which saw the US prevent Antiguan online casinos from reaching US market, resulting in the collapse in a large part of the Antiguan economy and causing the nation to take its case to the WTO, where it has already won several legal victories.
However, it is unclear how Antigua would exploit this right and the country has offered few details. Copyright holders in the US say such an effort would still be illegal due to treaties signed by Antigua outside of the WTO. Both sides have said that their primary interest is in reaching a negotiated settlement.
Next up today, Ted Johnson at Variety writes that the chilren of Ray Charles have won their case against the Ray Charles Foundation and will reclaim copyright to some 60 of the late singer’s best-known works.
Before his death in 2004, Ray Charles reached an agreement where his children would receive $500,000 trust and seek nothing else form his estate. However, since the estate closed in 2006, before the notices went out, the heirs are claiming that it’s not a claim against the estate and, instead, the termination was filed against Charles’ record label, Warner/Chappell Music, which has not challenged the validity of the notices.
However, the Foundation did challenge the notices since it reaps the royalties from Charles’ music but the judge ruled that the Foundation has no grounds in the case since the termination notice is not with them and they have no standing to oppose it.
Finally today, Al Bawaba is reporting that Lebanon’s Economy Minister, Nicolas Nahas, has said that better enforcement of copyright laws is crucial to attracting investments and improve competitiveness.
Nuhas said this in a speech he gave to attendees at a workshop put on by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and was echoed by Roger Nesnas, head of the Lebanese Socio-Economic Council.
In 2012, the US Trade Representative elected to keep Lebanon on its “watch list” as part of its annual “Special 301” review of piracy. The USTR cited weak enforcement of copyright by judges in Lebanon as a motivating factor. Forty other countries were placed on the list.
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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