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First off today, Ted Johnson at Variety reports that Maria Pallante, the Register of Copyrights at the U.S. Copyright Office, is speaking before the House Judiciary Committee today and is saying that it may be time to rethink copyright law and that the existing law, which was last completely overhauled in 1976, is showing the “strain of its age.”
Pallante’s main proposal is a change to the term of copyright, which is currently the life of the author plus seventy years for works of individual authorship. Under Pallante’s plan, that would change to life plus fifty years, as it was when the 1976 act was passed, but also allow heirs to extend the copyright another 20 years. She is also suggesting that Congress revisit performance rights issues for music, safe harbor issues and other areas of the law in a bid to simplify the code so more people can understand it.
However, it’s unlikely Congress will take on the task of rewriting copyright law and, if they do, it will not be soon. The 1976 act came after decades of negotiation. Still, many are noting the change in tone of Pallante, who previously said that copyright would no longer be effective without stronger legislation, such as the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA).
Next up today, Eriq Gardner at The Hollywood Reporter Esquire reports that playwright Julie Taymor may be getting her day in court against her former partners, even if she doesn’t want it.
Taymor sued the production company of the musical “Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark” alleging that the company hired her to write the play and then fired her but kept many of her elements all the while denying her proper compensation for her contributions. The case was “settled” in August but the two sides have been unable to reach a final agreement, prompting the judge to set a trial day of May 28.
The move, most likely, is an attempt to speed up the negotiations but it remains to be seen if the move will bring an end to this case.
Finally today, Matthew Manarino at New Media Rockstars writes that YouTubers are expressing frustration at video game maker Sega over takedowns that they’ve been receiving regarding videos of Sega games.
At issue specifically is the alleged selective nature of Sega’s enforcement, which targets specific games, often in prelude to a sequel. In at least some occasions, Sega has released its claims after the sequel has been released.
This has led many YouTubers to boycott Sega games on their channels and to call for YouTube to adjust the way it handles copyright notifications. However, according to the article, the boycott seems to be cooling off some as more users are having their strikes removed, including noted YouTuber Totalbiscuit.
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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