3 Count: Banana Unsplit

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1: National Federation of the Blind, MPAA Join Forces to Back Book Treaty

First off today, Hayley Tsukayama at the Washington Post reports that the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and the National Federation of the Blind have joined forces to back a World Intellectual Property Organization treaty that attempts to increase access to copyrighted works to blind and visually impaired individuals.

Currently, 57 countries, including the U.S., already have exemptions in place to make material accessible to the visually impaired but, under current international agreements, it’s illegal to transfer those works across borders. The WIPO treaty, being discussed in Morocco next month, hopes to change that.

Copyright holders, such as the MPAA, have up until now been critical of the treaty, worrying that it could lead to greater copying by non-impaired individuals. However, the MPAA says those issues can be addressed if the treaty is written narrowly enough.

2: Velvet Underground Settles Warhol Suit Over Banana Design

Next up today, Don Jeffrey & Patricia Hurtado at Bloomberg report that The Velvet Underground and the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts have settled a trademark and copyright dispute over the iconic cover of “The Velvet Underground and Nico” album, which featured a banana drawn by Andy Warhol.

When the Andy Warhol Foundation announced it was going to license the image to be sold on music devices, the band sued, claiming it was an attempt to exploit the trademark of the band. The band also sought a declaratory judgment that the foundation had no copyright interest in the work since there was no copyright registration.

The terms of the settlement were not disclosed though it averts a trial that was expected to start in late June.

3: ESA Nails 5 Million for Copyright Infringement

Finally today, Michael Rougeau at Digital Trends writes that the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), a trade group that represents video game companies in the U.S. and elsewhere, has released its annual report and says that it, in 2012, removed some 5.2 million copyright infringing files by filing some 3.4 million notices.

In addition to the takedowns, the ESA also says it removed nearly 100,000 search results linking to infringing sites and nearly 95,000 listings on sites such as eBay and Craigslist.

Though the numbers are impressive, they pale in comparison to the RIAA, which announced recently that it had sent its 20 millionth DMCA notice to Google alone.


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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