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First off today, Bernard Vaughan at Reuters is reporting that Gary Friedrich, who is a former Marvel Comics freelancer who claims to have created the character “Ghost Rider”, won his appeal and overturned a lower court ruling that found the character was owned by Marvel.
Friedrich began contemplating legal action against Marvel in 2004, as the movie adaptation of Ghost Rider was announced. Friedrich claimed that he owned the rights to the character though Marvel said that the comic was created through a collaborative process and it owned all of the rights.
The lower court agreed with Marvel, ruling agianst Friedrich though the Appeals Court unanimously overturned that ruling saying Friedrich’s 1978 agreement with Marvel was unclear, in particular on defining the nature of the work covered. The ruling sends the case back to the lower court for a potential trial.
Next up today, Martyn Williams at Computerworld reports that Li Xiang, a Chinese national has been sentenced to 144 months in U.S. prison for criminal copyright infringement and wire fraud for his operation of the site crack99.com, which helped sell specialized and expensive pirated software to interested buyers, including those under embargo from the U.S.
Li was arrested after he was lured to Saipan by U.S. authorities under the auspices of transferring data and discussing business arrangements. Saipan is a U.S. commonwealth an authorities were able to arrest him there.
According to the complaint, Xiang made over $100 million in revenue off of just 700 transactions with 400 customers. After his sentence is served, Li will be extradited back to China.
Finally today, Joan E Soisman at CNet reports that music streaming service Pandora has purchased a South Dakota radio station, not in a bid to break into a new market, but rather, to take advantage of lower royalty rates paid by terrestrial radio stations.
Pandora purchased KXMZ-FM, a Rapid City station so that it could take advantage of a deal brokered between radio operators and publishers which gave terrestrial radio stations slightly better royalties for their Internet radio properties. However, the savings for Pandora will be small, less than $5 million or 1 percent of the company’s top line.
The move comes amid other efforts by Pandora to lower its licensing rates including pushing for the “Internet Radio Fairness Act”, which hopes to create a panel of judges to set royalties rather than direct negotiations.
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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