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First off today, Reuters is reporting that the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has thrown out the class action status previously given to the Authors Guild, saying that the judge was premature in granting it and that the judge should first analyze Google’s fair use defense before making such a determination.
The 8-year-old case is over Google Book Search, a product for which Google has scanned and indexed over 20 million books to make them searchable. Google was sued by the Authors Guild as well as the Publishers Guild over it but, after several attempted settlements were rejected by the courts and the publishers settled separately, the Authors Guild is the only remaining major plaintiff.
The Authors Guild had previously sought and won class action status, which would have allowed other authors to join the lawsuit, but the appeals court has ruled that it is too early to decide whether a class action lawsuit is appropriate, saying that first Google’s fair use defense should be heard.
Next up today, Michael Zhang at PetaPixel reports that photographer Robert Caplin has filed a $2.1 million lawsuit against gossip blogger Perez Hilton over alleged copyright infringement of some 14 photographs that he took.
According to the lawsuit, Caplin published the photographs of Glee actor Darren Criss on the Internet and Hilton, or someone working for him, not only circumvented the protection he had placed on the images, published them on Hilton’s site and watermarked them with Hilton’s name, but also failed to remove them after it was promised they would be taken down.
Caplin is suing for $150,000 per infringement, the maximum allowed under the law, and that brings the total lawsuit to $2.1 million. He is suing both for copyright infringement and violations of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
Finally today, Dominic Patten at Deadline Hollywood writes that artist Roger Dean has filed a $50 million lawsuit against James Cameron and 20th Century Fox alleging that the movie Avatar is based in part on artwork that he created.
According to Dean, various parts of the movie are based upon his work, in particular a 2005 movie proposal he took to the Cannes Film Fest. Dean himself is a well-known artist having done several prominent album covers.
Dean says that he will prove the $50 million in damages in court and he is claiming copyright infringement, contributory infringement, breach of implied contract, unfair competition and unjust enrichment. It is the fourth lawsuit to be filed over the 2009 film this year.
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.