3 Count: FilmOff

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1: ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ Author Settles Copyright Theft Case

First off today, Dareh Gregaorian at the New York Daily News reports that Harper Lee, the author of the famous novel “To Kill a Mockingbird” has settled her lawsuit with her former agent, whom she had accused of tricking her into signing over her copyright in her most famous work.

Previously, Lee had sued Samuel Pinkus, the son-in-law of Lee’s long-time agent who had taken over his work, alleging Pinkus had taken advantage of her failing health to trick her into signing an agreement that gave away her copyright in the book. Pinkus then took the copyright and transferred it to another company under his control. Pinkus denied any wrongdoing.

Lee won back the copyright in an earlier lawsuit but sued all involved seeking damages. That case has now been settled though the terms of the settlement are not known. However, both sides have said that it is mutually satisfactory and resolves all issues between them.

2: D.C. Court Issues Injunction Against FilmOn

Next up today, John Eggerton at MultiChannel News reports that a D.C. District Court granted broadcasters an injunction against FilmOn and their service FilmOnX (formerly known as Aereokiller), which bars them from streaming television content anywhere in the country other than the Second Circuit, which has ruled in favor of similar service Aereo.

FilmOnX and Aereo both use a series of tiny antennas (one per customer) to capture, record and stream over-the-air broadcast television to their subscribers. Though FilmOnX has had injunctions filed against it in California and D.C., Aereo has had the courts side with it in New York (Second Circuit). Another case against Aereo in Boston is undecided.

The issue before the courts in all cases is whether or not these services violate the public performance right of copyright holders and whether their streaming through private remote antennas violates that right. The D.C. court found it “incontrovertible” that FilmOnX was infringing and, though the Second Circuit courts have disagreed, the D.C. courts are not bound by that decision.

3: Disney Wins Dismissal Of Marvel Copyright Lawsuit With Stan Lee Media

Finally today, Dominic Patten at Deadline Hollywood reports that the Walt Disney Company has once again secured the dismissal of a lawsuit filed by Stan Lee Media Inc. (SLMI) as the latter tried again to claim profits form the $5.5 billion it says Disney and its subsidiary Marvel Comics has made from superheroes they own.

The issue stems from Stan Lee, who is no longer involved with SLMI, who is claimed by SLMI to have signed the rights to characters he created, including Iron Man, the X-Men, the Hulk and others, to them before later signing then over to Marvel. This has brought about a series of lawsuits since 1998, all of which have seen Marvel (and now Disney) emerge victorious.

The judge, in dismissing the lawsuit, agreed with Disney in saying that the lawsuit was frivolous and that SLMI had been barred from re-litigating the issue as the issue has been decided in other courts.


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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