3 Count: Bad Omens

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1: Google Books Case Appears Ready to Be Decided

First off today, Andrew Alabenese at Publishers Weekly reports that the Google Book Search dispute may be coming to a head and not in a way that favors the Authors Guild.

The case, which began in 2005 when representatives for authors and publishers sued Google over its Google Book Search project, which scanned millions of books for inclusion in Google’s search index, went through several rounds of attempted settlement that were eventually shot down by the courts as being too far-reaching. As the lawsuit progressed, the publishers settled with Google, leaving only the Authors Guild as the plaintiff.

However, a 40-minute hearing yesterday seems to indicate that the judge, Denny Chin, may be ready to rule in favor of Google. Though he reserved judgment in the case, his questioning seemed to indicate that he found Google’s arguments that their scanning of books was a fair use convincing. Though attorneys for the Authors Guild pressed arguments that Google’s use of the books was self-serving and commercial, the judge noted that commercial use does not preclude a finding of fair use if a greater public good is served.The judge also found that there was binding precedent in the case that favored Google.

The judge’s verdict is expected shortly.

2: Aereo to Launch in Four More Cities

Next up today, Ted Johnson at Variety reports that controversial TV streaming service Aereo is set to launch in four more cities, Columbus, Cincinnati, Indianapolis and San Antonio.

Aereo uses a series of small antennas, one per customer, to capture over the air broadcast television and make it available to customers on a variety of devices via the Web. It, and a similar service named FilmOnX, are being sued by broadcasters in various courts across the country but, so far, broadcasters have failed to secure an injunction against Aereo (though they have been successful against FilmOnX).

The expansion is on top of seven cities that the service is already available in. Aereo had previously announced an expansion to 22 cities by the end of 2014. However, as Aereo has expanded it has often faced new lawsuits, as with the lawsuit recently filed against them by Hearst media in Boston, which is still awaiting an initial ruling.

3: BBC/Eos dispute goes to Copyright Tribunal

Finally today, Chris Cooke at Complete Music Update reports that, in the UK, the BBC and Eos, a Welsh-language collecting society, have watched as their dispute has reached a copyright tribunal.

The dispute began when a group of Welsh language songwriters and publishers pulled their work out of PRS, a UK-wide rights organization over ongoing conflicts about payment. They then formed Eos and began to negotiate with the BBC (and others) directly. however, they have been unable to reach an agreement with the BBC, which is offering to pay £120,000 ($190,000) per year for the catalog. Eos, however, wants £1.5 million ($2.4 million), an amount they say is based on the BBC’s total expenditures for Welsch-language content.

With no agreement in sight, the matter has gone to a Copyright Tribunal. The main hearing is scheduled to take place this week and a ruling is expected some time shortly thereafter.


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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