3 Count: Different Strokes

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1: Usher, Mark Wahlberg, Run-D.M.C. and More Slapped With Copyright Infringement Lawsuit

First off today, Tim Kenneally at The Wrap reports that Twilight Records and Syl-Zel Music have filed a massive lawsuit against a variety of artists alleging that they illegally sampled the song “Different Strokes”, which was performed by Sylvester Thompson, better known as Syl Johnson, in 1967.

The defendants so far include Usher, over his song ‘Call Me a Mack”, Public Enemy, over multiple songs, Mark Wahlberg, over his song “The Last Song on Side B” and Run D.M.C. over their songs “Naught” and ‘Beats to the Rhyme”.

A number of record labels are also involved in the suit, which seek accounting, a permanent injunction against sampling the song and unspecified damages. A similar suit was filed against Kanye West and Jay-Z in 2011 and was settled.

2: Comcast Terminates Accounts of Persistent Pirates

Next up today, Ernesto at Torrentfreak writes that Comcast has announced that it is actively terminating the accounts of “repeated and egregious” infringers, including without a court order to do so.

According to Comcast, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) requires ISPs such as themselves to terminate the accounts of repeat infringers but, until recently ISPs lacked the means to do so as they didn’t track copyright notices they had received. However, with the new “six strikes” Copyright Alert System, participating ISPs are required to keep tallies and can take such action.

However, Comcast did say that the termination is not a part of the Copyright Alert System, but instead a part of their acceptable use policy. Comcast did not say what constitutes “repeated and egregious” copyright infringement.

3: 2nd copyright suit filed against American Music Theatre

Finally today, Dan Nephin at The Lancaster Online reports that American Music Theater has now been targeted by a second copyright infringement lawsuit over its “Broadway: Now & Forever” production. The lawsuit involves the copyright owners of “Cats”, “Les Miserables”, “Phantom of the Opera” as well as other production.

The group’s show, which began in April and is due to finish October 12th, features short performances of popular parts of various other Broadway plays. However, they were recently sued by Disney over the inclusion of songs from “Mary Poppins”, “The Lion King” and “Spider Man”.

The theater group has responded saying that, while their agreements with licensing bodies doesn’t cover the play, they feel their use of the content is a fair use. The new plaintiffs, however, want the performance stopped and are seeking $150,000 in damages for each of the copyright musicals and each song.

(Hat Tip: Patrick O’Keefe)


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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