3 Count: Elementary Decision

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1: Sherlock Holmes: Judge Declares Popular Detective in Public Domain

First off today, Eriq Gardner at The Hollywood Reporter Esquire reports that a judge has ruled in favor of Leslie Klinger, an author and Sherlock Holmes expert, finding that the iconic detective, at least in the large part, is in the public domain.

Klinger sued the estate of Sir Author Conan Doyle, the author behind Sherlock Holmes, after it allegedly threatened her over an anthology about the character she was working on. She sued seeking a declaratory judgment that the character was in the public domain and, in large, has won that judgment.

Most of the Sherlock Holmes stories have long lapsed into the public domain but 10 of the later tales are still protected by copyright. The estate had argued that meant the whole character was still protected but the judge disagreed, ruling that, while elements and characters specific to those stories could not be used, other elements of the character could and, with most of the stories in the public domain, that means the bulk of the character is free for all to use.

The estate, however, has indicated that it will protect its trademarks going forward, even if the copyright ruling is upheld.

2: Kanye West’s ‘Bound 2’ Sample Singer Sues Over Copyright

Next up today, Marc Hogan at Spin reports that Kanye West is being sued by Rick Spicer, who sang the hook on the song “Bound”, which was sampled in West’s latest hit “Bound 2”.

Spicer recorded the song after he won a 1969 talent show and joined the group the Ponderosa Twins to make the band “Panderosa Twins Plus One”. Now 59, Spicer said he never gave permission for his vocals to be used in West’s track and was surprised to hear it on the radio.

The lawsuit seeks a trial by jury, damages, attorneys fees and an injunction against the song. The suit also lists Roc-A-Fella, Island Def-Jam, Rhino Entertainment and Universal Music Group as defendants.

3: Baidu, QVOD Fined 250,000 Yuan Each for Video Copyright Violations

Finally today, Li Qiaoyi at The Global Times reports that Baidu, China’s largest search engine and a local software company, QVOD Technology, have been ordered to pay 250,000 yuan ($41,000) apiece for copyright violations over video content.

The investigation was initiated by a group of companies including China video giant Youku Tudou and it found that the two companies had committed multiple copyright violations through their media players.

The fine, which was handed down by the National Copyright Administration, is the largest that can be handed down under Chinese law.


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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