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First off today, Publishers Weekly reports that The Authors Guild has filed an appeal of its recent loss to Google over the search giant’s Google Book Search project. It’s asking the Second Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn a lower court ruling that the book search service is legal and does not infringe the work of authors.
The Authors Guild, along with the Publishers Guild, sued Google over Google Book Search alleging that the service was infringing the various copyright holders of books. After several settlement attempts were rejected by the courts, the publishers accepted a narrow settlement deal but the authors continued.
However, the lower court recently ruled that Google Book Search is legal, making a fair use of the books it scans and includes, thus dismissing the Authors Guild lawsuit. The Authors Guild had promised to appeal that ruling and, yesterday, made good on it. However, the same circuit is preparing to rule on a similar case involving the Authors Guild, this one against HaithiTrust, which was a collective of Google’s partners in its scanning.
Next up today, Ingrid Lunden at TechCrunch reports that Vkontakte, a popular social network in Russia, will likely be facing litigation after the holidays as some 9 record labels, including EMI, Sony and Warner, are all preparing to file a lawsuit against the site over the alleged infringement of 6,000 tracks shared on the service.
Vkontakte has long been known as a haven for pirated content but it was only after recent changes in Russian law, which expanded anti-piracy rules to cover music as well as movies, that record labels have felt comfortable making such a large move.
In addition to damages, the lawsuit could result in Vkontakte being blocked by Russian ISPs. Vkontakte has said it will work with the labels in an attempt to either get the works removed or, more desirably for it, find a way to work out a licensing deal.
3: Oh duck! Giant Rubber Duck Exhibition in Taiwan Sparks Off Massive Copyright Infringement Conflict!
Finally today, Joan Coello at RocketNews24 writes that Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman will not be attending a Taiwanese exhibition of his famous giant rubber duck due to complaints of over-commercialization of the event and rampant copyright infringement.
The giant duck has been displayed in harbors and rivers all over the world, usually with Hofman attending the event. However, Hofman cancelled his trip to Taiwan after he learned of unauthorized merchandise including stickers, shirts and more featuring his work. This unauthorized material included smart cards, cards that can be used for transportation payment, that featured the duck on them. All of this despite the fact Hofman only licensed his rights to one figurine design.
The Taiwan Smart Card Corporation has withdrawn the duck-themed cards and offered refunds to those who bought them. The event organizers also promised to deal with unauthorized merchandise vendors through legal means but none of it was enough to placate Hofman, who decided not to attend the event as it began. The exhibition will continue until February 8.
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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