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First off today, Andrew Albanese at Publishers Weekly reports that the estate of Sir Author Conan Doyle is claiming that its recent courtroom defeat over the copyright status of Sherlock Holmes doesn’t mean the character is in the public domain, an idea that the plaintiff in the case disputes.
The lawsuit was filed by by Holmes expert Leslie Klinger who said he was threatened by the estate as he worked on an anthology about the character. The judge agreed with Klinger that all but 10 of the original Holmes stories were in the public domain and that, as a result, the bulk of the character was free to use. however, the estate disputes that is what the judge said, saying instead that the judge was never asked and did not rule on the copyright status of Holmes as a character.
Klinger, however, said that the statement was an attempt at “spinning” and that the judge listed a lengthy set of characteristics that are public domain. In fact, according to Klinger, so much of the character is in the public domain as to have the copyrighted elements be “so insignificant as to be meaningless.” However, the ruling does not stop the estate from challenging further uses of the Holmes character.
Next up today, Andy at Torrentfreak writes that, in Canada, Timothy Lowman has been hit with a $10.5 million judgment against him for his role running the sites “Watch The Simpsons Online” and “Watch Family Guy Online”, both of which streamed infringing copies of their respective TV shows.
The sites, which began in 2008 and 2009 respectively ran until October 2013 when a lawsuit was filed against him and his home raided. Lowman decided not to defend himself in the case and only recently learned about the judgment against him, which included, $10 million in statutory damages, $500,000 punitive and an additional $78,500 in court costs (all dollar figures Canadian).
According to Lowman, the matter is now going through bankruptcy but Fox is working to obtain as much money as they can from the case. The judgment also forbids the infringement of any further Fox’s copyrights.
Finally today, Glenn Peoples at Billboard reports that musicians Bruno Mars and Rihanna have the dubious honor of being the most-pirated musicians in 2013 on BitTorrent.
The analysis comes from Musicmetric, which looks at the songs and albums downloaded through public BitTorrent trackers. Bruno Mars was downloaded over 5.7 million times, more than 10 times more often than it was downloaded legally in the year, and Rihanna was illegally downloaded more than 5.4 million times.
Rounding out the top five were Daft Punk, Justin Timberlake and Flo Rida, all of whom saw more than 3.4 million illegal downloads.
(Hattip: Patrick O’keefe, thanks for the link!)
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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