3 Count: Novel Argument

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1: “Happy Birthday” Copyright Defense: Those “Words” and “Text” Are Ours

First off today, Joe Mullin at Ars Technica reports that Warner/Chappell Music has filed a new status update in the “Happy Birthday” lawsuit that may outline some of the arguments it will be making to defend its claim of copyright ownership in the song.

Warner/Chappell was sued by filmmaker who paid a $1,500 for a license to use the song in a documentary about it. However, she then sued seeking a refund for her license fee and the fees for others who had paid in recent years alleging that the copyright is not valid and that the song is in the public domain.

Warner/Chappell has claimed ownership of a song due to a 1935 copyright registration for the song, however, the plaintiffs have argued that the registration only encompasses a specific piano arrangement and that there are many prior examples of the words to the song in print and elsewhere. However, Warner Chappell is arguing that the registration does cover the words and that, even if there were prior examples, it doesn’t mean that registration copied from them, saying that copyright requires originality, not novelty.

Discovery in the case is expected to continue through September and both sides will make arguments for their case in November.

2: EU Politicians Split Over Digital Copyright Levies

Next up today, Jennifer Baker at PC World reports that the European Union Parliament’s Legal Affairs Committee has approved a proposal by a French MEP Françoise Castex to add a levy to cloud storage and computing services.

The levy would be used to compensate rightsholders for copying that takes place on various services. Such levies are most commonly applied to blank media, such as CDs, as well as smartphones and MP3 players. A recent report proposed expanding the levy system to include cloud services.

While the proposal is popular with rightsholders, it’s somewhat divisive among MEPs and, as it heads for a full Parliament vote, its future is uncertain. Currently though, such levies make more than €600 million ($818 million), more than triple since the EU Copyright Directive came into force in 2002.

3: Record Labels Ask Court to Force ISP to Disconnect Music Pirates

Finally today, Andy at Torrentfreak writes that the Irish Recorded Music Association (IRMA) has filed another lawsuit against UPC, the nation’s second-largest ISP, seeking to force UPC to disconnect suspected Internet pirates.

IRMA had tried a similar lawsuit against UPC in 2010 but lost after the High Court said that such disconnections were not allowed under the law. However, since then, new legislation has given IRMA reason to try again and, after negotiations to reach a voluntary agreement failed, they filed suit.

The nation’s largest ISP, Eircom, has long worked with IRMA voluntarily over such disconnections. As for UPC, the next hearing in its case is scheduled for April.


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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