3 Count: Settlement Day

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1: Viacom, Google Settle YouTube Copyright Suit

First off today, Michael Calia at The Wall Street Journal reports that Google and Viacom have announced a settlement in the copyright lawsuit between them, effectively bringing an end to a $1 billion lawsuit that had been going on since 2007.

Viacom sued Google alleging that, in the early days of YouTube, the site built much of its traffic and reputation on the back of pirated content, including works owned by Viacom. A district court threw out the case, saying that YouTube was protected by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act but the appeals court sent it back to the lower court, where it was rejected and appealed again.

This settlement halts that second appeal and brings the lawsuit to a close. However, the terms of the settlement were not disclosed though the two companies, in a joint statement, said that it “reflects the growing collaborative dialogue between our two companies on important opportunities.”

2: Oakland Toymaker Goldieblox Settles Suit Against Beastie Boys

Next up today, The Oakland Tribune reports that the Beastie Boys have reached a settlement with Goldieblox, the toymaker that featured a parody version of their song “Girls” in an online viral video.

The dispute began after Goldieblox published the video, which featured the popular Beastie Boys song with altered lyrics, on YouTube and other sites. The group, which has had a longstanding policy against the use of their music in advertisements, inquired about the use of the song but were preemptively sued by Goldieblox, which was then countersued by the band.

This settlement brings an end to the legal dispute. Though the terms were not stated, the lawsuit prevents either side from having to address the significant fair use and parody questions that the case brought up.

3: Judge Rules for HarperCollins in Open Road E-Book Dispute

Finally today, Andrew Albanese at Publishers Weekly reports that a judge has ruled in favor of HarperCollins and against rival Open Road over the publication of Julie of the Wolves, a children’s book written by Craighead George in 1973.

George had previously agreed to let Open Road publish the book but HarperCollins sued saying that, as per their contract with George, they had exclusive rights to publish an electronic version. However, considering that George’s contract was from 1973, it was unclear if the language would hold up.

However, the court found that George’s contract included subsidiary rights and other clauses that gave HarperCollins electronic printing rights. The complaint seeks injunctive relief, damages, Open Road’s profits from the work and the recovery of attorneys’ fees.


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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