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First off today, Eriq Gardner at The Hollywood Reporter Esquire reports that a jury has found MP3Tunes and its founder, Michael Robertson, liable for infringing works that were uploaded to the service.
MP3Tunes was a music storage and streaming service that allowed users to upload music files from a variety of sources. It was paired with a search engine, Sideload, that allowed users to find free MP3 files on the Internet to add to their music library. EMI sued the company for copyright infringement and took the unusual step of also naming the founder as a defendant personally.
Though the judge initially ruled in favor of MP3Tunes, after the Second Circuit ruled in the Viacom/YouTube case that a company could be open to liability if they were “willfully blind” to infringement, the MP3Tunes case was reopened and made its way to a jury trial. Now the jury has come back and found both MP3Tunes and Robertson liable for copyright infringement, saying the company was indeed willfully blind to infringements taking place on its service. The case now moves on to the damages phase.
Next up today, Tamlin Bason at Bloomberg BNA reports that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has joined the Fourth Circuit in ruling that stock photo agencies, and others who register large compilations of works with the U.S. Copyright Office, do not need to list every single author who produced an individual work and, instead, need only list the author of the compilation as a whole.
The issue stems from Section 409 of the copyright act, which says that a copyright registration must include “the name and nationality or domicile of the author or authors” as well as a statement indicating any preexisting works. However, photographers and others trying to challenge the copyright registrations of stock photo companies have tried to claim the registrations are incomplete since they don’t list the individual photographers.
However, the U.S. Copyright Office intervened in the case, filing a brief with the court saying that it’s interpretation of the law has always been that, with compilations, only the author of the compilation itself need be listed. The court agreed with the USCO and upheld the registration, both for the compilation and the individual photographs inside it.
Finally today, Anime News Network is reporting that Funimation, a distributor of anime TV shows in the U.S., has filed a lawsuit against Anime Haus, a company that sells anime-related merchandise, alleging that the company is selling counterfeit merchandise of shows Funimation has exclusive rights to.
Funimation claims they became aware of the infringements at Anime Expo when they saw the company selling unauthorized mouse pads for the show One Piece. According to the lawsuit, the company was placed on several “black lists” for selling infringing merchandise at expos and had tried to get off at least one of them by saying they were no longer selling counterfeit merchandise.
Funimation is asking for $500,000 in damages along with attorneys fees and confiscation of the infringing merchandise.
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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