3 Count: Unfriendly Skies

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1: Sony Music Argues Copyright Claims Fly Against United Airlines Contractor

First off today, Eriq Gardner at The Hollywood Reporter Esquire reports that Sony Music is suing Inflight Audio Ltd., a company that provides entertainment systems/services for United Airlines and others, claiming that the company failed to properly secure licenses for songs they allow passengers to play.

Dublin-based Inflight had previously sought to dismiss the lawsuit, saying that they pay a licensing fee to Phonographic Performance Ireland, the collection society within the country. However, in their response Sony, notes that airplanes carrying Inflight system travel to other countries and that no such license exists there.

Inflight has said that they are incapable of managing where the music they license is played but Sony claims that the company is more than a “passive vendor” that should have known that planes travel and music would be played in other countries. Sony alleges that Inflight used its limited licensing arrangement to undercut other vendors in the field and make their offering more attractive to airlines.

2: Part Owner of Miami Heat Likely to Lose Copyright Claim Against Blogger who Republished Unflattering Photo

Next up today, Eugene Volokh at The Washington Post reports that a magistrate judge has recommended Raanan Katz’s lawsuit against blogger Irina Chevaldina over an unflattering photo be dismissed on fair use grounds.

Chevaldina operates a blog that is critical of Katz and his business practices and, over the course of about a dozen posts, used an unflattering photo of Katz taken by photographer Seffi Magriso. Katz, wanting to stop distribution of the photo, purchased the copyright in the photo from Magriso and targeted Chevaldina with an infringement lawsuit.

However, now the magistrate judge has ruled in the matter saying that the use of the photo was, almost certainly, a fair use and is recommending that the district court judge dismiss the lawsuit on fair use grounds, saying that the photo is meant for parody/criticism purposes and is a transformative use. That recommendation is likely to be taken up by the district court judge, who will, most likely, dismiss the case.

3: MGM & James Bond Producer Say Nothing “Premature” About 007 Copyright Suit Against Universal

Finally today, Dominic Patten at Deadline Hollywood reports that MGM and Danjaq, the company that produces the James Bond films, have hit back against Universal’s efforts to dismiss their claims over the movie “Section 6”, saying that their lawsuit is clearly not premature and Universal’s own admissions prove it.

MGM and Danjaq sued Universal alleging that a movie it was working on, “Section 6”, was an infringement of the popular James Bond franchise. Universal, however, asked for the lawsuit to be dismissed saying that it had not greenlit the film and, if they do decide to move forward with it, that significant changes would be made to the script.

The plaintiffs have now responded and are saying that the film is clearly farther along than Universal wants the court to believe, noting that the studio paid over $1 million for the screenplay and that the studio has already tapped a director for the project, both things Universal has admitted to in their filings.


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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