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First off today, Ron Charles at The Washington Post reports that Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan has dismissed an emergency pleas by the Arthur Conan Doyle estate to block publication of “The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes”, a collection of stories based on the character.
The lower courts had ruled that the bulk of the Sherlock Holmes character, all but four of his short stories, were in the public domain and the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals paved the way for the book to be published this November. The estate filed an emergency petition with the Supreme Court to block the publication of the book but now the court has denied it.
After the book is published, the estate will be able to file a copyright infringement lawsuit if they choose. However, given the earlier declarations, unless the book uses material from the final few stories, it seems unlikely that it would succeed.
Next up today, Andrew Chung at Reuters reports that YouTube celebrity Michelle Phan is being sued by Ultra Records LLC and Ultra International Music Publishing LLC alleging that she used music from many of the world’s most popular DJs in her videos without al icense.
Phan is famous for her makeup instructional videos and has built a following of over 6.6 million subscribers. Though her channel focuses on providing various tutorials for applying makeup, her videos are often accompanied by music, including at least a few videos that used music from the DJ Kaskade, which Ultra represents.
Ultra says that they notified Phan about the lack of a license but that she continued to use the music. They are now seeking the maximum statutory damages, $150,000 per work infringed, and an injunction against the use of the music. Ultra also said that it has only started looking through Phan’s catalog and that more works could be added to the lawsuit later.
Finally today, Eriq Gardner at The Hollywood Reporter Esquire reports that Landmark Entertainment Group has filed a lawsuit against Hasbro over the rights to the popular game Candy Land, calling into question Hasbro’s plan to license the rights in the game to Sony’s Columbia Pictures to make a film about it.
The lawsuit follows a January 2012 announcement The Columbia would be developing a film based on the game. However, Landmark is claiming that Hasbro lacked the rights that it sold to Sony. According to Landmark, in 1984 it added characters and original artwork to the game, which had been around since the 1940s, and licensed the work to Milton Bradley, which was acquired by Hasbro.
Landmark claims that the license it gave Milton Bradley does not make the work available for use in a movie. It also says that, after further investigation, it has found other ways Hasbro has used the characters without paying proper royalties. As a result, Landmark is seeking a declaratory judgment that it owns the various copyrightable elements of Candy Land and that the agreement is limited to just toys, not films or video games.
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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