3 Count: No Monkey Business

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1: “A Mural Painted by an Elephant,” and Other Things That Can’t Be Copyrighted

First off today, Maria Pallante, the Register of Copyrights at the U.S. Copyright Office, has released a public draft of the Compendium of U.S. Copyright Office Practices, a 1,222 page document that outlines the office’s guidelines, in particular with registering copyrighted works.

The new draft, which is the first major overhaul in more than 20 years, emphasizes the “human authorship requirement” highlighting that creations by animals, nature and even divine revelation do not qualify for copyright protection or registration. The rule also bars copyright protection/registration for works created solely by an automated process, such as filtering or transposing a work, and in selections, coordination or arrangement of copyrighted works, such as a playlist or a compilation of public domain stories.

The draft is released very shortly after a “selfie” taken by a monkey became the subject of a copyright debate as Wikimedia refused to remove the image from its servers despite takedown notices from the photographer that owned the camera the monkey used. Other types of works addressed in the draft include pornographic works, which the draft says can be registered if they have sufficient original authorship and various examples of “de minimis”, which were not to be registered.

2: RBS Settles Copyright Lawsuit After U.S. Judge Blocks Software’s Use

Next up today, Nate Raymon at Reuters is reporting that the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) has settled their case over BankTrade software, which is produced by Complex Systems.

Complex Systems sued RBS in 2008 alleging that when ABN Amro, a subsidary of RBS, sold its LaSalle unit in 2007, the license to use BankTrade went with it to the buyer, Bank of America. However, RBS and ABN Amro continued to use BankTrade without a license, describing it as core to their trading business.

In May, a judge granted an injunction barring RBS from using BankTrade in any of its legal entities after a year. RBS appealed that injunction but in late June the Second Circuit denied the appeal. According to RBS, the settlement will allow them to continue using BankTrade and processing transactions in the future.

3: US Judge: Shakira Hit Song Loca ‘Broke Copyright Laws’

Finally today, the BBC is reporting that a New York judge has ruled that Shakira’s Spanish-language version of her song “Loca” is an infringement of an earlier song recorded by Eduard Edwin Bello Pou, better known as El Cata, which itself had been copied from a song by Arias Vasquez, “Loca con su Tiguere”.

Vasquez sued Shakira and her label, Sony, alleging that Bello, who collaborated with Shakira for “Loco” not only copied his work in his earlier song, but used copyright protected elements in “Loca”. Bello denied this but the judge was convinced by the evidence presented by Vasquez, finding that “Loca” was an infringement of his song.

The English version of the song was not addressed in the lawsuit though both versions are distributed by Sony.


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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