3 Count: Joking Around

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1: Not a Joke: EU Court Defines ‘Parody’

First off today, Frances Robinson at The Wall Street Journal reports that the European Court of Justice (ECJ), the highest court in the EU, has weighed in on the issue of parody in copyright law, handing down a definition that will likely be used in other cases in the region.

The case centers around Johan Deckmyn, a Belgian man who handed out anti-immigration calendars at a New Years party. On the cover of the calendar was an image that resembled the cover of a “Suske en Wiske”, a Belgian comic strip, book cover, but modified to make a political point. The owners sued for copyright infringement and the Belgian court sought clarification from the ECJ.

The ECJ offered up its definition of parody, which does not have to actually be funny, display an original character or even relate to the original work. It just must noticeably be different with respect to the work being parodied. But while the clarification seems to favor Dekmyn, the court refused to rule on the matter noting that moral rights in the EU mean that the author of the original artwork can still choose to not have their work affiliated with a political message that they disagree.

2: PIPCU Copyright Crackdown Storms on with Second Internet Piracy Arrest this Week

Next up today, Nathan Chai at ITProPortal reports that the City of London Police has made its second set of arrests this week, arresting two men from Skegness that the police claim were selling counterfeit software.

The City of London is a self-governing portion of the London itself that functions more like a country within the United Kingdom than a city. It’s Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) has been cracking down on Internet piracy and earlier this week made an arrest of a Nottingham man they suspected ran large streaming operation that illegally rebroadcast sporting events from around the world.

Other efforts by the unit have involved replacing ads on suspected pirate sites with warnings, seizing domains from sites engaged inc copyright infringement and other arrests.

3: Selling ‘Used’ Digital Music Proves Troublesome for Two ReDigi Executives

Finally today, Eriq Gardner at The Hollywood Reporter Esquire reports that ReDigi CEO John Ossenmacher and CTO Larry Rudolph may be personally held liable for their company’s copyright infringements as a judge has ruled that there is strong enough evidence to warrant moving the allegations against them ahead to a full trial.

ReDigi was a service that allowed users to resell “used” MP3 files. Though they claimed to be protected under the first sale doctrine, which allows users to resell copyrighted works so long as they don’t produce another copy, the company’s service was shuttered in 2013 after a judge ruled it was physically impossible to transmit the a material object over the Web without making copies.

However, Capitol Records didn’t just sue ReDigi the company, they also targeted Ossenmacher and Rudolph personally saying that they shouldn’t enjoy the protection of the “corporate veil” as they were directly and personally responsible for the business model and technology at issue. The judge has ruled that there is enough evidence for that issue to go to trial, denying a motion by the two men to dismiss the claims.


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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