3 Count: Turtle Shell Shocked

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1: SiriusXM Suffers Crushing Loss in High-Stakes Courtroom Battle

First off today, Eriq Gardner from The Hollywood Reporter Esquire reporters that SiriusXM has received a major setback in its lawsuit against Flo & Eddie of The Turtles, one that could force all digital streaming services to pay royalties for pre-1972 sound recordings.

Flo & Eddie sued SiriusXM in August alleging that the satellite radio provider was failing to pay royalties for use of their songs, including “Happy Together” among others. The band, which achieved popularity in the 60s, recorded its music before sound recordings were protected by federal copyright law and, instead, were left to state protection. SiriusXM had argued that it didn’t need to acquire a royalty because the public broadcast didn’t violate any state rights.

However, a California judge has ruled that it does. The judge issued a summary judgment in favor of Flo & Eddie ruling that SiriusXM violates their public performance right. The judge based this decision on a California state law, which failed to mention performance rights but the judge ruled to exclusive, meaning that since the rights were not specifically excluded, that they are present. The judge, however, did not provide summary judgment on related issues of infringement dealing with SiriusXM’s storing of Turtles’ music on servers and on-demand offerings, saying that further evidence was needed.

2: PIPCU shuts down On Read

Next up today, Joshua Farrington at The Bookseller reports that the City of London Police Intellectual Property Crimes Unit (PIPCU) has shuttered the well-known ebook downloading site On Read.

On Read was a subscription site where users would pay a flat fee for the ability to download ebooks. However, the service itself was unlicensed and the books it was distributing were, according to the City of London Police, illegal.

The City of London Police has been very active in attempting to shutter infringing sites, revoking domains, seizing servers, cutting advertising and even arresting many suspected site operators. However, On Read represents the first major closure targeted at ebooks and likely comes at the behest of The Publishers Association, which is mentioned on the holding page for the domain.

3: Wait Times Slashed to Beat Film Pirates

Finally today, Darren Davidson at The Australian reports that moviegoers in Australia will have shorter waits for movie releases. Village Roadshow, the largest film distributor in the country, has announced that it will debut all major films either before, at the same time or close after it is released in the United States.

The move comes after it is learned that The Lego Movie, a film that was animated in Australia, is likely to become the most-pirated film in the country with piracy costing it somewhere between $3.5 million and $5 million in sales.

The staggered release schedule was originally in place to help movie studios reuse prints and ensure actors can make multiple premiers. However, as online piracy has grown in Australia, distributors feel that more is to be gained by releasing the film quickly and beating pirated copies to market than waiting for promotion and buildup from the U.S. release.


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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