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First off today, Jonathan Stempel at Reuters reports that a federal judge has declined to throw out a $1.7 million verdict against Monster Energy Drink over their use of music by the Beastie Boys in a promotional video for an extreme sports competition.
In 2012, the band sued Monster claiming that the four-minute promo, which featured samples from five Beastie Boys songs, were unauthorized and gave the impression that the band, which never allows its music for use in commercials, had endorsed Monster Energy and the event. Monster, for its part, admitted copyright infringement, but said that they should not owe the $2.5 million the band is asking because they felt they had permission from the DJ who made the remix. However, in the trial, it came out that the “clearance” came down to a one-word response to final cut of the video.
Following a trial, the jury came back and awarded the band $1.7 million. Monster turned around and ask the judge to overturn that award, but the judge declined saying that the amount is not shocking and seems appropriate for the facts of the case. Monster has said it plans to fully appeal the case later. Universal, the band’s label, is also suing Monster in a separate lawsuit.
Next up today, Matthew Knott and Ben Grubb at The Age report that, in Australia, Attorney-General George Brandis and Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull have created a set of proposed reforms to be debated at the final cabinet meeting of the year, but those proposals will avoid penalties for repeat downloaders.
Instead, the new changes will require ISPs to block access to infringing websites, similar to what takes place in other countries. Though dedicated pirates could continue to get around such blocks, they are likely to stop most casual infringers.
However, an effort to punish repeat infringers could still be underway. The legislature is encouraging ISPs and rightsholders to work together and create a cooperative program to warn suspected infringers of their activities. The two sides are currently at an impasse over the cost of such a program, but the government says that, if they are unable to reach a voluntary agreement, then they may seek further legislation in the future.
Finally today, James Vincent at The Verge reports that much-maligned music streaming service Grooveshark has announced that it will be releasing a mobile app for its Broadcasts service, which is a digital radio service much like Pandora.
Grooveshark primarily is a music streaming service similar to Spotify where users can select individual tracks to play. However, it has its music uploaded by users, rather than licensed by record labels, prompting the labels to sue. On that front, the labels just scored a significant victory when the court found that Grooveshark employees had uploaded thousands of tracks themselves. A ruling on damages has not been made.
The main Grooveshark apps were previously removed from both the iOS and Google app stores on copyright infringement grounds. However, by offering a digital radio, Grooveshark only has to pay a statutory royalty rate and can avoid negotiating with he labels. This means these apps, which cost 99 cents per month, are legal despite Grooveshark’s checkered history.
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.