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First off today, Brian Chen at The New York Times reports that Apple has been found “not liable” in the class action filed against it over its use of digital rights management (DRM) software on tracks sold within the iTunes store.
The case, filed in 2005, focused on updates made to the iTunes application that the lawsuit claimed were anti-competitive because they prevented iTunes-purchased music from being played on other apps and devices. However, the jury ruled that the apps did have genuine user improvements and were not anticompetitive.
Apple abandoned DRM in its iTunes store in 2009, thus ending the practice of locking user audio to a single device or service. However, prior to the Apple’s deals with the record labels required them to put DRM on their tracks and even patch any security breaches within a short amount of time. If Apple had lost and been found to have violated antitrust laws, the jury could have awarded over $1 billion in damages.
Not up today, Jeff john Roberts at GigaOm reports that TV broadcasters are seeking to halt any sale of Aereo’s assets and block any bid for the company to emerge from bankruptcy, saying that it could prevent them from being able to collect damages and even force them to restart their litigation.
Aereo was a TV streaming service that used a series of tiny antennas, one per customer, to capture and retransmit over the air broadcast television to customers. Aereo claimed that, since each customer had a single antenna, it wasn’t a public performance but, despite some success with the lower courts, they were forced to close after the Supreme Court ruled against them. Aereo has since filed for bankruptcy and is looking to sell assets so it can return as a cloud recording product, which was not expressly stated to be illegal by the Supreme Court.
However, broadcasters are opposing both the asset sale and Aereo’s attempt to claim over $90 million in losses as a tax break. Broadcaters feel Aereo is attempting to sell the company in a way that allows insiders to continue to control it and also worry the company could be divesting assets that it should be using to pay damages with. The motion to stay is filed with the New York bankruptcy court that Aereo filed with last month.
Finally today, RFI reports that artist Jeff Koons is facing a lawsuit from a French publicist Franck Davidovici over a 1988 work of Koons’ entitled “Fait d’Hiver”.
According to Davidovici, Koons work, which features a woman lying on her back in the snow with a pig and two penguins, is a rip off of a 1985 advertisement he created for the clothing brand Naf Naf.
Davidovici sent a bailiff to an Koons’ recent Paris exhibition to take photos of the work and, according to Davidovici’s lawyer, litigation is underway. The work involved is part of Koons’ Banality series, which has seen other works found to be copyright infringing.
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.