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First off today, Ted Johnson at Variety reports that Vermont Patrick Leahy has reintroduced a bill that would allow surviving same sex spouses to obtain the rights to creative content produced by their deceased partner regardless of where they live in the country
Under the current copyright act, rights revert to the spouse after the death of a copyright holder but same sex couples can only enjoy that right if they are currently living in a state that recognizes same sex marriage. The new bill would make it so that married couples who do not reside in such a state would continue to enjoy the same benefits.
The bill is similar to one that Leahy introduced last year. He also has four other Democratic Senators joining him on the bill, though with the recent Republican shift in Congress, the future of the bill is in doubt.
Next up today, Eriq Gardner at Billboard reports that the lawsuit between the Marvin Gaye estate and Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke is moving forward, but disagreements about what can be presented in court raise questions about just what the jury will hear.
The Gaye estate made allegations that Thicke’s song “Blurred Lines” was too similar to Gaye’s “Got to Give it Up”, prompting Thicke and co-author Williams to proactively sue. The case is scheduled to go to trial February 10th and the Gaye estate would like to introduce the songs themselves as evidence. However, an earlier ruling limited the Gaye estate’s claims to what is contained within the sheet music, prompting Williams’ attorneys to say that playing the full song would be prejudicial.
However, concerns that the jury might not be savvy enough to read sheet music has caused a push for a compromise with Williams’ attorneys saying that the songs could be played on a keyboard. Other issues such as which expert witnesses should be heard and whether Williams and Thicke will take the stand are also being hashed out.
Finally today, William New at IP Watch reports that the European Copyright Society, a group comprised of copyright experts from all over Europe, has sent a letter to the European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, Günther Oettinger, calling for unification of EU copyright laws among other reforms.
The public release of the letter, which was dated December 19, comes on the heels of news that German Pirate Party representative is writing such a proposal for the European Commission. The letter goes on to state that, while there may be some resistance to unification, they see it as the only way that the EU can function as a single market or copyright-based goods and services.
But while the group also says that this will be a medium to long term project for the European Commission, it would come with many advantages including striking down conflicting and confusing rules.
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.