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First off today, Eriq Gardner at Billboard reports that Universal Music has filed a lawsuit against a group of companies, including the Centric Group and Keefe Group, over their sale of “care packages” sent to inmates in prisons.
According to the lawsuit, in the care packages are often mixtapes (or rather CDs) of songs by artists such as James Brown, Eminem and Marvin Gaye. The lawsuit goes on to define a mixtape as a “frequently a cover for piracy” and describes them as a “collection of infringing, piratical compilations.”
Universal claims that this use of their music is not authorized and is infringing. The lawsuit is seeking the maximum statutory damages, $150,000 per infringement and are also suing under state unfair competition claims.
Next up today, Ted Johnson at Variety reports that MGM is dropping its lawsuit against Universal Studios, bringing at least a temporary end to its allegations that Universal’s upcoming film “Section 6” is an infringement of the James Bond franchise.
Details of the settlement were not released but the claims are being dismissed without prejudice, meaning that they can be refiled later. MGM and partner Danjaq filed the lawsuit last year, alleging that Section 6 borrowed too heavily from James Bond. Universal, however, said that the film hadn’t even been greenlit and, if it were to be made, would be changed radically from early scripts.
However, the judge in the dispute had refused to dismiss the lawsuit, citing specific similarities between the script for Section 6 and James Bond. Though it’s uncertain, it is widely rumored that the settlement includes and agreement on what can and can not be in Section 6 to avoid further copyright issues.
Finally today, Katherine Trendacosta at Io9 reports that, on January 1st 2015, the works of Ian Flemming fell into the public domain in many countries, including Canada, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the character is up for grabs.
Though most countries who signed the Berne Convention, which required that copyright last at least 50 years after the death of an author, extended they term even further. Some, such as Canada did not. Fleming died in 1964 meaning that, in the country, his books became public domain this year.
However, the iconic James Bond films are all still protected by copyright as are any elements they added to the character and his universe. This greatly limits the usefulness of the character for creating new works. However, the books themselves can be freely sold in the country without paying royalties. Also, any printing of the book or legal use of the character would have to be limited to Canada (and other nations with the same term) as, in the U.S. and EU, the character and his original books are still protected.
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.