3 Count: Sirius Setback

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1: Sirius XM is Dealt New Setback in Turtles Copyright Lawsuit

First off today, Jonathan Stempel at Reuters reports that Sirius XM has received more bad news in its ongoing legal battle with Flo & Eddie of The Turtles, who have managed to get two more of Sirius’ arguments rejected.

The Turtles sued alleging that Sirius had failed to pay any royalties for playing their music, which included the popular 1960s song “Happy Together”. However, pre-1972 sound recordings are protected under state copyright rules, which prompted The Turtles to sue in a variety of state courts and Sirius to argue that state copyright laws do not require royalties for performing music.

However, the New York court has disagreed with Sirius and has now stricken two other theories by the broadcaster, one that The Turtles don’t hold the copyright to their work and another that they had an “implied” license to play the music. The only small victory for Sirius was the the judge did limit damages The Turtles could collect to three years instead of the proposed six. Similar lawsuits are also being heard in California and Florida.

2: Fox, Dish Network Ask Court to Pause Ad Skipping Case

Next up today, Ted Johnson at Variety reports that Fox and Dish Network are putting an extended pause on their litigation over Dish’s AutoHop service, saying that they want to stay the litigation until Dish’s contract with Fox expires in October so they can work toward a settlement.

Fox sued Dish claiming that AutoHop, which allows users to record prime time programming with the commercials automatically skipped, was violating their copyright by creating a derivative work. Other broadcasters had also sued but ABC and CBS settled their claims leaving just NBC Universal and Fox.

A summary judgment was issued in the case earlier this month but it has been kept under seal by request of both parties. However, earlier rulings indicated that the judge likely sided with Dish on the copyright issue, but may have backed Fox on a breach of contract claim centering around whether Dish was offering Fox’s programming as video on demand in violation of the terms. The judge also indicated that she was leaning toward Fox on the issue of the Anywhere feature, which allows viewing of recorded content on any Internet-connected device, saying that it mirrored Aereo.

3: Disney Can’t Be Forced Into Licensing ‘Star Wars’ Flying Car

Finally today, Eriq Gardner at The Hollywood Reporter Esquire reports that a judge has dismissed a lawsuit by Joseph Alfred who had sued Disney in an attempt to compel them to license the iconic T-65 X-Wing fighter from the first Star Wars film for use as a model of a flying car.

According to the lawsuit, Alfred was going to work with a company named Terrafugia, Inc. to create a new flying car prototype that is destination-programmable. He says he wants the car to look like an X-wing both to promote the prototype and to aid in promotion of the upcoming Star Wars movie.

Disney, however, wasn’t interested in the idea and declined after what Alfred describes as a few conversations. However, Alfred then sued saying that there was an implied contract with Disney but the judge found no such contract existed and dismissed the lawsuit. I guess our flying cars will have to look like something else.


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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