3 Count: Blurred Jury

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1: ‘Blurred Lines’ Trial Verdict Expected Friday

First off today, Austin Sigemund-Broka at Billboard reports that testimony and closing arguments in the Blurred Lines case have ended and the matter is now before the jury.

The case began with members of the Marvin Gaye estate claiming that Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams infringed Gaye’s Got to Give it Up in the creation of Blurred Lines. That prompted Thicke and Pharrell to proactively sue the Gaye estate in hopes of getting a judgment of non-infringement. However, that did not happen and, following a countersuit, the matter wound its way to a trial.

The Gaye estate did have their claims severely limited. Since they only hold the copyright to the composition, none of the elements unique to the sound recording were included. However, the Gaye estate has strongly disputed this and was even denied a request to appeal on the issue until after the trial is over.

2: Publishers’ Move Could Mean ‘Whole New Trial’ in GSU Copyright Case

Next up today, Andrew Albanese at Publishers Weekly reports that textbook publishers have filed a new motion in their case against Georgia State University that could result in new damages or even a whole new trial.

The case centers around the e-reserve at GSU, which, according to publishers, allowed and encouraged faculty at the college to make use of unlicensed digital copies of books instead of traditional course packs. However, the district court ruled against the publishers finding that only 5 of the 99 cases they listed were infringements. On appeal, the Eleventh Circuit overturned that, ordering the lower court judge to rebalance his fair use analysis.

With the matter back at the lower court, now the publishers have filed a motion seeking updated evidence from the school, much of which hasn’t been updated since the case started in 2009. Part of the reason, likely, is that more books now have digital licenses, something that favors publishers in a fair use analysis. This could also lead to an entirely new trial and a do-over of the case itself.

3: Alibaba Not Notorious, But U.S. Keeping a Watchful Eye

Finally today, Gillian Wong at the Wall Street Journal repots that the U.S. Trade Representative has released it’s 2014 “Out of Cycle Review of Notorious Markets” report and has once against declined to put the controversial Chinese ecommerce company Alibaba on it, but has made it clear that they are continuing to monitor the site and its progress in fighting piracy and counterfeits.

The USTR releases regular reports highlighting nations, sites and marketplaces that it feels are not doing enough to stop copyright and trademark infringement. However, it removed Alibaba from its list of notorious markets in 2012 after the site made improvements to its copyright policies and enforcement.

However, the UST has made it clear it’s continuing to monitor the company and its site taobao.com and has said that it is concerned about recent developments. In the rest of the report, several BitTorrent sites remain included as do many cyberlockers, though some sites were dropped even though they remain operational with little to no change in policy.


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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