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First off today, Eriq Gardner at Billboard reports that Victor Willis has prevailed in his lawsuit to reclaim 50% of the copyright to many of the Village People’s songs, including “Y.M.C.A.”
Under copyright law, artists who sign copyright grants and agreements can terminate them after 35 years. Willis sought to terminate his prior copyright agreements but faced a series of obstacles, including the fact his co-authors did not wish to join him and claims by Henri Belolo, a man who the record labels contended wrote the songs in French to be adapted by Willis.
That matter went to a trial and Willis convinced the jury that he should be 50% co-owner of the songs with Jacques Morali, not 33%. This gives him half of the authorship rights to some 24 Village People songs and Belolo’s name should be removed from the 13 songs he had claimed. This bumps Willis’ royalty from 12 to 20 percent and grants him licensing rights on the songs.
Next up today, Heather Timmons at Quartz reports that a BBC documentary “India’s Daughter” has been pulled from YouTube and other video streaming sites following copyright complaints the BBC.
The documentary, which focuses on a 2012 gang rape in Delhi, was banned by the Indian government from being shown within the country. However, copies of the documentary were available on YouTube until Google, which owns YouTube, complied with the Indian government request to block access to Indian IP addresses,
However, that ban now goes even farther as the BBC has begun pulling down any copies of the video on YouTube noting that they did not upload it to the network and have not aired nor authorized the documentary to be broadcast outside of the U.K. The film is available on the BBC site, but only to people with U.K. IP addresses.
Finally today, Jeremy Kirk at ComputerWorld reports that software virtualization company VMWare is being sued by Christoph Hellwig, a Linux developer who holds copyright to portions of the Linux Kernel.
According to Hellwig, VMware combined its proprietary code with open-sources licensed code when producing its ESXi product. However, VMware failed to release the new source code publicly, as required by the GPL.
VMware denies any wrongdoing and says that it embraces and participates in the open source community. The lawsuit is being supported by the Software Freedom Conservancy, a charity that supports open source projects.
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.