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First off today, Tim Ingham at Music Business Worldwide reports that the damages trial has begun against Grooveshark and its two founders, Sam Tarantino and Josh Greenberg, with a jury expected to hear that the parties could be liable for as much as $736 million in damages.
Grooveshark is a music streaming site that, unlike Spotify or Tidal, encourages users to upload their own tracks. Considering itself a YouTube for audio, the company had claimed that it was protected by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which protects companies from infringement by third parties. However, it was revealed that Grooveshark employees had uploaded some 4,907 tracks themselves, which strips away any protection provided by the DMCA.
The judge in the case had previously ruled Grooveshark liable for those infringements. The maximum statutory damages for each infringement is $150,000 is the infringement is ruled to be willful, meaning damages could be as high as $736 million, though such an award is extremely unlikely. If the infringement is not ruled to be willful, the damages are capped at $1,500 per infringement, or $7.36 million total.
Next up today, Dominic Patten at Deadline reports that brothers Ben and Ray Lai have sued Marvel and Disney claiming that the armor used in the Iron Man movies is an infringement of their comic series entitled Radix, which began in 2001.
According to the lawsuit, Marvel had favored a “spandex-like attire and minimal armor” for the character up until the beginning of the Iron Man films, which began in 2008. The brothers claim that the look is lifted from their comics, prompting them to sue for “profits attributable to the infringement.”
However, as comic book fans have noted, Iron Man’s original outfit in his 1963 debut was a giant suit of armor and more recent versions maintained that, albeit painted in the trademark red and yellow, long before Radix was published.
Finally today, Eriq Gardner at The Hollywood Reporter Esquire reports that Disney and the Entertainment Theatre Group (ETG) have settled their dispute over the ETG musical entitled Broadway: Now & Forever, bringing an abrupt end to the lawsuit.
Disney sued ETG over the play, which featured short performances from a variety of well-known Broadway musicals, including several owned by Disney. Disney claimed the musical was a copyright infringement but the group claimed that the performance was a fair use. The case took a detour when Stan Lee Media Inc., tried to interject and claim that it held the right to Spider-Man, a claim that was rejected by the judge.
As part of the settlement, ETG has agreed to an injunction barring them from using any of Disney’s property, including Spider-Man, Mary Poppins and The Lion King. The company also paid an undisclosed amount to settle the dispute and agreed to pay $25,000 should they violate the injunction.
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.