3 Count: Snapped Streak

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1: Ruling in Royalty Case Gives BMI a Victory Against Pandora

First off today, Ben Sisario at The New York Times reports that Pandora’s winning streak has been snapped as the music streaming service has lost a judgment in a royalty battle with Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI), that may see the service paying 2.5% of its revenue to the organization.

BMI represents some 650,000 songwriters and has been in a lengthy battle over royalty rates that spilled into court when the two sides couldn’t come to terms. Pandora’s rate was originally set to 1.75% of revenue by a rate court but the two sides took the dispute to a district court where BMI asked for 2.5% while Pandora argued for as low as 1.7%. However, the district court has returned a ruling, still under seal, that sides completely with BMI, bumping the rate up to 2.5%.

Pandora had won two key victories in other cases. The first ruled that publishers could not pull just part of their rights out of performing rights organizations, like BMI, to better negotiate rates with digital streaming services. Pandora also cleared another hurdle in its bid to buy a terrestrial radio station, possibly giving it access to even lower royalty rates. Even in this case there is still a likelihood of victory for Pandora as the appeals court has already upheld a lower rate for ASCAP, the main rival to BMI, and Pandora has promised an appeal.

2: Record Labels Sue ‘New’ Grooveshark, Seize Domains

Next up today, Ernesto at Torrentfreak writes that the record labels have filed a lawsuit against the recently-launched Grooveshark clone and, as part of that lawsuit, have already seized the site’s domain.

Music streaming service Grooveshark was shuttered earlier this month as part of a settlement in their long-running legal dispute with the record labels. However, mere days after Grooveshark closed, a “clone” of the site popped up at the domain Grooveshark.io. It was revealed that the site wasn’t actually a rebirth of Grooveshark, but a redesign of an existing site, MP3Juices. Nonetheless, since the labels came to own the Grooveshark trademarks as part of the settlement, they filed a lawsuit for trademark infringement, copyright infringement, counterfeiting and cybersquatting.

The judge in the case issued a temporary restraining order requiring the domain registrar to shutter two domains used with the site, taking them offline. However, even as the lawsuit winds forward, the organizers behind the new site have already set up shop on a different domain, saying in a statement that, “You will not stop us. We won’t give in to this type of bullying.”

3: YouTube Overturned Konami’s Copyright Claim Against Critical Video

Finally today, Conrad Zimmerman at The Escapist reports that YouTUbe has restored a video by George Weidman that was critical of video game developer Konami and its recent business practices.

Weidman had posted a video earlier this month that used an anonymous source to discuss changes at Konami and what it meant for many of the company’s best-loved franchises. However, after its posting it was removed due to a copyright notice from Konami, despite the fact it only used about 27 seconds of game footage in the 9-minute video.

Weidman said that he was unable to get Konami to retract the notice but YouTube has now put the video back online, saying that Konami’s notice was incomplete. In particular, YoUTube says that Konami failed to specify exactly what and how the video is infringing. The takedown had actually attracted a great deal of new attention to the video, with multiple duplicates being uploaded to the site shortly after its removal.

Suggestions

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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