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First off today, Joe Mullin at Ars Technica reports that both the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Universal Music had their day before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals as a panel of three judges heard argument in the “Dancing Baby” case, Lenz v. Universal.
The case deals with a 29 second video of a dancing baby posted by Stephanie Lenz in 2007. In the background of the video Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy” was playing, which prompted a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown. Lenz filed a counter-notice and got the video restored but, with help of the EFF, filed a lawsuit against Universal alleging that Universal knowingly misrepresented its claims in the notice, a violation of the law.
Universal initially claimed that they were not obligated to weigh fair use when filing DMCA notices but that claim was tossed. However, neither side won on summary judgment, prompting this appeal. The EFF has to show that Universal acted in bad faith and was willfully blind when it filed the notices, something the judges seemed to be skeptical of in their questioning of EFF lawyers. Lawyers for Universal, meanwhile, declined to concede that the video was a fair use and said that the removal wasn’t done in bad faith. A judgment is not expected for several months.
Next up today, Lehar Maan at Reuters is reporting that Oracle has announced that its trial against the software support company Rimini Street and its CEO Seth Ravin is scheduled for September of this year.
Rimini Street is a third-party support provider that offers service contracts on Oracle software at a discount to what Oracle itself would charge. Oracle sued the company in 2010 alleging that it illegally copied files and documents from Oracle. The case has a history in a similar lawsuit against SAP’s TomorrowNow division, which Ravin helped run when it was an independent company. Oracle ended up winning a $1.3 billion judgment in that case that was eventually reduced to over $300 million.
Unlike SAP, Rimini Street has denied any wrongdoing and has pledged to fight the case. Oracle is seeking more than $200 million in damages from Rimini Street.
Finally today, Eriq Gardner at The Hollywood Reporter Esquire reports that ventriloquist comedian Jeff Dunham has filed a copyright and trademark lawsuit against fellow ventriloquist Tony Horn over alleged copying of Dunham’s “Walter” puppet.
According to the lawsuit, Horn created a puppet similar to Walter and asked his followers on social media to compare the two. The lawsuit also says that, after receiving a cease and desist letter, Horn continued to try and sell his version of the puppet, even after eBay closed down one of his listings.
Horn, however, claims that it’s Dunham who is the imitator, having ripped off Walter from an earlier puppet. Horn also says his and Dunham’s puppets are not very similar. Meanwhile, Dunham says that he has both a copyright registration on the 3D sculpture that is Walter and trademark registrations on his look and name.
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.