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First off today, Grant Gross at PCWorld reports that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit will be hearing arguments this week about whether or not the US International Trade Commission (USITC) has the authority to block imports of digital goods as well as physical ones.
The case centers around a patent dispute between Align Technology and its competitor ClearCorrect. Align Technology manufactures custom dentures and holds a patent on their process. ClearCorrect has gotten around this by transmitting scans of patient teeth to Pakistan, where the patent isn’t valid, and then sends back the 3D model for printing in the U.S. The USITC claims that it has the authority to prevent this transmission of patent-infringing digital works.
The case is being closely watched by copyright hawks. The USITC is tasked to prevent the import of all intellectual property violations and, if the court rules it can limit digital imports, then the rules can be applied to copyright as well and may be used to block copyright infringing websites.
Next up today, Andrew Chung at Reuters reports that last-minute evidence has convinced a U.S. judge that Shakira’s song Loca is not a copyright infringement and that the plaintiff making the claims has defrauded the court.
Shakira’s label, Sony Records, was sued by Mayimba Music in 2012. Mayimba alleged that the Shakira hit Loca was an infringement of an earlier work by Ramon Arias Vasquez called Loca con su Tiguere.
The judge initially agreed and ruled that Shakira’s song was an infringement. He was set to rule on damages in the case but new evidence presented by Sony shows that the 1998 cassette tape registered with the U.S. Copyright Office could not have been made in 1998 as claimed. That, according to the judge, renders the copyright notice invalid and has led to the dismissal of the case. There is no word if Mayimba intends to appeal.
Finally today, The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that a lawyer for Marvin Gaye III, the son of the musician Marvin Gaye, has denied rumors that there is a lawsuit brewing between his client and creators of the TV show Empire.
The rumors began after TMZ reported he had told them that such a lawsuit was in the works. According to the TMZ report, Gaye had approached TV executives the idea of a TV series based on his family and other Motown idols. He indicated that Empire was an infringement of the show that was pitched, setting making it an infringement and a pending lawsuit target.
However, in a clarification statement, the lawyer involved said that no such lawsuit is forthcoming. Instead, the family is focused entirely on the Blurred Lines lawsuit, which recently saw the family win a multi-million dollar judgment against Robin Thicke, Pharrell Williams and others involved with the song.
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.