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First off today, Emmanuel Maiberg at Vice Motherboard reports that The Pokémon Company International, the company that owns the rights to the popular game franchise, has filed a lawsuit against the organizers of a Pokémon-themed party that was scheduled to take place before the annual PAX gaming conference.
The party, which was in its fifth year, has long served as an unofficial kickoff party for the main conference. However, The Pokémon Company filed the lawsuit, forcing the party to be cancelled and all of the pages related to it to be taken down.
The lawsuit took the most issue with the marketing of the party, which made heavy use of Pokémon characters. The lawsuit is seeking statutory damages for willful copyright infringement and a permanent injunction against the use of Pokémon materials for future events.
Next up today, Victor Fiorillo at Philadelphia Magazine reports that artist Perry Milou is being investigated over potential plagiarism and copyright infringement in his portrait of Pope Francis, which has been used as the official portrait for the Pope’s upcoming visit to the city.
The investigation is being done by Getty Images, which holds the rights to a 2013 photograph taken by Italian photographer Franco Origlia that appears to have been the basis of Milou’s portrait. Milou’s portrait has gone on to be printed on a wide variety of merchandise and itself is available for sale for $1 million.
The case bears a strong resemblance to the Shepard Fairey “Hope” poster from 2008. Fairey based his painting on a photograph owned by the Associated Press. Though Fairey originally battled the claims, he was forced to settle out of court after it was revealed he had destroyed and altered evidence.
Finally today, Patricia Hernandez at Kotaku reports that she and others on YouTube have been receiving some bizarre copyright claims as videos of their play through of various levels of Mario Maker have been automatically claimed by Playboy Magazine.
Mario Maker is an unofficial game that allows users to create their own Super Mario Brothers levels. Several creators have made “self-playing” levels that require no player input to complete. As such, every play through of these videos is exactly the same and, when Playboy uploaded theirs, YouTube’s Content ID system began to match other videos of the same level.
Playboy, for its part, is working with YouTubers impacted by this claim and are releasing them as quickly as they can. However, the issue points to another challenge faced by Content ID, videos that are identical but still original.
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.