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First off today, Michael Archambault at PetaPixel reports that the Lewisville Independent School District in Texas has begun requiring students to sign a “work for hire” contract before they can use any district-owned camera equipment.
The move follows a dispute with student Anthony Mazur, who used the school’s equipment to take photos of various school events and posted the images to his Flickr account. The district then threatened him with suspension if he didn’t remove the work but, after an outcry from the community and a realization that Mazur was the copyright holder in the photos, the school backed down.
However, the new “work for hire” arrangement seeks to end the latter problem by requiring students who use school equipment to transfer all rights in the images they take to the school. Failure to sign the agreement may result in students being denied access to school equipment “except for school specific assignments”. Since most students are under 18, the agreement also requires a parent signature.
Next up today, Eriq Gardner at The Hollywood Reporter Esquire reports that, as the Jay Z Big Pimpin lawsuit draws near, last minute decisions about what will and will not be heard in the case are being decided.
The lawsuit is brought by Osama Ahmed Fahmy, who is the nephew of Egyptian composer Baligh Hamdi. Jay Z, in writing his song Big Pimpin, used a sample from Hamdi’s composition Khosara, Khosara, which Fahmy says was not licensed. Jay Z and others involved with the track, however, allege that they they obtained the license from an Egyptian organization.
The trial is scheduled for October 13 and will be in two parts, a liability phase and a damages phase. The judge has been ruling on what evidence should be admitted during the trial ruling that statements about Jay Z’s wealth may be prejudicial during the liability phase, that the references to Egyptian copyright law should be limited and that only the compositions, not sound recordings should be presented. The judge is expected to rule on whether Jay Z’s contract with LiveNation can be admitted or if it is a protected trade secret as well as evidence about how responsible the sample is for the success of Jay Z and his song.
Finally today, Andy at Torrentfreak writes that the Russian BitTorrent site RUTracker has announced that it is prepared to allow copyright holders access to special accounts that will allow them to delete infringing material directly from the site.
The move is likely a bid by the site to avoid being blocked by Russian ISPs. In 2013 the country passed legislation that allowed copyright holders to seek the blocking of sites that engaged in copyright infringement. So far, 282 sites have been blocked. Rightsholders had just begun such an action against RUTracker, forcing the site to say it will work with copyright holders, first through a notice and takedown system and later through more direct access.
However, it seems unlikely that the effort will end the case against the site, with rightsholders continuing to press on. The site is currently the 17th most popular site in Russia according to Alexa.
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.