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First off today, David Kravets at Ars Technica reports that details about the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) copyright elements have been released by the New Zealand government indicating that all nations signing the accord have agreed to maintain a copyright term of at least the life of the author plus 70 years, the same as it is in the United States.
The TPP is a treaty between 11 Pacific rim nations including the U.S., Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Mexico among others. The treaty covers a wide variety of areas including copyright law, with many fearing it would impose harsh new regulations on the Internet.
The details of the treaty are still secret and, other than various leaks, little is known about it. However, the New Zealand government revealed that it and several other nations in the accord will be required to extend their copyright term, which many nations have set to life plus 50. That is the minimum under the Berne Convention, the largest international copyright treaty.
Next up today, David Yates at the SE Texas Record reports that the Supreme Court has declined to hear the Whoomp! (There it is) lawsuit, letting an appeals court decision stand and bringing the case to a close.
The case deals with the 1993 song Whoomp! (There it is) produced by Steven James and Cecil Glenn, then known as Tag Team. They entered into an agreement with Bellmark records but Bellmark went bankrupt in 1997 and its assets were purchased by DM records. DM went on to exploit the song but another publishing company, Alvert Records, claimed that the rights were sold to them.
The lawsuit began in 2007 and finally made it to trial in 2012. The court ruled that Whoomp! was owned by Alvert records and a jury ordered DM Records to pay over $2 million in actual damages, the amount they had collected licensing the work. DM appealed saying that the jury instructions for calculating damages were faulty but the Fifth Circuit upheld the instructions and, with the Supreme Court’s rebuke, the damage award will stand.
Finally today, Tim Ingham at Music Business Worldwide reports that an securities filing by Sony/ATV, the largest music publisher, shows that the company has signed a one-year deal with Rightscorp to chase down suspected BitTorrent pirates.
Rightscorp is well known for monitoring BitTorrent networks and then sending demand letters to ISPs that they hope will be forwarded on to the suspected infringers, who will then be prompted to pay a small settlement fee, usually less than $30 per infringement. They are commonly referred to as a “copyright troll” for their actions.
Sony/ATV is the largest music publisher and controls over 4 million copyrights. Currently, two other Rightscorp clients, BMG and Round Hill, are suing Cox Communications over the ISPs reluctance to forward on Rightscorp notices, hoping to set precedent to force others to follow suit.
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.