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First off today, Eriq Gardner at The Hollywood Reporter Esquire reports that the Association for Childhood Education has thrown its hat into the battle over the song Happy Birthday to You and says that it may actually be the owner of the world’s best-known English-language song.
The lawsuit stems from a filmmaker who was ordered by Warner/Chappell Music, the group that claims to own the rights to the song, to pay a license to use the song in a movie. After legal wrangling, the judge ruled that the Warner/Chappell claim was invalid because there was no evidence of a legitimate transfer between Patty Hill, the author of the song, and Warner/Chappell.
However, the Association for Childhood Education was cofounded by Hill and claims it receives one third of all royalties from the song due to a 1944 agreement. According to them, since Warner/Chappell no longer has a claim, the song is likely owned by them. If the judge allows this intervention, it could set the stage for a three-way battle over the song between Warner/Chappell, the charity and filmmakers who believe it to be in the public domain.
Next up today, Graeme Burton at Computing reports that a draft of EU Digital Commissioner’s plan for the next year has leaked and it indicates that the commissioner, Gunther Oettinger, along with the European Parliament President, Martin Schulz, will be looking to make linking to copyrighted material without permission a form of copyright infringement.
Such linking laws have been seen elsewhere in the EU with both Germany and Spain passing “ancillary copyright” laws that required search engines to pay or otherwise obtain permission for linking to newspapers and other media outlets. However, the new proposal could also have an impact on suspected pirate sites, which often link to infringing materials hosted elsewhere.
The proposal has already been criticized by the EU Parliament’s only remaining Pirate Party MEP, Julia Reda, who claims that it is a “full frontal attack on the hyperlink”.
Finally today, Ted Johnson at Variety reports that the House Judiciary Committee chairman Bob Goodlatte will be holding a hearing today at UCLA in Los Angeles to get the perspective of the film industry on copyright reform proposals.
The House Judiciary Committee has held some 20 different hearings as part of an ongoing review of U.S. copyright law. He has also embarked on a “listening tour” where he is seeking input from key industry holders all over the country.
On Monday he was at Santa Clara University in Northern California where he heard from those in Silicon Valley but today he travels south to hear from the movie and TV industry. According to a blog post by the MPAA, the organization is generally happy with copyright law but feels it needs greater cooperation from other stakeholders to fight piracy due to the decentralized nature of the Web.
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.