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First off today, The Associated Press is reporting that all parties have reached a settlement in the Happy Birthday to You lawsuit, bringing the case to a close and, while the terms of the settlement are not known, seems to confirm that the song is in the public domain.
The lawsuit was filed documentary filmmaker Jennifer Nelson who says she was told to pay a $1,500 license to Warner/Chappell to use the song in a movie. Nelson sued claiming that the song, which was written in 1893 by Patty Smith Hill and her sister Mildred Hill, was public domain. She not only sought the return of her license fee, but the return of fees collected from others over the past few years.
In an earlier ruling, the judge had ruled that Warner/Chappell did not have a valid license for the song. The case, however, was scheduled to go to a trial this month but the judge has vacated it saying that a settlement has been reached. The terms of the settlement are not known pending the judge’s approval, however, it appears to resolve all copyright claims in the song, including those by charities founded by the Hill sisters that had benefited from the song’s royalties.
Next up today, Ted Johnson at Variety reports that music publisher Cutting Edge Music has filed a lawsuit against Weeknd and many of his representatives claiming that the Weeknd song The Hills is a copyright infringement of a song composed by Tom Raybould entitled Revolution.
According to the lawsuit, Revolution was featured in a 2014 film entitled The Machine. The lawsuit alleges that the baseline of The Hills is nearly identical to the one used in Revolution, making it an infringement.
The case is further bolstered by allegations that producer Million Dollar mano sent Raybould a message in March of this year saying that he had sampled some of his music for the upcoming Weeknd album. The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages and an injunction barring further distribution of The Hills.
Finally today, Ashley Carman at The Verge reports that the music streaming service Aurous has closed its doors for good as part of a settlement with the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).
The RIAA sued Aurous just days after it launched, claiming that the service, which provided free on-demand music streaming, was pulling content from illegal sources and violating deals with other sites. Aurous originally tried to fight the lawsuit but was quickly hit with an injunction barring distribution of the app.
Now, just two months later, the company is calling it quits. It’s settled the case and has agreed to permanently shut down, transfer all of the domains to the RIAA and pay $3 million in damages. However, the damage award is likely lowered by a private, undisclosed settlement between the parties.
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.