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First off today, Chrisie D’zorilla The Los Angeles Times reports that musician and actor Jared Leto has filed a lawsuit against the gossip site TMZ for copyright infringement after the site leaked a 15-minute video in which he insulted Taylor Swift.
According to the lawsuit, which was filed under the name Sisyphus Productions, TMZ purchased the video for $2,000 from a videographer who captured it. However, after selling it, the videographer let TMZ know that he didn’t have the rights to it.
The video went viral and forced Leto to apologize to Swift in a tweet. However, the lawsuit isn’t for invasion of privacy and, instead, is for copyright infringement alleging that Leto, or at least his company, owns the video and that posting it was a violation of his rights.
Next up today, Eriq Gardner at The Hollywood Reporter Esquire reports that the long-running battle between the estate of Elvis Presley and a Sony Music subsidiary in Germany has spilled into a New York courtroom as the estate seeks more information about how Presley’s music is being used.
At issue is a 1974 buyout agreement that saw Presley and his manager get a combined $5.4 million that terminated all previous agreements between the musician and his record label RCA. However, in Germany, a pair of copyright extensions have made that agreement much more valuable for the label, prompting the estate to sue to amend the deal.
The lawsuit has reached a U.S. court as the estate seeks extra discovery from RCA’s parent company, Sony. One of the key issues in the case is whether streaming revenue should be treated as a license rather than a sale, given that licenses pay a much lower royalty to the musician than purchases.
Finally today, Joe Mullin at Ars Technica reports that Lucasfilms, which is owned by Disney, has filed a series of Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedowns over a photo posted of a Star Wars toy accidentally sold at a Walmart.
The photo was originally posted by Marjorie and Arnie Carvalho, a duo that hosts a podcast about Star Wars collectables. The two were visiting a local Wal-mart when they discovered an action figure for the character Ray, who is featured in the upcoming film. The action figure was not supposed to be for sale as the clothing of the character revealed details about the unreleased film’s plot.
However, when the two posted the photo on their Facebook page, Lucasfilms filed a DMCA notice against them as well as against others who shared it. Marjorie Carvalho wrote Disney directly about the notice and the company retracted it the next day. However, just 10 minutes later, the company refiled another notice, ordering the removal of the image. Experts agree that, while Disney holds copyright in the action figure and the box, the photo of it was likely a fair use, making the notice questionable.
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.