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First off today, Ed Christman at Billboard reports that David Lowery, frontman for the bands Camper Van Beethoven and Cracker, has filed a lawsuit against music streaming service Spotify over unpaid royalties and is seeking class action status.
According to the lawsuit, Spotify made it a habit of playing tracks that it did not have mechanical licenses for the compositions. The lawsuit claims Spotify was aware of its lack of a license, never sought a statutory license and simply set aside money for royalty payments that were “wrongfully withheld from artists.”
The lawsuit is claiming over $150 million in total damages and is seeking class action status to incorporate other composers who may have been denied royalties. Spotify, however, claims to have only set aside between $17 million and $25 million. The lawsuit comes as the National Music Publishers Association (NMPA) is in negotiations with Spotify over similar unpaid royalties.
Next up today, Larry Neumeister at the AP reports that heirs to the estate of Edith Newlin have filed a lawsuit against CBS and others connected with the show Big Bang Theory alleging that the show used lyrics written by Newlin to create the Soft Kitty, Warm Kitty, which was featured on the show.
According to the lawsuit, the show used lyrics from an Newlin poem about a soft kitty written in the 1930s. Newlin died in 2004 but her daughters claim that the lyrics have been used in their entirety at least eight times on the show since March 2008 and have gone on to become one of the most popular elements of the show and one that’s heavily featured in merchandising.
They go on to claim that, when the show sought to use the lyrics in 2007, they asked for permission from the publisher of a book entitled Songs for the Nursery School, which featured the poem in question. However, the daughters claim that the producers never sought permission from them though the book made it clear their mother was the author and copyright holder of the work.
Finally today, Ernesto at Torrentfreak writes that the organization behind the leak of the The Hateful 8 and other DVD screeners has announced that they are stopping their planned 40 movie dump after a “security breach” has put the operation at risk.
The releases were being put out by a group known as Hive-CM8. They had already leaked several major films, including some that had not been released in theaters, and had announced they were going to do a release every day for 40 different movies. However, a user became curious about how easy it was to track down the suspected pirates and, after investigating the screenshots that were posted with the leaked files, connected the uploader to other accounts.
In response to that, the group has announced that they will no longer be posting the releases and there have already been several days missed. However, there is a larger criminal investigation going, one that has traced the leaked screener of The Hateful 8 to the office of an executive, which claims to have not received the DVD that was signed for by an employee of his.
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.