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First off today, the Associated Press reports that a U.S. District Court judge has ruled a macaque monkey (nor any other animal) has standing under the U.S. Copyright Act and, as such can not sue or take other legal action, prompting the judge to toss the case.
The lawsuit centers around a photo taken as part of a 2011 Indonesia trip by British photographer David Slater. During that trip a monkey took his camera and snapped a series of images, one of which became the “monkey selfie”. Though Slater claims he is the copyright holder in the image others have widely used the work claiming that, since it was taken by an animal it is public domain.
The case was complicated by a lawsuit filed by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), which sought to have the monkey involved be named the copyright holder with PETA representing the monkey’s interest. That, in turn, is the case the judge ruled on. While the judge has given PETA a chance to refile the case, he seemed unconvinced by PETA’s arguments. However, the ruling doesn’t say anything regarding Slater’s claim to the work or whether a monkey can hold a copyright on a selfie, just that, if one could, there’s not much a monkey could do with that copyright.
Next up today, Kris Cheng at the Hong Kong Free Press reports that the Hong Kong legislature may be taking a new approach to try and resolve delays opposition to a new copyright bill that supporters hope will modernize the region’s copyright law.
Deliberations on the bill began in December but opponents to the bill have held up the legislation by proposing amendments and using other delaying tactics. This has prevented the bill from coming up for a vote, despite broad approval in the legislature.
Now, a representative for the Labour Party has said that they may use rules of the legislature to move the debate away from the general assembly and to a select committee. Though the rules seem to allow such a move, it hasn’t been done before for these reasons. However, there are fears that the bill could expire if it is moved to such a committee, meaning that it might have to be restarted next term.
Finally today, Marguerite Ward at CNBC reports that, despite rumors to the contrary, Spotify has announced it is not planning on changing its business model and will continue to make its entire library of songs available for users to listen to for free.
Many artists, most notably Adele and Taylor Swift, have taken issue with Spotify’s free streaming service saying that it generates inadequate royalties. Both have withheld some or all of their music from Spotify and that caused a rumor that Spotify may make some tracks premium-only.
Hopwever, Spotify has announced that it has no such plans. They said that they want all artists to be available on both free and premium accounts, even if that does mean some artists withhold their music from the service.
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.