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First off today, Eriq Gardner at The Hollywood Reporter Esquire reports that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a lower court decision about the rights to Superman and have further entrenched the rights with Warner Brothers and its subsidiary DC Comics.
The issue stems from the 1938 transfer of rights to Superman between co-creators Joseph Shuster and Jerry Siegel. In 2001, Siegel’s widow sought to use copyright termination, which allows creators to terminate copyright transfers after a set number of years, to reclaim the rights. The two sides reached a settlement but Siegel’s widow quickly tried to rescind it.
The courts, however, have consistently ruled that the 2001 settlement is enforceable, effectively restarting the clock on termination. The latest ruling in the Ninth Circuit upholds that and paves the way for Warner and DC to continue making full use of the character, including in the upcoming Batman vs. Superman movie.
Next up today, Todd Spangler at Variety reports that the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) has reached a deal with Donuts, the largest operator of domain name extensions, that will allow the MPAA to request Donuts suspend or hold domains that are used for large-scale piracy.
Donuts operates some 185 top-level domains including .movie, .theater and .technology. The organization has agreed to receive requests from the MPAA regarding domains engaged in massive piracy and remove those that, after an evaluation, they determine are doing so.
The agreement does not impact common top level domains such as .com, .net and .org. Also, the agreement bars automated notices, meaning only human-submitted notices will be considered. The .film top level domain is operated by a different organization, the Motion Picture Domain Registry, but that domain requires registrants must be members of an approved movie-related association.
Finally today, Emmanuel Legrand at Music Week reports that several rightsholder organizations including the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA) have filed a petition with the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) to designate additional countries havens for infringement that need greater scrutiny.
The USTR regularly releases a Special 301 report that identifies countries it feels are failing to adequately protect intellectual property. As part of it, the USTR seeks input from rightsholders as to what nations are posing the greatest threats.
The IIPA is requesting that Ukraine be designated as Priority Foreign Country, the highest level of scrutiny, and that six other countries, Chile, China, India, Russia, Thailand, and Vietnam be placed on the Priority Watch List, the next-highest tier. Other groups, including Public Knowledge and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, have also filed petitions cautioning the USTR against using the Special 301 report to impose intellectual property laws on other nations.
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.