3 Count: Technobabble Litigation

Well, they wanted specifics...

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1: Paramount, CBS List the Ways Star Trek Fanfic Axanar Infringes Copyright

First off today, Megan Geuss at Ars Technica reports that CBS and Paramount have filed a response in the Axanar lawsuit that highlights some 57 instances of what it considers copyright infringement of Star Trek in the film and its prequel.

Axanar is a planned Star Trek-based fan film that raised over a million dollars on various crowdfunding sites. Axanar followed another effort by the same directors, Prelude to Axanar, which was a crowdfunded 20 minute fictional documentary about the events leading up to Axanar. CBS and Paramount, despite a long history of either ignoring or encouraging fan fiction works, sued Axanar after it closed its fundraising efforts, putting the production of the film on hold.

When originally hit with the lawsuit, the producers of Axanar asked for specifics in how the film and its prequel infringed. CBS and Paramount have now responded to that request with the more than 20 pages of examples, including everything from costumes, characters, dialogue and even the “mood and theme” of Star Trek.

2: Judge Leans Toward Not Awarding Fees to ‘Blurred Lines’ Attorneys

Next up today, Ashley Cullins at The Hollywood Reporter Esquire reports that the judge in the Blurred Lines case seems to be reluctant to grant legal fees to attorneys representing the estate of Marvin Gaye, saying that the case “demarcated the boundaries of copyright law” and that awarding fees is not appropriate.

The case began after heirs to Marvin Gaye began to allege that the Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams song Blurred Lines was an infringement of Gaye’s Got to Give it Up. That prompted Thicke and Williams to proactively sue but, after the case went to trial, the jury sided with the Gaye estate finding that the song was infringing and awarded $5.3 million in damages.

The ruling is on appeal but, in the meantime, the lawyers representing the Gaye estate have filed a motion requesting some $3.5 million in legal costs. The lawyers argued that, since Thicke and Williams sued first and lost, they should be liable for the fees. However, the judge said that the case was not unreasonable but has held off on making a final ruling saying that he will do so in writing later.

3: ​Filmmaker Responds to Vancouver Aquarium in Documentary Lawsuit

Finally today, Jason Proctor at CBC News reports that, in Canada, documentary filmmaker Gary Charbonneau is arguing that his use of copyrighted material owned by the Vancouver Aquarium is protected under fair dealing for the purpose of research and education.

Charbonneau produced a documentary film entitled Vancouver Aquarium Uncovered, which was critical of the aquarium’s keeping whales in captivity. As part of the film, Charbonneau used images and videos taken from the Aquarium’s website and blog. This prompted the aquarium to sue him for copyright infringement.

However, Charbonneau is arguing that his use of the video is allowed under the fair dealing rules in Canada, which allows for such use for the purpose of research and education. Fair dealing, unlike fair use, is a very narrow exemption under the copyright act in Canada that only protects certain uses, making Charbonneau’s arguments more difficult. The film itself has been removed from Vimeo following a copyright notice but YouTube has declined to pull it down.


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.

The 3 Count Logo was created by Justin Goff and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License.

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