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First off today, Justin Wm. Moyer at The Washington Post reports that Paul McCartney, one of the two surviving members of The Beatles, has filed documentation with the U.S. Copyright Office (USCO) to reclaim his rights to several of the band’s biggest hits including Hey Jude and Revolution.
Copyright termination is a clause under the U.S. Copyright Act that allows original creators to terminate any licenses or copyright transfers after a period of time. The Beatles lost their publishing rights in the 1960s when ATV, the publishing company they created with their manager and other investors, was bought out without their knowledge. McCartney is now applying for copyright termination even though he will not be eligible to reclaim the songs until 2025.
In 1985 ATV was purchased by Michael Jackson, who was famously advised by McCartney on the value of publishing rights. The purchased caused tension between the two. Jackson would go on to merge the company with Sony to create Sony/ATV. Sony, however, is in the process of purchasing ATV’s share for $750 million, thus consolidating ownership of the company.
Next up today, Glyn Moody at Ars Technica UK reports that, in the UK, a High Court judge has ruled that posting clips of sporting events, even if they are as short as 8 seconds, can be a copyright infringement.
The case was brought by the England and Wales Cricket Board (EWCB) and Sky UK, who claimed that the company behind Fanatix had infringed their copyright by posting short clips of EWCB cricket matches on their site. Fanatix, however, claimed that the use of the clips were fair dealing, an exception similar to fair use in the United States but much more limited.
Fanatix attempted to claim that the use of the clips were for the purpose of news reporting, however, the judge ruled that the use was for the purpose of consumption, not to inform the audience and that, while the clips were short, they clearly focused on highlights, further weakening their case. The case could have a drastic implication for those posting Vines of UK sporting events, as they too could, in theory, be ruled to be infringements.
Finally today, Alex Nichiporchik at tinyBuild reports that his mobile and PC game, Punch Club, has been pirated over 1.6 million times despite selling only 300,000 copies, meaning that over 80% of the copies of the game are illegal.
In their report, the company also provided a breakdown of how the game was pirated looking at both platforms and languages. Though PC has been responsible for 72% of the game’s revenue, it’s also ben responsible for 69% of the game’s piracy. However, on mobile devices, Android was responsible for 90% of mobile piracy with 12 pirated copies for every legitimate one. That compares to only 2 pirates for every legitimate copy on iOS.
On the language front, the developers noted that Chinese gamers did not wait for a localization of the game and began pirating the game widely from day one. However, Portuguese speakers waited for a localization of the game and, once it was released, there was a massive spike in piracy from Brazil. The developers said that games should be localized for Western European languages, where piracy rates are lowest.
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.