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First off today, Ben Sisario at The New York Times reports that the We Shall Overcome Foundation has filed a lawsuit against the Richmond Organization and Ludlow Music seeking both injunctive relief and the return of money paid for licenses to the song We Shall Overcome claiming that the song is really in the public domain.
According to the lawsuit, though folk singer Pete Seeger famously published it in a 1948 periodical, the lawsuit claims the song is based on a spiritual first published in 1909 entitle We Will Overcome. The Seeger version went on to become an anthem of the civil rights movement during the 1960s and continues to generate royalties for its publishers today.
The We Shall Overcome Foundation is being represented by the same attorneys that successfully got Warner/Chappell Music to back off of their claims of copyright ownership to Happy Birthday to You, making the song free to use and returning millions in royalties that were previously paid.
Next up today, Josh Constine at TechCrunch reports that, as part of its F8 developer conference, Facebook has announced the launch of its new Rights Manager tool, which will allow page admins to upload clips and videos that they do not want others using.
Facebook has faced strong criticism for “freebooting”, where users of the site reupload YouTube or other videos in order to gain views and shares. Facebook’s algorithm shows strong preference to videos uploaded directly to it, meaning that reuploaded videos often got many more views than the original content. This resulted in pressure on Facebook to launch its own content protection tool, akin to YouTube’s ContentID.
The new Rights Manager tool is not available to everyone but all creators can apply to participate. The system allows rightsholders to choose what actions they want to take based upon how much of the video is copied and where it is posted. Publishers can also setup whitelists of pages and users that are allowed to publish their videos. However, at this time, there’s no way for publishers to profit when their videos are uploaded elsewhere, a key component of ContentID.
Finally today, Andy at Torrentfreak writes that MovieSwap, a DVD cloud streaming service that had been successfully funded on Kickstarter, has cancelled its project after it failed to reach 10,000 backers.
The idea behind MovieSwap was that users would mail them their legitimate DVDs, which MovieSwap would then rip and store in the cloud for viewing. However, MovieSwap would then allow users to “lend” their digital copies to other users for streaming. According to MovieSwap, this was legal under the right of first sale, which allows buyers of legitimate copyrighted works to sell or lend them.
The project more than doubled it’s goal of 37,000 Euros ($42,000) and ended up collecting 87,000 Euros ($98,000) from some 5,000 backers. However, according to the people behind the project, since it didn’t receive 10,000 backers, other investors have declined to contribute, prompting them to cancel the project.
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.