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First off today, Nancy Tartaglione at Deadline Hollywood reports that the United States Trade Representative has released its 2016 Special 301 Report, which is an overview of intellectual property protection across the globe and draws attention to nations that the USTR doesn’t feel is doing enough to protect intellectual property rights.
Most of the list is not a surprise. Eleven countries, including China, Russia, Argentina and Venezuela are on the Priority Watch List and will receive intense focus from the USTR over the coming year. The, less-urgent Watch List had 23 names including Canada, Egypt, Greece, Guatemala and Mexico.
However, several changes were made this here. First was the addition of Switzerland to the Watch List over allegations it’s become a haven for pirate sites. The report also noted progress in countries such as Pakistan and Ecuador, as well as several other countries that have either strengthened their laws or the enforcement of their laws.
Next up today, Patricia Hernandez at Kotaku reports that YouTube has announced an update to its controversial Content ID system that it hopes will improve the balance between YouTubers and outside copyright holders.
Under the new system, YouTube will allow authorized uploaders to begin monetization the moment the video is uploaded. If the video is claimed via Content ID, the money will be paid to the claimant unless it is disputed. If it’s disputed, the monetization will continue but will be withheld until the dispute is resolved, with the money either going to the third party or the original uploader depending on the outcome.
YouTubers have expressed frustration at YouTube’s ContentID system, which many feel allows 3rd parties to claim content that’s either fair use or not actually their property and earn revenue from it without any repercussions. Previously, even if the claim was released, the funds earned during the time it was flagged would go to the third party, making the change a welcome one for many YouTube users. However, YouTube did not say when the new system would be taking effect, only saying it would be sometime in the coming months.
Finally today, Linda Ge at The Wrap reports that the Language Creation Society has submitted a brief in the Axanar lawsuit, filing on behalf of the defendants and arguing that the Klingon language can not be copyrighted, saying that the language is no longer simply a fictional language but is a useful language widely used in the real world.
The lawsuit centers around the fan film Axanar and its prequel, Prelude to Axanar. The two works are fan films set in the Star Trek universe, which is owned by Paramount and CBS. After making Prelude to Axanar short, the filmmakers behind the movie launched a crowdfunding campaign to finance the full Axanar film. They raised over $1 million in funding but, after the campaign ended, CBS and Paramount filed a lawsuit claiming copyright infringement.
The team behind Axanar responding to the lawsuit asking for details as to how the film was infringing. CBS responded with a lengthy list of alleged infringements, but the one that has drawn the most attention is their claim to hold a copyright in the Klingon language. Though languages normally can’t be copyrighted, CBS claims that the work is wholly fictional and creative enough to qualify. However, the Language Creation Society claims that the language is a useful article and bolsters the argument by littering its motion with Klingon phrases and pointing to various uses of the language outside of the Star Trek series, including various translation services, Klingon wedding services and the use of the language in other shows.
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.