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First off today, the Associated Press reports that the New York Court of Appeals has agreed to hear the case pitting The Turtles versus Sirius XM Radio over the public performance of the band’s pre-1972 sound recordings.
The band sued Sirius claiming that it was not being paid royalties for sound recordings that were being performed via Sirius’ service. However, Sirius claimed that, since the tracks were pre-1972, there were no royalties owed. That’s because sound recordings before that date are not federally protected and, instead, are governed by state laws.
The Federal Appeals Court ruled that it needed insight to whether there is a public performance right under New York law. It asked the New York Court of Appeals to take the case, which it has now done.
Next up today, Vladimir Kozlov at Billboard reports that VKontakte, the Russian social network that has long faced criticism for its copyright-related policies, has launched a mobile app that allows uers to stream music from rightsholders it has signed agreements with, including Sony Music, Warner Music Group and Russian publishers.
VKontakte has faced widespread criticism for enabling user piracy and is regularly makes appearances on the U.S. Trade Representative’s “Notorious Markets” list. However, Russian courts, on the whole, have been satisfied that VKontakte, by virtue of removing infringing works upon notification, has done enough to comply with Russian law. However, after a lawsuit in 2014 filed by several major record labels ended in an out-of-court settlement, VKontakte made promises to improve its copyright enforcement.
As part of that settlement, the site signed deals with several of the labels and, out of those deals comes this new app. The new app will be free for the first 90 days but the site has not said how much users will be charged after the trial expires.
Finally today, Drew Hasselback at The Financial Post reports that Paramount Pictures is hitting back against claims that the Klingon language is not copyrightable by saying that the issue is not relevant to the case and doesn’t need to be discussed.
The lawsuit centers around the Star Trek fan film Axanar, which, after raising more than $1 million in crowd funding, was sued by Paramount and CBS for copyright infringement. Following the lawsuit, Axanar’s creators asked for clarification on the ways the would-be film was infringing. Paramound responded by providing a lengthy list of alleged infringements, but the one that caught the public’s attention was a claim that the use of the Klingon language was an infringement.
This prompted a brief from the Language Creation Society, that pointed out all of the ways Klingon is used today and argued that it was a living language, something that couldn’t be copyrighted. However, Paramount is arguing that the brief should be discarded not only because it was too late but because there’s no reason for the court to weigh the issue, saying the real copyright infringement is in Axanar’s use of Star Trek characters.
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.