3 Count: Klinging On

And crossing the neutral zone...

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1: Judge Refuses to Dismiss Lawsuit Over Crowdfunded ‘Star Trek’ Film

First off today, Eriq Gardner at The Hollywood Reporter Esquire reports that the judge has refused to dismiss the Axanar lawsuit, meaning that CBS and Paramount have won the right to continue their case.

The lawsuit centers around two films produced by the Axanar team. The first, entitled Prelude to Axanar, was a short film that was crowd funded. The film was a documentary-style short film looking at the events that took place in a fictional war within the Star Trek universe that took place before when the original series. However, when the team raised over $1 million on crowdfunding sites to create the full Axanar film, CBS and Paramount filed a lawsuit.

Initially the Axanar team claimed that CBS and Paramount’s filing was too vague as to what they were infringing. They then responded with an amended complaint that included a lengthy list of alleged infringing similarities. Though the Internet took issue with claims that the Klingon language and “pointy ears” were copyrightable similarities, the judge noted that the plaintiffs were not claiming each element was an infringement, but that the elements were part of the infringement of the broader Star Trek universe. As such, the judge is saying the case was made well enough to move the lawsuit forward.

2: Led Zeppelin Copyright Case Heats Up as Lawyers Clash Over Music Experts

Next up today, Tim Kenneally at The Wrap reports that lawyers representing Led Zeppelin in the Stairway to Heaven lawsuit are claiming that they are not being given a fair opportunity to depose the plaintiff’s expert witnesses and that they may be unfairly prejudiced at trial.

The lawsuit was filed by a trustee for the estate of Randy Craig Wolfe, the frontman for the band Spirit. They claim that the song Stairway to Heaven is a copyright infringement of Spirit’s song Taurus. The lawsuit was scheduled for a trial this month but the plaintiffs hit a snag when the judge ruled that they could only make arguments surrounding the composition of Taurus, not the recording, as it was the only part of the song that had been registered with the U.S. Copyright Office.

That ruling meant that all of the expert witness testimony compiled by the plaintiffs needed to be resubmitted to remove references to the sound recording. Those new statements were submitted by May 2nd but now lawyers for Led Zeppelin claim that the plaintiffs are not making those experts available for another deposition on their new reports, which they claim is unfairly harming their ability to make their case. The trial is now scheduled to begin in June.

3: Blocking Piracy Websites has Proven Effective, Screen Association Research Shows

Finally today, Andrew Colley at The Sydney Morning Herald reports that, according to research by Carnegie Mellon University’s Initiative for Digital Entertainment Analytics, blocking infringing websites causes a 16 percent drop to all piracy websites and a 10 percent increase to legitimate alternatives.

The study looked at pirate site blocking in the UK, specifically a blocking order against The Pirate Bay in 2012 and another order that blocked 19 sites in 2013. The study found that, while the initial Pirate Bay block had nearly no impact on piracy rates, but after the additional blocks, rates of piracy began to decrease.

The findings were presented on behalf of the Australian Screen Association and comes as Australia is beginning the process of implementing its own site blocking regime. The law took effect some time ago but court cases to apply it have only recently been filed.


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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