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1: Lee Daniels’ ‘The Butler’ Now Involved in Effort to Free “We Shall Overcome” from Copyright

First off today, Eriq Gardner at The Hollywood Reporter Esquire reports that Butler Films, the company behind the 2013 film The Butler, have joined an ongoing lawsuit filed by a documentary filmmaker to seek a declaration that the song We Shall Overcome is in the public domain.

The lawsuit was filed against The Richmond Organization and Ludlow Music, the current rightsholders to the song by Pete Seeger. The lawsuit claims that the song, which has roots in the 1940s, was not registered properly in the 1960s and, thus, has has lapsed into the public domain.

Butler Films claims that they sought to use the song in several places in their film but the licensing terms were simply not reasonable and severely limited the use of the song in the film. The lawsuit itself hinges on whether or not the registrations, filed in 1963 and 1969, were proper and continue to protect the work in 2016.

2: Swiped: Is Snapchat stealing filters from makeup artists?

Next up today, Molly McHugh at The Ringer reports that two separate makeup artists have come forward to say that Snapchat stole some of their work for new “lenses”, which are overlays users can place on top of photos that they send.

Makeup artists Argenis Pinal and Mykie claim that Snapchat took makeup designs that they had created and then created lenses based upon them. Both of the allegedly infringing lenses were removed shortly after Snapchat was notified but not before they had caused an uproar on Instagram.

This isn’t the first time Snapchat has been accused of stealing artwork. Previously artist Louis van Baarle said that Snapchat took some of her sketches and used them as stickers in the app. Snapchat responded to the most recent allegations saying that it does not tolerate copying of others work and that it is handling the matter internally.

3: Taylor Swift, Paul McCartney Among 180 Artists Signing Petition For Digital Copyright Reform

Finally today, Rob Levine at Billboard reports that an ad will run today in several Washington DC magazines including Politico, The Hill and Roll Call that is seeking reform of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and features the names of many of music’s biggest stars. 

The ad includes signatures from Taylor Swift, Sir Paul McCartney, Vince Gill and many more stars as well as 19 different organizations, including all of the major record labels. The artists want the notice and takedown system enshrined in the DMCA to be revised so that works, once removed, can not be re-uploaded.

According to the signatories, the current law makes it easy for sites and streaming services to crowdsource a library of illegal content and that, once a work is remove, it often reappears within minutes. As such, many services, including YouTube, are able to compel the record labels to sign less than favorable deals for access to their content.


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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