3 Count: Klinging On

Sulu... I... Can't... Seem to... Shake... This Lawsuit...

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1: Remember How J.J. Abrams Said the Lawsuit Against the ‘Star Trek: Axanar’ Fan Film Had Been Dropped? Not Quite.

First off today, Josh Rottenberg at The LA Times reports that the case between Paramount Pictures and the makers of the planned Axanar fan film is continuing despite a claim by director J.J. Abrams that the case would soon be settled and drawing to a close.

The lawsuit targets the makers of the planned Star Trek fan film Axanar, which raised over $1.2 million on crowdfunding sites. The film was a planned follow up to Prelude to Axanar, a fan-created short that was also funded on crowdfunding sites and had achieved widespread popularity.

J.J. Abrams, the director of the most recent official Star Trek films had previously stated that the case was coming to an end but, according to Robert Meyer Burnett, the proposed director of Axanar, nothing has changed. Furthermore, Burnett said that the lawsuit was not likely to be won by Axanar and its donors.

2: Pirate Streaming Site Operator’s Four Year Sentence Upheld

Next up today, Andy at Torrentfreak writes that, in the UK, the sentence against pirate movie streaming operator Paul Mahoney has been upheld, including his four-year prison sentence.

Mahoney was arrested in May 2011 following a raid by the Federation Against Copyright Theft and the Northern Ireland police. In addition to the arrest, they seized some £83,000 ($120,000) in equipment and cash. He was later sentenced to four years in prison, with two of those years being spent on license.

The judge, in upholding the sentence, noted that Mahoney was accused of doing some £12 million ($17.5 million) in harm to the movie studios and had repeatedly ignored cease and desist letters during his site’s operation, which began in 2007. His defense attorneys argued that Mahoney never intended to get wealthy off the site and that he was a partially-blind recluse. However, the judge found that the mitigating circumstances were already considered and upheld the sentence.

3: Led Zeppelin Asks Judge to Stop “Stairway to Heaven” Trial With Victory in Band’s Favor

Finally today, Eriq Gardner at The Hollywood Reporter Esquire reports that, in the Led Zeppelin Stairway to Heaven trial, lawyers representing Led Zeppelin have asked the judge to stop the trial, claiming that the plaintiffs have failed to meet the burden of proof and that the case should never reach the jury.

The lawsuit centers around the Led Zeppelin hit song Stairway to Heaven, which plaintiffs claim was ripped off from the Spirit song Taurus. The lawsuit, filed by the trustee of the estate for songwriter Randy Wolfe, who was a member of Spirit, has reached the midpoint of its trial. However, the defendants claim that the plaintiffs, who have rested their case, have not met any burden of proof.

At particular issue is the the copyright registration for the song Taurus, which the defendants claim has not been introduced into evidence. As such, they claim that there’s no proof Wolfe or his estate own the song in the first place. Beyond that, they’re also claiming that the plaintiffs failed to produce any evidence of striking similarity between the works or provided proof that Led Zeppelin was even aware of the song.


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.

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