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First off today, Brittany Hodak at Forbes reports that the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has ruled that there will be no changes to the ASCAP and BMI consent decrees, meaning that the status quo will continue despite songwriter claims there is a need for reform.
Nearly all songwriters are members of a performing rights organization (PRO) that handles the royalties they receive for public performances of their work. These royalties are paid from a wide range of sources, including restaurants, radio stations and digital streaming services. However, the largest PROs, ASCAP and BMI, are placed under consent decrees by the DOJ that limit their ability to negotiate licensing deals. Songwriters, as well as the PROs, had sought to change those decrees but the DOJ has declined to make any significant alterations.
With no changes forthcoming, PROs will have to continue allowing 100% licensing, meaning that they will license 100% of a song even if only one of the songwriters is with them, and songwriters can not remove their songs for use by digital services. Songwriters had hoped to be able to restrict the use by digital services to force open negotiations and market rates, however, the ruling by the DOJ means that is not likely in the near future.
Next up today, Ernesto at Torrentfreak writes that Blizzard Entertainment has filed a lawsuit against Bossland, one of the most popular makers of cheats for the game Overwatch, for copyright infringement, unfair competition and DMCA anti-circumvention violations.
Blizzard alleges that, by distributing and selling cheats to the popular game Overwatch, Bossland is committing contributory copyright infringement and is creating a derivative work. Furthermore, Blizzard claims that Bossland released the cheats within days of the release over Overwatch, causing great harm to the game. To make matters worse, Blizzard said that, when it took action against thousands of cheaters, Bossland responded by making the cheat more difficult to detect.
Blizzard filed the action in California. However, Bossland’s CEO said that it’s very familiar with Blizzard legal action. They claim that they are currently facing 10 cases in Germany already and that this is simply the first that Blizzard has filed against them in the United States. He claims that the U.S. court has no jurisdiction as it has no ties with the country.
Finally today, Wesley Copeland at IGN reports that Nintendo has removed a Kickstarter campaign for a coffee table book of Nintendo-related artwork the day before it was due to complete.
The book, which would have been entitled NES/Famicom: A visual Compendium, would have featured artwork from various Nintendo games and a fake Nintendo Seal of Approval, all of which Nintendo objected to. The campaign had secured some £170,000 ($225,000) in funding and was scheduled to complete the day before the notice was filed.
According to the organizers of the campaign, their project was within the bounds of fair use and not infringing. They also say that the campaign is “under review” while they talk with Nintendo and see about sorting the issue out. The organizers of the campaign have done similar compendiums for Commodore 64, Amiga and other systems without issue.
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.