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First off today, Ben Sisario at The New York Times reports that Apple has made a filing with the Copyright Royalty Board proposing a flat songwriter royalty rate when a song is streamed via an interactive service, such as their Apple Music service, suggesting a 9.1 cent per 100 plays regardless of business model.
The proposal is a shot across the bow at their competitor, Spotify. Unlike Apple Music, Spotify offers a free version of their service and it pays a significantly lower royalty rate on free music streams. Apple, however, is proposing that the rate be the same across all business models to avoid confusion.
The filing is part of a proceeding by the Copyright Royalty Board to set royalty rates from 2018 to 2022. Other players in the field, including Spotify, Google, Pandora and Amazon are expected to have made similar filings though they have not been made public yet.
Next up today, Ashley Cullins at The Hollywood Reporter Esquire reports that Pars Michel, co-founder of The Fugees and producer of the film Sweet Micky for President, has filed a lawsuit against Showtime claiming that they have been illegally playing his film.
According to the lawsuit, the film’s co-producer and director, Ben Patterson signed off on the use of the film even though, in early negotiations, Michel made it clear that he was the only one who could authorize it. However, Michel claims that he and Showtime could not agree on terms but Patterson authorized the film regardless.
The lawsuit further claims that Patterson, who is also a defendant in the lawsuit, told Showtime that the agreement was void but the film premiered on Showtime on April 21 and has aired at least 15 times since. Showtime, however, has responded and said that the lawsuit is “utterly without merit”.
Finally today, Ernesto at Torrentfreak writes that the game Pokemon Go has taken the world by storm and that Nintendo is sending Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) notices against illegal copies of the game, which are prevalent despite the game being free.
Illegal copies of the game are widely available on various file sharing sites with some scam versions purportedly trying to either insert malware or falsely charge users to play the game. Nintendo, notoriously protective of its intellectual property, has sent takedown notices targeting a slew of URLs distributing various illegal copies of the game.
One of the bigger issues Nintendo faces is that it is attempting to roll the game out slowly, taking a country-by-country approach. However, the pirated copies are landing in the hands of players in nations where the game has not begun, prompting Nintendo to take action against the illegal copies and the players involved.
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.