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First off today, Ashley Cullins at The Hollywood Reporter Esquire reports that Ludlow Music and the Richmond Organization have responded to a class action lawsuit filed by a documentary filmmaker that seeks to have the court rule the song We Shall Overcome ruled to be public domain.
The filmmaker, following the pattern set by the lawsuit over Happy Birthday To You, is suing to have the publishers return royalties that they unfairly collected on the song. However, in this case, the filmmaker is arguing that the song is too similar to a known public domain work, We Will Overcome, to qualify for copyright protection.
However, in their response, the publishers argue that, while the changes were minor, mostly changing “will” to “shall” that they are significant enough to warrant copyright protection as they drastically changed the meaning of the song. Further, they say that the lawsuit should be dismissed because the plaintiffs failed to state a claim and that the state law claims should be dismissed as well for not being substantially different from the federal ones.
Next up today, Ernesto at Torrentfreak writes that a small group of independent photographers have teamed up to file a lawsuit against various news organizations for using their images without a license or, in many cases, attribution.
The most prominent among the photographers is Christopher Sadowski, who has filed a lawsuit against Gawker over their use of a photo he took of an Uber car in two articles. According to Sadowski, he licensed the photo to the New York Post but has no idea how it ended up on Gawker.
Another photographer, John Mantel, has sued several companies including AOL, Verizon and Microsoft for using his work without a license. The same is also true for Steve Sands, who has sued IGN and MTV for similar infringements. While none of the lawsuits have been responded to, they all have similar allegations of infringement and come from the same lawyer, Richard Liebowitz, indicating a concentrated effort to target photographic infringement.
Finally today, Patricia Hernandez at Kotaku reports that Marcin Iwiński, co-founder of GOG and the video game development studio CD Projekt Red, spoke at InfoShare 2016 and discussed his company’s views about piracy and how they battle it.
To that end, Iwiński made it clear that CD Projekt Red does not apply any kind of copy protection system to their games and, instead, attempts to use the carrot rather than the stick to encourage customers to purchase the game. Saying, “We cannot force people to buy things. Wc can only convince them to do it,” he laid out how his company strives to be fair to its customers and, in the process, encourage them to legally obtain the game.
To that end, he said the approach has been having at least some success. They report several times seeing users on sites like Reddit asking for help downloading the game only being told by others to not do so because CD Projekt Red is a company that deserves support.
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.