3 Count: Playboy Hyperlink

When a link is not just a link...

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1: Playboy Wins Copyright Battle Over Web Links to its Images

First off today, Julia Fioretti at Reuters reports that the European Union’s top court has sided with Playboy in a case that may forever change the relationship between hyperlinking and copyright infringement in the bloc.

The case pit Playboy’s Dutch publisher, Sanoma, against the Dutch news website GeenStijl. GeenStijl was accused of copyright infringement for linking to illegally-obtained photos from an edition of Playboy magazine that featured local celebrity Britt Dekker. When GeenStijl refused to remove the links, Playboy sued for copyright infringement.

Originally courts ruled that merely linking to infringing material was not copyright infringement in and of itself. However, after several appeals, the case landed in the European Court of Justice, the highest court in the EU, which has ruled GeenStijl was committing copyright infringement since the hyperlinks were for profit. Playboy was satisfied with the ruling though GeenStijl said it could be a blow to free press in the EU.

2: Music Publishers, Photo Agencies Battle Claims of Licensing Public Domain Works

Next up today, Eriq Gardner at The Hollywood Reporter Esquire reports that The Richmond Organization, a music publisher, is hitting back in a lawsuit that is seeking to have the copyright registration for the 1945 Woodie Guthrie song This Land is Your Land ruled invalid, thus making the copyright on the song unenforceable.

The lawsuit comes from members of the rock band Satorii, who created a new version of the song using Guthrie’s lyrics. However, they argue that The Richmond Organization does not hold a valid copyright registration to the composition because, according to the lawsuit, the registration failed to mention that the song was previously published.

However, The Richmond Organization has responded and is asking the court to dismiss the lawsuit on the grounds up that there is no live controversy that gives the band standing. Specifically, they claim that the band has not been denied a license, charged a fee or otherwise told they can’t create their song. Without such an issue, the publisher feels the case should be tossed.

3: Date Set for Eminem’s Court Battle with National

Finally today, the Otaga Daily Times reports that the U.S. rapper Eminem will be headed to court against the National Party in New Zealand after the musician accused the party of using his song Lose Yourself as part of their recent campaign. 

The trial date has been approved and set for May 1st, 2017. Eminem claims that the party used the song in election ads but the party flatly denies ever using the song at all. The National Party goes on to claim that the music came from an Australia-based production company and that it had been used by others without issue.

The National Party is known for strong copyright positions, including supporting “three strikes” legislation within the country that threatened to disconnect repeated pirates from the internet.


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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