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First off today, Lia Eustachewich at the New York Post reports that the Second Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled against the heirs of Abbott & Costello in the Who’s on First case saying that, while the lower court erred in its fair use analysis, the heirs did not have standing to file the lawsuit in the first place.
The lawsuit centered around the play Hand to God which used a portion of the iconic Who’s on First sketch in the first act. The heirs sued the company behind the play but the district court ruled that the use of the skit was a fair use.
However, the appeals court has overturned the fair use ruling, saying that the use was not fair but ruled that the heirs failed to prove they had a valid copyright interest in the original work, ultimately deciding to dismiss the case.
Next up today, Marc Hogan at Pitchfork reports that Jay Z, Kanye West and Frank Ocean have emerged victorious in their battle against Joel McDonald, better known as Joel Mac, over the song Made in America.
Mac had sued the trio in 2014 alleging that their song Made in America was a copyright infringement of his earlier song of the same name. However, last year a district court dismissed the lawsuit, finding it to be without merit, and now the Second Circuit Court of Appeals has done the same.
Finding the lawsuit to be “without merit” the appeals court has tossed the case, saying that it failed to state a plausible claim. Other defendants named in the lawsuit include the producers of the song, Universal Music Group, Rock-A-Fella Records, Def Jam Music and Roc Nation.
Finally today, Monika Gonzalez Mesa at the Daily Business Review reports that a U.S. judge has ruled the telenovela that was the basis for Jane the Virgin is owned by the TV Network that originally aired it and not the screenwriter that worked on it.
The case pitted screenwriter Perla Farias against Venezuelan RCTV. Farias had, at least temporarily, won back control of the show Juana la Virgen in a Venezuelan court. He used a local law that allowed original creators to reclaim a work after five years. However, RCTV, after learning of the ruling, said that the law was misapplied, that Farias was an employee and the copyright should remain with them.
Following that, RCTV licensed the original show to their subsidiary in Miami. That prompted the U.S. lawsuit and the court there ruled that Venezuelan law applied in determining who is the owner and that RCTV was correct, the court erred in granting the rights to Farias. As such, control of the original show stays with RCTV in the United States.
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.