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First off today, Eriq Gardner at The Hollywood Reporter Esquire reports that Harry Shearer has filed a $125 million lawsuit against Vivendi and StudioCanal over the 1984 mockumentary This is Spinal Tap.
Shearer co-created the fake band from the film and played the role of bassist Derek Smalls. However, Shearer claims that he has not been paid appropriate royalties for the film or the music that’s featured in it. He claims that, through a series of accounting tricks, Vivendi has avoided paying Shearer and other creators of the film what they are due.
The film also seeks copyright termination in the film. Copyright termination allows original creators to terminate agreements and licenses after a period of time. In the case of This is Spinal Tap, Shearer could reclaim the rights to the movie in 2019.
Next up today, Corinne Reichert at ZDNet reports that the Copyright Advisory Group has told the Australian Joint Standing Committee on Treaties that, unless the nation revises its safe harbor laws, that it will not be in compliance with the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
The treaty, which was signed by the country and 11 others in February, requires countries to harmonize certain elements of copyright law. One of those elements deals with safe harbors, which prevent internet service providers from facing liability when their users infringe.
However, according to the Copyright Advisory Group, Australia’s safe harbors don’t protect libraries and schools, just commercials providers. They are calling on the legislation to be amended to fix this and bring it into compliance with the TPP.
Finally today, Jason Clayworth at The Des Moines Register reports that the University of Iowa is withholding flood footage from a documentary film maker citing copyright and saying that, in this case, it overrides state public record laws.
Filmmaker Doug Krejci aims to create a documentary about the 2008 Iowa floods and sought to use footage recorded by the University of Iowa as part of it. However, the university is saying that copyright law protects the creative work and that, despite the state’s public records law, they are declining to release it. Krejci has filed a complaint with the Iowa Public Information Board.
In the United States, works creates by the federal government are not protected by copyright but states and and often do keep and enforce copyright in their works.
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.