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First off today, Eriq Gardner at The Hollywood Reporter Esquire reports that several tech companies, including Google, Facebook, eBay and Twitter, have filed amici curiae brief with the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in the MP3Tunes case. They are hoping the court will reconsider its stance on DMCA safe harbor, specifically repeat infringers.
MP3Tunes was a music streaming site that allowed users to upload and listen to music. It also had a feature called Sideload, that allowed users to add any song found on the internet directly to their account. According to the court, MP3Tunes and its owner, Michael Robertson, had ample knowledge of copyright infringement, so called “red flag” knowledge, and should be held liable.
However, the tech companies take issue with the way the court also found that MP3Tunes liable in this case. They say that, if interpreted, the ruling could put an onus on hosts to proactively police their site for copyright infringement. They believe that the responsibility should be solely on copyright holders to file DMCA notices. MP3Tunes is seeking to have the case reheard en banc, meaning before all 9 judges of the 2nd Circuit.
Next up today, Jonathan Stempel at Reuters reports that a Magistrate Judge has recommended that the lawsuit over the Justin Bieber and Usher song Somebody to Love be tossed a second time.
The lawsuit was filed by songwriters Devin Copeland and Mareio Overton who claimed that the Bieber song was based on their 2008 song by the same name. The case was originally dismissed by a District Judge but that dismissal was overturned on appeal, kicking it back to the lower court for a new trial.
Now the Magistrate Judge has recommended that the District Judge again dismiss the case, citing lack of evidence that those behind his song had access to the plaintiff’s work. He also sites testimony from a musicologist that found the similarities between the two songs were not enough to prove copyright infringement. The case now goes back to the District Judge for a ruling.
Finally today, Pat Pheifer at the Star Tribune reports that the estate of Prince has filed a lawsuit against the music streaming service Tidal accusing the service of streaming much of the artist’s catalog without permission.
The lawsuit was filed by NPG Records and NPG Publishing, the organizations that control the licensing to much of Prince’s music. According to the lawsuit, in August of 2015 they signed a letter of intent to stream with Tidal that gave them a 90 day license as well as the exclusive right to stream Prince’s next album HitNRun: Phase 1. However, the rightsholders claim that, in June 2016, Tidal began streaming much of Prince’s catalog without permission.
Though the lawsuit says Tidal has permission to continue streaming HitNRun: Phase 1, the rest of the catalog is off limits. The lawsuit also says that Tidal has repeatedly claimed that it has written and oral agreements to exclusively stream Prince’s catalog but has filed to provide documents to support the claim.
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.