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First off today, The Telegraph reports that the UK pop group Duran Duran has lost a fight in a London High Court to try to reclaim heir U.S. music rights through copyright reversion.
Copyright reversion, sometimes referred to as copyright termination, allows artists in the U.S. to reclaim the rights to their work and terminate any agreements after a period of time. Duran Duran sought to do that in a bid to negotiate better deals for themselves. However, the court ruled that UK contract law governs their agreement and bars them from reclaiming their rights.
The case could have a major impact on other UK artists, especially from previous decades. They may find it impossible to use copyright reversion, meaning the agreements they signed in the beginning will likely remain in effect for the duration of their careers.
Next up today, Nick Krewen at FYI Music News is reporting that two Canadian Senators are calling for an urgent examination of the Copyright Board of Canada, saying that expanded responsibilities and understaffing have caused the board to not issue timely decisions and that has harmed creators.
The board, which was established in 1989, sets tariffs to be paid for various uses of copyrighted works. However, as technology has evolved, the scope of the Copyright Royalty Board’s task has grown and it’s had trouble keeping up. According to the Senators, this has led to delays in crucial rulings that have led to uncertainty for creatives and users alike.
The Senators are calling for an urgent review of the board as part of the upcoming statutory review of the Copyright Act in 2017.
Finally today, Ben Hancock at The Recorder reports that The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled against Robin Antonick in his bid to collect royalties from video game maker Electronic Arts.
Antonick worked with Electronic Arts in the late 1980s. There, he helped develop the first Madden game for the Apple II computer. He argued that later versions of the Madden series, in particular those on the Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo, were based on his work and he was owed royalties.
A jury agreed with Antonick, ruling in his favor. However, the district court judge set aside that ruling because there was no computer code or images entered into evidence. Antonick appealed that ruling and the Ninth Circuit has now affirmed it, saying there was no evidence the later games were a derivative work or used any copyrightable element from Antonick’s previous efforts.
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.