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First off today, Ben Winslow at Fox 13 reports that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has rejected VidAngel’s motion for an emergency stay of the injunction against them and, as such, the company remains offline while the legal process continues.
VidAngel is a movie streaming service that offers the ability to filter films of obscenities, violence or other possibly unwanted content. However, rather than obtaining licenses for the films they stream, the company purchased DVD copies of the films and lets users “buy” those films for $20 and stream them. Then, when they are done, the user can “sell” it back for $19. According to VidAngel, this makes the company legal.
However, the courts and the movie studios sharply disagreed. After filing a lawsuit against VidAngel, the movie studios quickly obtained an injunction. VidAngel failed to receive a stay of injunction at the lower court and has now failed again on appeal to the Ninth Circuit. VidAngel has promised to continue fighting.
Next up today, Eriq Gardner at The Hollywood Reporter Esquire reports that a judge has ruled against the production company behind the Star Trek fan film Axanar even though the case will head to a jury for the final decision.
Axanar was a 20-minute YouTube video and a pitch for a feature-length film set in the Star Trek universe. The film raised over $1 million on crowdfunding sites but was sued by CBS and Paramount for copyright infringement. The judge has now ruled on both sides motions for summary judgment and the news does not look good for Axanar.
First, the judge ruled that Axanar has objective substantially similarity to Star Trek and fails the extrinsic test (which involves an analysis of the work itself). The court also ruled that Axanar can not argue fair use when the case goes to trial, nixing Axanar’s biggest affirmative defense. The only issue that remains is the intrinsic test for substantial similarity (whether an ordinary observer would see the similarity), which, in the 9th Circuit, can only be decided by a jury. That sets the case up to go to a trial on this issue alone.
Finally today, Mariya Cheresheva at Balkan Insight reports that, beginning on January 1st, Bulgarian National Radio (BNR) was forced to stop playing both local and international contemporary music due to a dispute with Musicautor, which represents the rights to some 14 million songs.
Musicautor, represents composers, authors and publishers in the country and had begun negotiations with BNR, seeking higher royalty rates. The battle, however, dragged on past the ending of the previous contract and, beginning in the new year, BNR was forced to stop playing music licensed through Musicautor.
The most immediate victim of that was Bulgaria’s official national anthem, the composition for which is represented by Musicautor. BNR, as part of their New Year’s celebration, substituted it with a different version by their own choir.
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.