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First off today, Brian Boucher at Artnet News reports that a group of 11 artists have filed a lawsuit against retailer Francesca’s over allegedly copyright-infringing pin designs.
According to the artists, the women’s fashion chain took designs from the artists and had them manufactured by third parties for sale in their stores. The designs include a wide variety of items including pickles, telephones and cats.
To add a wrinkle to the story, the artists allege that an employee for the plaintiff admitted to the infringement in an email. According to the complaint, the marketing department employee, after being notified of the issue said that Francesca’s was contacting the vendor and investigating the issue. However, shortly after sending the email, the employee attempted, unsuccessfully, to recall the email.
Next up today, Eriq Gardner at The Hollywood Reporter Esquire reports that Roc Nation and Tidal have responded to a lawsuit by the Prince estate by challenging the ability of the state’s administrator to control the late artist’s songs.
The Bremer Trust filed a lawsuit against Roc Nation Tidal-owner Aspiro alleging that Tidal was only given a 90-day license to stream a newly-recorded Prince album and that the service responded by putting 15 Prince albums on the service for streaming. Aspiro denies that saying it secured both written and oral agreements to stream Prince’s music.
Now Roc Nation and Tidal are arguing that the administrator and NPG Records, for whom the administrator is acting on behalf of, lack valid copyright registrations and are committing copyright misuse. They further claim that the administrator lacks the authority to file a lawsuit as other parties are involved and need to be consulted.
Finally today, Robert Levine at Billboard reports that, on December 30th, Universal Music Group released a digital-only album entitled Motown Unreleased: 1966. The album didn’t receive much, if any, promotion and contained previously unavailable tracks by Marvin Gaye and The Supremes among others.
The reason for the unusual release was a 2011 change to EU copyright law that made it so that officially unreleased sound recordings would fall into the public domain after 50 years after recording. Without a release, those 1966 tracks would have lost copyright protection this year.
Though no one involved with the album said it was for copyright reasons, the timing indicates otherwise. It also mirrors similar-styled releases from Bob Dylan, The Beach Boys and Pink Floyd.
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.