3 Count: FilmOngoing

FilmOn and on and on and on....

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1: Judges Probe FilmOn, Networks on Copyright Issue

First off today, John Eggerton at Broadcast & Cable reports that the U.S. Appeals Court for the D.C. Circuit has heard the appeal between FilmOn and various television networks as it tries to determine whether the TV streaming service is copyright infringing.

FilmOn is an internet-based TV-streaming service that captures over-the-air broadcast television and streams it to users. The service is similar in that regard to Aereo, an ill-fated TV streaming service that was shuttered after losing at the Supreme Court. However, FilmOn is attempting to argue that it is a multichannel video programming distributor (MVPD), essentially a cable or satellite company that should have access to a compulsory license to rebroadcast such signals.

In the D.C. Circuit, FilmOn has struggled with the lower court ruling against them. However, in the 9th Circuit, FilmOn won the lower court ruling and is currently waiting on an Appeals Court ruling there, possibly setting the stage for another Supreme Court showdown.

2: Appeal Filed in Led Zeppelin ‘Stairway to Heaven’ Copyright Trial

Next up today, Daniel Kreps at Rolling Stone reports that the battle over Stairway to Heaven will continue for at least a little bit longer as members of the band Spirit have filed an appeal in hopes of having the jury verdict overturned.

The lawsuit, which was filed by guitarists Randy Wolfe’s estate claims that Led Zepplin’s hit song Stairway to Heaven was an infringement of Spirit’s song Taurus. The case went to a jury in July and Led Zeppelin came out on top.

According to the appeal filed on behalf of Wolfe’s estate, faulty jury instructions were to blame for the trial going against them. They also claim that the jury was not allowed to hear the two songs played side-by-side due to copyright ownership reasons. They are requesting that the Appeals Court set aside the jury award and that they receive a new trial.

3: Pre-1972 copyright question heading to California’s Supreme Court

Finally today, Chris Cooke at Complete Music Update reports that the California Supreme Court is going to decide whether the state’s copyright law grants performers a public performance right over sound recordings.

The issue centers around pre-1972 sound recordings, which are still protected under state common law and not federal copyright law. Flo & Eddie of The Turtles sued satellite music provider SiriusXM alleging that it did not pay royalties for playing their music but SiriusXM has repeatedly said it owed no such royalties.

The case, despite spilling out into multiple states, has been settled. However, the amount SiriusXM will pay in damages hinges upon the states rule in favor of Flo & Eddie. California, previously, had been a site of a major victory for the band but the 9th Circuit requested that the California Supreme Court rule on this matter to put an end to it in the state.


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.

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