3 Count: Zoo Too?

More zoo, less utopia...

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1: Hope Fades for Cheap TV-over-Internet as FilmOn Loses Copyright Fight

First off today, Joe Mullin at Ars Technica reports that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled against FilmOn, saying that the TV streaming service does not qualify for a compulsory license typically offered to cable and satellite providers.

FilmOn, which is a service that captures over-the-air broadcast television and retransmits it over the internet, had argued that, since Aereo was shuttered by the Supreme Court for being too much like cable company to be non-infringing, that they, as a similar service, should be able to take advantage of the compulsory license and pay a low royalty rate to stream broadcast TV.

FilmOn has had mixed success in the courts with multiple cases in several different circuits. Their biggest victory had been in the Ninth Circuit, where the lower court ruled they did qualify to use the license. However, the Appeals Court has now overturned that meaning that all eyes are to the D.C. Circuit, where an appeal of a victory for the networks was held last week.

2: Disney Accused of Stealing ‘Zootopia’ From ‘Total Recall’ Screenwriter

Next up today, Gene Maddaus at Variety reports that Gary Goldman, a veteran screenwriter, has filed a lawsuit against Disney accusing the company of ripping off his idea to create their 2016 hit film Zootopia.

According to Maddaus, he pitched the idea for Zootopia twice, once in 2000 and again in 2009 but claims he was sent away. He claims that Disney not only took his idea, dialogue and character designs but also the title.

However, Zootopia direct Byron Howard has said that the idea for the film came in 2010 when he was working on Tangled and he, along with his then-co-director Nathan Greno, pitched the idea of a film involving talking animals. Disney has further said that the lawsuit has many “patently false allegations” and that it is an attempt by Maddaus to lay claim to a successful film he didn’t create.

3: Georgia Supreme Court rules in Favor of iHeart in Yet Another Pre-1972 Lawsuit

Finally today, Chris Cooke at Complete Music Update reports that the Georgia Supreme Court has ruled against musicians Arthur and Barbara Sheridan in their case against iHeartRadio. 

The matter deals with pre-1972 sound recordings, which are not under the purview of federal copyright law and, instead, are protected under state law. Many musicians, most prominently Flo & Eddie of The Turtles, have been challenging streaming services right to perform these dongs without a royalty.

However, this case didn’t look at a public performance right. Instead, the Sheridans argued that iHeartRadio is tantamount to a music transfer service. But the Georgia Supreme Court noted that the law they were applying makes an exception for broadcasters and that, despite differences, the court felt iHeartRadio was close enough to a traditional broadcaster to have those exemptions apply.


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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