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First off today, P.J. D’Annuzio at the National Law Journal reports that the U.S. Supreme Court has denied writ to the heirs of the famed comedy duo Abbott & Costello in their case against the producers of the play the play Hand to God.
In the play, characters re-enacted a parts of the comedy duo’s famous Who’s on First routine. The heirs filed a lawsuit, claiming copyright infringement. The appeals court ruled that the use of the material wasn’t a fair use but still tossed the lawsuit because the heirs did not have a legitimate copyright interest.
The issue was in the copyright renewal of the work, something that was required for works created before 1978. Abbott & Costello created and performed the routine but it was never copyrighted separately. Instead, it was registered as part of the film One Night in the Tropics. Though the film was properly renewed, the court ruled that the sketch did not become part of the copyright renewal process for the film since it wasn’t made specifically for it. With no copyright renewal, and the Supreme Court refusing to hear the case, this is likely the end of the line for the heirs.
Next up today, Andrew Albanese at Publishers Weekly reports that the Second Circuit Court of Appeals has granted a motion for an expedited hearing in the ReDigi case as the former music resale company attempts to stay alive to continue litigation.
ReDigi was a service that let users resell their digital songs. This prompted a lawsuit from the Capitol Records, who successfully claimed that the right of first sale did not apply to digital works and, instead, only applied to physical products.
ReDigi is currently going through bankruptcy following the loss and Capitol Records has petitioned the bankruptcy court to transition the babnkruptcy form a Chapter 11 reoganization to a Chapter 7 liquidation. ReDigi is now asking the bankruptcy court to delay a decision on that as it hopes to be before the Appeals Court by this summer.
Finally today, Andy at Torrentfreak writes that streaming piracy site Vodlocker is now offering a feature that has been present on legitimate video sites for some time: Video embedding.
Rather than having users upload and host videos, Vodlocker has created a way to search the internet for copies of a film and embed them directly in an HTML5 player. Vodlocker then turns around and provides an API for that system and allow users to build their own applications based upon it.
This technology could, theoretically, be used to power new streaming websites and allow them to open up without having to set up hosting or pay for the bandwidth of the films. The player includes the ability to stream from multiple sources and includes a Chromecast plugin to allow streaming to TVs.
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.