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First off today, Andrew Albanese at Publishers Weekly reports that the estates of several authors have emerged victorious against Moppet Books and its founders, Frederik Colting and Melissa Medina, over their KinderGuides series of books.
KinderGuides are a series of heavily-illustrated and condensed versions of popular works. This initially included many popular in-copyright novels including those by Truman Capote, Jack Kerouac, Arthur C. Clarke and Ernest Hemingway. The estates of those authors, along with their publishers, filed a lawsuit against the defendants for copyright infringement but the defendants claimed that the books were a fair use, representing a highly transformative work that didn’t impact the market for the original.
However, just says after oral arguments were presented in the case, the judge ruled that the KinderGuides were not a fair use and were a copyright infringement. The decision was so abrupt that the judge didn’t even have a memorandum explaining the decision, only a promise to provide one shortly. Publishers were, obviously, happy with the ruling while Colting, who previously lost a fair use case over his unauthorized sequel to Catcher in the Rye, has already promised to appeal.
Next up today, Keith Bradsher at The New York Times reports that the White House is planning to investigate China’s trade practices, specifically looking at the country’s misuse of United States intellectual property.
Much of the issue deals with patent law. China is making a push to be a leading manufacturer by 2025 and is making heavy demands of U.S. companies to lower licensing rates and open up data centers in their country. U.S. companies widely believe that China has stymied their efforts to gain a foothold in the country through a combination of regulation and turning a blind eye to intellectual property infringement, including rampant piracy in the country.
Now the U.S. government is looking to begin a Section 301 investigation into China’s practices for consideration of taking countermeasures. Those measures could include tariffs on Chinese imports or rescinding licenses that permit Chinese companies to operate in the U.S. There is no timetable for the investigation.
Finally today, Paola Loriggio at Global News reports that York University, located in Toronto, Canada, has said it will appeal a ruling against it that found it liable for circumventing copyright fees in copying materials it handed to its students.
The lawsuit was filed by Access Copyright, a Canadian collective that licenses works of major publishers Universities. York had worked with Access Copyright until 2011, deciding to forego the license and instead instituting a policy that, it felt, would ensure the use of outside material was fair dealing and protected under Canadian law.
However, the court disagreed with this policy saying that it was too broad and arbitrary. As such, it ruled against York in the case. However, the university has vowed to appeal the ruling, escalating the dispute.
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.