3 Count: Facebook Gold

Facebook may be free, but it's big business...

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1: Facebook Offers Hundreds of Millions of Dollars for Music Rights

First off today, Lucas Shaw and Sarah Frier at Bloomberg report that Facebook is setting aside hundreds of millions of dollars for record labels and music publishers so that its users can legally upload videos containing popular music.

The news, which comes from an unidentified source, claims that Facebook is in negotiations with the music industry and is working on a system to identify infringing songs in videos. However, with that system still years away, Facebook is looking to make a deal now to avoid takedowns that frustrate users.

The deal would give rightsholders an influx of cash while letting them avoid spending resources fighting user uploads on Facebook. Others, however, express concern saying that the rights to the music is likely much more valuable on Facebook and such a deal could result in further devaluing of music as a whole.

2: Breitbart Sued for Copyright Infringement

Next up today, Joe Concha at The Hill reports that Brietbart News is being sued by freelance photographer Terray Sylvester over a photo he captured of protesting students in Berkeley, CA.

According to Sylvester, Brietbart took his photo and reused it on a variety of articles without first obtaining a license. The photo, taken in November 2015, was posted on Sylvester’s Instagram account.

Sylvester did not specify the damages he is seeking but did say that he feels the use of the image violates his exclusive rights to reproduce and distribute the image.

3: Jury Orders John Steinbeck’s Daughter-in-Law to Pay $13 Million in Rights Dispute

Finally today, Gene Maddaus at Variety reports that Waverly Scott Kaffaga, the daughter or author John Steinbeck and his third wife, has won a lawsuit against Thom and Gail Steinbeck, John Steinbeck’s son and daughter-in-law, over the rights to John Steinbeck’s work.

The issue stemmed over attempts to produce film version of the deceased author’s books The Grapes of Wrath and East of Eden. According to Kaffaga, Thom and Gail Steinbeck scuttled those efforts by protesting them and claiming to have rights that she did not have.  This prompted Kaffaga to sue both to seek damages and enforce a 1983 agreement that she says gave her control over the copyrights.

The jury deliberated less than 2 hours in the case and awarded $13.15 million in damages to Kaffaga, an amount that was $1.3 million than her attorneys had asked for. Those damages included $3.95 million to compensate for lost income and $7.9 million in punitive damages. However, Thom and Gail Steinbeck have already indicated their intent to appeal the ruling, meaning that a final decision may be a long way off.


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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