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First off today, Eriq Gardner at The Hollywood Reporter Esquire reports that a California judge has ruled that one does not need a copyright registration, or even be a copyright holder, in order to file a lawsuit over an allegedly false Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) notice.
The case pitted ISE Entertainment, which says it holds the rights to the This Weekend in Vegas TV series, and the shows producers and host, Gerald Longarzo, Jr. Longarzo filed a DMCA takedown notice to get the show removed from Amazon. He felt that, due to unfulfilled contractual issues, he was the legitimate rightsholder to the work. ISE disagreed and filed a lawsuit claiming that the takedown was false.
However, Longarzo’s attorney attempted to get the lawsuit dismissed on the grounds that that ISE never filed for a copyright registration for the work. In a normal copyright lawsuit, a registration (or at least an attempt) is necessary for a court to take jurisdiction over the case. The judge, however, tossed that argument saying that the plain language of the statute makes it so that such a registration, nor even copyright ownership, is necessary to file a lawsuit over a false takedown. Still, the judge expressed doubt that ISE will be able to meet the burden of proof to show that Longarzo acted in bad faith when filing the notice.
Next up today, Ramon Antonio Vargas at The Advocate reports that Kimberly Roberts, the star and rightsholder to the documentary film Trouble the Water, has filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against Prettybird Pictures Inc over the use of footage from her documentary in Beyoncé’s Formation video.
According to Roberts, she shot video of her home flooding during Hurricane Katrina, turning it into a documentary about the disaster. She claims she signed an agreement with Prettybird to use the footage in Formation but the promised payments and royalties never materialized.
The lawsuit is the second over Formation as the sister of the late bounce rapper Messy Mya alleged that the song used some of her music without permission. That case is ongoing.
Finally today, Andy at Torrentfreak writes that VideoLAN, the non-profit team behind the popular VLC media player is claiming that Google is refusing to take action against ad-supported, commercial variants of their player uploaded to the Google Play store even though the apps violates the GPL license the original VLC is placed under.
At specific issue is a video player app for Android named 321 Media Player that, according to VideoLAN, takes code from VLC, adds a non-open source advertising package to it and distributes it via Google Play. However, according to VideoLAN, the product doesn’t comply with the GPL, refusing to release modified code or include the required attributions.
VideoLAN added that this is far from the first such app and that Google has not been cooperative in the past with other GPL violations.
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.