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First off today, Sam Levin at The Guardian reports that the estate of playwright Paul Zindel has filed a lawsuit against Guillermo del Toro and Fox Searchlight claiming that the Oscar-nominated film The Shape of Water is a derivative work of Zindel’s 1969 play Let Me Hear You Breathe.
The allegations, which we cover in great detail here, focus on parallels between the two works. Both the play and the movie feature a female janitor who, while working in a secret lab, fall in love with an aquatic creature and then helps them escape to avoid death.
Fox Searchlight has said that the claims are baseless and that they are filing a motion to dismiss. Del Toro, for his part, has denied ever seeing Zindel’s work though Daniel Kraus, the co-author of the film, is a fan of Zindel’s writing.
Next up today, The Canadian Press reports that Canadian ISPs Bell, Rogers and Quebecor have won a key round in their lawsuit against TVAddons as a Federal Court of Appeals has unanimously overturned a lower court order that disallowed a search of the home of Adam Lackman, the website’s operator.
TVAddons is a website that distributes addons for Kodi boxes. Kodi boxes are TV set top boxes akin to Rokus or or Apple TVs but are open-sourced. Many of the addons for it, including those distributed by TVAddons, allow access to copyright infringing channels or sources. This prompted creators and rightsholders to file lawsuits against the site claiming copyright infringement.
In addition to granting the court order to search Lackman’s home, the panel also ruled the lower court erred in not granting the ISPs an injunction against Lackman and also awarded the companies $50,000 ($39,500 USD) in court costs. The case now moves back to the lower court for a possible trial.
Finally today, Nicholas Iovino at Courthouse News Service reports that a judge has dismissed copyright claims by Rearden LLC, which attempted to claim ownership in several major Hollywood films after the companies allegedly used software that stole technology from Rearden and their MOVA Contour application.
MOVA is an application that takes the movements of live actors, including their facial expressions, and animates them. According to Rearden, several studios knowingly used a Chinese-made application that was based on their technology. Rearden further argued that, since their technology did the “lion’s share” of the work in producing the films it was used on, they claimed ownership in multiple films and sought to cease their distribution.
However, the judge has denied injunction and dismissed the copyright claims without prejudice. According to the judge, while MOVA is important in filmmaking, the creativity is still primarily the actors and other humans behind the film. Rearden is free to re-file the copyright claims and the judge did allow other claims to move forward, including ones on trademark and patent infringement.
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.