3 Count: Scholastic Controversy

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1: Meme Creator Sues Info Wars for Copyright Violation

First off today, Nathan Solis at Courthouse News Service reports that Matt Furie, the creator of the Pepe the Frog character, has filed a lawsuit against Info Wars claiming that the site not only is using his character without permission, but contributed to it being co-opted to spread racist memes.

Created in 2003, Furie originally described Pepe as a “peaceful frog dude” but, in the run-up to the 2016 election, members of the alt-right began to use the character in racist and other offensive memes. This has led to a legal campaign by Furie to get Pepe removed, a campaign that is now taking action against Info Wars, which features a poster with Pepe on it and other alt-right figures in its store.

Furie is seeking an injunction barring Info Wars from selling posters with the character on it as well as damages from the use. He also names Free Speech Systems, LLC, the company behind the Info Wars online store, in the complaint.

2: NetEase and Alibaba Copyright Swap Deal May Put an End to China’s Music Streaming War

Next up today, Emma Lee at Technode reports that NetEase and Alibaba, the two largest music streaming services in China, have agreed to swap access to their catalogs in an effort to grow the available music on both platforms.

The Chinese government issued a ban on unlicensed music streaming in 2015. This led to something of a rights war as companies sought to snap up exclusive licenses before competitors. Two companies, NetEase and Alibaba (better known for its mammoth online store) came out in the lead. However, this left neither with a complete music service.

Now, through government mediation, the two sides have agreed to swap access to their catalogs, paving the way for both to greatly expand their libraries. But while the move may end the heated and expensive war between the two companies, others worry it may squeeze out smaller players, with one such company, Duomi, already terminating its music streaming service this week.

3: Manhattan Teen Cartoonist Prompts Review of Scholastic Awards’ Copyright Rules

Finally today, Nicole Brown at AM New York reports that a 13-year-old artist has prompted Scholastic to re-evaluate the terms of its Scholastic Art & Writing Awards after she questioned why winners would be forced to give up the copyright in their work.

The teen, Sasha Matthews, opted not to submit her Everyday Superheroes comic book to the competition after her father read and explained the terms and conditions of the contest. This prompted her to both tweet about the terms and write an article for Boing Boing on them. Her efforts got a response from Scholastic saying that they were going to re-evaluate the terms before next year’s contest.

Over 300,000 teens submitted work to the contest and it is unclear how many were aware of the terms. As for Matthews, Everyday Superheroes is her fourth published work, she has been creating comics, often with a political lean, since she was 10.

Suggestions

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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