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First off today, Dan Rys at Billboard reports that a U.S. district court judge has dismissed a lawsuit against both Rita Ora and the estate of The Notorious B.I.G. (born Christopher Wallace). According to the judge, the musicians did not infringe the copyright of a spoken word piece as their use was a fair use.
At issue was the 1968 spoken word track When the Revolution Comes by the spoken-word group The Last Poets. A member of that group, Abiodun Oyewole, filed the lawsuit alleging that Wallace’s 1993 hit song Party and Bullshit used lyrics from the piece without permission and in an infringing way. The lawsuit then said that Ora sampled Wallace’s song in her 2012 single How We Do (Party), making it an infringement as well.
The judge, however, disagreed and has said that the use was clearly transformative and a fair use. There was also significant doubt whether the copied portions were protectable under copyright to begin with though the judge’s ruling does not weigh in on that question.
Next up today, Wendy Wong at Channel NewAsia reports that, in Singapore, a court has dismissed a lawsuit filed by the real estate listing site PropertyGuru against its competitor 99.co over the presence of images on both websites.
At issue were images that first appeared on the PropertyGuru website but, through the use of a third-party tool, ended up on 99.co. Though the two sides had reached a settlement about this in 2015, some of the images kept appearing. The judge in the case ruled that 99.co had violated that settlement agreement but dismissed copyright claims against them saying that PropertyGuru’s editing of the photo and addition of a watermark did not constitute an original work.
As a result of the verdict, both sides claimed victory though much of the media attention has been on the copyright aspect of the case as it may have broader implications in the country when it comes to determining what is a copyright-protected work and who owns that work.
Finally today, Andrew Liptak at The Verge reports that Twitter has suspended a number of accounts, many with hundreds of thousands of followers or more, that they say have violated the company’s anti-spam policies over “tweetdecking”, which is using coordinated groups of Twitter users to artificially Retweet and amplify content.
Tweetdecking has become famous in recent months not just for not only generating large amounts of spam and propaganda, but also for aiding the spread of stolen content, in particular jokes. The process is usually done through third-party tools or through Twitter’s Tweetdeck tool and involves creating groups of Twitter users, known as “decks” that artificially coordinate to retweet each other’s content as well as that of paying customers.
The move comes amid revelations that over 50,000 accounts on Twitter were linked to Russian-backed organizations that exposed nearly 700,000 people to propaganda in the run up to the 2016 election.