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First off today, Keith Estiler at Hypebeast reports that H&M Fashions has filed a lawsuit against graffiti artist Jason “REVOK” Williams over the use Williams’ work in an H&M ad and Williams’ threats over it.
The dispute began with an ad featuring a model wearing H&M’s “New Routine” line of clothes while posing in front of a wall with Williams’ graffiti on it. On January 8th Williams’ attorney sent H&M a cease and desist letter to the fashion company saying that not only was the use violating his copyright but also causing confusion by implying Williams’ endorsement of the brand.
But, rather than ceasing and desisting, H&M responded by filing a lawsuit against Williams. According to the lawsuit, illegally-created works, such as graffiti, do not qualify for copyright protection and, as such, Williams has no copyright to assert. This lawsuit opens up the latest chapter in a long-running war over the copyrightability of street art.
Next up today, Andy at Torrentfreak writes that, in France, the four men who founded the local piracy website Liberty Land (LL) have received suspended sentences but still face a €60 million ($74.5 million) damages claim.
The site, which operated between 2009 and 2011, reportedly generated a large volume of money for its operators despite not directly hosting any infringing material. Though the Rennes Criminal Court did find the men guilty, it declined prosecutors’ demands for between 6-12 months in jail and, instead, handed down suspended sentences of 2-3 months. The court also confiscated €176,000 ($210,000) that had been generated by the site.
While the verdict puts an end to the criminal portion of the case, local rightsholders are also seeking damages and that matter won’t be decided until September. There, the four men are facing damages of up to €60 million ($74.5 million).
Finally today, Andrew Magnotta at iHeartRadio reports that an incredibly complicated dispute over the Iron Maiden Song Hallowed Be Thy Name is coming to a close as both sides reach a settlement.
The 1982 song Hallowed Be Thy Name bears a musical resemblance and shares lyrics with a 1973 song entitled Life’s Shadow by the band Beckett. Steve Harris and Dave Murray are credited as songwriters on Hallowed be Thy Name while Bob Barton and Brian Quinn are credited on Life’s Shadow.
The two sides had reached a previous deal but Quinn objected saying that it cut him out of the publishing unfairly. Other members of the deal dispute that saying that he was not responsible for the lyrics or compositions that were used, but say they are settling the matter regardless due to rising legal costs. However, the lawsuit may still not be over as an attorney for Quinn has already threatened a new legal action against Harris, saying that his excuse for stealing the lyrics was “lame” and that the settlement does not adequately address the dispute.
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.