3 Count: Surround Sound

Insert Dolby sound here...

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1: Dolby Sues Adobe for Dodging License Fees

First off today, Shaun Nichols at The Register reports that Dolby Labs has filed a lawsuit against software maker Adobe for alleged  copyright infringement, breach of contract, breach of warranty and assertion of audit rights.

The case goes back to 2012 when Adobe was transitioning away from disc sales and to a subscription format. Dolby, which provides several audio encoders used in Adobe products, negotiated a new license fee structure based upon average subscribers rather than per disc sales. As part of this deal, Adobe would regularly send auditors to Adobe to verify the subscription rates.

According to Dolby, in 2015 they sent such an auditor but were denied adequate access to Adobe’s books. According to Dobly, Adobe kept stalling all the while attempting to negotiate a new deal with Dolby over the licensing. Dolby, now apparently frustrated, has filed a lawsuit seeking not just damages but to compel the audit to figure out the actual licensing costs for the software.

2: ‘Stairway’ Appeal Makes Judge Wonder if Trial Was Fair

Next up today, Peter Blumberg at Bloomberg reports that the dispute over Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven has made its way to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and led at least one of the judges if the trial was truly fair.

The case pits members of Led Zeppelin against members of the band Spirit. According to the lawsuit, Stairway to Heaven was based on the Spirit song Taurus. The case reached a trial at the lower court with the jury ruling that Led Zeppelin did not infringe. However, the members of Spirit appealed and that appeal was heard this week before the Ninth Circuit.

Though the judges didn’t tip their hand and a verdict from them is not anticipated for many months, one judge did question the fairness of the trial. Specifically, he had questions about whether it was appropriate that the jurors heard Stairway to Heaven‘s music but only saw the sheet music of Taurus. The reason for this was because the plaintiffs only had the copyright to the composition of Taurus but at least one judge hinted that it might have been inappropriate to limit the evidence so strictly, noting that, if Led Zeppelin did steal the song, they didn’t do it from the sheet music.

3: Lawsuit Says Miley Cyrus Stole ‘We Can’t Stop,’ Seeks $300 Million

Finally today, Jonathan Stempel at Reuters reports that a Jamaican songwriter has filed a lawsuit against Miley Cyrus alleging that Cyrus’ 2013 hit We Can’t Stop is a copyright infringement of of his 1988 song We Run Things.

The lawsuit was filed by Michael May, who performs as Flourgon, has been reached number 1 in his home country shortly after its release in 1988. May says, now that he has registered the his composition with the U.S. Copyright Office, he is seeking to protect his rights by suing Cyrus, which he claims ripped off his song.

According to May, Cryus’ song “owes the basis of its chart-topping popularity to and its highly-lucrative success” to his song. The lawsuit is seeking unspecified damages (though a press release claimed it was a $300 million case) and an injunction barring further sale of Cyrus’ song.


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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