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First off today, Eriq Gardner at The Hollywood Reporter Esquire reports that a judge has ruled Wolfgang’s Vault, a site that hosts thousands of live concert videos, had acquired the incorrect license to stream the recordings.
The lawsuit was filed by the National Music Publishers Association (NMPA), a group that represents songwriters and publishers. They claim that Wolfgang’s Vault is streaming concert footage without a license or paying the proper royalties to the composers. However, Wolfgang’s Vault argued that they had obtained a compulsory mechanical license, which allows them to reproduce and distribute compositions via digital download.
While the judge agreed that Wolfgang’s Vault had met the requirements to receive a mechanical license, he also sided with the NMPA in concluding that mechanical licenses don’t cover audiovisual works, such as concert videos. The judge did not grant the NMPA’s request for an injunction saying that the licensing issues were not insurmountable. The judge also said that, for songs that were first performed at a concert before being published, it was a requirement that Woflgang’s Vault obtain permission from the performer though there is no such evidence of permission. The case now moves forward toward a trial, which will determine whether the infringement was willful and what damages should be awarded.
Next up today, Ernesto at Torrentfreak writes that a judge has granted the American Chemical Society (ACS) a broad injunction that it hopes to use to stop Sci-Hub from simply hopping from domain to domain.
Sci-Hub has earned a reputation for being “The Pirate Bay of Science”. It’s a place where users can share scientific papers, many of which are behind payalls imposed by scientific publishers. Sci-Hub suffered back-to-back legal defeats with publishers Elsevier winning a $15 million judgment against them in June 2017 and ACS winning a default judgment of $4.8 million in November 2017.
However, ACS has expressed frustration with following through on its win. Though they successfully compelled domain and web hosting providers from working with them. However, the site has remained online, hopping from domain to domain. As such, ACS petitioned the court for an amended injunction, which will allow them to target providers who are offering services to any new domains the site uses. However, as of this writing, Sci-Hub is still online, largely due to the assistance of international domain registrars that do not comply with U.S. injunctions.
Finally today, David Matthews at the Times Higher Education reports that academic publishers are also targeting ResearchGate saying that the site is still hosting more than 100 million copyright-infringing papers on its site.
ResearchGate is a social network for academic researchers. However, many have used the site as a means for sharing scientific papers that owned by various academic publishers and usually only available with payment. ResearchGate removed some 1.4 million papers from its site back in October but a consortium of publishers say that approximately 4 million such infringing papers remain.
ResearchGate currently claims to have some 14 million members and to host more than 100 million papers, meaning that the allegedly infringing papers make up approximately 4% of the site’s paper archive.
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.