3 Count: Artistic License

To Kill a Mockingbird case speeding up...

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1: Aaron Sorkin’s ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ May Be Headed to Trial in June

First off today, Eriq Gardner at The Hollywood Reporter Esquire reports that the legal war over the theatrical version of Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird is heating up and may be headed to a trial as early as June 4th.

Shortly before her death in 2015, Lee granted Scott Rudin the rights to create a theatrical adaptation of the famous story. Rudin hired Aaaron Sorkin, a respected TV and film writer, to handle the script. But, when the first drafts started coming in Tonja Carter, the head of the Lee estate, objected and claimed that Rudin and Sorkin were departing too far from the novel. This resulted in a pair of lawsuits being filed, one by Carter in Alabama and one by Rudin in New York.

After Carter failed to get an injunction blocking the work Rudin moved to expedite the matter. With his show scheduled to open in November, the issue needed to be resolved quickly. The New York court has decided not to wait for the Alabama court to decide whether it has jurisdiction in the case and move forward toward a trial. Rudin wanted it as soon as May 21 but the judge opted to schedule it for June 4. A magistrate judge has also decided to allow Rudin to put on several scenes from his version so they can be filmed for a jury. However, he only has until May 15th to do it, meaning he has just two weeks to turn around a production that is nowhere near completed.

2: Hong Kong Broadcaster’s Piracy Fight Falters

Next up today, Rohan Pearce at Computerworld reports that Hong Kong-based Television Broadcasts Limited (TVB) has hit a stumbling block in its bid to have an Australian court order the blocking of several pirate streaming services that it claims are infringing its content.

Previously, TVB had asked the court to order the blocking of several Android-based streaming services used to access their content. While such a block is permissible under Australian law and no ISPs came to oppose the blockade,  there’s a dispute over whether or not TVBs content is protected under Australian copyright law for the purpose of this act.

The issue is that China is not a party to the 1961 Rome Convention for the Protection of Performers, Producers of Phonograms and Broadcasting Organizations, which would have guaranteed the works were covered. TVB attempted to argue that the channels were also an infringement of their literary works, meaning scripts, but the judge seemed skeptical. Following the arguments, the judge said that the decision will likely take a “couple of months” due to the issues at hand.

3: Cloudflare and RIAA Agree on Tailored Site Blocking Process

Finally today, Ernesto at Torrentfreak writes that content delivery network provider Cloudflare has reached an agreement with the RIAA to create a process through which record labels can quickly expand their blocking efforts against the piracy site MP3Skull.

The new arrangement follows a 2016 victory for the RIAA over MP3Skull. However, when the site did not comply with the injunction the RIAA sought help from third-party services, including Cloudflare. However, Cloudflare claimed that the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) shielded them from the need to comply with such an injunction though the court said the DMCA didn’t apply in this case but said it had to weigh other elements of the case before issuing an injunction.

In the meantime, MP3Skull did cease operations but the court chose not to dismiss the order, instead forcing the two sides to come up with an agreement should the site reemerge. The two sites have now done that, creating a system where the the RIAA can file a request to have a site removed but must first notify Cloudflare of it so they have a chance to respond. If there’s no objection, Cloudflare would have the greater of 24 hours or one business day to remove the site from its service.


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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