3 Count: Strangest Things

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1: Judge Clears Path for ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ Trial in June

First off today, Eriq Gardner at The Hollywood Reporter Esquire reports that an Alabama judge has agreed with a New York judge that the To Kill a Mockingbird case should be litigated in New York, setting the stage for a trial as early as June.

The battle is between the estate of Harper Lee, the author of the book, and Scott Rudin, who obtained the rights to create a theatrical version of Lee’s novel shortly before she died. According to the estate, Rudin’s proposed script took too many liberties with the source material and the estate tried to pull the rights, claiming breach of contract. This resulted in dueling lawsuits, one in Alabama filed by the estate and one in New York filed by Rudin.

The New York judge previously held that his court should have jurisdiction over the matter and scheduled the case for a June trial, expediting the case since the production was scheduled to open in November. However, that order for an expedited trial hinged upon the Alabama judge agreeing the New York jurisdiction, which he did on Monday, putting the final pieces in place.

2: US Cancels Duty-Free Import of 155 Types of Ukrainian Goods Due to Copyright Infringement

Next up today, the Kyiv Post reports that the United States has cancelled the duty-free import of some 155 types of goods from Ukraine citing concerns over the country’s handling of copyright-related matters.

Ukraine, along with 11 other countries, was placed on the priority watch list in the U.S. Trade Representatives Special 301 report both in 2017 and in the recent 2018 report. Countries on the priority watch list are considered targets of “intense bilateral engagement” on the issue and may be targeted for other actions. In this case, the U.S. Trade Representative has decided to suspend duty-free import of 155 of the more the 3,500 types of good allowed into the U.S.

According to the Ukraine government, the removal of this restriction hinges on Ukraine adopting a bill control the activities of collective management organizations and bring them into international standards. The U.S. Trade Representative restrictions went into effect on April 26, 2018 which came 120 after the publication of the Presidential Proclamation on December 22, 2017.

3: Sean R. Heavey Challenges Netflix for Alleged Copyright Infringement

Finally today, A.J. Etherington at the Glasgow (Montana) Courier reports that local artist and photographer Sean Heavey has filed a lawsuit against Netflix over the alleged use of his photo The Mothership in an episode of Stranger Things.

According to Heavey, he photo, which depicts a very unusual cloud formation, was featured in an episode of the Netflix series as well as a documentary about the making of the series. When Heavey learned of the use he approached Netflix about obtaining a license but Netflix balked, claiming that he could not copyright a cloud formation and that, even if they did use his image, they had altered it to the point that it was a new work.

However, Heavey responded by noting that others had recognized his photo in the series and that meteorologists and photographers alike confirm it was unlikely another image was used. As such, Heavey has filed a lawsuit against Netflix seeking damages for the use of the image. (Note: Article discloses a friendship between subject and author.)


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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