3 Count: Open SESAC

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1: Music Labels Sue Cox Again for Allegedly Ignoring Piracy

First off today, Jon Fingas at Engadget reports that the three major record labels (Sony, Universal and Warner Bros.) have filed another lawsuit against Cox Communications that alleges the ISP has not done enough to stop piracy on its service.

The lawsuit is similar to an earlier one that claimed Cox did not disconnect customers who engaged in repeated piracy despite repeated warnings. According to the labels, Cox would only offer “soft” disconnections, making it easy for customers to get their internet turned back on. They also claim Cox put limits on the number of copyright notices that could be filed and cut anti-piracy staffers.

The original lawsuit resulted in a defeat for Cox and a court handing down a $25 million judgment against the ISP. That judgment amount was overturned on appeal but not the loss of safe harbor. As such, the labels are now filing a new lawsuit with some 10,000 pieces of music that has potentially much higher damages than the previous one.

2: Wings Over Scotland Returns to YouTube After BBC Backs Down in Copyright Row

Next up today, Ian Marland at iNews reports that, in the UK, the BBC has backed down in a battle with the Wings Over Scotland YouTube channel and the channel has been restored.

Wings Over Scotland is a channel that is tied to Scottish independence supporter Stuart Campbell. The BBC had reported some 13 of the channel’s videos for copyright infringement after it used clips from the network in videos critical of the BBC’s coverage of the 2014 Scottish independence referendum. However, the BBC has now recanted those notices and said it is reviewing its practices in this area.

The story generated a series of conspiracy theories after it was revealed that the BBC filed the notices after a complaint from a third party. It was originally thought that the source had been Edinburgh city councilor Scott Arthur but he has denied any involvement. Either way, the channel, along with its videos, have been restored as of this time.

3: SESAC, Music Industry Compromise on Copyright Reform Bill

Finally today, Anandashankar Mazumdar at Bloomberg Law reports that the performing rights organization SESAC has withdrawn its objections to the Music Modernization Act, which may be clearing the act’s path to the Senate floor and eventual passing.

The act brings together several pieces of legislation that attempts to reform music licensing. It would, among other things,  create an agency to handle mechanical licenses paid by digital services and ensures parity between pre- and post-1972 sound recordings when it comes to digital streaming and performance rights.

SESAC and its affiliate the Harry Fox Agency had expressed concern that their operations would be negatively affected by the act. This prompted Senator Rafael E. “Ted” Cruz (R-Texas) to halt the bill from reaching the Senate floor even though it had unanimously passed both the House of Representatives and the Senate Judiciary Committee. However, after working with record labels and others in the music industry, they have agreed that the new compulsory license will be limited and not impact SESAC’s operations, causing them to remove their objections. The bill is not scheduled for a full vote on the Senate floor.


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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