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First off today, Eriq Gardner at The Hollywood Reporter Esquire reports that Epic Games, the makers of the popular video game Fortnite, have hit back at a lawsuit filed by 2 Milly over dance moves featured in the game.
Milly sued Epic alleging that one of those moves violated his rights by including his “Swipe It” move in the game. However, Epic is hitting back saying that simple moves such that can not be protected by copyright and, even if they can, there’s too much difference between them to claim infringement. Epic is using California’s anti-SLAPP statute, which aims to protect free speech by giving quick dismissal of lawsuits that threaten it, to both challenge the lawsuit and shift the burden of proof.
2 Milly is far from the only person to have sued Epic over allegedly infringing dance moves. Others include Alfonso Ribeiro for Fresh Prince of Bel-Air fame, who claims that Epic used his signature dance move without permission. In addition to copyright, 2 Milly is also claiming appropriation of his likeness, a claim that Epic says is preempted by the copyright claims.
2: A 44% Streaming Royalty Rise Is Now Locked in for Songwriters in the US – So Long as the Likes of Spotify Don’t ‘Declare War’
Next up today, Murray Stassen at Music Busiiness Worldwide reports that the Copyright Royalty Board has published the final rates and terms for songwriters when their music is played on on-demand services, such as Spotify, and the result is a 44% increase in royalties that they will collect.
The decision was actually reached in January 2018 and were the result of a trial that took place between March and June of 2017. However, with the new rates formally published, there’s a 30-day window in which streamers can appeal. Apple has said that it will not but others have not commented.
If no appeal takes place, the new rates will go into effect and will cover all on-demand streams between January 1, 2018 and December 31, 2022. After then, a new set of rates will have to be decided. However, many songwriters still object to the new rates, saying that they are still far below market value and below rates for other types of media, including radio.
Finally today, WDSU reports that Jonathan Bertuccelli, the creator of King Cake Baby (KCB), the mascot for the New Orleans Pelicans, has filed a lawsuit against Universal and others involved with the films Happy Death Day and the upcoming Happy Death Day 2U saying that the movies ripped off his design.
According to the lawsuit, the killer in Happy Death Day wears a mask that is similar to KCB’s design. Both films were shot in New Orleans, where the lawsuit is also filed.
Bertuccelli claims that the films will recover more than $200 million in revenue and he feels that half of that net revenue should be given to him as well as 50% of all future distributions.