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First off today, Jonathan Stempel at Reuters reports that a judge has dismissed the lawsuit filed by Dr. Seuss Enterprises against the makers of the parody book Oh, the Places You’ll Go!
The book is a Star Trek-themed work that parodies the work of Dr. Seuss by mashing it up the two universes. Dr. Seuss Enterprises filed the lawsuit, claiming that it was a copyright infringement. However, the judge has now dismissed the case saying that the book is a protected fair use.
According to the judge, the work took no more of the original content than was required for the parody and that some of the elements the plaintiff were claiming to have been infringed can not be protected by copyright. Dr. Seuss Enterprises has said it may appeal the ruling but ComicMix, the makers of the book, have said that they are looking forward to finally publishing the work.
Next up today, Jem Aswad and Chris Willman at Variety report that Spotify, Google, Pandora and Amazon have filed an appeal of the Copyright Royalty Board’s (CRB) recent rate increase for songwriters who have their music streamed via digital services.
The CRB determines the royalties owed to songwriters when their music is streamed. In January, it handed down a significant rate increase for songwriters, saying that the amount would be raised from 10.5 percent of revenue to 15.1 percent over the course of the next four years. The decision was widely celebrated by both songwriters and publishers alike but streaming services complained that the increase was simply too much.
Spotify, Google, Pandora and Amazon are all now filing separate appeals of the rate increase, saying that it harms both licensees and copyright holders. However, Apple is not and is supporting the new rate.
Finally today, Eriq Gardner at The Hollywood Reporter Esquire reports that VidAngel will have to face liability for its role in circumventing encryption on DVDs and Blu Rays when creating its family-friendly streaming service.
VidAngel was a service that allowed users to stream major Hollywood movies but filter out objectionable content such as nudity of swearing. The major studios sued in 2016, alleging copyright infringement and the case has been rolling around in court ever since. Recently, the Ninth Circuit denied an appeal of an injunction against VidAngel saying that the studios were likely to succeed in the case.
To that end, the lower court judge has now agreed issuing a summary judgment on the issue of liability. This means that any trial would focus exclusively on the issue of damages, meaning the question is how much VidAngel owes for its infringement, not if it infringed. The judge also ordered the deposition of a VidAngel executive and rejected a request by VidAngel to modify the injunction against it.