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First off today, Jacob Carpenter at The Houston Chronicle reports that a jury has ordered Houston’s ISD school district to pay $9.2 million in damages to DynaStudy, the creator of study guides that claimed its work was repeatedly and broadly infringed by the district.
According one of the cases cited in the the lawsuit, DynaStudy created a colorful biology study guide that the school paid $2,000 for copies of. However, when the principal at Houston ISD’s Westside high school wanted additional copies, he simply ordered his staff to make them, even after a staff member pointed out the copyright notice on the work.
In the end, the jury sided with DynaStudy saying that, in addition to the biology study guide, the district had violated the company’s copyright hundreds of times involving some 36 different study guides, with some of those guides reaching districts across the country. The school district has said that it is examining the next steps in the case but, in the meantime, has already ordered all of its staff to take additional training for handling copyright-protected work.
Next up today, Reuters reports that Poland has submitted a complaint to the European Union’s top court saying that elements of the new copyright law may stifle free speech in the bloc.
The new law, which was recently passed by both the EU legislature and the EU executive branch, is currently in its two-year implementation period where countries have to add it to their own laws. However, Poland is objecting saying that the new law may require hosts to filter infringing material and for news aggregators to pay for using even small snippets of content, both of which jeopardize free speech.
Poland was one of six EU member states that voted against the law. Others included Finland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Sweden.
Finally today, Bruce Haring at Deadline reports that the estates for the composers of the Theme For The Andy Griffith Show have filed a lawsuit against CBS saying that the license the label has for the song only covers the use of it on broadcast TV, not the resale of it on DVD or other media.
According to the lawsuit, CBS is relying upon a 1978 agreement signed between Viacom, their then-parent company and Mayberry Enterprises, the company that held the rights to the song at the time. However, according to the estates, which now control the rights directly, that agreement did not include DVDs, which had not been invented.
The lawsuit further claims that the estates sought out and tried to reach a new deal with CBS but were rebuffed. As such, they are suing for an injunction to stop CBS from using the theme and are seeking damages for direct and contributory copyright infringement. CBS had no response for the lawsuit saying they have not yet received the complaint.