First off today, Caitlin Kelley at Forbes reports that the market research firm MusicWatch has released its annual music study, which claims there were 17 million stream-rippers in the United States last year, up from 15 million in 2017.
Stream-ripping is when a user takes advantage of either an app or a website to download a music file from a streaming source, such as a YouTube video. According to the study, a plurality of stream-rippers (46%) do so because they want to have access to music offline while another 37% simply want to “own” music without paying for it.
However, the report states that one reason isn’t very common is financial need. According to the study, 48% of stream-rippers have an annual household income between $75,000 and $199,000 and 34% are between 25 and 34. The report expresses concern that the piracy habits these potential customers have picked up in music may spread to other media.
Next up today, Ray Panaligan at the Manilla Bulletin reports that the Court of Appeals in the Philippines has upheld a lower court decision that orders a Chinese company and its local partners to pay a local publisher P23.7 million ($477,000) for the unlawful publication of some 12 textbooks.
The lawsuit was filed by St. Mary’s Publishing Corp (SMPC), which entered into a contract with Fujian New Technology Color Making and Printing Company to print textbooks on their behalf. However, SMPC claims that they never received the textbooks and that, instead Fujian entered into agreements with other Filipino companies to distribute and sell the books.
The case had an odd twist and turn where Fujian and its partners claimed to have secured the copyrights to the works involved. However, the document that was presented as evidence was shown to be a forgery. Still, this alleged transfer formed the basis for the appeal, but that effort was shot down by the appeals court as it found the lower court’s decision was sound and was not arbitrary.
Finally today, Tom Dinki at the Olean Times Herald reports that the Olean Theater Workshop in Olean, NY is facing copyright blowback for casting a white actress as a slave character in their recent run of The Crucible.
The issue comes from Dramatist Play Service Inc., which licensed the play to them to perform. According to them, the casting change was unauthorized and their agreements with theaters specifically forbid any changes to the script, including dialog, stage direction and casting choices.
Dramatist said that, if they had become aware of the change before the run, they would have either demanded the role be recast or pulled the rights to the play. However, since the run has been completed, they have not said what specific action they will take. Instead, they’ve said it will depend heavily on the theater’s response and whether they are apologetic or defiant about their actions.