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First off today, Ashley Cullins at The Hollywood Reporter Esquire reports that Universal Music Group (UMG) has filed a motion to dismiss in its class action case over the recent warehouse fire. In that motion, UMG argues that the plaintiffs lawsuit is not based on any valid legal theory and must be tossed.
The case centers around a 2008 backlot fire that destroyed various master recordings and other works stored in its library. After a June expose about the fire was published in the New York Times, a group of artists and their estates quickly filed a lawsuit against UMG claiming that the company both failed to protect their work and they did not receive royalties from the settlement that UMG reached with insurers.
However, UMG argues that it has not such obligation, either to protect the recordings or share the proceeds from the settlement. According to UMG. since the fire and settlement did not represent a use of the music that was licensed by UMG, the case doesn’t trigger the revenue split. Furthermore, it argues that it was not responsible for starting the fire, meaning that it had no obligation to protect the recordings from something it couldn’t control. A hearing on the motion is scheduled for November 4.
Next up today, Claire Selvin at ArtNews reports that a Danish court has ruled in favor of local artist Ai Weiwei in his lawsuit against Skandinavisk Motor Co. A/S over the company’s use of his work in the background of an advertisement they produced for the Volkswagen Polo.
The work in question, Soleil Levant, was displayed in the windows of a museum in Copenhagen and is composed of 3,500 life jackets worn by refugees. It was created to honor World Refugee Day in 2017. However, when the work appeared in the background of a Volkswagen ad Weiwei filed a lawsuit demanding 2 million DKK ($300,600) in damages.
The court, however, awarded him 1.5 million DKK ($225,400) for the infringement and another 250,000 DKK ($37,600) for “non-financial damage”. There is no word if the defendants plan to file an appeal.
Finally today, Saman Javed at the World Intellectual Property Review reports that Netflix has reached a settlement with Clarissa Cardenas, an attendee of the doomed Fyre Festival that sued after footage she took was used without her permission in a Netflix documentary.
Cardenas, who routinely posts video of her various trips to concerts and festivals on her Instagram, claimed Netflix used some of her Fyre Festival footage as part of their Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened documentary. Cardenas sued, seeking $150,000 in damages.
However, now the two sides have reached a settlement and voluntarily dismissed the case. The terms of the settlement are not disclosed but involve both Netflix and Jerry Media, which produced the documentary.