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First off today, Alexis Kramer at Bloomberg Law reports that a US court has ruled that toymaker Best-Lock infringed the copyrights of LEGO my making miniature figurines that were “visually indistinguishable” from LEGO’s creations.
The ruling took a deep dive into what was a useful component of LEGO’s designs and what was an artistic expression. This was important because only artistic expression can be protected by copyright.
To that end, the court denied nearly all of Best-Blocks arguments. It had argued that its choice of trapezoidal body and square feet were purely practical choices. However, the court noted that similar figurines stand on circular feet and that the trapezoidal body was not necessary to enable joint movement. Neither side had any comment on the outcome of the case.
Next up today, the AFP reports that the French Parliament has adopted the controversial EU copyright reforms, making it the first nation in the bloc to do so.
The copyright directive was passed by the EU in April 2019 and, despite relatively broad support among EU member states, was highly divisive among the public. Of particular interest were two articles, one that would require licenses for using even short snippets of news-related content and another that would require hosts, like Facebook and YouTube, to block the reuploading of allegedly infringing material.
Though France was the first to incorporate the directive into their legal code, it will be adopted by all member states by April of next year.
Finally today, Martin Macias Jr. at Courthouse News Service reports that the Katy Perry trial has wrapped up and jury deliberations have begun.
The case pits Perry against Christian rap artist Marcus Gray. Gray claims that Perry’s 2013 hit Dark Horse is an infringement of 2008 song Joyful Noise. Over the course of the trial, many involved in creating Dark Horse were called to the stand including Perry herself as well as the producer Dr. Luke.
Both sides made arguments about what elements were and were not similar and, of the similar elements, which were too fundamental to be the basis of a copyright infringement claim. The case ended on Thursday with the jury deliberating the rest of that day and all day Friday. Deliberations continue today.