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First off today, Ashley Cullins at The Hollywood Reporter Esquire reports that New York artist Julian Rivera has filed a lawsuit against Walmart and Ellen Degeneres over the their alleged appropriation of his work in their collaborative EV1 line of products.
At issue in particular is a logo that features the word “Love” turned into a stylized heart. According to Rivera, the logo is heavily associated with him and the use of it on Walmart products risks harming his brand. He claims that commercialization of his work would be very damaging to his reputation and that Walmart is the epitome of such commercialization.
In the lawsuit, Rivera claims that he sent Walmart a cease and desist back in May but that he was rebuked by the retailer. He says Walmart claimed that no such copying took place and that his design was “minimally creative.” Walmart nor Degeneres have responded to the lawsuit.
Next up today, Rebecca Delaney at IPPro Magazine reports that two men in Uruguay have been sentenced to more than three years in prison for their role in operating the pirate website Pelispedia.
The site provided illegal access to various movies and TV shows and become one of the top 100 web sites in Latin America. When the men were arrested, some $500,000 in assets were seized and have been handed over to the government under money laundering laws.
The arrest was applauded by rightsholders including the Motion Picture Association of America and the Alliance for creativity and Entertainment. Both groups thanked Interpol and the Uruguay government for their roles in the arrests.
Finally today, the BBC reports that the German band Kraftwerk has emerged victorious in a sampling lawsuit that has been going on for 20 years.
Back in 1999, Kraftwerk sued the hip hop producers Moses Pelham and Martin Haas over the song Nur Mir (Only Me) by Sabrina Setlur. They alleged infringement over a two-second sample in song of their 1977 work Metal on Metal. The case recently made its way to the European Court of Justice where it ruled that artists and musicians cannot sample other tracks without permission unless it is heavily modified and otherwise unrecognizable.
The ruling comes after a series of rulings and appeals that saw the case bounce between European and German courts. It’s widely expected that the ruling could have a major impact on sampling in the European Union, both outlawing many common types of samples but also by providing a blue print for future artists to follow.