3 Count: Shake it On

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1: Taylor Swift Returns to US Court After Appeal Over Copyright Lawsuit

First off today, Be Beaumont-Thomas at The Guardian reports that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has revived a copyright lawsuit against Taylor Swift saying that the lower court judge was premature in dismissing it and that the issue at hand is best resolved by a jury.

Swift, along with her songwriters, was sued by the girl group 3LW, which alleged that Swift’s song Shake if Off were copied from their earlier song Players Gon’ Play. According to the lawsuit, Swift copied various lines from their track including “the players gonna play” and “the haters gonna hate.”

The judge, however, wasn’t impressed noting that those elements were part of the popular culture long before either party released their song. He dismissed the lawsuit but 3LW appealed and the Appeals Court has sided with them, saying that the matter was one for a jury, not a judge, to decide.

2: HISD settles study guide copyright case for $7.8M

Next up today, Jacob Carpenter at The Houston Chronicle reports that the Houston Independent School District (HISD) has reached a settlement with DynaStudy and will pay $7.8 million in damages for the repeated infringement of the company’s study guides.

The case began in 2012 when DynaStudy first approached the HISD with concerns over the copying of their study guides. They filed a lawsuit in 2016 and have been in litigation ever since. In September the case reached a jury and the jury sided with DynaStudy, awarding it $9.2 million in damages.

The HISD said that the award was “shocking”, especially considering it came after the HISD turned down an initial settlement offer of just $250,000 and another offer of $800,000 right before the trial. Now the two sides have reached an actual settlement of $7.8 million, a slight reduction from jury award but representing more than $7.5 million more than the original offer. The district has said it will pay the settlement from its general fund and could tap its $400 million “rainy day” fund to cover it.

3: Netflix to Face Journalist’s Copyright Suit Over ‘Narcos’

Finally today, David McAfee at Bloomberg Law reports that Netflix has failed to convince a judge to toss a copyright infringement lawsuit over their hit show Narcos, with the judge ruling that it doesn’t matter when the transfer of rights agreement was signed, but when the actual transfer took place.

The lawsuit was brought by Virginia Vallejo, the former mistress of Pablo Escobar. She alleged that the series infringed the rights in her memoirs. However, Netflix had argued that she lacked standing on the grounds that she had transferred her rights to another party.

However, Vallejo argued that, while the agreement was signed in 2013, the transfer of the rights was not executed until 2015, after the show began to air. As such, she argued she should be allowed to sue for infringement that took place before then. The judge agreed and is allowing the case to move forward.

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