3 Count: MTA Away

MTA's way or the highway...

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1: MTA Goes After Amateur Mapmaker for Copyright Infringement

First off today, David Meyer at the New York Post reports that New York City’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has filed a notice with the online marketplace Etsy to attempt to get an amateur recreation of their subway map removed from the site.

The artist involved is Jake Berman, who uploaded his version of the MTA map on the site in 2018. According to MTA, the map closely resembles the one that MTA distributes and is an infringement of their intellectual property.

Berman, however, has said that he makes maps for a large number of cities and this is the first time anyone has complained. Berman has not said if he will file a counternotice against the takedown or otherwise fight the removal. The map is currently still available in his store. The MTA did not comment on the story.

2: Supreme Claims its Alleged Infringement of Another Company’s Copyright-Protected Camo Print is “Fair Use”

Next up today, The Fashion Law reports that fashion company Supreme has filed a response to a November lawsuit that accused it of infringing a camouflage pattern. In that response, asserted a variety of defenses including that its use was “fair use.”

The lawsuit began ASAT Outdoors LLC claimed that Supreme had used a camo pattern that they had created in a variety of products, including jackets, pants and more. Supreme has now responded, firing back with eight separate defenses including arguing that the copyright registration is not for the pattern involved in the lawsuit, that it is covered by an implied license and that the claim is barred by other legal doctrines.

However, the argument that has earned the most head-scratching has been the argument that it was fair use. The reason is that, given the nature of the use, most believe that a fair use argument is, at best, an extreme long shot. The case is still in its very early stages.

3: Whitehorse School Among 300 Required to Turn in Teaching Plans as Part of Copyright Lawsuit

Finally today, CBC News reports that some 300 schools in Canada have been required to have their teachers submit seven years of teaching materials in a bid to determine how much schools should pay for the use of materials represented by Access Copyright.

Access Copyright is an organization in Canada that collects royalties from schools that are paid to publishers, authors and artists for their work being used in the classroom. However, recent disputes about how much schools should pay prompted education departments across the country to sue Access Copyright for $25 million. Access Copyright promptly countersued for $50 million and the lawsuit has been ongoing ever since.

As part of that lawsuit, a judge has asked 300 schools to submit their lesson plans for the past seven years to learn just how much of Access Copyright-managed content is being copied and to help determine the correct amount school should have to pay. All of this comes after a 2012 law established “fair dealing” for school use and a Supreme Court decision that granted teachers in Canada greater leeway in copying materials for the classroom without paying a royalty.

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