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1: Major Labels’ Billion-dollar Payday Under Fire As Cox Communications Challenges ‘shockingly Excessive’ Damages Verdict

First off today, Tim Ingham at Music Business Worldwide Cox Communications has filed a motion challenging the recent $1 billion jury award against them, calling it “unprecedented” and “grossly excessive”.

The case pits the major record labels against the ISP Cox Communications. The labels claim that Cox did not do its part under the law to deter piracy on its service and actively profited from pirating customers. Among the allegations are that Cox did not implement a real policy for terminating repeat infringer accounts and that copyright notices sent to Cox were not appropriately handled.

In December, a jury sided with the record labels and awarded them a $1 billion judgment, amount to just over $99,000 for each of the 10,017 works allegedly infringed in the case. Cox, however, is now claiming that the verdict is excessive and is asking for it to either be set aside or reduced. In lieu of that, they are seeking a new trial on the issue. If Cox’s motion is denied, they will be able to appeal to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.

2: Pantera Guitar Designer Asks Panel to Revive Copyright Case

Next up today, Kayla Goggin at Courthouse News Service reports that Buddy Webster, better known as Buddy Blaze, has asked the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals to reinstate a lawsuit that he filed against Dean Guitars over a custom guitar he created for Darrell “Dimebag” Abbott of Pantera fame.

According to Blaze, he created the custom design for Abbot in 1985. Shortly before his death in 2004, Abbot signed an endorsement deal with Dean Guitars, who has produced reissues of that design ever since. After some jurisdictional issues, the court dismissed the case because it found that Blaze was aware of the replicas being made as early as 2005 but waited to file until 2017.

The panel at the Appeals Court expressed similar skepticism, repeatedly asking why Blaze took so long to file the lawsuit. Blaze, for his part, said that he was afraid of angering the Pantera fanbase to which the judges asked what has changed since then as the band is still much-beloved. The panel did not indicate when it would rule on the case.

3: You Can Now Download 150,000 Copyright-Free Art Works From Paris’ Museums

Finally today, Mix at The Next Web reports that Paris Musées, a group of 14 Parisian museums, has revealed that they are making available some 150,000 digital reproduction of artworks in their collections as part of their Open Content initiative.

The works involved include older paintings that are out of copyright but have been digitized by the museums that house them. As of right now, they are only uploading reproductions of 2D works in higher resolution with some licensed works being available in a much lower resolution.

All of the public domain works are being placed under a Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license to guarantee that they can be used freely. The group also plans to hold virtual exhibitions in an attempt to draw more attention to the content and encourage the downloading of the images.

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