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First off today, Eriq Gardner at The Hollywood Reporter Esquire reports that the Second Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a lower court ruling granting the musician Drake a fair use victory over a sample he used in a song.
The lawsuit was filed by the estate of James Oscar Smith, which claimed that a 35-second sample of his spoken word track Jimmy Smith Rap was used in the Drake and Jay Z song Pound Cake/Paris Morton Music 2. However, the lower court ruled in favor of Drake and others involved with his song, saying that the use was highly transformative and was a criticism of the elitist message that the Jimmy Smith Rap espoused.
The Appeals Court upheld that ruling, giving a rare fair use verdict in the music world. The Appeals Court agreed that Drake’s song was transformative and noted that there was no evidence the sample harmed the potential market for the original song.
Next up today, Sarah Morgan at World Intellectual Property Review reports that the independent design studio Wildflower + Co. has filed a lawsuit against major fashion brand Steve Madden accusing them of creating more than 100 products that infringe on the copyrights of four of their embroidered patches.
According to the lawsuit, for our Wildflower’s patches, including their Evil Eye and Hamsa patches, appear on a variety of Steve Madden products. They claim they sent a cease and desist letter back in March 2018 but were dismissed out of hand by Steve Madden. They further claim that Steve Madden continued to sell the products at issue, even after being notified of the infringement.
Filed in New York, the lawsuit also names Amazon, Macy’s and other retailers as defendants for their role in purchasing and reselling the allegedly infringing goods. Wildflower is seeking $25,000 for each instance where Steve Madden allegedly removed copyright management information and another $25,000 for each time the brand allegedly placed its own name on their goods.
Finally today, Becky Burkett at Inside the Magic reports that a PTA group at Emerson Elementary in Berkeley, California was contacted by Movie Licensing U.S.A. saying that, if the PTA wanted to screen Disney’s The Lion King at an upcoming fundraiser, they would need to pay $250 to license the film.
The story went somewhat viral when PTA member Lori Droste tweeted her frustration with Disney demanding the licensing fee while “reaping millions of dollars through a corporate loophole that has decimated public schools across California.”
That said, MLU responded saying that the licensing fee is only for when the film is shown in a school for entertainment purposes. No license is needed for showing a film for educational reasons. The school district said they were unaware of the requirement and are working with the PTA to resolve the issue.